After triumphant regular seasons, the Cape Elizabeth and South Portland boys’ soccer teams saw their respective years end in the Western Class A quarterfinal round last week.
Cape Elizabeth parlayed a late-season victory at Greely into a 9-4-1 mark and a 24th consecutive playoff berth. The Capers, ranked sixth, went to No. 3 Windham last Wednesday for their first playoff test, and although they dominated large swaths of play, couldn’t advance.
The Eagles held a 1-0 lead at the break, but the Capers finally were able to finish in the 56th minute, when senior Brock Barritt scored. Windham would answer, however, on senior Matt Coffee’s goal with just over eight minutes to go. Cape Elizabeth pushed hard for the equalizer and despite having a 15-3 shots advantage, lost 2-1 to finish 9-5-1.
“We played very well from 18 to 18, dominated every statistical part of the game, but failed to beat Windham on the scoreboard, the only place it matters,” lamented Capers coach Ben Raymond. “Windham played well defensively and made the most of their three chances on goal, scoring twice.
“The season as a whole was a lot like the game vs. Windham, we dominated almost every game of the year in time of possession and all other important statistics with the exception of goals. We had some big wins during the season, but the ups and downs of the competition also affected us from time to time. I think we had a very talented team and one of great young men. The seniors will be greatly missed next season on the field, but I have high hopes for the returning letter winners as well as younger players in the program. We will look to improve upon our record this season and move much deeper into the playoffs.”
South Portland posted back-to-back winning marks for the first time since 1999-2000 after an 8-5-1 regular season. A 3-2 victory at Cheverus in the finale gave the Red Riots the No. 9 seed in the region. After rallying for a stunning and stirring 3-2 overtime preliminary round triumph at No. 8 Kennebunk (on senior Nick Brown’s game winner), South Portland faced the daunting task of going to undefeated, defending state champion Scarborough last Wednesday in the quarterfinals.
The top-ranked Red Storm came out guns blazing and led 1-0 just over three minutes in when junior Kevin Philbrick scored. Senior standout Trevor Hoxsie added a goal later in the half for a 2-0 Scarborough lead at the break. Philbrick scored again early in the second half and senior Chase Beech accounted for the 4-0 final score with a goal in the 57th minute.
Scarborough then improved to 16-0 Saturday with a 7-2 home win over Portland (the Red Storm broke open a 1-1 game with a mindboggling six second half goals) and advanced to host No. 3 Windham (13-2-1) in Wednesday’s regional final (please see story).
South Portland’s season concluded at 9-6-1, but the Red Riots had plenty to be proud of.
“We had a great season this year,” said South Portland coach Bryan Hoy. “Unfortunately, we ran into a very tough Scarborough team. We played as well and as hard as we knew how to, but Scarborough’s discipline and speed proved to be too much to handle. I have to give my guys credit for never giving up.
“This season was really special. The players on this team really formed a bond that will last forever. One of the things I’m most proud about is how unselfish this team was, almost to the point where it was a fault. They really worked together and trusted each other out on the field. Our playoff win against Kennebunk really showed what this team was made of, it was very memorable.”
The Red Riots will be hit hard by graduation, but have established themselves as a Western A contender and hope to be so again next year.
“We will be losing quite a bit this offseason,” Hoy said. “We have 12 graduating seniors. Eight starters and three of our top reserves, but we should be able to reload this offseason and challenge for a playoff spot again in 2010. Nemanja Kaurin, who led our team in goals and assists this season, is only a sophomore. Akiba Davis and Will Bushey, also both sophomores, started almost every game for us this year. Sophomore Dan Grazewkski and freshman Damjan Draskovic showed that they are capable of being productive goal scorers. We’re going to need the most help defensively. We lose all four starters, our top reserve, and our starting goalkeeper. We have a few players who are going to need to make some big leaps in order to solidify those positions for us.”
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org