YORK — The York field hockey team played Cape Elizabeth twice during the regular season, and lost both times. But the Wildcats were confident a third meeting would go differently.

Senior captain Ava Brent scored three goals, Olivia Coite added another, and a stifling York defense took it from there as the fourth-seeded Wildcats earned a 4-1 victory over No. 5 Cape Elizabeth in a Class B South quarterfinal Wednesday afternoon.

York will play at No. 1 Yarmouth in the semifinals on Saturday.

York (8-5-2) had not lost to Cape Elizabeth since 2000 before the Capers prevailed twice during the regular season, 3-2 and 1-0. But the Wildcats got another shot at the Capers when the playoff bracket matched them up for a third showdown.

“We knew that we had what it takes to beat them,” Coite said. “The two games that we lost against them, it really felt like we had the game. It’s just (that) the scoreboard said otherwise. So we used that as motivation today.”

Coite put York ahead with a goal off a corner just 2:07 into the game. Cape (8-6-1) tied it when Clio Cook-Sharp took advantage of a York turnover with 2:34 to go in the first quarter, but York found a response, as Brent took a feed from Coite and buried a shot with 8:05 to go in the second.


“It was kind of all over the place,” Brent said. “Coach (Barb Marois) always says ‘Stick down,’ and it’s true. It works.”

Brent wasn’t finished. She jumped on the rebound of an Emma Joyce shot to make it 3-1 with 46 seconds left in the half, then got the call for a penalty stroke with 8:27 to play in the fourth. Her shot was perfect, sailing just out of the reach of Capers goalie Zoe Burgard (seven saves) inside the right post.

According to Brent, a practice session the day before made all the difference.

“Yesterday, Coach was like, ‘Why don’t you get a few strokes in, Ava?’ I’m like ‘No way, a stroke’s (not going to) happen,'” Brent said. “(Goalie) Natalie (Dickson) was like, ‘I can see where you’re going with your eyes.’ So the only thing I was thinking was, ‘Don’t let her see where I’m trying to go.'”

The four goals were more than enough cushion, as York contained Cape’s attack. Dickson only had to make two saves.

“Honestly, just (the) energy (was different) as the game went on,” Capers Coach Maura Bisogni said. “I think the first quarter was good, I’m glad we answered, but their energy and focus outlasted us throughout the game.”

York was particularly effective in its own circle, where sloppy play can lead to corners and chances. The Wildcats didn’t allow a corner while earning eight themselves.

“That’s been a struggle at times for us. There are a lot of people in new positions back there, so we’re still figuring things out,” Marois said. “We did a slightly different style of defense today with our formation, and the girls were talking about how they liked that better. It just helps to keep them more organized, and it really showed today.”

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