Cape Elizabeth’s Tiernan Lathrop, middle, tries to dribble up the field past Gray New-Gloucester’s Nick McCann, left and Kyle Mercier, right. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)Cape Elizabeth’s John O’Connor, center splits the gap between Gray New-Gloucester’s Hunter Brown, left and Nick McCann, right. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)Gray New Gloucester goalie Brannon Gilbert punches the ball away on a corner kick as he colides with Cape Elizabeth’s Nick Clifford during the first half of Saturday’s soccer match. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)Cape Elizabeth’s Gavin Simopoulos, left and Gray New-Gloucester’s Hunter Brown vye for control off a goal kick during Saturday’s boys soccer game. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

GRAY — After surviving two early Gray-New Gloucester corner kicks, Cape Elizabeth put two goals in before halftime, then held off pressure from the Patriots in the second half for a 2-0 victory in a WMC Class B South boys’ soccer game at Myles Burbank Memorial Field on Saturday.

John O’Connor finished off a long cross from Charlie Dall with some fancy footwork in the box midway through the first half, and Archie McEvoy converted on a counter attack after the Capers (3-1-2) stuffed and cleared a Patriots (0-3-1) free kick with three minutes left before halftime.

Cape Elizabeth coach Ben Raymond called McEvoy’s goal “really important.”

“I mean, it was a great effort in getting that second goal before the second half,” Raymond said.

The goal made Gray-New Gloucester’s comeback attempt that much more difficult.

“That was, you know, if we could have gotten in the half 1-0, I think that’s a different mindset. And the way we gave it up, you know, we were trying to push a guy up forward to try to pull someone from their wall out to step to him, to create space in behind, and we play that ball in,” Patriots coach Andy Higgins said. “They come down, and it’s a good team. And Cape’s a perennial power, and they’re going to make you pay when you do things (like that), and they did.”

The Patriots were held without a shot on goal in the first half, while the Capers sent eight at Gray-New Gloucester goalie Brannon Gilbert.

They did have a couple scoring opportunities early, earning their first corner kick two minutes in, and drawing a second one on the play. But they couldn’t take advantage of either of Nick McCann’s kicks — one from each corner.

“That’s some momentum. You know, if we get one early, maybe they’re back on their heels,” Higgins said. ” It would have been nice, but it’s difficult to score goals. For all teams it’s difficult to put them away. We got chances, we just got to make it better moving forward.”

Higgins called for his team to keep an eye on O’Connor early on, and even with that heightened sense of awareness they couldn’t stop the senior from finding the back of the net.

“Cape’s got a player like John O’Connor, who is on that short list of the best players in the conference, and when you give him time and touches, he’s going to make you pay, and that’s what those great players do,” Higgins said.

“It’s a very skilled play,” Raymond said. “I mean, it was a great settle, great turn, he went left, which is not his strong side, and you know, had a great finish.”

Harry Baker wasn’t called upon to make any saves for the Capers in the first half, but Andy Carroll was called on to take over in the second half, and he finished with three saves to finish off the shutout.

“We had come in with that in mind, anyway, that he was going to play the second half, trying to get kids as much experience as possible,” Raymond said. “He did a good job in the second half. Came out and got a few balls before they could become dangerous, and communicated well, and did a great job.”

Two of Carroll’s saves came on long shots — first from Alec Brooks on a put-back of a cleared corner, and later on Drew LaCerda’s long free kick. He also stopped a low shot by Austin LaLiberty midway through the half.

Gilbert finished with 12 saves on 14 shots.

Higgins called the Patriots’ start, and search for a an elusive first win, a “trial by fire,” with losses to Freeport and York and a rallying draw with Waynflete. That only continues Monday with a clash against Greely.

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