CUMBERLAND—How can a loss turn into a win?

When a team treats it as a learning experience and comes back stronger than ever.

Which is exactly what happened Saturday evening.

The top-ranked Cape Elizabeth girls’ soccer team suffered a home loss to three-time defending Class B champion Falmouth Wednesday night, but that served as a wakeup call and incentive to come out strong in a playoff rematch against longtime rival Greely at Glenn A. Hutchins Field three nights later.

The Capers got a goal from junior standout Kathryn Clark less than 10 minutes in and added a second on a header from senor Addie Wood with 24:03 to play before halftime to seize control.

Then, Cape Elizabeth held on for dear life.

The proud Rangers cut the deficit in half with 12:42 to play, when sophomore Jocelyn Mitiguy finished, but the Capers weren’t about to let this coveted victory slip away and they held on for the 2-1 triumph, improving to 4-1, while handing Greely its first loss in five outings.

“Every team needs a loss like that,” said first-year Cape Elizabeth coach Craig Fannan. “It’s how a team reacts that shows the character. The girls showed tonight they have a lot of character.”

Early test

After a trip to the Western A Final a year ago, Cape Elizabeth was highly touted entering the 2013 season and was impressive in its first three outings, blanking host Freeport, 5-0, then beating visiting York, 1-0, and Poland, 6-1. Wednesday, however, the Capers stumbled when three-time defending Class B champion Falmouth came to Cape Elizabeth and shut down its explosive offense, 2-0.

Knowing that a long season still awaited, the Capers circled the wagons.

“That game hurt and we don’t want to feel like that again,” Clark said. “I think that was the best thing to happen to us this season.”

“We talked a lot on Thursday and Friday about not letting that loss define our season,” Fannan said. “It was the first time a team came in and pressed us hard and we didn’t handle it well. We made mistakes and they punished us for it. We reverted back to some bad habits and didn’t control the game. I wanted the girls to relax.”

As for Greely, which welcomed Josh Muscadin is its new coach this fall, it opened with home shutouts of Fryeburg (2-0) and Yarmouth (3-0), then won at Gray-New Gloucester (5-3) and at home against Kennebunk (4-1).

Entering Saturday’s contest, Cape Elizabeth had gone 4-0-1 in the previous five meetings between the longtime rivals (please see below). Last year, the Capers won, 1-0, at Cumberland, settled for a 0-0 home tie, then handled visiting Greely with surprising ease in the quarterfinals, 3-0.

The Rangers last beat Cape Elizabeth, 4-0, at home, Oct. 5, 2010.

This time, the Capers prevailed again, but it took all 80 minutes to do so.

Cape Elizabeth’s first good chance came in the third minute, but freshman Mariah Deschino’s shot with Greely senior goalkeeper Elyse Dinan out of the cage went just wide.

The Capers earned a corner kick in the seventh minute, but Dinan came out to catch senior Elise Flathers’ serve.

Deschino then looked to set up Clark in the box, but her feed was broken up at the last moment.

With 30:15 left in the first half, senior Lizzy Raftice lined up a free kick from 30-yards out and somehow managed to expertly place the ball right on the foot of Clark, who got a step on a defender. Clark broke in and beat Dinan with a low shot to give Cape Elizabeth a 1-0 lead.

“We didn’t get the first goal against Falmouth and we got rattled a little bit, so I thought the first goal tonight was extremely important,” Clark said. “It got us going. When we do set plays, defenders tend to stay on their line thinking we’ll be offsides. If I get a fast start, it’s basically one-on-one with the goalie. It was a lucky shot. I was thankful it went in. Tonight was our biggest test.”

Clark was further tested when she was twice pelted by free kick blasts from close range.

“I will be having ice packs on all sides of my face,” Clark said, after the game.

Her goal certainly gave the Capers a spark.

“The first goal got us pumped,” said sophomore Kate Breed. “From there, we just wanted it.”

Breed would play a pivotal role in the second goal.

After Greely’s first chance resulted in junior Kristina Volta’s rush being broken up by Capers senior goalkeeper Mary Perkins and after Mitiguy fired a 30-yard shot just high, Cape Elizabeth transitioned to offense, the ball came to Breed on the right side and the playmaker lofted the ball in front where Wood was there to head it home for a 2-0 advantage.

