BOX SCORE

Cape Elizabeth 15 South Portland 5

SP- 2 0 3 0- 5
CE- 1 5 5 4- 15

First period
6:54 CE T. Lathrop (unassisted)
3:20 SP B. Mehlhorn (unassisted) (MAN-UP)
1:47 SP L. Mehlhorn (unassisted)

Second period
11:26 CE T. Lathrop (Cochran)
9:10 CE T. Lathrop (unassisted)
6:04 CE T. Lathrop (unassisted)
4:38 CE T. Lathrop (Cochran)
2:26 CE Cochran (Campbell)

Third period
9:09 CE T. Lathrop (unassisted)
8:53 CE K. Lathrop (Laughlin)
7:27 CE T. Lathrop (unassisted)
6:17 SP B. Mehlhorn (Adams)
5:23 SP Demers (Dreifus)
5:15 CE Cochran (Boudreau)
2:36 CE T. Lathrop (unassisted)
12.2 SP Adams (unassisted)

Fourth period
11:13 CE T. Lathrop (unassisted)
10:55 CE K. Lathrop (Boudreau)
6:10 CE K. Lathrop (unassisted)
1:02 CE Gordon (Boudreau)

Goals:
SP- B. Mehlhorn 2, Adams, Demers, L. Mehlhorn 1
CE- T. Lathrop 9, K. Lathrop 3, Cochran 2, Gordon 1

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Assists:
SP- Adams, Dreifus 1
CE- Boudreau 3, Cochran 2, Campbell, Laughlin 1

Faceoffs (Cape Elizabeth, 21-3)
SP- Frank 3 of 16, Udomsay 0 of 6, O’Donnell 0 of 2
CE- Moon 20 of 23, T. Lathrop 1 of 1

Ground balls:
SP- 21
CE- 40

Turnovers:
SP- 16
CE- 13

Shots:
SP- 16
CE- 55

Shots on cage:
SP- 10
CE- 38

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Saves:
SP (Kieu) 23
CE (Algara) 3 (Shur) 2

CAPE ELIZABETH—Now this is what the preseason buzz was all about.

Friday evening at Hannaford Field, Cape Elizabeth’s defending Class A state champion boys’ lacrosse team produced its best 48-minute effort of the season, led by unstoppable senior Tiernan Lathrop, and there was absolutely nothing the visiting, resurgent South Portland Red Riots could do about it.

South Portland, thanks to the exceptional goalkeeping of junior Ben Kieu, who made eight first quarter saves, held an early 2-1 lead behind goals from junior Lucas Mehlhorn and freshman Beckett Mehlhorn, but the second period would belong to the Capers.

And to Lathrop.

Lathrop, who will play for Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island next year, scored four straight goals, giving him five to that point, to help Cape Elizabeth open up a lead it wouldn’t relinquish and sophomore Sam Cochran added a goal for a 6-2 halftime advantage.

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Lathrop then scored his sixth, seventh and eighth goals in the third quarter, which ended 11-5 Capers.

Lathrop then added one more, for a career-high nine, and Cape Elizabeth pulled away to prevail, 15-5.

While Tiernan Lathrop was the star of stars, his younger brother, sophomore Keegan Lathrop (three goals) and junior faceoff man extraordinaire Sebastian Moon, also played huge roles as the Capers shook off an agonizing loss their last time out, improved to 9-2 and in the process, snapped the Red Riots’ six-game win streak and dropped them to 8-2.

“I’d say this is one of our top performances,” Lathrop said. “We just had a lot of fun tonight. We enjoyed it and that’s when you play the best lacrosse.”

Nine times

Cape Elizabeth entered the 2022 season as the defending state champion and the Capers were expected to win it all again.

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South Portland, meanwhile, was supposed to be improved this spring, but the Red Riots have transcended expectations.

Cape Elizabeth started with home victories over Kennebunk (21-4) and Gorham (16-9), giving longtime coach Ben Raymond his 300th win in the process, then won at two-time reigning Class B champion Yarmouth (14-5), held on for an 11-10 victory at Falmouth, then defeated visiting Greely, 17-4, and host Scarborough (14-8). A shocking 18-16 home loss to Yarmouth followed, snapping a 22-game win streak, but the Capers bounced back and won at Lewiston (19-4) and at home over York (15-3) before being stunned at Thornton Academy last Friday, surrendering the tying goal with just a second to play, then losing in overtime, 11-10.

“We had a week to think about (the TA loss),” Lathrop said. “After that game, we were really devastated and I was really (upset) all weekend, then Monday, I decided I didn’t want to play angry. I want to have fun and enjoy my last couple weeks of high school ball. I went in with a different stance this week. I tried to have a lot of fun, but I went as hard as possible in practice.”

“We talked after that loss to make sure to focus on everything, not just the last 30 seconds of that game,” said Raymond. “It didn’t go our way, but there were tons of moments within that game where we could have given ourselves a little more comfort. You don’t win or lose on the last play, there were plenty of plays in-between that made the difference. It’s probably better we lost because if we won, we wouldn’t have focused on a lot of that stuff. It was a helpful loss in a way.”

