While it seems like only yesterday that we were previewing the fall sports season, the fact of the matter is that the playoffs are right around the corner.
The field hockey regular season comes to an end this week and the golf state match is Saturday in Vassalboro. While football, soccer and cross country still have a few weeks remaining, we’re closer to the end of the season than the beginning.
With that in mind, several local teams have ample reason for optimism and excitement.
Here’s a glimpse at where things stand after Mother Nature finally made her presence felt the first weekend in October.
City teams went 2-1 this weekend. Friday night, Portland continued its resurgence with an impressive 35-14 victory at Biddeford, but Deering dropped its third straight, 30-0, to visiting Thornton Academy (please see stories).
Cheverus, meanwhile, bounced back from its first loss of the season with aplomb, rolling to a 30-7 home triumph over Kennebunk Saturday. The Stags shot to an early 6-0 lead on an 80-yard TD burst from sophomore Spencer Cooke, but trailed 7-6 after one quarter when the Rams scored on a short run. Cheverus went ahead to stay with 4:08 to play in the first half when junior quarterback Peter Gwilym scored on a 4-yard run and Gwilym hooked up with junior Jack Bushey on the two-point conversion to make it 14-7 at the break. Senior Matt Ball scored on a 1-yard run (and sophomore Cam Olson scored the two-point conversion) to make it 22-7 after three quarters. In the fourth, Gwilym hit junior Liam Hobbins for an 11-yard score (Olson scored again on the two-point conversion) to account for the final score.
Cheverus (4-1) hosts Westbrook in its home finale Saturday, then closes the regular year at Bonny Eagle and Deering as the Stags seek a second straight playoff berth. One more win will likely sew it up.
The Waynflete boys’ soccer team is still undefeated after wins last week over visiting Traip (5-0), host Sacopee (3-0) and host Freeport (2-0). Against the Rangers, senior Robin Wajler and junior Omar Abdille both scored twice. In the win over the Hawks, senior Daniel Mitchell, junior Tucker Geoffroy and freshman Peabo Knoth tickled the twine. At the Falcons, Abdille and Wajler had the goals. The Flyers (8-0-1 and third in the latest Western Class C Heal Points standings) played at Fryeburg Tuesday and host Poland Thursday.
In Western A, Cheverus, Deering and Portland are all still in the playoff hunt.
The Stags improved to 6-2-1 with a 1-1 tie at Windham and a 2-1 home victory over Kennebunk. Against the Rams, sophomores Nick Melville and Louie DiStasio scored. Cheverus (fourth in Western A) played at Portland Tuesday night and host Westbrook Thursday.
The Rams took a 4-4-1 mark (and the No. 13 ranking in the Western A Heals) into a showdown at undefeated, defending Class A state champion Scarborough Tuesday. Last week, Deering lost 2-1 at home to South Portland, then won 1-0 at Biddeford behind junior Isaac Wipfler’s late penalty kick. The Rams host Bonny Eagle Thursday and visit Kennebunk Tuesday of next week.
The Bulldogs, a team highly touted in the preseason, appear to be kicking into gear. Last week, Portland won 6-0 over visiting Biddeford (junior standout Fazal Nabi scored twice) and eked out a big 3-2 triumph at Westbrook (senior Andrew Capelluti, junior Nick Rovnak and sophomore Paley Berlin had the goals), avenging last year’s playoff loss in the process. Portland (4-3-1 and 11th in Western A) hosted Cheverus Tuesday, goes to Massabesic Thursday and comes home to battle Marshwood next Tuesday.
Waynflete’s girls’ soccer team couldn’t match the boys and stay unblemished Saturday. Eleven days after a 1-0 double-OT home win over rival North Yarmouth Academy, the Flyers had to visit the Panthers in the rain (please see Web site for full game story). Waynflete (which cruised to easy wins over Traip, 7-0, and Sacopee, 9-1, earlier in the week) gave up a first half goal and three more in the second, surrendered 15 corner kicks while earning just two and fell to 8-1 on the year with a 4-0 loss.
“We just didn’t play well today,” Flyers coach Todd Dominski said. “Regardless of the weather, you have to come to play, especially against your rival. They wanted it. They took care of it early. If this refocuses us, it’s not a bad thing.”
Waynflete (fifth in the latest Western C Heal Points standings) hosted Fryeburg Tuesday, plays at Poland Thursday and visits Wells Friday.
In Western A, Cheverus continues to chug along at an impressive rate. Last Wednesday, the Stags downed visiting Windham 2-0 (behind goals from senior Ashley Giddinge and freshman Darby Rawcliffe). Friday, Cheverus was a 3-0 victor at Kennebunk as Rawcliffe, senior Grace Fitzpatrick and freshman Eden Monsen found the net. The Stags (7-1-2 and third behind Greely and Scarborough in the Heals) hosted Portland Tuesday and welcome Westbrook Friday.
Deering is enjoying its best season in several years. The Rams got goals from five different players in a 5-2 victory at McAuley last Tuesday, then improved to 6-2-1 Friday with a 3-0 home win over Biddeford (as senior Mohdis Delijani, junior Maria Salamone and sophomore Alexis Sivovlos scored). The Rams (seventh in the Heals) go to Scarborough Wednesday and play at Bonny Eagle Saturday. Deering’s last winning season was in 2005.
McAuley started 2-1 this fall, but is now on a seven-game winless streak after losses to Deering (5-2) and Scarborough (4-0). The Lions are 2-6-2 (and 17th in Western A). McAuley hosts South Portland Wednesday. Monday, the Lions play at Noble.
