Yarmouth’s girls’ lacrosse team celebrates at the conclusion of its surprisingly decisive 17-4 victory over Cape Elizabeth in Saturday’s Class B state quarterfinals. Hoffer photos.

BOX SCORE

Yarmouth 17 Cape Elizabeth 4

CE- 2 2- 4
Y- 13 4- 17

First half
22:37 Y D’Appolonia (Teare)
22:08 Y Teare (Lowenstein)
19:19 Y Powers (unassisted)
17:06 CE McDonald (free position)
15:58 Y D’Appolonia (Lowenstein)
15:30 Y D’Appolonia (unassisted)
13:13 CE Ryer (free position)
12:22 Y Powers (unassisted)
11:21 Y Powers (D’Appolonia)
10:38 Y Bergeron (Moll)
8:38 Y Powers (unassisted)
7:53 Y Thornton (Teare)
5:34 Y Lowenstein (free position)
1:48 Y Powers (Moll)
32.3 Y Thornton (free position)

Second half
21:59 Y Teare (unassisted)
18:31 CE Graham (unassisted)
16:47 Y Thornton (Bergeron)
15:10 Y Bergeron (unassisted)
8:44 Y D’Appolonia (Bergeron)
4:58 CE Johnson (unassisted)

Goals:
CE- Graham, Johnson, McDonald, Ryer 1
Y- Powers 5, D’Appolonia 4, Thornton 3, Bergeron, Teare 2, Lowenstein 1

Assists:
Y- Bergeron, Lowenstein, Moll, Teare 2, D’Appolonia 1

Draws (Yarmouth, 13-9)
CE- McDonald 7 of 18, Ryer 2 of 4
Y- D’Appolonia 9 of 13, Thornton 4 of 6, Lowenstein 0 of 2, Teare 0 of 1

Ground balls:
CE- 16
Y- 28

Turnovers:
CE- 10
Y- 6

Shots:
CE- 14
Y- 28

Shots on cage:
CE- 10
Y- 24

Saves:
CE (Branch) 5 (Wood) 2
Y (Meas) 6

YARMOUTH—How do you finally vanquish your nemesis?

By playing a nearly perfect game.

Saturday evening, Yarmouth’s girls’ lacrosse team, the top seed in Class B, faced anything but an easy quarterfinal round test when the two-time reigning champion Cape Elizabeth Capers paid a visit.

The same Capers who stunned the Clippers in overtime in the 2018 and 2019 state finals.

Cape Elizabeth, seeded ninth, hoped to ruin yet another Yarmouth season, but it didn’t take long for the Clippers to let everyone know that nothing is going to stand in their way this spring.

Just over two minutes in, junior Katelyn D’Appolonia scored to give Yarmouth the lead for good.

Senior Natalie Teare and freshman sensation Aine Powers added goals for a quick 3-0 advantage.

The Capers got on the board on a free position goal from junior Claire McDonald, but D’Appolonia scored twice more.

Senior Laura Ryer scored on a free position for Cape Elizabeth, but Yarmouth scored eight unanswered goals to end the half.

Powers struck twice in a minute-span, sophomore Annie Bergeron added a goal, Powers scored again, seniors Anna Thornton and Annie Lowenstein found the net, then Powers scored for the fifth time and Thornton capped a sensational half with a free position goal and the Clippers were in command, leading, 13-2, at the break.

Yarmouth started the second half with a goal from Teare and after senior Charlotte Graham answered for the Capers, Thornton, Bergeron and D’Appolonia capped the Clippers’ explosive performance and while senior Hannah Johnson scored one final goal for the visitors, Yarmouth closed out its 17-4 victory.

The Clippers got goals from six different players, led by Powers, who had five, and D’Appolonia, who finished with four, as they improved to 12-1, ended Cape Elizabeth’s two-year title reign and its season at 4-10 and in the process, advanced to host No. 4 York (11-3) in the Class B state semifinals Wednesday at a time to be announced.

“I knew it would be a battle,” said longtime Yarmouth coach Dorothy Holt. “(Cape’s) coached well, they have good players. On paper, we could be evenly matched. I’m proud of the girls today. We were nervous and those of us who know what happened in state games past, we had to get that monkey off our backs and now, it’s off.”

Clearing the hurdle

The Clippers handled Cape Elizabeth twice during the regular season en route to a fabulous 11-1 record.

