CAPE ELIZABETH—Cape Elizabeth and Waynflete’s boys’ soccer teams don’t play in the same class and haven’t met often over the years, but of late, the Capers and Flyers have produced a pretty entertaining rivalry.

That rivalry was renewed Tuesday evening at Hannaford Field and both squads reminded those on hand while they’re on the short of list of title favorites.

Waynflete, the three-time reigning Class C state champion, struck first, in the 11th minute, when talented senior Myles Culley finished a feed from junior Jacob Woodman.

Culley and the Flyers weren’t able to score again, not that they didn’t have opportunities, and Cape Elizabeth, a Class B South finalist in 2021, made them pay.

Midway through the first half, the home team drew even, as senior Philip Coupe headed home classmate Sebastian Moon’s corner kick.

Then, with 16:55 remaining in the half, junior Keegan Lathrop was brought down in the box, a penalty kick was awarded and senior Eddie Caldera drilled it to put the Capers ahead to stay.

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The second half saw Cape Elizabeth hold on for dear life, as Coupe sparked a strong defensive effort, and the end result was a 2-1 victory.

The Capers won their fifth consecutive game, improved to 5-0-1, their best start since 2010, and in the process, handed Waynflete its first loss in five outings.

“We definitely knew this would be a very good game,” said Caldera. “It’s a good game against (Waynflete) every year.”

Two of the best

Cape Elizabeth and Waynflete are arguably two of the state’s top 10 squads and both teams have excelled in the early going this fall.

The Capers opened by playing host Yarmouth, the two-time reigning Class B champion, to a 1-1 tie, then defeated visiting Greely (4-0) and Wells (10-1) and host York (3-1) and Freeport (3-0).

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The Flyers, meanwhile, began their title defense by downing visiting North Yarmouth Academy (6-0), then defeating visiting St. Dom’s (9-0), visiting Sacopee Valley (7-0) and host Richmond (5-0).

Last year, Cape Elizabeth won at Waynflete, 3-1.

Over the past decade-plus, the teams had been as even as even can be, as in six meetings, the Capers had won two, the Flyers two and two others ended in ties (see sidebar, below).

Tuesday, on a chilly late-September evening (57 degrees at the start) Cape Elizabeth and Waynflete went right at each other and raced up and down the pitch for 80 memorable minutes and the Capers did just enough to prevail.

Cape Elizabeth senior Andrew Trachimowicz heads the ball away from Waynflete junior Andrew Rogers during the Capers’ 2-1 victory Tuesday. Photos courtesy Lisa Mims.

Culley made it clear he was going to be a matchup nightmare for the Cape Elizabeth defense from the get-go, as he twice made promising runs into the box, but the first was broken up by senior Nate Patterson and the second by Coupe.

With 29:46 remaining in the first half, Culley wouldn’t be denied, as he took a nice through-ball from Woodman, then ripped a shot past Capers senior goalkeeper Dimitri Coupe for a 1-0 lead.

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Cape Elizabeth quickly equalized.

After Flyers senior goalkeeper Cole Isherwood broke up a feed from sophomore Tully Haydar to Moon and junior Nils Burton-Johanson cleared a shot from Moon off a corner kick with Isherwood down, which led to another corner kick, Moon served the ball toward the front post and Philip Coupe got enough of his body on it to send it past Isherwood and in.

“I always kind of look for the front post because it’s a dangerous spot,” Coupe said. “Hopefully, every once in awhile it goes in. It glanced off my head and off a defender and in.”

“That was a great goal off a corner kick,” said longtime Capers coach Ben Raymond. “Phil did a great job there. We moved the ball pretty well and were dangerous at times.”

After junior Sam Cochran and junior Alex van Huystee were off-target for Cape Elizabeth and Culley had a shot blocked in the box at the other end, the hosts took the lead.

Lathrop appeared to have a step on a defender and an opportunity to go one-on-one with Isherwood, but he was brought down and with 16:55 to go, a penalty kick was awarded.

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Caldera took the shot and he got Isherwood to gamble and dive to his left before firing the ball into the net in the other direction to make it 2-1.

“Keegan is a great player and he came up huge there,” said Caldera. “On the kick, I just kind of line up and look at the goalie and think about where to go. It’s kind of an in-the-moment thing. There was no doubt I was going to score.”

“Keegan did a great job putting (Eddie) a great spot,” Raymond said. “If (Keegan) didn’t get taken down, he’d be one-on-one with the goalie and I’d like his chances. That was Eddie’s second PK this year and both were really calm and really cool.”

