If you can’t clear the ball, you can’t generate offense. If you lack offense against Cape Elizabeth, you’ll also lack much of a chance to win.
That’s just how things played out Tuesday night for Yarmouth. A defensive ride helped Cape Elizabeth, the defending Class B champion, to a 10-6 victory in a boys’ lacrosse rematch of the 2013 state title game.
“Our ride was really incredible the whole game,” said Cape Coach Ben Raymond. “That was really the difference, our ability to ride and their inability to clear. That gave us probably 15 extra possessions, and that was big in the first half.”
Attack Ben Shea scored four goals, one off an interception of a goalie’s clearing pass in the dying seconds of the third quarter that put Cape Elizabeth ahead for good. Ben Haversat and Owen Thoreck each scored two goals and an assist as the Capers (2-0) collected their 10th straight win over Yarmouth. That includes a 7-4 victory in the Class B final last June.
Cape goalie Alex Narvaez had 11 saves. Long pole middie Noah Wolfinger played a strong game, helping the Capers execute their ride.
“My role is to stand on the sideline and (Raymond) yells at me where to go,” Wolfinger said. “My job is to bait them into throwing across the field and pressure them so they can’t get the ball in the box.”
The edge in possession helped the Capers rally from a 3-1 deficit that Yarmouth created over the opening 15 minutes. Griffin Thoreck, Shea and Riley Pillsbury scored in the final 3:30 to make it 4-4 at halftime.
“Those goals right there were great to give us a little bit more confidence going into the half,” Raymond said, “but even if we hadn’t scored, the kids were pretty confident in the way things were going.”
The same could not be said for the Clippers (1-1). That was obvious to Coach David Pearl.
“We couldn’t clear the ball,” Pearl said. “Riding and clearing is not so much about x’s and o’s as it is about execution. We had a hard time executing. In the first five minutes we couldn’t clear the ball the first three times we tried. That’s when I knew we were in trouble.”
The Clippers’ woes were compounded three minutes into the game when defender Henry Oliva went down with a leg injury.
He returned briefly but was carried from the field in the second quarter and didn’t return.
“That affected us a lot,” Pearl said. “Henry is one of the best defenders in the state and (it’s tough) to lose him against (Shea) a very strong left-handed attack man who is a hard mark.”
Brendan Dioli and Joe Oliva had two goals each, and Brady Neujahr and Dylan Tureff each added a goal for the Clippers. Max Watson had two assists. Goalie Connor Hoehle made 10 saves.
The Capers pulled away in the third quarter, sparked by Shea’s two goals.
“I was motivated at that point,” Shea said. “When you start getting on a roll, it seems it will never stop and that’s what we go for.”