FREEPORT—After having its season cut short a year ago, it’s almost as if the Cape Elizabeth field hockey team is trying to make up for lost time this fall by playing more than 60 minutes when it takes the field.

After double-overtime victories earlier this week over Fryeburg Academy and Lake Region, the Capers traveled to the Joan Benoit Samuelson Track and Field to meet vastly improved Freeport Saturday afternoon and once again, Cape Elizabeth couldn’t get the job done in regulation.

But get the job done the Capers ultimately did, completing a dramatic comeback.

Cape Elizabeth dominated the first quarter and got the jump when junior standout Grace Gray scored unassisted, but the Falcons settled down and drew even midway through the second period, when senior Lily Welsher scored on a rebound off a penalty corner.

The game remained 1-1 into the fourth quarter, where Freeport went on top with 11:32 left in regulation on a goal from senior Ava Gervais.

But the Falcons couldn’t hold on, as the Capers, who were held without a shot for the first 28 minutes of the second half, finally rediscovered their offense and forced overtime when junior Abbie Homicz scored with just 1:24 to play.

The teams would go to overtime and while Cape Elizabeth couldn’t win it in the first eight-minute, “sudden victory” session, it did so in the second, with just 1:12 remaining, as Gray had a shot saved, but junior Kaitlyn McIntyre was there to bury the rebound and the Capers had a dramatic 3-2 victory.

Cape Elizabeth continued its best-this-century-start, improved to 8-0-1 and in the process, dropped Freeport to 3-6.

“I think it’s a good testament to how much passion the girls have,” said Capers coach Maura Bisogni. “I wish we could finish in regulation, but it’s good to know we can do it in overtime. We do have the flair for the dramatic.”

Good times continue

Cape Elizabeth surged out of the gate with home victories over Wells (11-0) and Freeport (5-0) before edging visiting Lake Region (2-1) and tying host Yarmouth (1-1). The Capers then blanked visiting Gray-New Gloucester (8-0) and Greely (4-0) before surviving scares from visiting Fryeburg Academy (5-4, in double-overtime, on a McIntyre goal) and host Lake Region (1-0, in two OTs, on Gray’s game-winner).

Freeport started slowly with losses to visiting York (4-0), host Yarmouth (2-1) and host Cape Elizabeth (5-0) before getting in the win column with a 4-2 home victory over Greely. The Falcons then lost at Fryeburg Academy (4-1), before downing host Poland (2-1, in double-overtime) and visiting Lake Region (2-0). Wednesday, Freeport lost at York, 4-1.

The Falcons won both meetings a year ago, 5-0 at home and 6-0 in Cape Elizabeth.

In the teams’ first encounter this fall, on Sept. 11, the Capers got two goals apiece from Gray and senior Camden Woods as they snapped a 12-game skid in the series and beat Freeport for the first time since Sept. 19, 2013.

Saturday, Freeport hoped to bounce back, but couldn’t hold a late lead and instead, Cape Elizabeth pulled another victory out of thin air.

Freeport freshman Sydney Gelhar knocks the ball past Cape Elizabeth junior Abbie Homicz early in Saturday’s contest. Hoffer photos.

The Capers came out sizzling on offense, but Falcons senior goalie Vicki Balla saved a shot off a penalty corner from Woods, then Balla dazzled in a sequence which saw her save a shot by senior Leah Lindenau and a pair of rebounds by Gray before Gray sent another attempt wide.

Finally, with 6:44 to go in the first period, Gray won a loose ball in the circle and beat Balla with a high shot for a 1-0 lead.

Late in quarter, Balla kept her team close by denying Gray, then robbing McIntyre.

Freeport then came to life in the second quarter, as after Gervais was denied by Cape Elizabeth sophomore goalie Zoe Burgard and senior Kyla Havey had a shot off a corner saved as well, the Falcons tied it up with 6:30 on the first half clock, as off a corner, junior Chloe White had a shot saved by Burgard, but Welsher was there to poke home the rebound.

The Capers nearly went back on top, but Balla robbed Gray and sophomore Mia Frost sent the rebound just wide.

After Balla broke up a Gray rush, she saved another Gray shot and late in the half, off a Capers’ penalty corner, Gray unleashed a promising shot, but Freeport junior Liv Christensen blocked it and the game went to halftime tied, 1-1.

Cape Elizabeth had an 11-4 edge in first half shots, but didn’t hold the lead.