Culley did his best to answer for Waynflete, but after he beat the defense and served a ball in front that sat free, it was cleared. Culley then had a rush broken up by Patterson and with time winding down, he took a free kick from just outside the box, but sailed it high.

The second half would be more of the same.

Cape Elizabeth senior Philip Coupe goes flying out of bounds as he battles Waynflete senior Roan Hopkins for possession.

Three minutes in, senior Roan Hopkins took a long free that senior Matt Adey got his head on, but it was cleared out to Hopkins, who missed high.

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After Culley had a shot blocked and a long shot from Flyers senior Dudley Holdridge was saved by Dimitri Coupe, Culley got through the defense and fired a low blast, but with 20:57 on the clock, Coupe saved it.

Adey then made a defensive save at the other end, as a long Capers’ free kick deflected off Isherwood and an attacker and rolled toward the goal, but Adey got there just in time to sweep the ball off the line and keep the deficit at one.

Culley had several looks down the stretch, but his left-footed shot with some movement was saved by Coupe, another bid missed just high, a free kick was cleared and another bid missed wide.

With 49 seconds left, Waynflete got one more chance, as Burton-Johanson had some space in the box, but couldn’t get his foot on a cross.

The Flyers argued that it was because he was fouled and that a PK should ensue, but it wasn’t to be.

“I thought they got a (penalty kick) in the first half and maybe we’d get one in the second half, but I was 70 yards away and I didn’t have a great view of it,” said longtime Waynflete coach Brandon Salway.

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Cape Elizabeth then ran out the clock and celebrated its well-earned 2-1 victory.

“Holding them off was tough,” Philip Coupe said. “We knew we could do it. It’s fun to come away with the win.”

“It was a great game,” Raymond said. “They’re a very good team. They have dangerous players who play well and Brandon does a great job with them. It was a great test for our guys. I think we’re lucky to get them when we got them since they hadn’t hit the meat of their schedule yet.”

Cape Elizabeth got four saves from Dimitri Coupe and had a 10-4 edge in corner kicks.

The Capers paid more defensive attention to Culley in the second half and that paid off.

“He’s just a great player,” Philip Coupe said, of Culley. “We had to do what it took to defend as a team since one guy on him wouldn’t do it. Everybody did a good job stepping up.”

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“In the first half, we didn’t have a plan in place for the other team,” Raymond said. “We focused on what we do, but at halftime, we had Phil mark (Myles) and (sophomore) Cam (Leonhirth) came in and play against (Hopkins) in the middle of the field. That was helpful and it’s good to see guys can adjust on the fly and pick up things. We still need to work on being more composed at the end of the game.”

Isherwood stopped two shots for Waynflete, which had a 5-4 edge in shots on frame.

“This is 100 percent what we wanted,” Salway said. “We hadn’t really played at this intensity in awhile and we hadn’t played this intensity for this amount of minutes at all this year with the group. It was an important step in our process of being the best team we can be. We didn’t come here to lose, so that stings for sure, but now that that’s out of the way, we’ll focus on what we need to do to get better. I’m proud of the guys. We battled. We have some kids who are a little upset, but that’s OK, they care. We had plenty of chances in the first half. Through the run of play, we did a nice job. (Cape’s) fast. They’re as good as I’ve seen. ”

On to bigger things

Waynflete continues its tough stretch Thursday at home versus Traip Academy, likely its top competition in the region, at least in the Western Maine Conference. After going to NYA Saturday, the Flyers’ next home games are against Class B South contenders Greely and Freeport.

“To come here and play the way we did speaks highly of these guys,” Salway said. “We just need to convert a few chances and clean a few things up on set pieces. We got tested today, our fitness and our depth, and we kept grinding right to the end.

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Cape Elizabeth is idle until Friday, when it plays at Lake Region. The Capers still have another round of showdowns versus Freeport, Greely and Yarmouth upcoming as well.

“We have to keep working hard in practice and in games and if we do, I know we can go really far this year,” Caldera said.

“We have a great team,” said Philip Coupe. “A lot of guys who love to play soccer. We’re always trying to get better. Hopefully, we can make another run.”

“Things are going really well,” Raymond added. “We’ve played our rivals once and everybody is going to be different next time. I think there’s a lot of really good teams. I wouldn’t say one team has put itself above the rest. One of the best things about this group is they continue to have a great time. There’s a lot of fun and energy in practice. I think we’ll continue to improve as the season goes on.”

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

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