“I saw a bunch of girls crashing into the net,” Breed said. “Addie’s tall, so I aimed for her. She just nailed it in. It was beautiful. I just found the tall player.”

“That was an amazing ball by Kate,” Wood said. “With her speed and tenacity, she had an amazing cross. I made the run and flicked it in. The credit should go to her. It was an amazing kick.”

“That second goal, I couldn’t stop smiling,” Fannan added. “That’s what football is all about. We talk about getting the ball forward. Kate put a wonderful cross. It’s pleasing when it all comes together like that. It’s nice for the girls when they work hard and it comes off.”

The Capers almost made it 3-0 in the 34th minute, but Deschino’s picture perfect pass to Clark behind the defense was waved off to due an offsides call.

Greely then pressured late in the half, but freshman Ellie Schad couldn’t get much on a good look, Mitiguy’s low shot was saved by a sprawling Perkins, Perkins came out to break up Mitiguy’s through ball to Schad and Perkins cleared the ball out of harm’s way with junior Mia Lambert bearing down.

Cape Elizabeth had three corners to none for the Rangers in the first half and held a 4-3 edge in shots.

Not surprisingly, Greely made things very interesting in the second half.

It took a mere 27 seconds for Volta to get a look, but Perkins kicked the ball away, giving the hosts their first corner. Senior Mykaela Twitchell managed to fire a shot, but Perkins made the save.

With 27:10 left in regulation, Mitiguy fired a blast wide.

Seven minutes later, Volta eluded Perkins, but her shot trickled wide.

With 13:30 remaining, Mitiguy was brought down just outside the box and her ensuing free shot was knocked aside by a defender.

The Rangers kept the pressure on and finally, with 12:42 showing, Mitiguy got the ball back to the left of the goal with some operating room, took a touch, then fired past Perkins to the goalie’s left, cutting the deficit to 2-1.

Suddenly Cape Elizabeth found itself holding on for dear life.

With 9:45 left on the clock, Mitiguy bent a shot that appeared ticketed for the far corner, but Perkins made the stop.

With 3:20 to go, Greely earned consecutive corners, but the first was headed away by a defender and the second was snared by Perkins, who roamed well off her line.

“I rely on the defense a lot,” Perkins said. “They’re really strong. I just kind of do my own thing. I don’t like to stay home, but I get nervous when I’m out.”

The Rangers had one last threat, but Perkins beat an attacker to a loose ball in the box.

In the final minute, Capers senior Phoebe Shields twice booted away loose balls and Cape Elizabeth was able to hold on and celebrate its 2-1 triumph.

“I’m impressed with Greely,” Clark said. “They never gave up and played a great game. They kept their aggressiveness and I really admire that.”

“It feels good,” said Perkins. “I’m happy. We didn’t really play our type of game (against Falmouth). We forced it. We came out of it knowing we have to play our type of game. Being named the top team made us nervous.”

“This was huge,” Breed said. “We needed it. Going into the game, I was nervous. I’m excited we won. At halftime, we talked about holding on. It was hard to see them score, but it happens. We just had to defend. Our D is really strong. It’s really nice having Phoebe in the back. Everyone back there is so good. Elise is so good at kicks.”

“We came into the second half knowing they’d come out strong and we were right,” Wood said. “A 2-0 lead is so dangerous. We tried to play defense well and tried not to make any dumb decisions to hang on to the lead. We have to keep relaxing. We were rattled in the Falmouth game. In this game, we settled down.”

“We talked about not letting them back in the game,” Fannan added. “For most of the second half, we looked fairly comfortable, but as the game goes on, they’ll throw bodies forward and they got the next goal to create a nervous 10 minutes at the end. We put some bodies behind the ball and battled for the win. Our seniors were fantastic today. Addie, Lizzy, Phoebe, Mary and Elise, their leadership was outstanding. The captains lead from the front. If the body language from them isn’t right, it affects the team. They bounced back and showed what they’re made of.”

Cape Elizabeth finished with an 11-10 edge in shots and had eight corners to Greely’s four.

Perkins finished with five saves.

“As a goalie, I don’t like letting goals in,” Perkins said. “I have to accept that it will happen.”

The Rangers got six saves from Dinan and never gave up.