Cape Elizabeth then had a chance to scrimmage Bishop Guertin, one of New Hampshire’s elite teams, Thursday and the Capers felt that they got a great deal out of that experience.

“Bishop Guertin whipped our butts a little, but we had fun with it,” Lathrop said. “They really amped it up for us. Our defense played amazing, which I think transferred over.”

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“I think it was really helpful for our guys to see how they play and realize some of the little things they do that sets them apart,” Raymond said.

South Portland, meanwhile, got off to a fast start with a 16-3 home win over Bonny Eagle and a huge 11-10 overtime victory over visiting Thornton Academy. After falling at Scarborough (9-6), the Red Riots rolled over host Deering (18-3), visiting Waynflete (13-1), visiting Massabesic (24-1) and host Windham (15-5), then earned a huge 9-5 win at Falmouth before handling visiting Portland, 16-6, in their most recent outing.

Last year, visiting Cape Elizabeth rolled to a 16-2 victory.

Friday, on Senior Night, on a pleasant (64 degrees and dropping at game time) and windy evening, South Portland hoped to beat the Capers for the first time in eight all-time meetings (see sidebar, below), but instead, Cape Elizabeth put it all together and Tiernan Lathrop had the game of his life.

Lathrop won the opening faceoff, something which for him, held great symbolism.

“My Dad told me that the best game he’s watched me play was freshman year when I had to take faceoffs against Yarmouth, instead of my brother (Devon), who was injured and I ended up winning most of the faceoffs and won the faceoff in OT and we scored,” Lathrop said. “I thought my Dad would appreciate it if I took the first faceoff tonight and hopefully, he’ll remember this game as my best game.”

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South Portland junior Lucas Mehlhorn fires a shot through the Cape Elizabeth defense early in the Capers’ 15-5 victory Friday night. Photos courtesy Lisa Mims.

Kieu hinted at a big game when he made early saves on shots from seniors Nic Boudreau and Colin Campbell.

Kieu couldn’t stop Lathrop, however, as he opened the scoring, unassisted, with 6:54 to play in the opening stanza.

After Kieu kept the deficit at one by denying Campbell, Lathrop and Campbell again, the Red Riots went man-up and drew even with 3:20 remaining in the first period, as Beckett Mehlhorn scored unassisted, beating Capers’ senior goalie Simon Algara.

After Kieu turned aside another great look from Lathrop, Lucas Mehlhorn gave South Portland the lead with 1:47 to go and the Red Riots would hold a 2-1 advantage heading to the second period.

Where Cape Elizabeth took complete control of the contest, as Lathrop was transcendent.

After Moon won the faceoff to start the frame, Capers junior Nick Laughlin had a great look to tie it, but Kieu denied him.

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Then, 24 seconds later, Lathtrop took a pass from Cochran and finished to tie the game, 2-2.

Kieu kept the game even by saving shots from Campbell and Boudreau and at the other end, Algara denied junior Brady Demers, but with 9:10 on the clock, Lathrop put on an athletic show, spinning through the defense and finishing to put the Capers in the lead for good.

With 6:04 to go before halftime, Lathrop scored for the fourth time, unassisted, then with 4:38 left, Cochran set up Lathrop for his fifth goal and a 5-2 lead.

“He was beating everyone out there,” said South Portland coach Dan Hanley. “He had a nose for the goal and his shots were going in. We tried to slide hard to him, but they know how to move the ball and they have other weapons on the backside.”

Algara then robbed Lucas Mehlhorn and Demers shot wide on the doorstep.

After Kieu prevented Lathrop from scoring for the sixth time, Campbell set up Cochran for a goal with 2:26 on the clock and Cape Elizabeth took a 6-2 lead to the half.

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In the first 24 minutes, the Capers won nine of 10 faceoffs and had a 21-4 advantage in shots on cage. Kieu made 15 saves to keep things somewhat close.

Cape Elizabeth then opened it up further early in the third quarter.

Kieu initially denied a pair of good looks from Boudreau, but with 9:09 left, Lathrop again eluded the defense in highlight reel fashion before finishing for a 7-2 lead.

“Our offense scores some really nice goals,” Raymond said. “Tiernan swim-moved one guy, roll-dodged another guy and ran somebody over and scored. It was almost no-no-no, yes-yes-yes.”

After Moon won the ensuing faceoff, Laughlin set up Keegan Lathrop for his first goal.

Then with 7:27 on the clock, Tiernan Lathrop scored unassisted, while falling to the turf, to extend the advantage to 9-2.

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With 6:17 to go, South Portland snapped a 19 minute, 30 second scoring drought and ended the Capers’ 8-0 run, as Adams found Beckett Mehlhorn.

