FALMOUTH—One year after rarely breaking a sweat en route to a state championship, Cape Elizabeth’s boys’ lacrosse team is suddenly finding the going a lot tougher this spring.

But the Capers continue to embrace the challenge and find a way to prevail.

Wednesday evening, at longtime rival Falmouth, Cape Elizabeth got pushed to the brink for the second consecutive game, but like it did Monday against visiting York, it wound up with one more goal than the opposition to keep its long win streak alive.

The first half was nearly even, as the teams were tied, 1-1, after one quarter and deadlocked at 3-3 late in the second before Capers senior standout Keegan Lathrop scored his fourth goal of the half for a slim lead at the break.

Senior Bobby Offit then scored a pair of highlight reel goals in the third period to give Cape Elizabeth a 6-4 advantage heading for the fourth.

There, senior Alex van Huystee appeared to ice it with a goal with just 4:17 remaining, but the Navigators made things interesting, as sophomore Hayden Davis scored twice.


Falmouth got the ball back inside of the final minute with a chance to force overtime, but turned it over and the Capers ran out the clock on a 7-6 victory.

Cape Elizabeth, which got a dozen saves from senior goalie Michael Foley, improved to 4-0 on the season, handed the Navigators their first loss in five outings and in the process, extended its three-year win streak to 27 games.

“We talked before the game and at halftime that we have 14 games in a year and if we’re lucky, we’ll have six competitive ones,” said longtime Capers coach Ben Raymond, after his 333rd victory with the program. “We had one (the other night), another one tonight and I told the guys to make sure to enjoy competing against good teams.”

To the wire

Cape Elizabeth has overwhelmed Class A the past three years, losing just two games in that span and capturing three consecutive state titles, but in the early going this spring, Falmouth had won more often and more decisively.

The Navigators started by blanking visiting Marshwood (17-0), then rolled over visiting Deering (21-1), host Scarborough (14-2) and host Noble (17-4) for a composite 69-7 margin of victory.


The Capers opened by handling visiting South Portland in a state game rematch, 17-4, then defeated visiting Scarborough (12-3) before having to fight 48 minutes Monday to get by visiting York, the reigning Class B champion, 11-10.

Last year, Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth met twice, with the Capers winning both, 9-7 at home and 15-9 on the road.

Wednesday, on a night where the temperature was tolerable (52 degrees) but the wind was blustery and bitter, the Navigators went toe-to-toe with Cape Elizabeth and had their chances to beat the Capers for the first time since May 4, 2018 (14-8 at home), but instead Cape Elizabeth made it eight straight in the series.

Just barely.

Longtime Cape Elizabeth coach Ben Raymond, left, and Falmouth coach Dave Barton greet each other prior to the Capers’ 7-6 win Wednesday. Hoffer photos.

It was clear early that there wouldn’t be much separation between the teams and that both defenses were going to be a handful.

Cape Elizabeth bid for the lead off the opening faceoff, as senior Will Picarillo won possession and got the ball to senior Sam Cochran, who fired a shot six seconds in, but was denied by Navigators junior goalie Cameron Sinclair.


The Capers did get the jump with 11:08 to go in the first quarter, as Lathrop took a pass from junior Aidan Connolly and found the net.

After failing to take advantage of a Cape Elizabeth penalty (as junior Joey Guerrette had a shot stopped by Foley), Falmouth drew even with 7:13 remaining, man-up, as sophomore Ian Christie set up Davis for the goal.

After Cochran hit the post for the Capers, junior Gio Guerrette and Davis both missed and Christie had a shot saved by Foley to send the game to the second period deadlocked at one goal apiece.

Cape Elizabeth senior Keegan Lathrop is defended by Falmouth sophomore Hayden Davis (1) and junior Gio Guerrette.

With 10:32 left in the first half, the Navigators took the lead for the first and only time in the game, as Davis set up junior Evan Yale for a shot which Foley couldn’t stop, but after Foley kept things close by denying senior Cole Allan and Gio Guerrette, Lathrop’s second goal, from senior Colin Blackburn after a turnover, with 7:13 to go before halftime, forged a 2-2 tie and ended an uncharacteristic 15 minute, 55 second scoring drought for Cape Elizabeth’s prolific offense.

Lathrop nearly struck again off the ensuing faceoff, but shot just wide.

After two Falmouth players were sent off for penalties, the Capers retook the lead with 6:14 on the clock, as Lathrop had an initial shot saved by Sinclair, but he scooped up the rebound and buried it.


After Christie and Davis missed shots for the home team, the Navigators tied the score for the third and final time with 4:15 left before the break, as Gio Guerrette set up Joey Guerrette for a bounce shot in traffic which eluded Foley and found the net.

Junior Ty Garlock tried to put Falmouth in front with 2:58 to go, but Foley made the save.

Cape Elizabeth then went in front for good with 53.4 seconds showing, as Lathrop fired a shot that Sinclair got a piece of, but couldn’t keep out the cage, making it 4-3 Capers at halftime.

The Navigators had a 15-11 advantage in first half shots (8-5 on cage), but five Foley saves kept the visitors in front.

Cape Elizabeth senior Tom Hennessey plays keep-away from Falmouth senior Aidan Clapper.

The Navigators had ample chances to pull even in the third quarter, going man-up two minutes in only to have Davis bounce a shot high, then Davis hit the post.

