CAPE ELIZABETH — Cape Elizabeth High’s boys’ lacrosse team continues to meet every challenge – even one that catches the Capers off guard.

Saturday afternoon at Hannaford Field, Cape Elizabeth hosted Thornton Academy in a battle of undefeated Class A favorites, and for a quarter-and-a-half, the Capers struggled against a defensive wrinkle they weren’t expecting.

But a 5-0 run late in the first half turned the game in Cape Elizabeth’s favor, and the three-time reigning state champions pulled away for a 16-9 victory – their ninth in a row this season and 32nd straight over the last three years.

“(Thornton) played all man-to-man (defense) today and we spent all week preparing for zone,” said Ben Raymond, Cape’s longtime coach. “We had a great week of practice on what we were going to do against the zone, then we didn’t see it all, but we know what we can do against man and it worked out well.”

The Golden Trojans (7-1), ranked No. 3 in the Varsity Maine top 10, came out with confidence and took a 4-1 lead behind a pair of goals from Noah Veroneau and one apiece from Jack DeLeo and Jake Marcotte. They were still up 5-3, with just over seven minutes to go before halftime, when Cape Elizabeth’s offense roared to life.

Goals from Alex van Huystee and Sam Cochran tied the score. Van Huystee set up Bobby Offit’s go-ahead goal, then Cochran struck again, and Aidan Connolly’s unassisted goal made it 8-5 at the break.

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“We have so many guys who can put the ball in the back of the net,” said Connolly. “Alex van Huystee has been performing at a high level this year.”

Three goals from van Huystee kept Cape Elizabeth in front throughout the third quarter, which ended with the score 12-8. Varsity Maine’s No. 1 team finished off the victory with goals from Offit, Connolly, Aidan Mansmann and Tom Hennessey in the fourth.

“These competitive games, there’s nothing like it,” Connolly said. “The energy, the crowd, it’s just a blast.”

Van Huystee finished with five goals and four assists. Offit scored four goals, Cochran added three, Connolly had two, and Hennessey and Mansmann each tallied one.

University of Delaware-bound standout Keegan Lathrop, who was shadowed all game by Thornton sophomore defenseman Grady Hersey, didn’t score a goal, but set up his teammates four times.

“Teams work really hard to try to make things hard for Keegan, but he still managed to create some things and get some assists in there,” Raymond said. “We shared the ball really well today.”

The Golden Trojans got four goals from Marcotte, three from DeLeo and two from Veroneau, but often found themselves out of position on defense, allowing for easy Cape Elizabeth goals.

“We’ve bought into man-to-man this year and we’ve been telling (our defensemen) a second slide was needed, but with our schedule, teams haven’t made us pay, not the way Cape made us pay today,” said Thornton Academy Coach Ryan Hersey. “If we’re willing to do it, we’d have given up only half of those goals.

“We’ll take from this that we can play with them. We’ll see them again in a week-and-a-half. That will be a good measuring stick to see if we can correct the simple things.”


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