CAPE ELIZABETH—The streak is dead, but the rivalry is alive and well and if Wednesday evening’s Falmouth-Cape Elizabeth boys’ lacrosse showdown at Hannaford Field had a playoff-like feel, just wait and see what will be in store if the Capers and Navigators are fortunate enough to meet again in the Class A state final a month down the road.

For the second time this season, the longtime rivals battled to the wire in a spirited contest featuring ebbs and flows, adversity and triumph, but unlike the last meeting when it fell one goal short, Falmouth did just enough to prevail this time around.

Cape Elizabeth, which had passed three down-to-the-wire, one-goal tests this spring, shot out of the gate, getting quick goals from junior Aidan Connolly and senior Tom Hennessey and after junior Gio Guerrette countered for the Navigators, going up 3-1 on a goal from senior Alex van Huystee, but an injury to senior Bobby Offit turned momentum and after pulling within a goal after one quarter, Falmouth tied the score at halftime, 4-4.

The Navigators felt they should have been in front at the break, but they were off target on a lot of shots and when the second half commenced, they played the game on their terms and never trailed.

Falmouth went in front, 5-4, and again at 7-5, but goals from van Huystee and Hennessey tied the score 7-7 before senior Cole Allan and junior Joey Guerrette scored to give the Navigators a 9-7 advantage heading for the final stanza.

There, the seemingly unkillable Capers drew even behind goals from Hennessey and unheralded junior Josie Sparks, but Gio Guerrette scored with 6:45 to go for a 10-9 lead.


Once more, Cape Elizabeth answered, as van Huystee tied the score man-up with 2:37 on the clock, but the Navigators went man-up and with 1:40 to go, Joey Guerrette scored to put them ahead to stay.

The Capers had one last look turned aside and Falmouth was able to run out the clock and exult with an 11-10 victory, its biggest regular season triumph in years.

The Navigators handed Cape Elizabeth its first setback in 10 outings this spring, ended the Capers’ three-year, 32-game win streak and in the process, improved to 8-1, serving notice that they’re taking aim on the crown their rival has worn so well, for so long.

“It’s a huge win for us, for sure, but (Cape’s) still the team to beat until someone knocks them off when it really counts,” said Falmouth coach Dave Barton, after just his third victory over the Capers in his eight seasons.

As advertised

While Cape Elizabeth had passed every test to date, Falmouth was nearly flawless as well.


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). After a 7-6 home loss to Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth got back on track and defeated host Windham (20-5), visiting Kennebunk (17-2) and visiting Brunswick (18-1), meaning in non-Cape Elizabeth games, the Navigators had outscored the opposition this year, 124 goals to 15.

The Capers, meanwhile, opened by handling visiting South Portland in a state game rematch, 17-4, then defeated visiting Scarborough (12-3) before getting pushed by visiting York, the reigning Class B champion, only to hold on, 11-10, then they edged host Falmouth (7-6) before winning at Messalonskee, 13-7. Cape Elizabeth then rallied from three-goals down to beat host Yarmouth (13-12) before handling visiting Gorham (17-4) and host Windham (16-5) and beating visiting Thornton Academy Saturday, 16-9.

Wednesday, in front of a large and vocal crowd, on a much more pleasant evening than when the teams met in bitterly chilly and windy Falmouth on April 24 (63 degrees at the start for this one), Cape Elizabeth hoped for its ninth straight win in the series, but instead, the Navigators beat the Capers for the first time since May 4, 2018 (14-8 at home) and the first time in Cape Elizabeth since April 26, 2017 (9-8).

But it took every one of the game’s 2,880 seconds to get the job done.

Cape Elizabeth junior Aidan Connolly carries the ball up the field as Falmouth sophomore Luke Roy defends. The Navigators snapped the Capers’ long win streak with an 11-10 victory. Hoffer photos.

The Capers came out flying, as senior Will Picarillo won the initial possession, and after Lathrop missed just wide, Connolly dodged a defender and ripped a shot past Falmouth junior goalie Cam Sinclair to break the ice.

Picarillo won the next faceoff as well and 57 seconds later, Hennessey scored for the first time, unassisted.


The Navigators then settled in and got an opportunity and after a long run, Gio Guerrette beat Cape Elizabeth senior goalie Michael Foley with 8:15 on the clock to cut the deficit to one.

At the other end, after a Picarillo faceoff win, Offit shot wide and was crushed by a defender. In the process, he suffered an apparent knee injury and wouldn’t return to the game.

After Foley denied Allan to preserve the lead, van Huystee got the ball, switched hands, then found the net to make it 3-1 with 4:26 left.

Falmouth then went up 6-on-4 after a pair of slashing penalties, but couldn’t capitalize, as Joey Guerrette missed wide, Gio Guerrette did the same, then Gio Guerrette had a shot blocked before Foley denied junior Ty Garlock.

