FALMOUTH—Two weeks ago, the Cape Elizabeth girls’ soccer team learned it was mortal, courtesy the Falmouth Yachtsmen.

Wednesday evening, the Capers returned the favor.

Meeting this time on Falmouth’s turf, Cape Elizabeth jumped to a 1-0 lead in the fifth minute when junior Kathryn Clark pounced on a rebound and finished.

The Capers added a second goal when sophomore Montana Braxton buried a gorgeous 30-yard blast with just over 30 minutes to play, but the undefeated, three-time defending Class B champion Yachtsmen weren’t about to go quietly.

With 27:44 left, off a corner kick, senior Laura Bauer knocked home a rebound and it was very much a game.

Cape Elizabeth wasn’t about to miss its opportunity for revenge, however, as its defense held firm and held on for a 2-1 victory.

The Capers improved to 7-1-1, dropping Falmouth to 7-1 in the process.

“This was such a great win for us,” said Clark. “Going into it, we were kind of nervous, but they had beaten us once, so we thought, ‘What else can happen’? We did the little things well. We won the 50-50s in the air and on the ground and got the scrappy balls. It was a much better performance than the first game.”

Sweet revenge

Cape Elizabeth entered the season wanting what Falmouth has, a Gold Ball, and the Capers were widely viewed as a powerhouse. They haven’t disappointed.

Cape Elizabeth opened by blanking host Freeport, 5-0, then beat visiting York, 1-0, and Poland, 6-1. Falmouth then came to town and registered a surprisingly decisive 2-0 win. The Capers bounced back with a 2-1 win at Greely, then downed host Lake Region (4-0). After rallying for a 1-1 home tie against Yarmouth, Cape Elizabeth handled visiting Kennebunk Monday, 5-0.

Falmouth, the defending Class B champion, now in Class A for the postseason, wasn’t highly touted coming in, but continues to just win. The Yachtsmen opened with a 4-0 victory over Gray-New Gloucester, triumphed at Kennebunk, 3-0, knocked off Cape Elizabeth, 2-0,, beat visiting York (4-1), then won at Poland (3-0) and Greely (2-1) and beat host Yarmouth, 3-1.

Entering the game (please see sidebar, below), Falmouth had won 11 times, Cape Elizabeth four and eight other games ended in ties. Last year, the squads split, with the Yachtsmen winning in Cape Elizabeth, 2-1, and the Capers prevailing in Falmouth, 3-1.

Wednesday, the recent trend of the road team triumphing continued.

In the second minute, Yachtsmen senior goalkeeper Maggie Seitz broke up a rush by Cape Elizabeth sophomore Kate Breed.

In the fifth minute, a long shot from Falmouth senior Mary Catherine Kowalsky was saved by Capers senior goalkeeper Mary Perkins.

Cape Elizabeth transitioned to offense and with 35:11 left in the first half, got a break and took the lead.

The goal was set up by a long shot from senior captain Addie Wood. The ball knuckled and Seitz tried to field it cleanly, but she couldn’t, the ball bounced out to Clark trailing the play and Clark, who is close to impossible to stop under normal conditions, wasn’t about to fail to capitalize on this gift and fired the ball past Seitz for a 1-0 advantage.

“I give all the credit to Addie Wood,” Clark said. “I was lucky enough to be there to finish it. If Addie’s shot wasn’t so hard, it wouldn’t have been rebounded. It was such a gift. The major point for us is getting the first goal. We get so motivated once we get that.”

“We always say we want to be on the goal the first five minutes, but we haven’t really been able to do that,” said senior defensive standout and captain Phoebe Shields. “I’m really proud of our offense that they were able to do that today.”

Falmouth was staggered.

“The goal wasn’t ideal,” said first-year Yachtsmen coach Andrew Pelletier., about just the second deficit his team had faced this autumn “We talked about making them work for their goals. We kind of gave that one to them and it set the tone for the rest of the game. You could tell the girls were a little discouraged when it happened.”

The Capers had chances to make it 2-0 before halftime, but couldn’t do so.

In the 18th minute, senior captain Lizzy Raftice sent a header off a corner just high. A minute later, a long shot from Wood was saved by Seitz. Seitz later saved shots from Braxton and Breed.

