CAPE ELIZABETH—Cape Elizabeth’s storied, juggernaut boys’ lacrosse team is already in postseason form.

On April 11th.

And it appears that another year of dominance is in store.

Thursday evening at Hannaford Field, the Capers, the three-time reigning Class A champions, hosted South Portland, a state finalist a season ago, and essentially ended the competitive phase of the contest in the game’s first two minutes.

In a 47-second span, senior standout Keegan Lathrop scored twice and seniors Colin Blackburn, Tom Hennessey and Bobby Offit found the net as well for an insurmountable lead, which, thanks in part to two goals from senior Alex van Huystee, grew to 9-0 by the end of the first quarter.

The Capers then got two more goals from Offit, as well as two goals and two assists from senior Sam Cochran, to stretch the advantage to 14-1 at the half.


With a mercy rule running clock in effect throughout the second half, Cape Elizabeth tacked on three more goals in the third period and while the Red Riots scored three times in the fourth, it was far too little, too late and the Capers prevailed, 17-4.

Cape Elizabeth got five goals from van Huystee, four apiece from Cochran and Offit, as well as a superb performance from senior faceoff specialist Will Picarillo as it opened the season in style and stretched its overall win streak to 24 games dating back to the 2022 season.

“It’s great to get back out here,” said Cochran. “We’ve been waiting for this since last time we played them in states. It’s weird adjusting without all of last year’s seniors, but we have a good, tight group of boys. We wanted to keep our energy up. We came in confident and excited and that’s what we did.”

Another go-round

Since boys’ lacrosse returned post-COVID in 2021, Cape Elizabeth has re-cemented itself as the state’s premier boys’ lacrosse power.

The Capers won 47 of 49 games over the past three years and rolled in three consecutive Class A state finals, including a year ago, when they ran away from South Portland, 17-6, as Lathrop scored four goals and Cochran and Offit added three apiece.


While, as always, graduation took its toll, Cape Elizabeth retains enough firepower to be considered the team to beat yet again, as it chases its first “four-peat” this century.

The Red Riots, meanwhile, arrived a year ahead of schedule in the minds of many last spring and while the departure of standout goalie Ben Kieu will be felt, this season’s group believes it can be in the mix once again.

Thursday evening, on a typically chilly, rainy and raw mid-April evening, South Portland hoped to beat Cape Elizabeth for the first time, but instead, the Capers’ Express kept on rolling.

With no end in sight.

Cape Elizabeth senior Bobby Offit leaps in vain to intercept a pass from South Portland junior Beckett Mehlhorn to classmate Ian House early in the Capers’ 17-4 victory Thursday. Photo courtesy Lisa Mims.

Junior Danny Fitzgibbon, who is stepping into Kieu’s goalie shoes this season, denied an early bid from Lathrop, but with 10:54 to go in the first quarter, Lathrop, an All-American a year ago who has committed to playing next season at the University of Delaware, got the ball off a turnover and finished to put Cape Elizabeth in front to stay.

Off the ensuing faceoff, a win by Picarillo, Blackburn beat Fitzgibbon unassisted for a 2-0 advantage.


Picarillo then won another faceoff and Lathrop scored with 10:27 on the clock.

The Red Riots had no answers, as 10 seconds later, off another Picarillo faceoff win, Hennessey scored unassisted, then with 10:07 on the clock, Lathrop set up Offit for his first goal and a commanding 5-0 lead.

“Our top offensive guys are really good,” said longtime Capers coach Ben Raymond, who now his 330 victories in his 26 seasons with the program. “They can all handle the ball and move it well. Some of the passes we made at the beginning of the game we didn’t make until the end of the year last year, so we’re ahead of the pace there. Our three attackmen are very good. They look for each other all the time.”

It took until the 6:37 mark for Cape Elizabeth to strike again, as off a turnover, Lathrop set up Cochran for his first goal.

With 5:39 left, Cochran scored a second goal, unassisted.

“Our offense comes from practice,” Cochran said. “We’ve played together for years and we have good chemistry. It’s fun to come out here and run offense, score goals and celebrate.”


After Hennessey twice hit the post, van Huystee scored his first goal, unassisted, with 2:26 on the clock.

It took until 1:53 remained in the opening stanza for South Portland to unleash a shot, a bid from junior Ian House, which sailed wide.

Then, with just 4.3 seconds left, van Huystee finished a feed from Cochran for an overwhelming 9-0 advantage after just 12 minutes.

Just seven seconds into the second quarter, after winning the faceoff, Picarillo set up Cochran to extend the lead even further.

“I just want to move the ball to our offense,” said Picarillo. “We have so many guys who can score.”

“This was (Will’s) game today,” Cochran said. “We couldn’t have done anything without him.”