After an offsides penalty on the Capers, the Navigators got another man-up opportunity and this time took advantage, as after Joey Guerrette hit the post, sophomore Hayden Davis scored his first goal, from Gio Guerrette, with 54 seconds left, pulling the visitors within 3-2 after one quarter.

It took just 30 seconds of the second period for Falmouth to tie the score, as Davis scored unassisted.


Picarillo won the ensuing faceoff to Hennessey and 10 seconds later, Hennessey set up van Huystee to put Cape Elizabeth back in front, but it would be a long time before the Capers struck again.

After Gio Guerrette twice missed wide, Joey Guerrette showed his twin how it’s done, scoring unassisted with 8:08 on the clock, tying the score 4-4.

The rest of the half would be a story of futility for both squads, as Sinclair robbed van Huystee twice and Lathrop missed wide and at the other end, an apparent Davis goal was waved off when he ruled to have stepped in the crease, Foley saved a Davis shot and Joey Guerrette hit the post.

While Picarillo won eight of 10 first half faceoffs, Falmouth had a 22-15 advantage in shots, but many were off the mark and four Foley saves kept the game tied.

Falmouth sophomore TJ Saulter keeps a close eye on Cape Elizabeth senior Colin Blackburn.

Foley denied a Joey Guerrette shot just 26 seconds into the second half, but with 10:49 to play in the third quarter, junior Evan Yale set up Davis for a goal and the Navigators had the lead for the first time.

It lasted all of 35 seconds, as an Huystee set up Lathrop for a goal, ending a 13 minute, 6 second scoring drought.


Falmouth went back in front with 8:49 remaining, as Davis got the ball from Joey Guerrette and fired a low rocket past Foley.

A minute later, Gio Guerrette eluded a defender and scored unassisted for a two-goal advantage.

After Foley prevented further damage by robbing Davis, van Huystee scored an unassisted goal with 6:24 to go and after van Huystee and Lathrop were off target, Hennessey fired a shot which Sinclair got a piece of but couldn’t keep out of the cage to tie the score, 7-7, with 3:21 on the clock.

With Lathrop on the sidelines getting an apparent upper leg injury looked at, the Navigators retook the lead again with 2:30 left, as Yale set up Allan for a point blank shot that Foley had no chance to stop.

Falmouth then went man-up and made it 9-7 with 1:05 showing, as Joey Guerrette did the honors, from Davis.

The Capers went man-up to start the fourth quarter and Lathrop returned to action. After Sinclair robbed Connolly, Hennessey struck, from sophomore Alex Mainville, with 11:33 to play to make it a one-goal game again.


Foley did his part, denying Davis and at the other end, after Sinclair saved a bid from Lathrop, an improbable hero stepped up to tie the score anew.

With 8:58 to play, Sparks, who was pressed into service by injuries to Offit and senior Sam Cochran, who suffered an apparent season-ending knee injury in Saturday’s game against Thornton Academy, got the ball from senior Aidan Mannsmann and beat Sinclair to make it 9-9 and set off a wild celebration when he returned to the sideline.

Cape Elizabeth junior Josie Sparks (14) is congratulated by his teammates after tying the score in the fourth quarter.

The Capers then nearly went in front when Connolly had a great look, but Sinclair made the stop.

After Foley denied Allan and sophomore Ian Christie hit the post, an offsides penalty on Cape Elizabeth gave the Navigators a man-up opportunity and with 6:45 remaining, Yale set up Gio Guerrette for a 10-9 advantage.

Lathrop tried to answer, but was robbed by Sinclair.

At the other end, Foley denied Joey Guerrette.


With 2:51 left, a holding penalty on Falmouth junior defenseman Indi Bachman gave the Capers a man-up opportunity and it took all of 14 seconds for Hennessey to set up van Huystee for a goal which forged the sixth and final tie of the contest, 10-10.

“I’m a big Alex van Huystee fan,” Barton said. “He’s having a great year. We had two slides and had help from the backside, but they made plays in tight.”

Cape Elizabeth couldn’t stand prosperity, however, and a mere seven seconds later, Hennessey was sent off for unnecessary roughness, a two-minute, locked-in penalty.

The Capers hoped to survive being man-down and get the game to overtime, but the Navigators would strike.

After Foley saved a Yale shot and Joey Guerrette missed wide, Joey Guerrette got the ball from Davis and this time found the mark with 1:40 left and at last, Falmouth had the lead for good.

“I was just looking for a shot, so I shot low-to-low and stung that bottom right corner,” Guerrette said. “We realized we needed to play with poise. Everyone attacked the net harder and took really good shots. The placement was perfect.”


“The big line this week was, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone, and if you want to go far, go together,'” Barton said. “You play a great defense like Cape and the first time, we had guys who went rogue and it’s hard to be one of of six on offense when you don’t know what other guys are doing. We’ve worked hard the last two-and-a-half weeks to score as six.”

Cape Elizabeth came within inches of tying the score off the ensuing faceoff, as Picarillo not only won the ball, but found an open avenue to the goal and he raced in and shot, but Sinclair made his biggest save of the game.

