Thursday, December 12, 2013
FALMOUTH - After watching a seemingly harmless shot bounce between her legs for a goal, Cape Elizabeth keeper Mary Perkins grasped her head in disbelief.
Kathryn Clark of Cape Elizabeth races between Emma England, left, and Marysa Alexander of Falmouth to reach a long ball Tuesday night. Clark caught up to it before it crossed the end line and delivered a pass that resulted in Katherine Briggs’ go-ahead goal in a 3-1 victory.
Jill Brady/Staff Photographer
Montana Braxton, left, celebrates with Katherine Briggs after Briggs scored late in the first half Tuesday night to give Cape Elizabeth a 2-1 lead against Falmouth. The Capers went on to hand the Yachtsmen their first loss, 3-1.
Jill Brady/Staff Photographer
Not now. Not against Falmouth, the only team to beat the Capers this season; the team that, in last year's regular-season finale, spoiled Cape Elizabeth's unblemished record.
"I got kind of discouraged after that," admitted Perkins. "But I know the team has my back."
Indeed, her mates responded with a goal five minutes later, then added a second in the final minute of the first half before accepting a bizarre insurance tally in the waning minutes of the game for a hard-fought 3-1 victory on a chilly Tuesday night between two of the premier girls' soccer programs in Maine.
"It's always a rivalry," said Talley Perkins of the Capers. "It's always a big game."
Cape Elizabeth (10-1-1) dropped a 2-1 decision to Falmouth (9-1-1) on the last day of August to open the season. Since then, neither team had lost. Heck, each had allowed only two goals in all of September and the first week of October.
Because Cape Elizabeth competes in Class A and Falmouth in Class B, they won't meet again this fall. That, coupled with the see-your-breath briskness in the still night air, lent something of a playoff atmosphere to the proceedings.
Cape Elizabeth dominated the early going, only to see Falmouth keeper Caroline Lucas deny several good chances and catch a break when Addie Wood's shot off a rebound hit the left post. Falmouth had only a pair of corner kicks headed wide before breaking through on a looping 25-yard shot by freshman Tyler Spence that Mary Perkins misjudged.
"I guess I took my eye off the ball," said Perkins, who more than redeemed herself in the second half with a leaping, one-handed save of a Cassie Darrow header destined for the upper right corner that would have made it 2-2.
It was Kathryn Clark who scored the equalizer for Cape Elizabeth, fighting through two defenders to catch up to a pass from Madelaine Riker, then beating Lucas to the near side from 10 yards to make it 1-1 in the 29th minute.
After each team missed a chance to break the tie -- Riker drilling teammate Katherine Breed by mistake with a hard shot and Maggie Bohrmann of Falmouth sending a nice cross over the bar -- Clark's perseverance paid off.
Sprinting to the end line to the right of the Falmouth net to retrieve a ball that appeared headed out of play, Clark managed a steeply angled pass in front and freshman Katherine Briggs banged it home less than a minute before the half for a 2-1 Cape Elizabeth lead.
"I just put all my energy into getting there," Clark said, "because you can never waste opportunities like that."
Falmouth roared back in the second half, with Georgia Babikian and Caitlin Bucksbaum forcing Perkins to make tough saves before an unusual opportunity presented itself.
An apparent throw-in instead became an indirect kick for Falmouth after play was stopped because of a Cape Elizabeth injury. Bucksbaum set up Darrow for the well-placed header, but the Cape Elizabeth keeper managed to knock the ball away.
"I really want to give Cape credit for the way they possessed the ball and the way they persevered after being down a goal early," said Falmouth Coach Wally LeBlanc. "For our girls, I absolutely loved the adjustments they made in the second half. It wasn't Cape possessing on us anymore. We were putting the pressure on, looking to get that equalizer."
That pressure was not without risk, and a long pass deep into the Falmouth end rolled toward the end line as Cape Elizabeth's Talley Perkins and Falmouth back Megan Miller converged on it. There was confusion as to whether the ball crossed out of bounds, and as players hesitated and officials glanced at each other, the ball squirted slowly toward the goal mouth and it came to rest in the far corner after Lucas made no effort to stop it.
"It wasn't like I shot it," Talley Perkins said, "but it went in."
"Certainly, our players thought the ball was out of bounds," Falmouth's LeBlanc said, "but the officials are saying otherwise and I respect the officials' call."
The unusual goal drained the final 2:39 of drama, and brought forth some tears from the Falmouth girls as well.
Mary Perkins, who along with Lucas finished with six saves, could empathize.
"I'm glad we didn't win by that," she said, "that it was 3-1 and it didn't decide the game."
Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:
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