CAPE ELIZABETH — It looked too easy for Cape Elizabeth, in a pairing of two of the area’s best volleyball teams.

The Capers won the first two sets, 25-14, 25-21.

“They just handled us,” Falmouth Coach Larry Nichols said. “Now, the third set, what can you say?”

You could say: Wow.

Cape Elizabeth won the third set, too, but it was a thriller in the Capers’ gym. Cape missed out on two match points, but also held off six set points by Falmouth.

Finally, an out-of-bounds spike gave Cape a 33-31 win, and a 3-0 victory Tuesday night.

“That was long, and exciting,” said Cape senior Jesse Robicheaw, who had several clutch spikes at the end.

The Capers improved to 6-0 and have yet to lose a set this season. Cape also holds a 23-match winning streak, coming off its 17-0 season last year which included a straight-set victory over Falmouth in the Class B state title game.

Falmouth (4-1) is now in Class A and its loss leaves Gorham as the only unbeaten team in Class A (Falmouth and Gorham do not meet during the season).

Cape returned several of its top players from last year’s title team. The 18-player roster features 12 seniors. They can boast of both quantity and quality, which showed early on Tuesday.

“We’re not the biggest team. We’re not the heaviest hitting team,” Capers Coach Sarah Boeckel said. “We just come out every day in practice and work on making each other better.

“We don’t give up easy points in practice. We’re super disciplined. If they’re going to win the point, they’re going to have to win it.”

Nichols would agree.

“They’re solid,” he said. “They’re so good. I don’t know where their weakness is. (But) they point out your weaknesses and magnify them.”

Tied 10-10 in the first set, Cape won 14 of the next 16 points. The Capers were aggressive, and Falmouth backed down.

“It was uncharacteristic from what we’ve been doing so far,” Nichols said.

“We didn’t do anything super-wrong after the first set. But they took advantage of everything … I’m looking at (several) blocks between two of our players and it still wasn’t enough. Usually that shuts down opponents, but they got the ball back.”

Indeed, Falmouth’s strong net game with Rose Riversmith and Katie Phillips blocking, and Anika Hester (12 kills) delivering canon spikes, was contained by Cape.

Megan Connelly played strong everywhere for the Capers. She had some winning hits, as did Robicheaw, Bridget Heggie and Jaya McClure.

The defense was everywhere, digging shots. Starters Brooke Harvey, Corina Page and Tess Dolan, along with Julia Torre, Kalie Manning and Aerin Manning, kept balls in play.

“That’s huge,” Robicheaw said. “Annika is a big hitter. That was one of our concerns coming in, and having that defense was absolutely clutch.”

Robicheaw came up with big plays. With Falmouth up 30-29 in the third set, she placed a perfect dink shot for a winner. Down 31-30, Robicheaw scored on a spike.

Connelly made it 32-31 with a perfectly angled spike across the front of the net. Then the Capers celebrated when a Falmouth spike went out.

“We just tried to stay calm and work together,” Connelly said. “We knew they would get their big hits. We just had to adjust and play our game … We stayed in every point and that’s what won us the match.”

This Thursday, Cape plays host to Greely, while Falmouth is home against Yarmouth. The Yachtsmen and Capers meet again Oct. 4, in Falmouth.

UPDATED: This story was updated at 2 p.m. on Sept. 19 to correct the name of Falmouth’s Rose Riversmith.


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