YARMOUTH—After two decisive victories over Cape Elizabeth during the regular season, Yarmouth’s third-ranked girls’ lacrosse team was expected to make quick work of the 14th-seeded Capers in Wednesday evening’s Class A state preliminary round playoff contest.

But Cape Elizabeth didn’t get the memo.

And instead, gave the Clippers everything they could handle for 50 minutes.

But Yarmouth, a team that has just two seniors, pushed back and did just enough to live to play another day.

A pair of early goals from junior Moira Concannon helped the Capers go on top, 3-1, early, but Yarmouth’s potent offense got in gear and produced a 5-3 lead before Cape Elizabeth fought back to tie it, 6-6, on a goal from Concannon with 7:02 left in the first half.

Then, the Clippers flipped the switch, scoring six goals in just over six minutes, producing a seemingly comfortable 12-6 halftime advantage.


But the Capers continued to give Yarmouth fits in second half, twice drawing within four.

There would be no epic upset, however, as the Clippers were able to hold on and go on to a 14-10 victory.

Junior Lauren Keaney led the way with six goals, classmate Aine Powers added four more as Yarmouth improved to 11-4, ended Cape Elizabeth’s season at 4-11 and advanced to host No. 11 Gorham (9-6) in the Class A state quarterfinal round Saturday at a time to be announced.

“It’s our first playoff game and we’re young, so we were nervous, but we did a good job,” said longtime Clippers coach Dorothy Holt. “We went ahead and we held our own. We didn’t panic. I’m very proud of them.”

Renewing acquaintances

Between 1998 and 2013, Cape Elizabeth and Yarmouth only met once in the postseason, but between 2014-21, the rivals met four times, with each school winning twice (see sidebar). Three of those showdowns came in memorable state finals with the Capers twice prevailing in overtime.


This season, Cape Elizabeth and Yarmouth took different paths to the playoffs (see sidebar for links to prior game stories).

The Capers, who don’t have a single senior on their roster, started 1-4, won three straight, then dropped their final six games against a challenging schedule.

The Clippers, meanwhile, struggled against the state’s elite, losing to Kennebunk, Falmouth and Greely (twice), arguably the three finest teams, regardless of class, but they won their other 10 games to end up third in Class A.

Yarmouth twice beat the Capers during the regular season, 14-3 at home April 26 and 16-6 in Cape Elizabeth May 26. Junior Brooke Boone and senior Sadie Carnes had three goals apiece to spark the first victory. In the second, junior Neena Panozzo scored five times, Boone added four goals and Powers had three.

Wednesday, on a chilly night (59 degrees at the start), which featured intermittent rain, including a second half downpour, the Capers came out determined and made things most interesting, but ultimately, the Clippers had just a little too much as they were able to extend their season.

Yarmouth had the first good look, but Boone’s shot was denied by Cape Elizabeth junior goalie Zoe Burgard.


The Capers then struck first with 20:08 left in the first half, as junior Kaity Woods rolled the crease before beating Clippers freshman goalie Grace Keaney.

Concannon then scored for the first time (from sophomore Heather Campbell) 42 seconds later, but with 18 minutes on the clock, Carnes set up freshman Celia Zinman to get Yarmouth on the board.

Cape Elizabeth then went up by two again with 16:46 to go before halftime, as the Campbell-to-Concannon connection found the mark.

The Clippers then came to life and would score 11 times before the break.

With 16:01 on the clock, Powers set up Carnes to cut the deficit to one, then 28 seconds later, Zinman fed Powers for the tying tally.

After Lauren Keaney scored her first goal, from sophomore Madeleine Jones with 14:07 remaining in the half, Powers finished a feed from Boone with 10:16 left for a 5-3 advantage.


The Capers bounced right back, as Campbell set up sophomore Campbell DeGeorge with 9:37 to go, then 45 seconds later, Woods found Campbell for a goal which made it 5-5.

Yarmouth went back in the lead, as Keaney fought her way through the defense and finished unassisted with 8:27 remaining, but with 7:02 left, Campbell found Concannon to tie the score for the third and final time.

Thirty-five seconds later, Powers threw a high pass which Keaney caught in traffic, then finished with a flourish to put the Clippers in the lead for good.

After Grace Keaney denied DeGeorge’s bid to tie it, Yarmouth got the job done in transition, as Panozzo set up Lauren Keaney for a goal with 3:49 on the clock, then 43 seconds later, it was Keaney feeding Carnes for a goal to make it 9-6.

The Clippers weren’t finished, as Powers scored unassisted with 2:01 showing, Powers set up Keaney for a goal with 42 seconds left, then with just 13 seconds to go, Jones threw a pass ahead to Panozzo who finished to push the lead to 12-6 at the half.

“It was our first playoff game and were a little nervous with all the excitement, but once we start passing the ball around, working as a team and building our confidence, we can come up with really good plays,” Powers said.


Yarmouth had a big edge in draws and shots and appeared poised to put the game away, but as they did to start the first half, the Capers came out strong in the second as well.

After Grace Keaney robbed junior Phoebe Altenburg, Campbell scored unassisted with 20:44 remaining.

Campbell then set up Altenburg to cut the deficit to 12-8 with 16:15 to go.