With 7:26 remaining in the frame, the Capers got a gift and capitalized on it, as a failed clear came right to Offit in front and all he had to do was bury the shot to make it 5-3.


“We were going hard on the ride all day and I think we rode really well,” said Offit. “That was great.”

“The margin for error is razor-thin in a game like this,” lamented Falmouth coach Dave Barton. “It’s frustrating. We pride ourselves on being a team that clears the ball consistently. They have a formidable attack riding the ball, but there were a lot of self-inflicted errors.”

Foley preserved the lead by denying both Garlock and Joey Guerrette, then Yale shot wide man-up.

The Navigators then pulled back within a goal with 2:25 left in the quarter, as Christie found sophomore TJ Saulter for a man-up goal, snapping a 13:50 drought, but off the ensuing faceoff, Picarillo won the ball to Blackburn, who raced in, drew the defense, then fed Offit, who buried his shot while falling to restore the two-goal advantage.

“Colin does so well in transition,” Offit said.

In the final minute, Allan hit the post and Davis had a shot saved by Foley and Cape Elizabeth clung to a 6-4 advantage heading to the final stanza.


Where it had to hold on for dear life down the stretch.

Sinclair robbed Lathrop early in the period, then Foley came up with saves on shots from Joey Guerrette and Allan, while Garlock missed high.

After killing a penalty, the Capers appeared to get the breathing room they needed when senior Tom Hennessey set up van Huystee for a three-goal advantage with 4:17 to play.

But the Navigators refused to go quietly.

First, Saulter set up Davis for a man-up goal with 2:51 on the clock.

After Foley denied Gio Guerrette, Davis cut the deficit to just one, as he fought through traffic and flicked the ball into the net with 1:05 still to play.


Sophomore Peter Kearns won the ensuing faceoff for Falmouth, but the Navigators turned the ball over.

Cape Elizabeth then returned the favor and Falmouth had one final chance with 39 seconds left.

Barton called timeout to draw up what he hoped would be a tying shot, but instead, the Navigators couldn’t muster a bid, as they turned the ball over with 16 seconds remaining.

“We jammed it inside,” Barton said. “It probably wasn’t the best look. Cape made the play and that’s what it came down to.”

The Capers transitioned the ball into the offensive zone and ran out the clock and were able to celebrate a hard-fought 7-6 victory.

Cape Elizabeth players run to congratulate senior goalie Michael Foley following Wednesday’s win.

“The other night helped a lot,” said Offit. “It helped us mentally. We hadn’t had many close games in recent years. We’ve killed teams, so it’s nice to have competitive games this season. It’s almost always like this when we play (Falmouth).”


“We’re still not great at closing out a game,” Raymond said. “We didn’t clear as well as we usually do. Our offense has to be better at dealing with their pressure. (Falmouth’s) more athletic and extends their pressure further out than most teams. I think both defenses played really well. Our offense was good in transition, but our settled offense was average. Our defense played a great game.

“We honestly didn’t get that worked up for this. It was just the fourth game of the season. We played a lot of seniors, so our underclassmen have to get better, not just for this year, but we’ll need them next year.”

Lathrop paced the offense with his four first half goals. Offit finished with two and van Huystee also found the net.

Blackburn had a pair of assists, as well as a team-high five ground balls, while Connolly and Hennessey each added one assist.

Foley was a difference-maker with his 12 saves.

“I have the best teammates and the best view of the game in the house,” said Foley. “I don’t have nerves with my defense behind me. They help me out so much. They know where to go and what to do. I make mistakes, but they keep trusting me. I was just able to focus.”


“Michael is doing a great job,” Raymond said. “He knows he can’t make mistakes or he’ll be picking the ball out of the back of the net.”

The Capers overcame 20 turnovers.

Falmouth got three goals from Davis and one apiece from Joey Guerrette, Saulter and Yale.

Christie finished with a pair of assists, while Davis, Gio Guerrette and Yale all had one.

Sinclair made three saves.

The Navigators won 12 of 17 faceoffs, had a 34-27 edge in ground balls (Kearns had a game-high six) and out-shot the Capers, 30-16 (18-10 on cage), but they turned the ball over 17 times and couldn’t capitalize when they had a chance late in the game.


“I’m super-proud of how we battled back,” Barton said. “We talked a lot in the second half about going back to what we do. We were a little too much on our heels in the first half. Credit to (Cape), they played well defensively. We couldn’t clear the ball well and didn’t shoot particularly well. They scored one more than us tonight.”

On the road

The teams meet again May 15, three weeks hence at Hannaford Field, but both squads have plenty of work to do first.

Falmouth goes to Windham Tuesday of next week.

“We don’t have many seniors,” Barton said. “We needed our seniors to lead and they did tonight. We don’t want to just hang around. We have a standard and we know what we’re capable of. We’ll learn from this.”

Cape Elizabeth completes a challenging week Friday at Messalonskee, then plays at Yarmouth Tuesday of next week.

“We can’t get too cocky,” Offit said. “We’ll look forward to seeing (Falmouth) in playoffs.”

“We’re both going to be so different by the end of the year,” said Raymond. “We’ve focused on just getting better. We’re definitely still working on things, but these games and these experiences are great because they’ll make us better.”

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

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