Yarmouth began by sandwiching wins at Cape Elizabeth (9-3) and Waynflete (8-5) around a 10-8 setback at Kennebunk. After downing visiting Greely (13-6), the Clippers won at Massabesic (13-8) and defeated visiting Brunswick, 16-1, then held on for a thrilling 12-10 home victory over two-time reigning Class A champion Falmouth before edging host Greely, 11-9, downing visiting North Yarmouth Academy, 14-5, then defeating visiting Cape Elizabeth on Senior Night, 13-5, rolling at Class C top seed Freeport (17-6) and closing with a 17-6 home victory over York to earn a bye into the quarterfinal round.

Cape Elizabeth started with a 13-12 setback at York, then fell at home to Kennebunk (13-2), Windham (13-3) and Yarmouth (9-3). After getting in the win column, 15-10, at Berwick Academy, the Capers lost at two-time reigning Class A champion Falmouth, 10-5, before breaking through with a 9-8 victory at Freeport. Consecutive 5-4 home losses to Lake Region and Massabesic (in overtime) followed. Cape Elizabeth lost at Yarmouth, 13-5, and dropped a 12-6 decision at Greely, then closed with a 10-4 home victory over Waynflete.

The Capers began the playoffs Tuesday with a 13-8 win at No. 8 Cony in the Class B state preliminary round.

In the teams’ first meeting this season, Lowenstein scored three times. In the second contest, Lowenstein, Bergeron and Powers all had three goals.

The teams had split four prior playoff meetings, with Yarmouth taking the 1998 state semifinals, 8-7, and the 2014 Class B state game (13-10) and Cape Elizabeth winning by 12-11 margins in the 2018 Class B state final (in overtime) and the 2019 state game (in triple-overtime).

Saturday, on a beautiful 70-degree evening, the Clippers came out absolutely sizzling and they didn’t let up.

After D’Appolonia won the opening draw, Yarmouth controlled possession until Teare fed D’Appolonia for a 1-0 lead just 2-minutes, 23-seconds in, an advantage the Clippers would never relinquish.

With 22:08 left in the first half, Teare got in the scoring column, taking a pass from Lowenstein and beating Cape Elizabeth senior goalie Cammie Wood.

“We had good energy going in and once we got that first connection, we got rolling as a team,” Teare said.

“You could see the nerves, but once we put the ball in the back of the net the first time, we were fine,” Holt said. “Natalie is the captain of the attack. She creates space for other people and knows where to go on the field. Natalie is a magician at that. She’s a playmaker. She doesn’t care if the attention’s on her. She’s silent, but she’s amazing.”

The Capers tried to answer, but Yarmouth junior goalie Juliet Meas denied a bid from McDonald and at the other end, Powers’ first goal, with 19:19 to go before halftime, put the Clippers ahead, 3-0.

Cape Elizabeth senior Laura Ryer races up the field as Yarmouth sophomore Annie Bergeron gives chase.

After McDonald missed twice, she earned a free position and beat Meas with 17:06 on the clock to give Cape Elizabeth some life.

But it was short-lived, as after Wood robbed Thornton, Lowenstein set up D’Appolonia for a 4-1 lead with 15:58 remaining in the first half.

Just 28 seconds later, after winning the draw, D’Appolonia scored unassisted.

Ryer tried to get Cape Elizabeth back in the game with a free position goal with 13:13 on the clock, but the rest of the half belonged to Yarmouth.

After Meas kept the lead at three by denying McDonald, Powers made a long run and beat Wood with 12:22 remaining.

A minute later, D’Appolonia set up Powers to make it 7-2.

With 10:38 to go, senior Emma Moll fed Bergeron, who finished.

After McDonald hit the post for the Capers, Powers scored unassisted with 8:38 left and 45 seconds later, Teare fed Thornton to make  it 10-2.

With 5:34 remaining, Lowenstein, the Clippers’ leading scorer, finished on a free position.

Powers induced a 10-goal, mercy rule running clock when she took a pass from Powers and finished with 1:48 left and with 32.3 seconds to go, Thornton’s free position made it 13-2 Yarmouth at the break.

The Clippers won 10 of 15 first half draws, had an 18-8 shots advantage and only turned the ball over three times.

Almost perfect.

