WINDHAM – High school soccer, the cruelest sport, especially at playoff time.

Play your heart out for 80 minutes of regulation, and end up tied, 1-1. Bite your nails for a 15-minute “sudden victory” overtime, and then another. Still tied. Then bet your season and your self-esteem on a roll of the dice, a round of penalty kicks. And then another.

The visiting Cape Elizabeth Capers, ranked fourth entering the playoffs, eliminated the top-ranked Windham Eagles Friday night the hard, long way, in a game decided by two rounds of penalty kicks, 6-5.

The game unfolded like a battle between the forces of nature. The Eagles controlled play for most of regulation, like a steady flow of water on granite, constant pressure, constantly wearing away at the Cape defense. They scored first, at 30:21 in the first, when sophomore Jenna Soucy raced ahead of a defender in the center of the field, and put a 12-yard shot to the left, out of reach of the Cape goalie, junior Mary Perkins.

The Capers played like lightning, back on their heels most of the time, then suddenly exploding into the Windham end for an opportunity that sent a shiver through the Eagle fans. At 26:20 in the second half, Kate Breed, the only freshman starter for either team, got wide open on the left just eight yards out and blasted a shot that Windham’s goalkeeper, junior Kate Kneeland, blocked but couldn’t control, and the ball rolled across the goal line.

There was no change in the rest of regulation. And so, it came down to the penalty kicks. Five alternating attempts per side. In round 1, Cape was down to their last two shooters, down to the Eagles, 3-1. Kate Breed again, as high and as right as she could put it, she did, 3-2. Cape goalie Perkins made a nice stop on Windham senior Jillian Levesque to give her team another chance. Cape senior Talley Perkins went last, her team down by a goal. Miss it, and the season is over, the top seed moves on, the way it’s supposed to, right? Perkins, too, drilled it high and right to tie, 3-3.

In the second round of PKs, only two Windham shooters, junior Emily Gilman and freshman Katie Herzig, could find the net. Three Capers, freshman Kathryn Briggs, freshman Sarah O’Connor and junior Elise Flathers, hit paydirt. A final Eagle miss, wide right, and it was the Capers dog-piling on goalie Perkins on the cold, damp ground at mid-field.

The Capers will play in the Western Class A regional final next week against the winner of Saturday’s contest between third-ranked Scarborough at second-ranked Thornton Academy.

A second-round penalty shot by Cape’s Sarah O’Connor eludes Windham goalie Kate Kneeland.
Sarah O’Connor (22) celebrates her goal with Elise Flathers (23).
Windham freshman Katie Herzig puts a PK past Cape goalie Mary Perkins.
Cape coach Luke Krawczyk exults as his team races to celebrate after the final Windham missed PK.
apers swarm their victorious goalie, Mary Perkins, after the final Windham shot went wide right.
Windham sophomore Jenna Soucy scored first at 30:21 in the first half, racing ahead of a defender in the center of the field to put a 12-yard shot to the left, out of reach of the Cape goalie.
Windham sophomore Alana Dube splits two Capers at midfield.
Cape freshman Kate Breed tied the score at 1-1 at 26:20 in the second half when she got wide open on the left just eight yards out and blasted a shot that Windham’s goalkeeper, junior Kate Kneeland, blocked but couldn’t control, and the ball rolled across the goal line.
The Windham goalkeeper, junior Kate Kneeland, knocks a shot away near her goal.
Cape senior Talley Perkins knocks a corner shot away from her goal.
Windham goalkeeper Kate Kneeland takes her place in goal for the first round of penalty kicks.
Cape’s second team of penalty kickers, Sarah O’Connor (22), Elise Flathers (23), Courtney Guerett (11), Capt. Erin Lyons (9) and Kathryn Briggs (31), prepare for their shot at glory.


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