Cape lax team tops CR again, takes control of North

CAMDEN — Three times Caesar Rodney High battled back in the second half to tie the game.

But each time, Cape Henlopen had an answer.

Finally, the Vikings put an end to it, reeling off three unanswered goals in a three-minute span of the fourth quarter before posting an 11-9 victory over the Riders in their annual boys’ lacrosse showdown on Wednesday night.

The Henlopen Conference Northern Division victory, Cape’s third straight over CR, puts the Vikings (5-0 North, 7-3 overall) in control of the division with one North game left. The Riders (4-1, 6-3) had a four-game winning streak snapped.

With a number of first-year starters, coach Mark D’Ambrogi liked the way the Vikings handled the late-game pressure.

“It was a good game,” he said. “I thought we established the lead early and then they (the Riders) wouldn’t go away. Eventually, we showed a little bit of character by coming back and withstanding that run.

“The kids rose to the challenge. Several of them made some good plays.”

Trailing 8-6 going into the fourth quarter, CR tied the contest on goals by Noah Longest and Luke Rankin. Rankin’s goal, which he netted as he fell to the ground, knotted the score at 8-8 with 8:33 remaining.

But the Vikings took the lead for good when Sean Lally fired home a shot with 5:56 remaining. After maintaining possession in one long stretch, Cape finally put away the victory with goals from Ethan Ghabra (3:14 left) and Jacob Brown (2:50).

CR got one last goal from Jacob Copio but it came with just 21.6 seconds on the clock.

“I thought we narrowed our focus really,” said D’Ambrogi. “We moved the ball a little bit quicker and then those giys who had the opportunity to finish, did.

“Any time you can beat Caesar Rodney at their place, it’s a good win.”

Ghabra (1 assist) netted a team-high three goals for Cape with Patrick Monigle and Evan Gehman both adding two. Brown (3 assists), Brock Maloomian,     Erik-Stephane Stancofski and Lally all had one as seven different Vikings scored in the game.

Goalies Brendan Kane and Brandt Lookup combined for eight saves.

The Riders were led by two goals apiece from Demetrius Stevenson, Patrick Matsko and Jacob Pangle. Goalie Tyler Gross made three saves.

CR took 26 shots in the contest but a number of times they missed the goal. The Riders also had one shot smack hard off the crossbar.

“They put more on cage than we did,” said CR coach Matt Faircloth. “We had some great opportunities in the beginning, we just didn’t get them on cage. And the team that puts the most in the back of the net wins.”

Faircloth, though, liked the way his team overcame a 5-2 halftime deficit. The Riders’ last two losses to the Vikings have been decided by a total of only three goals.

“We know when we play Cape that we’re going to get a well-coached team,” said Faircloth. “And it’s going to be a high-energy atmosphere. It’s going to be fight. … They made a couple more plays than we did.

“I’m very proud of our effort, we just came up a little short.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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