It took just 54 seconds for the Red Riots to strike again, as junior Jack Dreifus set up Demers for a goal, but off the ensuing faceoff, Boudreau got the ball to Cochran for a 10-4 lead.

After hitting the crossbar, Tiernan Lathrop scored his eighth goal, unassisted, with 2:36 remaining.

Cape Elizabeth senior standout Tiernan Lathrop is congratulated by his teammates after scoring one of his nine goals Friday.

Adams answered, unassisted, with 1:22 left, but Cape Elizabeth held an 11-5 lead heading to the final stanza.

Just 47 seconds into the fourth quarter, Tiernan Lathrop scored his ninth and final goal, unassisted.

Off the ensuing faceoff, Boudreau set up Keegan Lathrop for a 13-5 lead with 10:55 to play.

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With 6:10 on the clock, Keegan Lathrop scored again, unassisted, and with 1:02 remaining, Boudreau fed senior Quinn Gordon for the goal which brought the curtain down on Cape Elizabeth’s emphatic 15-5 triumph.

“I think it’s our best performance for a full game,” said Raymond. “We’ve played really well at times every game, all year long. We’ve had really good spurts. Today, the difference was that we were consistently good. We had a ton of possession. Their goalie is really good and made a ton of saves, but we figured out ways to get shots in tight.”

Tiernan Lathrop had the game of his life, scoring nine goals.

“I realized I had to start my dominance again,” Lathrop said. “There seems to be a pattern. After I play terribly, I come out strong. One thing I’m working on is consistency. It was Senior Night with a great environment. I remember watching Senior Night as a kid up in the stands and I made sure to power through.”

“Tiernan is a matchup problem for everybody,” Raymond said. “He’s definitely one of our most athletic players, definitely our most athletic midfielder with a short stick that we’ve had in years. Skill-wise, he’s not just big and strong. He has a strong shot, he can shoot left or right equally well. He moves the ball well. He can play defense too and he took the opening faceoff. He really is the full package. There’s so much he can do. He’s by far the biggest matchup problem for anyone.”

Keegan Lathrop added three goals, Cochran scored twice and Gordon also tickled the twine.

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Boudreau had three assists, Cochran two and Campbell and Laughlin one apiece.

Moon’s brilliance helped the Capers dominate faceoffs, 21-3.

“Sebastian has really stepped it up and has been focusing in,” Tiernan Lathrop said.

“Seb really killed it on faceoffs and that was a big difference,” said Raymond. “We picked up most of the ground balls. We got extra possessions which gave our defense a chance to rest and our offense a chance to possess the ball.”

Algara made three saves and senior Fred Shur, who came on midway through the fourth quarter, stopped two shots.

Cape Elizabeth nearly doubled up South Portland in ground balls, 40-21 (junior Nate Patterson scooped up a game-high 10 and Moon had seven).

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The Capers had a commanding 55-16 edge in shots (38-10 on cage) and only turned the ball over 13 times.

For South Portland, Beckett Mehlhorn had two goals and Adams, Demers and Lucas Mehlhorn each added one.

Adams and Dreifus had assists.

Sophomore Tobey Lappin had a team-high six ground balls.

Kieu made a whopping 23 saves.

“Ben played great,” Hanley said. ‘He did everything we could ask of him and more.”

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The Red Riots committed 16 turnovers.

“Credit to (Cape),” said Hanley. “Their midfielders are really strong. We tried to get two poles on them at times, but they were able to take advantage of us on the backside. They move the ball really well and they have a lot of weapons on offense. I thought our defense played great, but it’s hard when you’re playing defense 90 percent of the time.”

Can’t wait for June

South Portland (currently ranked fourth in the Class A South Heal Points standings) finishes up with two games next week, a makeup tilt at Gorham Monday and a home contest versus Kennebunk Tuesday.

“We hope to finish strong,” Hanley said. “There’s a lot here we can take heading into playoffs. I think it’s very competitive with the top four teams. It’s about getting into a groove going into the playoffs, learning from this and using this as motivation to make a run.”

Cape Elizabeth (now ranked first in Class A South) closes at Greely Tuesday.

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“We have to focus and try to be more consistent,” Tiernan Lathrop said. “If we can do this every game, we’ll be a train that can’t be stopped. I think we’re ready to make a run.”

“We wanted to make sure we didn’t have to go to South Portland,” Raymond said. “Everything else is turf and it’s fine. We’d like to be here, but we’ll play who we play. I think it will be an excellent tournament.”

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

Previous Cape Elizabeth-South Portland results

2021
Cape Elizabeth 16 @ South Portland 2

2019
Cape Elizabeth 16 @ South Portland 7
Class A South semifinals
@ Cape Elizabeth 9 South Portland 5

2018
@ Cape Elizabeth 10 South Portland 8

2017
@ Cape Elizabeth 16 South Portland 2

2016
Cape Elizabeth 9 @ South Portland 8

2009
Cape Elizabeth 18 @ South Portland 3

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