Late in the half, Falmouth began to carry play and earned a couple corner kicks. The best chance for the hosts came off the second corner when senior Megan Miller’s serve slipped through the box untouched.

Cape Elizabeth had a 6-3 edge in shots in the first 40 minutes, but knew it had a long way to go.

“We needed to stay strong because we knew (Falmouth would) come out firing,” Braxton said. “They’re a tough team. We knew we had to keep at them.”

Braxton then made sure the Capers extended their lead.

With 30:18 remaining in regulation, Raftice slid a nice feed to Braxton, who unleashed a 30-yard blast that sailed over Seitz’s head and under the crossbar to make it 2-0.

“Lizzy fed me a nice pass,” Braxton said. “She drew the defender and fed it back. I knew I had to keep my head down and I was lucky. I wasn’t sure at first. I didn’t quite know, then I saw it go in.”

“That was a beautiful goal,” said Clark.

Coaches say all the time that a 2-0 lead is the worst lead in soccer and sure enough, the hosts quickly answered to make things very interesting.

On a corner kick, the ball bounced to sophomore Hannah Donovan, who headed it toward the goal, where Bauer was waiting to direct it past Perkins to cut the deficit to 2-1.

Suddenly, Falmouth had the momentum and it kept the pressure on as it sought the equalizer.

With 21:30 left, the Yachtsmen had a corner kick, but a Cape Elizabeth defender headed the ball away.

Two minutes later, Falmouth senior Taylor Russell and Perkins arrived at a ball in the box at the same instant and it deflected wide before it was cleared from harm’s way.

With 16:30 to play, senior Julia Spugnardi attempted a shot off a corner kick, but it was blocked.

“Those corners are tough,” Shields said. “That second ball is just as important. We learned from our mistakes.”

Seven minutes later, a serve from sophomore Tyler Spence momentarily got loose before it was cleared.

That would prove to be the Yachtsmen’s last chance.

In the final moments, the Capers managed to keep the ball in the Falmouth end and ran out the clock on their 2-1 victory.

“That first loss was disappointing, but we came back stronger,” Shields said.

“I feel like we needed to calm ourselves down after they scored,” Braxton said. “We needed to keep at it and not get flustered. We were pretty down after they beat us, so we wanted to come out firing here and play well. We’d worked pretty hard in practice. We needed to get 50-50 balls in the entire game. We focused on that because they’re good in the air. I thought that was a highlight. We executed nicely I thought. We needed to win this game and we got revenge.”

“It was nervewracking,” Clark said. “Falmouth’s such a great team. We had to (protect a lead) in the Greely game. We’re used to it. We used to be a team that only defended. My freshman and sophomore years, that’s what we did. I think we can alter from the offensive side to the defensive side.”

Cape Elizabeth’s first-year coach Craig Fannan had plenty of praise to go around.

“This is what it’s all about when you talk about high school soccer,” Fannan said. “Games like this the girls will remember. It was nervewracking, but it was good. We tried to talk to the girls about it not being about revenge, not being about Falmouth, not being about the seniors’ last game here. We wanted to go out, relax and play the game we knew we could.

“I thought we didn’t win enough 50-50s and didn’t win enough tackles in the first game and that put us under pressure, but I don’t think Lizzy lost a header today. Phoebe and (senior captain) Elise (Flathers) won every ball. We stopped (Falmouth) from playing the way they wanted to play. I think we got Addie and Montana on the ball more than the first game, which was important. Montana had a fantastic goal. Addie hit the first shot that Kathryn got on. They were big players for us today.

“Falmouth pushed us hard. We’ve been in this position before. (Former coach) Luke (Krawczyk) trained them to protect a one-goal lead. What I liked about today was that as the clock was winding down, the game was played on the (Falmouth) end of the field, not on the edge of our box. That frustrated them. They really didn’t get much in the final minutes. We did enough to keep it out of our end. I’m proud of what we did today.”

The Capers finished with a 14-7 shots advantage. Perkins made six saves.

Falmouth had five corner kicks to two for Cape Elizabeth. Seitz saved a dozen shots.