Powers restored order with an unassisted goal with 13:44 left, then with 11:13 on the clock, Lauren Keaney scored for the final time, unassisted, to make it a six-goal contest again.

Cape Elizabeth then attempted one final rally, as Woods set up DeGeorge for a goal with 10:38 to play, then with 6:27 remaining, Campbell dished out her final assist of the game, feeding sophomore Libby Hooper to make the score 14-10.

The Capers never could get another good look at a goal which could have made things even more compelling and the Clippers were able to run down the clock and put the finishing touches on their victory.


“I think our defense, once we talk and get into the groove, we play really well,” Powers said. “Once we got scored on, we figured out what we had to do and focused on that. (Junior) Kadin (Davoren) did an amazing job and Neena did an amazing job tipping balls.”

“I think (Cape) started really strong which kind of caught us off-guard, but we came back,” said Lauren Keaney. “I think, especially on defense, we’ve worked a lot. They didn’t score any goals off transition. It shows how hard we’ve worked. On offense, we’ve learned to slow it down.”

“We talked about pretending like we never saw (Cape) before because when you play a team three times, the pressure is on you,” added Holt. “It’s hard to beat a team three times. We’re not a fancy team. We’re really good at just playing our game and that’s what worked for us tonight. We’re not flashy, but the girls want it. We settled into what we know how to do well.”

Lauren Keaney excelled offensively, scoring a game-high six goals and dishing out an assist.

“Aine will nod her head and let me know I should go to goal and I get some really good passes too,” Keaney said. “I was playing midfield for awhile, but I’ve switched to attack and that gives me more energy to work from the crease.”

“Lauren has amazing stick skills and energy and a really good IQ,” said Powers. “We’re a pretty young team and with her controlling things on attack, she can just score on anybody, anytime.”


“Lauren’s playing with a ton of confidence,” Holt added. “I’m super-proud of her. She drew a lot of attention tonight, but she’s playing really well. She supports her teammates. She’s such a good one-v-one player.”

Powers was her usual stellar self, scoring four times, assisting on three other goals, collecting a game-high 14 ground balls and winning six of 10 draws, several with just one hand.

“That’s just something I work on all the time in practice,” said Powers, of her stick wizardry.

“Aine’s behind the scenes making plays, giving others confidence in a way that only someone with her skill can,” Holt said. “The best part of her is that she doesn’t need to be an eight-goal-a-game scorer. She needs to support her teammates and have their backs and she does that so well.”

Carnes added two goals, while Panozzo and Zinman finished with one apiece.

Jones had two assists, while Boone, Carnes, Panozzo and Zinman all produced one.


Grace Keaney made three saves.

Yarmouth finished with a 17-9 advantage on draws, a 38-31 edge on ground balls (Jones and Panozzo had five apiece), took 29 shots to the Capers’ 14 (22-13 on cage) and overcame 21 turnovers.

“A good team capitalizes on your turnovers, but our defense held together,” Holt said. “Grace made some big saves.”

Much to build on

Cape Elizabeth got three goals from Concannon, two apiece from Campbell and DeGeorge and one from Woods.

Campbell finished with a whopping six assists, while Woods added two.


Burgard made eight saves.

Hooper led the team with eight ground balls.

The Capers committed 19 turnovers.

“Playing Yarmouth beginning, mid and end of season gave us a measurement,” said Cape Elizabeth coach Alex Spark. “The way we were able to battle them tonight is amazing. It was such a good game. We had some ideas to put into this game about taking time off the clock. We did that at the beginning. We’ve gotten better at executing the game plan and doing things we talked about.

“Yarmouth’s a good team. They have some kids with stick skills that are just beautiful. It’s hard to slow them down. We had to wipe the slate clean at halftime and we won the second half, 4-2. They’re a good team that’s hard to stop for 50 minutes. At the beginning of the season, if we went down six, we would have crumbled.

“Our travel from the beginning of the season to the end of the season, I’m so proud. We’re a totally different team than we were. We always want to end higher than where we started. We looked young early in the season. We made silly turnovers. We have freshmen and sophomores on the field. Our leaders are doing a great job, but they’re just juniors. To not have seniors looking over you, it was hard to instill the fire. We’ve focused so much on taking care of the ball and eliminating our self-inflicted wounds, because when we take those away, we’re a really strong team.”


This was the year to beat the Capers, as they’ll return intact next spring and will be hungry to return to their winning ways.

“This isn’t the end,” said Spark. “I can’t wait for spring. It will be so great to have this entire group of really talented players back. A year older, more experienced. It’s a great group. We’re all excited for next year.”

One week left

Yarmouth and Gorham did not play this season and have no postseason history.

“I think we just need to keep our energy up,” Lauren Keaney said. “We’re ready for Gorham.”

“I don’t think we’ll necessarily prepare any differently,” Powers said. “It’s challenging to play a new team that we’ve never played before, but I believe if we come out as a team, we’ll be unstoppable.

“We’ll prepare and work on the little things,” Holt added. “We’re still improving. We’ll keep working together and that will get us there. It’s all I can ask for, being this young and still playing.

“We’re young, but we’re mighty.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net.

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