SCARBOROUGH—All the Cape Elizabeth girls’ soccer team has done is win the past two years and even though the Capers won’t have an opportunity to three-peat as Class B state champions this fall, they can certainly make sure they vanquish every team that crosses their path.
Wednesday evening at the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex, Cape Elizabeth met Scarborough, the three-time reigning Class A South champion, in the longtime powers’ first countable regular season meeting in 18 years and with all eyes on Capers junior standout Maggie Cochran, the Red Storm managed to keep her off the board, but Cape Elizabeth senior captain Laura Ryer proved to be the difference maker instead.
Ryer headed home a Cochran cross in the game’s 23rd minute and with the Capers’ defense and junior goalkeeper Elise Branch keeping Scarborough off the board, Ryer delivered the coup de grace on a rebound with 4:02 on the clock, giving Cape Elizabeth a 2-0 victory.
The Capers captured their fourth game without a loss this autumn, extended their two-year win streak to 20 and in the process, dropped the Red Storm to 1-2-1.
“These girls want to go 8-0, 10-0, whatever it is,” said Cape Elizabeth coach Graham Forsyth, who has won 39 of 40 games in his two-plus seasons at the helm. “They don’t want to lose a game. They’re driven. They want to do it for the seniors and represent their school proudly. They’ve done everything I’ve asked for and more. It’s a bummer not to have a state championship to play for, but they’re relieved to play and we’re happy to provide them a platform to get out on the field.”
Two of the best
Prior to Scarborough joining the Southwestern Maine Activities Association in 2003, the Capers and Red Storm were Western Maine Conference rivals and met annually. While they hadn’t played in the regular season the past 17 years, the teams did square off five times in the playoffs, with Scarborough capturing three of those contests (a 1-0 win in the 2012 Western A Final was the most recent).
Each squad has enjoyed plenty of success in recent years, as Scarborough has won three straight Class A South titles (only to lose each time to Camden Hills in the state final), while Cape Elizabeth has gone back-to-back as the champions of Class B.
The Capers started the COVID-delayed, abbreviated season by blanking Greely (5-0). They then shut out visiting Falmouth (4-0) and Monday, needed overtime to survive an upset bid from South Portland, prevailing, 2-1, on Cochran’s goal.
The Red Storm opened with a 2-1 win at Bonny Eagle, then settled for a scoreless home tie versus Gorham before losing, 1-0, at Gorham Monday.
The last time the teams met in a regular season countable game was Oct. 8, 2002 (a 2-1 Capers’ victory in Cape Elizabeth).
Wednesday, Scarborough sought its first regular season win over the Capers since a 4-3 double-OT triumph way back on Aug. 31, 2001, but Cape Elizabeth possessed the finishing touch.
The Capers had some golden opportunities early, but Ryer couldn’t handle a Cochran cross in the box and Cochran sent a Ryer cross just wide.
The Red Storm then went on the attack, but senior Abby Drapeau missed just wide and a free kick from senior Maddie Scammell was saved by Branch.
Cochran then put on a pair of clinics which demonstrated why she’s arguably the finest player in the state, but they didn’t result in a goal.
First, Cochran eluded two defenders, then set up Ryer for a header which went just wide.
Cochran then got the ball in the middle and with just a sliver of room, turned a launched a low rocket which Scarborough junior goalkeeper Savannah Beaulieu had to dive to deny.
After dangerous Red Storm sophomore striker Ali Mokriski had a rush broken up at the last second, Cape Elizabeth transitioned to offense and broke the ice.
Cochran beat a defender down the right side, then sent a perfect cross in front to Ryer, who managed to head the ball into the net for a 1-0 lead with 17:39 to go before halftime.
“We got the balls in and we got our chances,” said Ryer. “I feel like Maggie will find me. She’s an amazing player.”
“We have a talented roster,” Forsyth said. “We don’t want to become predictable and it’s easy to become one-dimensional with Maggie and let her do her thing. They were double- and triple-teaming her, so we had to find another way and Laura, being a senior captain, stepped up huge and got a couple goals.’
“Maggie’s one of the best players I’ve seen,” said longtime Red Storm coach Mike Farley. “She gets a little separation and sends the ball in. She was whipping in crosses from the corner flag and they went where you want them to. The rest of their team knows where she plays the ball and they attack it.”
Late in the half, Beaulieu denied Capers junior Caroline Gentile, who shot after a spin move, then Scarborough nearly drew even, as senior Grace Pettingill got to a deflection and fired a low shot which Branch had to dive to stop.
In the first 40 minutes, each team put three shots on frame, but Cape Elizabeth got one to find its mark and clung to the lead.
Cape Elizabeth looked to extend its lead early in the second half, but junior Emily Supple’s shot was saved by Beaulieu, a Cochran cross was batted away by the goalie and a Ryer corner kick bent in on Beaulieu, who bobbled the ball, then made the save.
Scarborough had a couple chances to pull even, but Capers senior back Samantha Olsen broke up a pass from Mokriski to Pettingill, Scammell’s free kick found the foot of freshman Lana Djuranovic, whose one-timer trickled just wide of the far post, then Drapeau missed just wide.
“We just needed a break or two,” Farley said. “We got a good ball and almost ran into it there. That would have changed the game.”
With 4:02 to go, Cape Elizabeth clinched its victory, off a corner kick.
Cochran sent the ball in and it found Supple, whose deflected shot came to Beaulieu, but the keeper couldn’t cradle the ball and Ryer was there to bang home the rebound for a 2-0 advantage.
“The goalie got the ball, it bounced back and I just kicked it in,” Ryer said. “That was an easy one. ”
The hosts had a couple more chances, but Branch saved a long free kick from sophomore Bridget Davis and Pettingill sent a shot just wide and the Capers closed it out.
“Scarborough’s a tough team,” Ryer said. “It was nervewracking coming in, but we knew we needed to play our game and I’m glad we finished strong. Our defense was amazing. That was a highlight of the game. I’m proud of the team.”
“I’ve got full faith in our defenders and goalkeeper and they were solid against some really good players,” Forsyth said. “We created enough chances, but we’re having a tough time turning chances into goals right now. We had two great opportunities in the first half and couldn’t finish. We’re just missing the final touch right now. When we get there, we’ll blow teams away.”
Cape Elizabeth out-shot Scarborough, 7-4, got four saves from Branch and held a 6-1 advantage in corner kicks.
The Red Storm got five saves from Beaulieu, but for the third straight game, couldn’t put the ball in the net.
“It was relatively even in the regular run of play, but Maggie’s crosses were the difference,” Farley said. “Cape plays like we do, possesses the ball like we do. Their older players are a little more advanced and that showed in moments. They know where the ball’s going. They keep applied pressure on you.”
See you soon
The teams play again Tuesday at Hannaford Field in Cape Elizabeth.
Scarborough then closes the year with home games against Bonny Eagle and South Portland and a trip to Falmouth.
“We have to do a much better job dealing with (Cape’s crosses),” Farley said. “We’ll work on it and see if we can do better against them next time. These kids were worried about not playing, now they’re playing nothing but competitive games.”
Cape Elizabeth welcomes Greely Saturday, then hosts Scarborough Tuesday and South Portland Oct. 24 before closing at Yarmouth in a regional final rematch Oct. 29.
“It feels amazing to be playing (this season),” Ryer said. “I didn’t think it would happen, but I’m really glad it happened for my senior year. We just want to win games and have fun with it. We want to win every game.”
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