HAMPDEN — It ended almost surreally. A scoreboard that was blank because of a power outage. A night so dark and cold that none of the players would willingly been outside without multiple layers of clothing unless they were playing soccer. A method of deciding the game that basically says, “We’re doing this because we don’t want to be here until midnight.”

It ended on penalty kicks, with Cape Elizabeth’s Mary Perkins making a save that was equal parts marvelous and lucky, and sophomore Kate Breed booting in the clinching shot. It ended with the Capers winning the Class B girls soccer state championship, outscoring Waterville 4-2 in penalty kicks after the teams were tied 1-1 through regulation and two 15-minute overtimes.

Cape Elizabeth finished at 15-2-1, while Waterville ends up at 16-2-0. It was the 13th consecutive win for the West in the Class B girls soccer final.

“I think a lot of people sort of automatically assumed that the southern Maine team is going to come in here and win the state title,” Waterville coach Ian Wilson said. “But we came awfully close, and I’m really proud of the effort our girls gave tonight. Really proud.”

As the game went from afternoon to evening, there was no sense that either team was clearly superior. The teams battled for control, and then Cape’s Kathryn Clark sent a through pass ahead to Breed, who bumped with her defender and won the race to the ball before sending the ball into the right corner of the net.

Waterville bounced back quickly, and tied the score just 42 seconds later. Lydia Roy had her shot deflected, but chased it down on the right side of the field near the end line, and sliced a shot inside the left post to make it 1-1 with 14:03 left in the first half.

“I didn’t expect Waterville to be as tough as they were,” Cape Elizabeth coach Craig Fannon said. “That was one of the toughest oppositions we’ve played against. I really thought it was a great game.”

Perkins, Cape’s senior goalkeeper, made two big plays early in the second half, one when she came out to grab a nice through pass by Pilar Elias intended for Roy, and another when she first played the ball, then dove on it head-first about 15 yards in front of the net.

Power to the press box and the scoreboard went out with about three minutes remaining in regulation, but the game resumed after a brief delay. In the first overtime, Waterville’s Cody Veilleux made a nice play to boot the ball away after Breed shook her defender with a move. Neither team had any great scoring chances in the second overtime.

That meant the game would be decided on penalty kicks. It would be a round of five, with each team alternating and Waterville going first. In trying to choose his players for the tie-breaker, Fannon went with an unscientific approach.

“I never know what to do as a coach,” Fannon said. “I’ve picked before, and I’ve pointed fingers and picked people I thought would do the job, and it’s hit-and-miss. Today, I just asked girls to put their hands up, whoever wanted to take one. I’ve got enough confidence in the group as a whole that we picked the right ones, and luckily, we did.”

While this was going on, Perkins was dreading what was about to come next. Perkins hates penalty kicks, and has told Fannon as much.

“We did them last year in the Windham game (a Cape Elizabeth win),” Perkins said. “Last year was my first time ever playing goalie, so that was crazy. It was nice to have that experience, but I forced him to make us practice penalty kicks by the end of the season. I was like, ‘I’m not going into penalty kicks without practice.’ His advice was to just pick a side and go for it.”

Elias went first and buried a shot top shelf to give Waterville a 1-0 lead. Clark then scored inside the right post to tie it up. Waterville’s Jayme Saulter put her shot in almost exactly the same place as Clark’s shot, but Perkins laid out, and the ball went off her hand and wide of the net.

“It was kind of a blur, to be honest,” Perkins said. “I kind of just picked a side and then dove. I personally thought it hit off my hand and ricocheted in, but I looked back and it wasn’t in the goal, and I was so excited after that. Oh my gosh, it was kind of just luck, and everything.”

“Their goalie guessed right on one, and when she made that save, it’s very difficult psychologically for a high school kid to rally and realize you’re down a little, and you have to stick one in,” Wilson said. “That’s a tough position to put 16-year-old girls into, but that’s what we do.”

With the pressure now on the Purple Panthers, Cape’s Phoebe Shields scored to give the Capers a 2-1 lead. When Waterville’s next shot went over the crossbar, and Elizabeth Raftice scored for Cape Elizabeth, the Capers led 3-1 after three shots, and could end it with a goal or a save.

Colleen O’Donnell kept Waterville alive, but Breed’s shot got inside the right post and in the back of the net, and Cape Elizabeth won the state title.

“I was walking up, and I just tried to keep my thoughts as clear as possible,” Breed said. “You don’t want to look at the goalie and get distracted. I did notice she was leaning a little bit toward the right, and that’s where I shoot. So I was like, ‘Should I try to shoot left? I don’t want to mess up my whole momentum here.’ So I just kept with the right.”

With no power for the public address announcer to use a microphone, Wilson had to name his player off one by one for them to receive their runner-up awards. It was a surreal ending to a surreal game, for a team that almost literally could not have come closer to winning a state title, but still had a lot of reasons to remember the season fondly.

“I’m really just so proud of these girls,” Wilson said. “I think these girls did a wonderful job of demanding excellence of themselves, even when there were days when they could have coasted if they chose to. They weren’t willing to let themselves do that.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243[email protected]Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo

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