“Second half, that’s more our style,” said Muscadin. “The first half, I think it was a lot of not being afraid, but more being worried. Our kids came out saying it was a big game. I said, ‘What’s so special about this one?’ They beat us in the playoffs last year, so for the girls, there was a little residue. It took us 25 minutes to finally wake up. By then, we were down, 2-nil. We weren’t playing our game in the first half. We were playing Cape’s style, as opposed to our style.

“We had determination in the second half. We won 50-50 balls. Jocelyn’s intensity was full on. She’s a little fighter. I wish we fought more like that in the first half. It’s a learning experience. We learned a lot about ourselves, how we treat our opponent and what we need to do to move forward.”

No relief in sight

The Capers-Rangers rematch will be Oct. 12 in Cape Elizabeth, an eternity from now considering both teams continue their brutal schedules next week.

Greely is at dangerous Freeport Tuesday and hosts Falmouth Friday.

“I’m confident we’ll bounce back. you learn when bad things happen,” Muscadin said. “That’s what happens in life. Your season isn’t over if a loss happens. We have to get better so it doesn’t happen again. This is the first bad taste of this season. We have to look ahead.”

Cape Elizabeth goes to Lake Region Tuesday and hosts up-and-coming Yarmouth Friday.

“We need to be confident,” Wood said. “I think we’ll keep improving.”

“Class B is very competitive,” said Clark. “We’re not the underdog anymore. Every team tries to beat us.”

“We want to get Falmouth back,” Breed said. “We just have practice the way we play and work really hard. We want to go far.”

“It’s great competition,” Fannan added. “That’s what we need. We need to be tested and challenged. That will make us better. We’ll keep trying to improve and move forward.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Cape Elizabeth junior Kathryn Clark gets a step on Greely sophomore Maggie Reed before firing a shot for the first goal of the game.

Cape Elizabeth freshman Mariah Deschino heads the ball away from Greely senior Leah Young.

Greely senior Annie Ross stays step for step with Cape Elizabeth sophomore Montana Braxton.

Cape Elizabeth senior Elise Flathers makes a move on Greely senior Mykaela Twitchell.

Cape Elizabeth sophomore Tori Diaz and Greely sophomore Jocelyn Mitiguy fight for possession.

Greely junior Kristina Volta protects the ball from Cape Elizabeth sophomore Siera Aceto.

Greely sophomore Maggie Reed looks to clear the ball.

Greely senior goalkeeper Elyse Dinan corrals a loose ball.

Recent Cape Elizabeth-Greely meetings


Cape Elizabeth 1 @ Greely 0
@ Cape Elizabeth 0 Greely 0 (tie)

Western A quarterfinals
@ Cape Elizabeth 3 Greely 0


@ Cape Elizabeth 2 Greely 0
Cape Elizabeth 1 @ Greely 0


@ Cape Elizabeth 2 Greely 1
@ Greely 4 Cape Elizabeth 0


@ Greely 3 Cape Elizabeth 2
Greely 2 @ Cape Elizabeth 0


Greely 1 @ Cape Elizabeth 0
@ Greely 2 Cape Elizabeth 1
Western Class A quarterfinals
@ Greely 2 Cape Elizabeth 1


@ Greely 2 Cape Elizabeth 2 (tie)
Greely 2 @ Cape Elizabeth 0


Greely 1 @ Cape Elizabeth 0 (OT)
@ Greely 0 Cape Elizabeth 0 (tie)


@ Greely 1 Cape Elizabeth 0
@ Cape Elizabeth 1 Greely 0


Cape Elizabeth 3 @ Greely 2
Greely 1 @ Cape Elizabeth
Western Class A semifinals
@ Greely 2 Cape Elizabeth 0


@ Greely 3 Cape Elizabeth 1
Greely 1 @ Cape Elizabeth 0
Western Class A quarterfinals
@ Greely 1 Cape Elizabeth 0


Greely 5 @ Cape Elizabeth 1
@ Greely 2 Cape Elizabeth 2 (tie)
Western Class A semifinals
@ Greely 1 Cape Elizabeth 0


@ Greely 3 Cape Elizabeth 0
Greely 3 @ Cape Elizabeth 1

Sidebar Elements

Cape Elizabeth (from left) junior Kathryn Clark, senior Lizzy Raftice, senior Addie Wood and sophomore Montana Braxton celebrate after Wood’s goal gives the Capers a 2-0 lead in the first half Saturday at Greely. Cape Elizabeth held on for a 2-1 victory.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.