“Cam Sinclair is an absolute monster in net,” said Bachman.

The Capers kept the ball and out of a timeout, hoped to pull even, but with 1:20 on the clock, they turned it over.

The Navigators got the ball into the offensive end and called timeout.

Cape Elizabeth did everything it could to get the ball back, but its comeback dreams were dashed when senior Colin Blackburn was called for slashing with 16 seconds left.


Joey Guerrette then got the ball on his stick and ran around until the clock struck 0:00 and at 7:46 p.m., Falmouth celebrated its 11-10 victory and the end of the Capers’ win streak.

With Cape Elizabeth coach Ben Raymond doing his best not to bear witness, Falmouth celebrates its victory.

“It was exciting and a relief too when the horn went off,” Joey Guerrette said. “We worked hard and emptied the tank.”

“It’s so hard trying to hold them off,” Bachman said. “They’re a really good team. They stuck right with us. After we lost to them, we were pumped up to play them again, but I have every game circled. I’m ready to go all the time. It feels great, but it’s just another game. This isn’t our goal. We don’t want to just beat them now, but the last game of the season. They’re not unbeatable. They’ve been beaten now.”

“I wanted to get the ball to one of the twins, that’s it,” Barton added. “I put a lot on them. Coming out of the timeout, (Joey) had to face (senior) Jake Leiss and Colin Blackburn and that’s a tall task. The twins are just built different.

“We haven’t had many tight games. We hadn’t practiced keeping the ball in a whole lot, but credit to the guys. It still wasn’t pretty, but we’re getting there. It validates that the process is worth it and it’s working. There’s plays all over the field for 48 minutes. Look at the score sheet, they made one more than we did a couple weeks ago and we made just one more play tonight.”

Davis had a team-high four goals, while Gio Guerrette and Joey Guerrette both scored three times. Allan had the other goal.


Yale finished with three assists, Davis had two and Gio Guerrette and Joey Guerrette added one apiece.

Sinclair made six timely saves.

“Cam bailed us out in the fourth quarter,” Barton aid.

Sophomore faceoff man Peter Kearns had seven ground balls and did much better in the circle in the second half than he did in the first.

“Will was killing us, but credit to Peter for battling back,” Barton said.

The Navigators finished with a 47-28 advantage in shots (23-16 on cage) and only turned the ball over 14 times.


All good things must end

Cape Elizabeth’s offense was paced by van Huystee, who scored four times, and Hennessey, who had three goals. Connolly, Lathrop and Sparks all added one goal.

Hennessey also had two assists, while Mainville, Mannsmann and van Huystee posted one apiece.

Foley stopped a dozen shots.

Picarillo won 14 of 24 faceoffs.

The Capers had a slight edge in ground balls, 30-27 (Blackburn collected a game-high nine), and turned the ball over 18 times.


“There’s more good things we did in this game that we’ll take away from this than the score,” Raymond said. “We patchworked a bunch of things together and the kids had to do a bunch of things on the fly. They adapted well and ran our offense. We can clean up the penalties. That was the difference in the game. That and ground balls. We picked up a lot of key ground balls, but consistently, we didn’t pick them up.

(The injuries were) a little frustrating, but more importantly, it was an opportunity for other kids to get chances in this kind of game. We got some kids some great experience. We saw some really good things from kids like Aidan Mannsmann, Josie, Alex Mainville. They did a great job in situations they hadn’t been in.

“The guys have done a great job. The seniors have been part of a bunch of great teams. It’s not different from any other year. We don’t focus on going undefeated, just winning the last game of the year.”

“Credit to (Cape),” said Barton. “They were down a bunch of guys, but they’re super-well coached. Not a lot of teams could survive being down three starting attackmen at big moments in a game, but it’s just next-guy-up for them.”

Act three?

Cape Elizabeth (still first in the Class A state Heal Points standings) stays home to face Marshwood Friday, then goes to Thornton Academy Tuesday of next week.


“The focus isn’t on right now, but how we get better and if we play (Falmouth) again, how we beat them in a third matchup,” Raymond said. “Winning every game is important, but this was a regular season game that may or may not impact Heal Points. If we play again, we just need to stay out of the penalty box and pick up maybe five more ground balls.”

Falmouth (which is second in Class A) is in the midst of its toughest schedule stretch of the season. The Navigators have a showdown at Class B powerhouse Yarmouth Saturday, then look to avenge last year’s playoff upset when they host South Portland Wednesday of next week.

“We need to keep on practicing hard every day,” Joey Guerrette said. “We have Yarmouth coming up and they have a great goalie and some good poles and their offense is good, so we’ll prepare for that.”

“I think this was big for confidence,” said Barton. “We talked this week about these being the games we want and how teams like Cape make us better. We’ve talked a lot about our schedule being what it is. You only get 14 (games) and everything after that is earned. Every time we’ve had a chance to put on a jersey and compete, the guys have done that.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at

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