Finally, with 10:33 to play in the first half, the Red Riots broke through, as Lappin scored unassisted after a turnover, but a mere 10 seconds later, after Picarillo won possession, Cochran found Offit for an 11-1 lead.

Cochran added an unassisted goal after a turnover with 9:12 on the clock, then Offit (unassisted after a turnover at 6:23) and van Huystee (from Cochran at 5:13) scored to make the score 14-1 at halftime.

In the first 24 minutes, Picarillo won 15 of 17 faceoffs and Cape Elizabeth had a whopping edge in shots (29-2) and ground balls (30-4).

The Capers opened the second half scoring when Cochran set up van Huystee with 9:13 to play in the third period.

With 4:18 left, Offit finished a feed from van Huystee and with 2:10 to go, van Huystee completed Cape Elizabeth’s offense, from Lathrop.

The Red Riots fought hard throughout and were rewarded in the fourth quarter with three goals.


With 9:58 to go, junior Beckett Mehlhorn scoerd unassisted.

With 8:09 remaining, House scored unassisted.

Then, with 4:52 to play, Lappin scored unassisted, but the Capers ran out the clock from there on their 17-4 victory.

“It was a great game and it was all our transition in the first quarter,” Cochran said.

“I think we looked great today,” said Picarillo. “We kept the foot on the gas the whole time.”

“It was a great start,” added Raymond. “The first quarter was outstanding. We were really good in transition in the beginning. I think Colin did a really good job on Beckett. The kids we brought back have a lot of experience in key places. We’re not as experienced in the midfield as last year, but they’re pretty darn good and they play both ways. Alex and Tom can be on the field the whole game. They’re fit and they know both sides of the ball well. It’s a great group. They play a lot of sports together. Practices are competitive, but we have a good time together.”


Cape Elizabeth wound up with six different scorers, as van Huystee led the way with five goals, Cochran and Offit each added four, Lathrop had two and Blackburn and Hennessey tallied one apiece.

Cochran also had four assists, while Lathrop distributed three and Picarillo and van Huystee added one apiece.

The Capers’ most decisive advantage was in the faceoff circle, as Picarillo won 18 of 20 opportunities.

“If we don’t win faceoffs, we don’t get possessions and we don’t score goals,” said Picarillo, who starred on his 18th birthday. “It’s a big part of the game. There’s a lot of pressure on me. If I don’t play well, we don’t play well as a team, so to do this today means a lot. It just goes from faceoff to faceoff. I do something different every time depending how they line up against me.”

“Will did great on faceoffs and that was a big difference in the game,” Raymond said.

Senior James York made four saves after coming on at halftime to spell senior starting goalie Michael Foley.


Cape Elizabeth enjoyed a 43-10 advantage on ground balls (Blackburn collected 11 and Picarillo had 10), had a 37-13 advantage in shots (25-8 on cage) and overcame 18 turnovers, most of which came long after the contest was decided.

For South Portland, Lappin  had two goals and House and Mehlhorn finished with one apiece.

Fitzgibbon stopped eight shots.

“I’m really proud of Danny and the way he stood in there,” said South Portland coach Dan Hanley. “It was a shooting gallery to start. He made some saves and spread positive momentum through the defense.”

The Red Riots turned the ball over 19 times and couldn’t gain possession with senior faceoff man Nyc Gagne out for the season with injury.

“(Cape’s) faceoff guy did a fantastic job,” Hanley said. “We’re still trying to figure out that position. Nyc is a major loss. We’re still looking for answers.


“We knew (Cape’s) a good team. They lost some guys, but they brought back a lot of studs. They always have a strong program. They’re well-coached. They’re great athletes. It was a challenge and we were up for it, but weren’t at their level tonight.”

Game two

South Portland will try again to get in the win column April 19 at Gorham.

“We have some time now, which is great,” Hanley said. “We can get some quality practices in and figure out who we are as a team. I’m really pleased with our attitude and approach. We have some young guys and we’re trying a lot out pretty quickly. We’ve only had three practices outside and to face the defending state champions on their homefield, it’s adversity but I think it will make us better. I think we can do a lot better on offense and we have to compete more on ground balls.”

Cape Elizabeth will seek its 25th straight victory Tuesday of next week, when Scarborough pays a visit.

“Winning (states) again is the most important thing,” Cochran said “It’s all we want to do. Colin Campbell (Class of 2022), my freshman year, said, ‘If you don’t go into a season expecting to win, why do it?’ That’s how we’ve been. The same mentality every year.”

“Going four-for-four would be unreal,” said Picarillo.

“We’ll still grow throughout the year, especially on defense,” Raymond added. “We still have stuff to clean up. This was day one. We expect to do better in clearing and riding even though we haven’t worked much on that yet.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at

Comments are not available on this story.