Yarmouth senior Lizzie Guertler takes off with the ball as Cape Elizabeth senior Hannah Leiss gives chase.

Yarmouth never gave Cape Elizabeth a hint of life in the second half.

D’Appolonia started the half by hitting the crossbar and Teare missed wide, but with 21:59 remaining, Teare scored unassisted, beating junior Elise Branch, who had taken over in goal for the second half.

“Everyone on the team can score or make the assist,” Teare said. “It’s fun to score in a playoff game.”

Graham answered with an unassisted goal with 18:31 remaining, but with 16:57 on the clock, Bergeron fed Thornton for a 15-3 lead.

Bergeron added an unassisted goal with 15:10 left and with 8:44 to go, Bergeron fed D’Appolonia for the Clippers’ final tally.

With 4:50 to play, Johnson scored an unassisted goal for the Capers, but Yarmouth was able to run out the clock and celebrate a 17-4 victory.

“This means a lot,” Teare said. “Cape’s always great competition. We’re very excited to win this game. We were definitely nervous. We didn’t want to be overconfident. We knew it could be our last game. That realism really helped us.”

“The girls talk about Cape all the time and it felt great to come out and play Yarmouth lacrosse,” Powers said. “We had nerves, but I think they were good nerves. We know how we can play. We had great team chemistry and connected really well. Communication was on point and the energy was so high.”

“You never know what you’ll get in a Cape game,” Holt added. “They’re always good and they were good, but we had ball luck on our side today. We came up with loose balls. The big thing today was communication. What wins games is ground balls and communicating. I told the girls to go out and have fun. We’re so lucky to be playing. We had to come out strong and we knew it. To come out like that, mentally, it’s a huge win.”

Powers had another stellar performance, leading all scorers with five goals.

“Aine is so amazing,” Teare said. “She can always finish when she gets the ball.”

“Aine has an amazing supporting cast to keep her calm,” Holt said.

D’Appolonia scored four times, Thornton had three goals, Bergeron and Teare two apiece and Lowenstein one.

Nine of the Clippers’ goals were assisted. Bergeron, Lowenstein, Moll and Teare all had two, while D’Appolonia finished with one.

Meas made six saves.

“Juliet, I can’t say enough about her,” Holt said. “She’s unflappable and her clears were amazing. Our defense did things we’ve been working on.”

Yarmouth had a 13-9 edge in draws, a 28-16 ground ball advantage (Powers had a game-high six), a 28-14 edge in shots (24-10 on cage) and only turned the ball over six times, a minuscule amount for a playoff game against a talented foe.

On to 2022

Cape Elizabeth got one goal apiece from Graham, Johnson, McDonald and Ryer.

Branch made five saves and Wood stopped two shots.

The Capers turned the ball over 10 times.

“Yarmouth’s on fire this year,” said Cape Elizabeth coach Alex Spark. “Their stick skills on attack are beautiful to watch. They’re a great team and they’ve earned moving on. We got looks and chances when we won the draw, but they won more draws than we did. They had more time of possession and they executed beautifully. We thought we could compete. The score may not reflect it, but the energy level we kept on the field all 50 minutes despite the score and how hard we fought speaks volumes about the type of program we are and how we don’t give up. I’m so proud of the kids for the fight they gave.

“We’re not the same team we were over spring break. It’s about the growth of the program and our program has come so far from the last day in March to now. It’s a special group of seniors. I have 13 of them. I’m lucky to have them leading this group of underclassmen. We told the underclassmen to pay attention and watch. Our junior class has 13 girls also. They’re step up and fill the seniors’ shoes. I hope the program will continue on the same path.”

One more step

Yarmouth handled York in the regular season finale, 17-6, behind five goals apiece from Lowenstein and Teare.

The teams have no playoff history.

The Clippers have to like their chances to reach the state final for the eighth straight season.

“It would mean everything to win this year,” Powers said. “We have so many seniors on our team. They didn’t get a season last year. They’re so excited to be back. We want to keep climbing the ladder.”

“There’s always stuff to improve on,” Teare said. “We can make every pass tighter, every play better. We have some new stuff we’ll bring in. We’re excited to keep improving and tie a bow on it. A championship would mean everything, not only for the girls on this team, but the girls on past teams.”

“This group knows what it takes,” Holt added. “It takes 25 of us to get there. We’ll bring the intensity in practice. Practice makes perfect.”

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

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