The preseason whispers grew to flat-out declarations from opposing coaches: Cape Elizabeth’s boys’ lacrosse team was on a different level than every other team in Maine.
Friday night at Fitzpatrick Stadium, the Capers emphatically showed the opinions were correct. Dominating in every facet, Cape Elizabeth steamrolled Falmouth, 19-6, in the Class A state championship game. Cape led 8-1 after a quarter and 15-1 at halftime. The second half was played under running time for all but 1:26, when Falmouth briefly trimmed the deficit to less than 12 goals.
“I know we wanted to go out with a bang,” said senior captain Archie McAvoy. “To go out with excitement and just say, ‘that last game, that was the best game of lacrosse we ever played.’ I had a ton of fun today and to go out like that, I couldn’t ask for a better season (or) for better teammates to play it with.”
Cape Elizabeth (16-0) was coming off a tense 11-9 victory at Berwick Academy in the South final. But every other game this year had been a lopsided contest. Cape outscored its opponents 269-65, and clicked on all cylinders in the finale.
“I don’t think we ever talked about we’re going to win a state championship. We didn’t talk about we’re going to be undefeated. We just talked about playing really good lacrosse. And that was the focus,” said Cape Coach Ben Raymond.
It’s Cape Elizabeth’s 12th state title since boys’ lacrosse became a sanctioned MPA sport in 1998, the program’s first in Class A, and the first since the Capers won the Class B crown in 2017.
“It felt an unbelievably long time coming,” said senior defender Gavin Simopolous. “Especially with the COVID year, it feels like a century, but we’re so happy to get over the hump. With us getting Cape’s first Class A title, we’re happy to be in the history books.”
Falmouth (11-5) finished as the Class A runner-up for the third straight season (not including the canceled 2020 season). After being outshot 36-10 in the first half, Falmouth played better in the second half. Sam Gearan and Satchel Kaplan each scored twice for Falmouth.
Cape already had a lead 4-1 as the first quarter wound down when it scored four goals in the final 57 seconds – the first two in a four-second span. A hard riser from Caden Lee (three goals) off an assist from senior captain Archie McAvoy (one goal, four assists) started the spree. Gus Huffard won the ensuing faceoff and whipped a downfield pass to McAvoy, who sent the ball to Oskar Frankwicz, who scored.
Before the quarter was over, junior midfielder Tiernan Lathrop got his third of six goals and Frankwicz scored again.
“There was not much we could do,” said Falmouth senior Jonah Eng. “We tried to hang and they go hard. Literally four or five straight in 57 seconds. Not much we can do.”
Lathrop was a force his combination of strength, speed and vision. In the offensive end, Lathrop was able to bull his way into space to get his dangerous left-handed shot free. He also routinely cleared the ball via solo runs and dodges after Cape’s staunch defense – led by long poles Simopolous, Dylan Hewitt, Silas Richard and Nate Patterson – thwarted infrequent Falmouth attacks.
“I thought we were probably playing the best lax we’ve ever played,” said Simopolous, who had an assist in the second quarter.
Colin Campbell (three goals, one assist) and Lee also keyed the midfield. Keegan Lathrop, a freshman attack, scored twice with two assists. Late in the second quarter, freshman Sam Cochran came off Cape’s bench and scored a highlight-reel goal, zipping a shot behind his own head while on the run. Cape’s final goal was scored by senior Noah Pillsbury.
Falmouth Coach David Barton said it was the diversity of Cape’s attack that make them so tough to defend. Barton had Jake Rand on McAvoy, Cape’s playmaker, and another long-pole defender, Ben Wentworth, keyed on Keegan Lathrop.
“I mean, it sure doesn’t look like it on the scoreboard, but Jake played really well on Archie. Ben Wentworth played really well on Keegan Lathrop,” Barton said. “There were some good things; it’s just they’ll make you pay. When you have off-ball guys like Oskar and Caden Lee, those guys would be top threats on any other team and they showed it tonight. Their ball movement was incredible.”