OAKLAND — The Capers may have been forced to play the type of game to which they are not typically accustomed Saturday night, but they certainly made themselves look right at home doing so.

Senior Tiernan Lathrop scored a pair of goals and No. 7 Cape Elizabeth blanked No. 3 Gardiner 3-0 in a Class B South semifinal at Messalonskee’s Veterans Field. The Capers (11-5-1) advance to meet top-seeded and unbeaten Yarmouth, which twice beat Cape during the regular season.

“They were an athletic team, but I think in our conference we play a lot more skilled, competitive soccer teams,” Lathrop said. “That put us at an advantage.”

The somewhat pedestrian regular season record for the Capers was misleading. Playing in the Western Maine Conference, Cape spent the fall competing with Yarmouth, Greely and Freeport, among others. In the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference, Gardiner couldn’t say that the meat of its schedule presented the same daily rigors.

The Tigers finished 12-4-1.

“You can tell that team has played competition all year that’s above what we have in the KVAC,” Gardiner coach Nick Wallace said. “We’ve had that conversation about paceand that’s the next step in the progression of being a great team. (Cape Elizabeth) is very, very talented, they have some guys that have played at a high level. You can tell. They’re quick.”


The Capers dominated the possession ledger and opened the scoring in the 30th minute when junior Sebastien Moon curled a shot under the crossbar from 22 yards out.

That was the advantage at the halftime break, but Lathrop connected twice inside of five minutes just before the hour mark to build too big a deficit for Gardiner. Lathrop collected a Tiger mis-clearance inside the 18-yard box to finish off a 1-v-1 with goalkeeper Sean Doyle (14 saves) in the 55th minute and then completed his brace with a second-ball header past Doyle off a corner kick play.

“There’s times where we have finesse, and there’s times we work hard,” Lathrop said. “I’m a three-sport athlete, so I don’t always focus on the soccer skills as much. When I’m in the field, though, I’ll work hard to get that ball in the net.”

Cape Elizabeth avenged one of its regular-season losses with a 3-0 win over Gray-New Gloucester in the tournament’s preliminary round, and they hope to avenge a couple more when they enter the final against Yarmouth on Wednesday.

“The schedule is the schedule, we play who shows up,” Cape coach Ben Raymond said. “We definitely try to make sure we’re focused on getting better every day, and not focusing on winning that specific game. Yes, we’re trying to win every single game — but the important thing is are we getting better, are we doing the things that are going to help us go deeper in the playoffs.”

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