Neither team could generate much in the way of chances in the third quarter, but Havey did weave through the defense for a shot which Burgard saved, while Gray had a shot off a corner blocked.

The action picked up again in the final stanza.

Except it wasn’t the final stanza when all was said and done.

With 11:32 to go, Havey broke free on a breakaway and while she was robbed by Burgard, Gervais was there to sent the rebound into the cage and the Falcons had the lead for the first time, 2-1.

Gervais and Havey then bid to extend the lead, but Gervais’ shot was saved by Burgard and Havey missed just wide.

The Capers then turned their attention to tying it up.

First, they were frustrated, as Balla saved a shot from McIntyre and Lindenau had a backhanded shot saved as well.

Then, with just 1:24 to go, Homicz got to a loose ball in the circle and managed to beat Balla to make it 2-2.

The contest would then go to overtime, where Cape Elizabeth carried most of the play before finally winning it.

In the first OT, Gray, junior Meghan Conley and sophomore Sophia Chung all had shots saved by Balla, while Gray had another shot deflected wide.

Early in the second extra session, Balla denied McIntyre, then off a Capers penalty corner, Freeport sophomore Lilia Collard broke up a chance from Woods.

With 2:25 on the clock, McIntyre had a chance to win it, taking a pass from Conley, but she was robbed by Balla.

After a Cape Elizabeth corner resulted in a shot from Gray that was blocked, Gray got the ball back, eluded a defender and sent a backhanded shot on cage. Balla saved the bid, but in the ensuing scrum, McIntyre got to the ball and with 1:12 left, she ended the game in one fell swoop, scoring on the rebound.

“I knew when Grace had the ball, she’d either (score) or I could get (the rebound),” said McIntyre. “(Grace) came straight through and went for the reverse (shot). It went off someone else’s stick and I just pushed it right in. It felt good.”

“Kaitlyn was in the right place,” Bisogni said. “Camden and Grace as well make things happen and get the ball in the right place and Kaitlyn on that post has been huge for us this season.”

Cape Elizabeth congratulates sophomore goalie Zoe Burgard after the victory.

Cape Elizabeth then celebrated its 3-2 victory.

“This is a habit now,” said McIntyre. “It’s our third one this week. When the stress is high, we just put out our most energy. I knew we could pull it out because we’ve done that a lot lately. As a team, we’re really close and we’ve played together a lot. It’s nice to be so close as friends and put that out on the field.”

“It would be nice to get on the board earlier, so we don’t need these last-second theatrics,” Bisogni said. “We’re a really fast team, so in overtime, I just put our fastest six (girls) out. Knowing we’d done it twice this week was easy for visualization and it gave us confidence not to be frantic.

“We have a big sophomore class and while only two are really starting, their level of play has just elevated us. Four of our five seniors started playing in high school. The junior class has great athletes. I knew we’d be better this year, but it’s been a really exciting season so far.”

Cape Elizabeth finished with a 22-8 shots advantage, got six saves from Burgard and took eight penalty corners to Freeport’s two.

The Falcons got 19 saves from Balla and did everything but earn some Heal Points.

“Going from a 5-0 game the first time we played them to taking them to double-overtime, we’ll be able to process that tomorrow, but right now all I can see is we had to hold them for a minute-and-a-half and we couldn’t,” lamented Freeport coach Marcia Wood. “Even a tie would have been huge. The last minute-and-a-half of the game, you have to be on your toes. You don’t have time to recover. I wish we’d closed it out. We’re starting to see teams again that we’ve seen before and our goal’s to do better the second time. We did that today. We’re showing improvement. Kyla has stepped up big. Chloe has really stepped up and Liv Christensen has stepped up in the midfield. We’re just having a hard time finishing.”

Playoffs come early

Next week will have a postseason feel for both teams.

Freeport looks to get back in the win column when it goes to Greely Tuesday. Thursday, the Falcons host Yarmouth.

“We want to stay competitive,” said Wood. “We want to beat Greely again and we had a close game with Yarmouth last time. We’d like to pull out a win there.”

Cape Elizabeth will get its biggest test to date when it hosts York Wednesday.

“I’m looking forward to that game,” said McIntyre. “We just need to keep our energy level high and stay positive and keep encouraging each other. We’re having so much fun.”

“We’re looking forward to York,” Bisogni said. “It’s going to be a great game. It’s great for the town to have that game at home. It’ll be fun.”

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

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