Deering girls' soccer ousted in preliminary round; Cheverus, Portland, Waynflete still alive
The girls' soccer playoffs got underway Friday afternoon and Deering made sure it made the most of its opportunity, as the Rams went into penalty kicks in a preliminary round home game against Sanford.
Ultimately, Deering was only able to make 1-of-5 shots, while the Redskins made a pair to end the Rams' season in agonizing fashion.
Three other city teams were still alive at press time.
Defending Class C champion Waynflete is the No. 4 seed this fall, but faced an enormous challenge in the quarterfinals Tuesday when the Flyers hosted fierce rival No. 5 North Yarmouth Academy.
In Western A, Cheverus finished fifth and had to go to four-time defending regional champion No. 4 Gorham. Portland, after a five-game win streak to end the year, earned the No. 6 seed and traveled to No. 3 Greely in the quarterfinals.
McAuley (3-8-3) fell short of the playoffs, placing 15th in Western A (only the top 10 teams qualified).
The Deering Rams hadn't enjoyed a winning regular season since 2005, but managed to go 7-5-2 this fall, despite an 0-2-1 finish. Deering wound up seventh in Western A and hosted No. 10 Sanford in the preliminary round Friday. In the season opener, back on Sept. 4, the Rams enjoyed a 3-1 victory, but they couldn't duplicate the feat in the first playoff meeting between the schools since 2005 (a 1-0 Deering win in the preliminary round). The teams also squared off in the 1989 quarterfinals (Sanford won 2-0), 1990 quarterfinals (2-1 Rams), 1991 semifinals (7-1 Deering), 1997 quarters (4-0 Rams) and the 2002 preliminary round (4-0 Deering).
Chances were few and far between in regulation and in the two 15-minute overtime periods. The game came down to penalty kicks and each squad had five players try to beat the opposing goalie. Junior Amanda Masse scored for the Rams, but Sanford answered with a pair. A last-ditch attempt hit the post and Deering's season ended at 7-6-2 with a 1-0 (2-1 PK) loss.
"We spent the last two, three practices working on (PKs)," said Rams coach Kevin Olson. "We worked hard and played with a lot of heart for 110 minutes and then some. We had a great season. We made it to playoffs. We've come a long way. We're graduating five seniors. Three or four starters. We'll build on this. We have a good junior class, a good core coming back."
Waynflete has a new coach this fall in Todd Dominski, returned senior standouts Sasha Timpson and Morgan Woodhouse and as expected, produced another stellar campaign. The Flyers stumbled just once, 4-0 at NYA Oct. 3, but won 13 other games by a composite 59-6 margin. Last Monday, Waynflete won 5-0 at Sacopee to lock up the No. 4 seed.
"I was very pleased with our regular season," Dominski said. "We finished with a great record and I was lucky enough to have great senior leaders as well as kids who were ready to step up. We were able to deal with many injuries and not really take a step back. Not only were we successful this year, but we were able to get a lot of the younger kids varsity experience which will help us in the future."
The Flyers are used to meeting NYA later in the postseason, but this time around, they had to face the Panthers in the quarterfinal round. Waynflete did beat NYA 1-0 at home (in overtime, on a Woodhouse goal) on Sept. 22. Tuesday marked the fifth successive year the teams met in the playoffs. NYA won 3-1 in the 2005 semifinals, 1-0 in the 2006 regional final and 1-0 (in overtime) in the 2007 regional final. Last year, en route to their first Class C crown, the Flyers beat the Panthers 2-0 in the regional final.
"The game against NYA is going to be great," said Dominski. "I think both teams knew they would meet again. We did not realize it would be in the first round."
If Waynflete was able to advance, it will either go to No. 1 St. Dom's (12-0-2) or host No. 8 Sacopee (6-7-1) Friday in the semifinal round. The Flyers didn't face the Saints this year. In addition to last week's victory, Waynflete beat the Hawks 9-1 at home Oct. 1. Last year, the Flyers eliminated Sacopee, 4-0, in the quarterfinals. Waynflete beat St. Dom's, 1-0 in the 2006 semifinals and 3-0, in the 2007 quarterfinals.
Looking ahead, the Western C Final is Wednesday, Nov. 4, on the field of the highest remaining seed. The Class C Final is Saturday, Nov. 7, at either Scarborough High School or Hampden Academy.
Two still kicking
Cheverus and Portland both had their moments this fall and feel they're capable of doing some damage in the postseason.
The Stags started the year 5-0-1 and were 7-1-2 after a 3-0 win at Kennebunk Oct. 2. Cheverus then went 1-1-2 down the stretch and wound up 8-2-4 after a 0-0 home tie against McAuley last Tuesday, to earn the No. 5 seed in Western A.
"We finished the year with only two losses, tying our school record (2007), and with only nine goals against, which is a new school record," said Stags coach Dan LaVallee. "Obviously, our defense is very strong and we are getting goals when we need them. We are pretty healthy as we enter the playoffs and hope for a good, long run."
Cheverus started the year with a 1-1 tie at home against Gorham, which has been a playoff nemesis. The Rams eliminated the Stags in 2005 (3-0 in the regional final), 2006 (5-2 in the semifinals) and 2007 (2-1, in overtime, in the semis).
"We are reasonably happy with our playoff draw, having played Gorham to a tie and taking (top-ranked) Scarborough into overtime (a 1-0 loss on Sept. 24)," LaVallee said. "We have been practicing well and are looking forward to the challenge."
The winner will likely go to Scarborough for the semifinals. Cheverus' lone playoff meeting with the Red Storm resulted in a 1-0 double-overtime loss in the 2004 semifinals.
Portland entered 2009 full of high hopes, but after a 3-1 start, the Bulldogs endured a five-game unbeaten streak (0-3-2) and their playoff aspirations were in jeopardy. Portland then got healthy and turned it around just in time, however, winning its final five games by a combined 10-1 margin, capped by a 2-1 triumph at Kennebunk, to finish 8-4-2, good for the No. 6 seed.
"I'm proud of the team making the playoffs, especially since we were constantly adapting to the fact that we never had our starting lineup on the field together during our regular season," said Bulldogs coach Dave Levasseur. "We now have all projected starters game ready, which does provide us with a boost of confidence. We were happy to go through October without a loss and make the playoffs, one of the goals we set in August."
The Bulldogs faced one of the toughest draws in the field, having to go to No. 3 Greely (11-1-2) in the quarterfinal round. The teams don't play in the regular year. They have met twice previously in the postseason. The Rangers were victorious in the 1993 regional final (1-0) and the 1998 preliminary round (1-0).
"Drawing a perennial power like Greely isn't an easy task, but I'm hoping that our senior leadership and the varsity experience their teammates now have will allow us to compete," Levasseur said.
If Portland was able to spring the upset, it would either go to No. 2 Thornton Academy (12-1-1) or host No. 10 Sanford (7-5-3) in Saturday's semifinal round. The Bulldogs settled for a scoreless home tie with the Redskins back on Sept. 22. They didn't face the Golden Trojans this year. Portland beat Thornton Academy 3-2 in the 1993 semifinal round. The Bulldogs downed Sanford 2-0 in the 1993 quarterfinals and 1-0 (in four overtimes) in the 2004 preliminary round, lost 2-0 to the Redskins in the 1994 quarterfinals and fell 3-1 to Sanford in the 1997 preliminary round.
The Western A Final is Wednesday, Nov. 4, on the field of the highest remaining seed. The Class A state final will be contested Saturday, Nov. 7, at either Scarborough High School or Hampden Academy.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org