Field Hockey: Capers sail past Lakers

Dessi Berry drives forward for Lake Region at Cape on Thursday.

Caper Taylor Young snapped a 0-0 stalemate with a notch early in the second half versus visiting Lake Region on Thursday evening, Sept. 22, and pushed her girls further ahead a mere five minutes later. Cape rolled from there to a 3-0 win over the Lakers, improving on the result to 4-3 this season.

“We’ve had a great week so far,” said Cape head coach Maura Bisogni cheerily. “These two wins are good for us, in that we have four tough games coming up. Now that they’re confident and they’ve scored all these goals, they have nothing to lose to go after these next four teams…I’m excited.”

Breaking .500 is an especially meaningful development for the Capers, as they struggled to an 0-14 season in 2015 and began 2016 at 0-2 before picking up steam with wins over Gray-New Gloucester and Greely. Cape faltered facing Kennebunk, but jumped back to 3-3 against Wells.

Meanwhile, Lake Region, who went 9-5 in 2015, stumbled to 0-7 this year.

“I think we’ve been having some great run-ons,” said Lakers head coach Pauline Webb. “The girls have been connecting well with their passes; they’ve been aggressive, running to the ball and coming back for the ball and moving the ball forward up the field pretty well.”

Cape ran the early minutes, but Lake Region ramped up in due time, pushing back to attack for a lengthy stretch. Neither team could convert, however. Young pulled the trigger on a hard short from the top of the circle following a corner around 9:22, but Lakers goalie Maddie Nelson proved more than equal to that task, turning a kick-save so sharp, it was audible on the sidelines.

“Maddie’s a great goalie,” Webb said. “She’s loud back there; she really tries to control the defensive end; she tries to control where the defenders are going. She plays almost year-round, so she’s got some good experience on turf as well.”

“Our weakness has been defense in the circle,” said Webb, “so we do need to work on that, help Maddie out a little bit.”

The teams went into the break at 0-0, but upon their return, only hung there for a few minutes. Young tallied her first at 26:45, launching a rip through heavy coverage on a corner and beating Nelson. 1-0.

“I think, us, just getting the first goal in is always a little bit of a struggle,” said Bisogni. “And then, once it goes in, they get much more confident, much more excited, and just want to keep scoring.”

Five minutes later, another Cape corner came to naught – but only because a Laker dove behind Nelson to block the ball with her body. The savvy play saved a surefire score, but also set the Capers up with a penalty shot, which Young took – and nailed. 2-0.

“She has been huge for us,” Bisogni said of Young. “We keep giving her the ball because she keeps scoring. She’s scored twice in overtime for us this season, she scored yesterday.”

The Lakers refused to give in. They transformed a corner of their own into heavy pressure at 17:45, but couldn’t slip one past Cape keeper Kinnon McGrath. Still they kept trying. Kaitlyn Plummer plunged inward around 12:58, but again McGrath repelled the advance. 

At 10:34, the Capers scored the straw that broke the Lakers’ backs: Katie Zajkowski knocked a ball past Nelson out of a scrum for 3-0. 

Webb remarked on her team’s struggles to finish on the attack: “That’s been an issue for us this year,” she said, “although, the last few games, we’ve gotten in our offensive circle, we’ve gotten a lot of penalty corners. We’re young. We’ve got to learn to play defense our stick side, and move our feet. So there’s all those things to work on.”

Zajkowksi nearly struck again, following a Cape corner with about seven minutes remaining, but the officials waved off her goal because the ball had never traveled beyond the circle after initially entering play across the endline. 

Webb praised a couple of her girls in particular: “Two players who’ve been pretty consistent: No. 10, Hailey Parsons, who’s a midfield for us – she’s probably my most-improved player since last year. Defensively she comes out with the ball, she carries it, she releases it; I’m just really thrilled at how much her game as improved.

“The other one is a freshman, No. 4, who actually is playing center-mid, which is a huge position, a very important position, controlling the field. And a freshman is doing a good job right now. She plays hard; she’s aggressive. That’s Julia Murch.”

“They’re all doing a great job,” Webb said. “But I think those two are really carrying the team right now.”

For her part, Bisogni praised a number of her athletes: “Emmy Logue scored for us yesterday and had a great game again today. Her sister, CJ, did too. Also, Katie Bozek is a huge defender for us, and is everywhere. They’re all playing so well. Katie Zajkowski scored that goal, and she scored the goal that got called back. And our goalie – they had some momentum there, and our goalie shut that down for us. Kinnon did a really good job.”

Cape traveled to Poland on Saturday the 24th and hosted Yarmouth on Monday the 26th. They drop in on Kennebunk on Wednesday the 28th. They host York on Friday the 30th.

Lake Region visited G-NG on the 23rd, welcomed Sacopee Valley on the 26th and travels to York on the 28th. They host Poland on Oct. 4.

Dessi Berry drives forward for Lake Region at Cape on Thursday.

Laker Liz Cole fires forward in her team’s matchup at Cape on Thursday.

Caper Katie Zajkowski added her team’s third goal vs. Lake Region on Thursday.

Caper CJ Logue defends at home vs. Lake Region last Thursday.

Caper Taylor Young unwinds into a shot vs. Lake Region.

The Capers celebrate Taylor Young’s (right) second goal.

Caper Emily Logue and Laker Julia Murch battle for control.

Kelsey Apovian drives through midfield with the ball; Caper Taylor Young pursues.

Caper Julia Lennon pushes forward vs. Lake Region on Thursday night.

Paige Davis cuts to avoid a Capers defender.