YARMOUTH—Cape Elizabeth’s girls’ lacrosse team has been waiting a long time to show what it’s capable of this season and in the matter of six seconds Friday afternoon against the host North Yarmouth Academy Panthers at Lewis Field, the Capers set the tone for what they expect to be a memorable campaign.

After winning the opening draw, junior Libby Hooper scored to put Cape Elizabeth ahead to stay.

Later in the first period, junior Campbell DeGeorge added a goal, with many more to come, and the Capers had a 2-1 lead after 12 minutes.

Cape Elizabeth then broke it open in the second quarter, as DeGeorge scored three more goals for a 7-1 advantage.

Hooper then scored twice in the third period as the Capers stretched their lead to 10-3 and down the stretch, goals from junior Hudson Fisher and DeGeorge slammed the door on a 12-4 victory.

DeGeorge scored six times, Hooper added three goals and Cape Elizabeth made a powerful early statement.


“I think all through preseason we’ve been really exciting to get going,” said Hooper. “We knew we had the potential and the stick skills to do really well. Last year, we didn’t have any seniors. We came back this year with the same group and the same passion.”

Big things in store

NYA, which won the 2022 Class C state title, got back to the big game a year ago but fell short against Freeport, 9-7, to wind up 11-6. While graduation has affected the program, the young Panthers expect to improve and to be vying for supremacy in June yet again.

Cape Elizabeth went just 4-11 in 2023, but gave eventual finalist Yarmouth a scare in the Class A state preliminary round before falling, 14-10. This year’s team hopes to crash the party and be one of the top contenders along with the likes of Kennebunk, Falmouth and Yarmouth.

“This group is all in,” said Capers coach Alex Spark. “We finished last season hitting our stride at the end and now, we’re starting in a better place. We’re locked in.”

Last year, the host Capers eked out an 8-7 win over NYA.


Friday, on a foggy, rainy and dreary afternoon, Cape Elizabeth wasted no time staking its claim as a team to watch.

Cape Elizabeth junior Libby Hooper races up the field with the opening draw as North Yarmouth Academy junior Nell Rohde gives chase. Hooper scored to put the Capers ahead to stay en route to a 12-4 victory. Hoffer photo.

Hooper beat NYA senior Lauryn Casey off the opening draw, then ran in and fired a shot past Panthers junior goalie Salin Bachor to set the tone.

“I was so excited,” said Hooper. “I stepped on the field and I was like, ‘I’m scoring the first goal.'”

After Hooper hit the post, DeGeorge added to the lead with 3:56 on the first quarter clock, taking a pass from freshman Wylie Stoecklin and finishing to make it 2-0.

NYA got on the board with 2:16 to go in the frame, as junior Lyla Casey found the net, taking a pass from sophomore Ava Wilkinson and beating Cape Elizabeth goalie Grace Hankes.

The Panthers had a chance to pull even in the second quarter, but Hankes denied Lyla Casey and freshman Kenlie Nadeau.


Then, with 6:06 remaining, Stoecklein set up DeGeorge in transition to restore a two-goal advantage.

With 4:35 to go in the half, senior Kaity Woods found Fisher, who finished to make it 4-1.

A mere 23 seconds later, Stoecklein wove through the defense and scored.

With just 31.4 seconds left, senior Lucy Berman set up DeGeorge for a goal.

Then, with just 19.9 seconds remaining, DeGeorge finished a feed from Hooper with another goal for a 7-1 lead.

“They were playing a backer defense and I had to keep my head up in the middle and make fast cuts,” said DeGeorge. “I just stayed positive and my team kept boosting me up.”


Cape Elizabeth enjoyed a 17-6 edge in shots in the first half and didn’t let up when the third quarter began.

Hooper added to the lead with 10:12 on the clock, finishing a free position.

Eighteen seconds later, NYA ended the 6-0 Capers’ run and a 16 minute, 12 second scoring drought, as freshman Poppy Griffin found the net, but with 8:13 remaining, Hooper took a pass from junior Heather Campbell and scored.

With 5:11 to go, Woods set up DeGeorge for another goal and while Wilkinson scored unassisted with 3:50 on the clock, Cape Elizabeth was up, 10-3, heading for the final stanza.

There, neither team scored for almost eight minutes before Wilkinson found the net, from Griffin, with 3:53 to go.

Fifty-two seconds later, Fisher scored, from Woods.


Then, as time expired, DeGeorge capped her memorable afternoon with an unassisted goal to bring the curtain down on a 12-4 victory.

“This sets the tone for the entire season,” said DeGeorge. “We started off on fire. We were so fired up in last year’s playoff game when we played so well. We’re coming into the season with vengeance.”

“We started a little slow and it was a first game, so it was inevitable to have first game jitters, but we settled in and found our stride,” Spark said. “The kids are fired up. They’ve played together for a long time now. Our entire starting group is back, plus some underclassmen who are filling spots. We’ll be a talented group.”

Cape Elizabeth got six goals from DeGeorge, who wouldn’t be denied.

“Campbell is competitive and she wants to work hard,” said Spark. “She wants the ball. She wants to run. She loves the game and she’s pure joy when she plays and that translates. She wants it for herself and her teammates. She’s a workhorse.”

Hooper had three goals, Fisher added two and Stoecklein also scored.


Woods had three assists, Stoecklein finished with a pair and Berman, Campbell and Hooper all added one.

“We shared the ball really well today,” said Spark. “I think we had five or six kids with assists, which means our eyes were up and we were looking to feed, which was awesome.”

The Capers had a 13-6 advantage in draws, enjoyed a 37-16 edge in shots (23-8 on frame), overcame 26 turnovers and got four saves from Hankes.

NYA’s offense featured two goals from Wilkinson and one apiece from Lyla Casey and Griffin.

Griffin and Wilkinson also had one assist apiece.

The Panthers got 11 saves from Bachor and committed 32 turnovers.


“(Cape’s) a tough team to open up against,” said NYA’s third-year coach Molly Moss-Stokes. “But we were excited to have a challenge coming out of the gate. I think I saw a lot of really good things from this new group. Cape’s a great team and it’s fun to watch them play. We love playing teams that are out of our class because it shows us where the holes are and what we need to work on.”

Looking ahead

NYA hopes to get in the win column Tuesday when it welcomes St. Dom’s.

“From here, we just grow,” said Moss-Stokes. “It’s definitely a year where we’re working with a new dynamic and building up.”

Cape Elizabeth returns to action Monday at home versus Gorham as it looks to continue its fast start.

“We have such a great group and so much positive energy,” DeGeorge said. “We’re going to keep getting balls in the back of the cage and getting ‘W’s.'”

“I’ve never played on a team like this,” said Hooper. “It’s so fun. Having positive team energy is so important. I think we can compete with anyone.”

“We know what we’re capable of,” Spark added. “Now, it’s just about refining our connections on the field. I think this year we’re just better at overall team chemistry. Last year, our defense was solid. This year, our attack is starting from a better spot. Our upperclassmen experience will help us this year. We’re looking forward to seeing the top teams and the tough games. We’re excited for the season.”

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

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