“We lost 2-1 and worked our tails off for 80 minutes,” Pelletier said. “I think our decision making in the final third was a little off and that may have been the biggest issue. If we played 10 times, we’d split five apiece. (Cape’s) probably the best team on our schedule. The girls worked hard. In the second half, I couldn’t have asked for more. With seven new starters, going into the playoffs 14-0 would have been scary.”

Next up

Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth won’t see each other again, but both squads have their share of huge tests in the next couple weeks.

Falmouth (which is still first in the Western Class A Heal Points standings) hopes to get back on track Saturday, when it hosts Greely. After welcoming Yarmouth Tuesday, the Yachtsmen go to York, then play Kennebunk and Freeport at home before closing at Waynflete.

Falmouth won’t be down for long.

“Our leadership is unbelievable,” said Pelletier. “Our seniors will get us focused. We have a tough Greely team coming in Saturday. They’ll give us everything Cape did. We’ll bounce back.”

Cape Elizabeth (now first in Western B) goes to Yarmouth Saturday, visits Kennebunk Tuesday, then plays host to Greely and Fryeburg before closing at York.

The Capers control their destiny and could be the top seed in their first season back in Class B.

We still have more things to execute and work on to get to where we want to be,” Braxton said.

“We want to play teams as good as Falmouth,” said Shields. “It’s a great experience. It’s a confidence boost. There’s definitely room for improvement. As the season goes on, we get better, but obviously, so do other teams.”

It’s just one tough game after another,” Clark said. “I like a breather every once in awhile, but it’s exciting. We’re really looking forward to playoffs. It will be a different environment in Class B, but I think we can go a long way.”

“We’re taking it game by game,” Fannan added. “We’re looking at Yarmouth now. They pushed us hard at our place and deserved to get a tie. We’ll try to play football the way we can and control the game. We want to put that one right. The mentality we try to put in these girls is that we should win every game and be disappointed when we don’t. The tie felt like a win to Yarmouth and a loss to us. We’re only going to get better. You’re going to see us take more control of games and hopefully put a few more goals on the scoreboard.”

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

Cape Elizabeth sophomore Montana Braxton plays the ball up the field as Falmouth senior Taylor Russell gives chase.

Cape Elizabeth senior captain Lizzy Raftice heads the ball away from Falmouth junior Emma Van Wickler. The Capers excelled in the air all evening.

Cape Elizabeth sophomore Kate Breed protects the ball from Falmouth sophomore Emma England (7) and freshman Lucy Mahoney.

Cape Elizabeth senior captain Phoebe Shields matches dangerous Falmouth sophomore Tyler Spence step for step.

Falmouth senior Megan Miller shields the ball from Cape Elizabeth sophomore Sarah O’Connor.

Cape Elizabeth freshman Mariah Deschino fights Falmouth sophomore Emma England for possession.

Falmouth senior goalkeeper Maggie Seitz grabs a loose ball.

Recent Cape Elizabeth-Falmouth meetings

Falmouth 2 @ Cape Elizabeth 1
Cape Elizabeth 3 @ Falmouth 1

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

Falmouth 2 @ Cape Elizabeth 0
Cape Elizabeth 1 @ Falmouth 0 (2 OT)

@ Cape Elizabeth 2 Falmouth 2 (tie)
@ Falmouth 5 Cape Elizabeth 1

@ Falmouth 1 Cape Elizabeth 0
Falmouth 2 @ Cape Elizabeth 1

Falmouth 1 @ Cape Elizabeth 0
@ Falmouth 5 Cape Elizabeth 1

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

@ Falmouth 4 Cape Elizabeth 0
@ Cape Elizabeth 1 Falmouth 1 (tie)

@ Falmouth 2 Cape Elizabeth 2 (tie)
Falmouth 4 @ Cape Elizabeth 0

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

Cape Elizabeth 3 @ Falmouth 0
@ Cape Elizabeth 2 Falmouth 0

@ Falmouth 1 Cape Elizabeth 0

Sidebar Elements

Call them the Killer K’s: Cape Elizabeth junior Kathryn Clark (7) is congratulated by sophomore teammates Kate Breed (8) and Katherine Briggs after her goal early in Wednesday’s contest at Falmouth. The Capers tacked on a second half goal and avenged their lone loss with a 2-1 victory at the previously undefeated Yachtsmen.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.

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