Portland is 4-4-2 after losing 2-1 at Biddeford (senior Sophia Nappi scored in defeat) and winning 3-0 over visiting Westbrook (behind two Nappi goals and another from classmate Mariah Callender). The Bulldogs (sixth in Western A) had a big showdown at Cheverus Tuesday and welcome Massabesic Friday.
The magical season of the Cheverus field hockey team added another special chapter last Monday when the Stags defeated visiting Gorham for the first time, 3-2 in double-overtime (please see Web site for full game story). Sophomore Sarah LaQuerre and senior Maggie Grindatti scored to give Cheverus a 2-0 lead, but the talented Rams answered and forced overtime thanks to two goals off penalty corners. In the second “sudden victory” extra session, senior goalie Audrey Grinnell kept the Stags alive with five solid saves before LaQuerre scored on a breakaway for the winner.
“It feels really good,” said LaQuerre. “This has to be our biggest win. Gorham’s an amazing team. We knew if we played our best we could play at their level. It’s a boost.”
“It’s the first time we beat Gorham,” added coach Amy McMullin. “We stayed strong. We had some girls step up. Sarah played a great game. It’s a huge win. It was intense. Gorham played great. Their goalie made some big saves. It’s exciting to see we can finally win an overtime game. It’s completely different from just another game. We’ve made so many strides.”
Cheverus improved to 11-0 with a 7-0 home win over McAuley Friday. LaQuerre, senior Sage Witham and junior Emily Sawchuck all scored two times. The Stags (first in the latest Western Class A Heals) were rained out at Marshwood Saturday and made that game up Monday. They visited Portland Tuesday and then all eyes will be on them when they host undefeated powerhouse and defending regional champion Scarborough Thursday in a game that will determine the top seed and who gets homefield advantage for the playoffs.
Deering is hoping to be in the postseason mix as well. Last week, the Rams tied visiting Kennebunk 0-0 and won 7-2 at Massabesic (behind senior Jami LeRoy’s three goals) to improve to 5-5-1 (and eighth in the Heals). After hosting Noble Tuesday, Deering goes to Sanford Thursday and closes the regular season Friday at home versus South Portland.
McAuley, Portland and Waynflete appear to be on the outside of the playoff picture looking in.
The Lions did earn their first victory last week, downing visiting Biddeford 2-1 (behind goals from senior Olivia Locke and junior Tori Tenenbaum). The Cheverus loss left McAuley 1-11 (and 16th in Western A). After hosting Gorham Tuesday, the Lions wrap up the regular year Thursday at Marshwood.
Portland has suffered a series of ever-more-agonizing defeats. The Bulldogs fell 3-2 in double-overtime at South Portland last Tuesday (their second straight loss in OT), fell 1-0 at home to Westbrook 24 hours later, then fell to 1-10 with a 3-2 setback at Biddeford Friday. Juniors Maura O’Conor and Ellen Taffere scored against the Red Riots. Portland (17th in Western A) hosted Cheverus Tuesday, plays at Gorham Thursday and brings the curtain down on its season Saturday at home against Marshwood.
In Western C, Waynflete fell 3-1 at Gray-New Gloucester and 7-0 at home to defending state champion NYA, but Saturday, the Flyers improved to 3-6-2 with a 3-0 home win over Traip (behind three goals from junior Lindsey Sinicki). Waynflete (ninth in the Heals) hosted Old Orchard Beach Monday, plays at Poland Wednesday and wraps up its regular season Friday at Sacopee.
On the trails, Cheverus’ juggernaut ran at Biddeford Friday. Both teams came in first. More impressively, the Stags then competed at the Maine Festival of Champions in Belfast Saturday. The girls beat 35 other teams to come in first. Sophomore Emily Durgin was the fastest individual, completing the 5-kilometer course in 18 minutes, 34.2 seconds. The boys finished eighth (senior Taylor Dundas was the top individual, with an 11th place finish in 16:35.7). The Stags host Kennebunk, Sanford and Westbrook Wednesday.
Deering joined Marshwood and Windham at Kennebunk. The girls placed second. The boys’ result wasn’t available at press time. Friday, the Rams join Noble and Thornton Academy at Scarborough.
McAuley ran at Thornton Academy (along with Gorham and Massabesic). The Lions came in third. Friday, McAuley (along with Bonny Eagle) goes to Marshwood.
Portland ran at Westbrook and both Bulldogs teams defeated the Blue Blazes. Cole Hutchison won the boys’ race (16:52). Helen Otto was tops on the girls’ side (21:10). Portland joins Windham at Massabesic Friday.
Waynflete joined Cape Elizabeth, Fryeburg, NYA and York at Greely Friday. The boys came in fifth, the girls were fourth. The Flyers will take part in the Western Maine Conference championship meet Thursday in Falmouth. The girls race at 3:30 p.m. The boys begin at 4.
The golf regular season came to an end last week and a pair of city teams have their eye on a Class A championship.
Defending champ Deering wound up 9-1 in the regular season and earned an automatic berth in the state match by winning the northern division. Cheverus (7-3) looked to punch its state match ticket Monday when it took part in the SMAA qualifier. Portland went 0-10 this year. Waynflete finished its best season yet with a 2-6 mark.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Waynflete freshman Martha Veroneau (right) and senior Amy Allen, along with their cross country teammates, took part in a meet last week against Class B powers Cape Elizabeth and host Greely. Fryeburg, NYA and York also competed. Veroneau finished fourth individually (21 minutes, 15 seconds). Allen placed ninth (21:31). The Flyers were fourth as a team behind Cape Elizabeth, York and Greely.
Waynflete junior goalie Maddy Shapiro had her hands (and her feet) full with the undefeated, defending Class C state champion North Yarmouth Academy Panthers last week during a 7-0 home loss. The Flyers did blank Traip 3-0 Saturday to improve to 3-6-2.