Deering Rams Fall Athletes of the Year

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FALL 2011 MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR:

JOE WALP, Senior-Golf

* Class A individual state co-champion

* SMAA All-Star, Northern Division, first-team

Joe Walp saved his best for last.

After the Deering golf team fell short in its quest to win a state title, Walp got to play one final round for individual glory and came up huge, tying Sanford’s Ben Bell for the crown.

It was a fitting way for Walp to finish, as he’s been a standout for four seasons and was the cornerstone of one of the state’s best programs.

For being so consistently good and for overcoming adversity to win an elusive crown, Joe Walp earns The Forecaster’s nod as Deering’s Fall 2011 Male Athlete of the Year.

Walp started seriously playing golf at a young age and has honed his game in season and out at Falmouth Country Club. He won the Maine Junior Championship in 2010 and was part of a surprise team state champion as a freshman, but since then, the Rams weren’t able to get back to the pinnacle.

This fall, he and classmate Rocco Spizuoco carried the load as Deering got back to the state match. Walp regularly went up against the opposition’s top player and never buckled, winning every time out while shooting a 34.8 stroke average. He tied for the top score at the league qualifier as well.

After the Rams came in third at the Class A team match, Walp managed to overcome inconsistency to shoot at 75 at the individual championships, but bogeys on the last two holes forced him to settle for a tie with Bell.

“I started badly, got going, then didn’t finish well,” Walp said. “It was always in mind since freshman year. I thought I might win. My strongest ability is to bounce back. I focus on consistency.”

Walp also throws the shot put in indoor track and has volunteered at the First Tee of Maine. He’s considering his college options and definitely wants to play golf at the next level.

He’ll certainly make a mark going forward. Joe Walp, Deering’s Fall 2011 Male Athlete of the Year, was always at his best for the purple and white and went out at the top of the heap.

Coach Billy Goodman’s comment: “In my opinion, on any given day, Joe’s the best golfer in the state, any class. He has a good head on his shoulders. A great all-around kid.”

2011 winner: Jamie Ross (Football)

2009 winner: Charlie Dupee (Soccer)

2008 winner: Jack Heary (Football)

2007 winner: Tony Yeboah (Soccer)

2006 winner: John Misener (Cross country)

2005 winner: Sean Meehan (Soccer/Football)

2004 winner: Ryan Flaherty (Football)

FALL 2011 FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR:

ALEXIS SIVOVLOS, Senior-Soccer

* SMAA All-Star, second-team

* SMAA All-Academic team

* Co-captain

Even though she wasn’t a prolific scorer, Alexis Sivovlos was something special on the pitch for the Deering girls’ soccer team this season.

Sivovlos’ creativity with the ball helped set up her teammates, her willingness to play a more defensive position helped the Rams on that side of the ball and her leadership was invaluable as Deering produced its best season in several years.

For her unselfishness and excellence, Alexis Sivovlos is The Forecaster’s choice for Deering’s Fall 2011 Female Athlete of the Year.

Sivovlos grew up in Portland and started playing at a young age. She’s played premier soccer for eight years, for Maine Coast United and Portland Phoenix, and will play for Seacoast this year.

She’s played a key role for the Rams, scoring six goals and adding 10 assists in a playoff season in 2010, but this year, at center-mid, she focused more on defense and Deering was stingy throughout, allowing only 18 goals in 14 regular season games.

Sivovlos managed to score five times and added three assists as the Rams were competitive throughout, finishing with a regular season mark of 6-6-2.

In the preliminary round, Deering mustered its first postseason triumph in many years, 2-1, at Sanford. The Rams then were on the verge of upsetting second-ranked Cape Elizabeth in the quarterfinals, but let a lead slip away and suffered a defeat in penalty kicks.

“This is the first year teams were afraid of us,” said Sivovlos. “We struggled to figure out how to play, then we got into a groove. The program’s developed a lot. I’m excited to see how they’ll do next year with the great young talent.”

Sivovlos is a member of the D Club and volunteers at the Mercy Hospital gift shop. She wants to play soccer in college and is exploring her options.

Her leadership and myriad skills will be missed. Alexis Sivovlos, Deering’s Fall 2011 Female Athlete of the Year, did a little of everything for an up and coming program and certainly leaves a void in her wake.

Coach Kevin Olson’s comment: “Alexis has great vision and awareness. She’s able to thread the ball into tight gaps and get it to her teammates. She knows how to anticipate and make the smart runs and when she has an opportunity, she knows how to finish. She has a passion for the game and has been very dedicated to this program. She has really shown a lot of growth in her four years. She’s a versatile player who has played multiple positions. This year, she had to play a more defensive center-mid role and help with the transitioning part of our game as well as finding our forwards and our outside mids with her very accurate passing skills. She sacrificed her stats by stepping up and playing this very important position.”

2010 winner: Amanda Masse (Soccer)

2009 winner: Jami LeRoy (Field hockey)

2008 winner: Jess Ruhlin (Field hockey)

2007 winner: Jess Ruhlin (Field hockey)

2006 winner: Chelsea Johnson (Soccer)

2005 winner: Ashley Morgan (Cross country)

2004 winner: Bronwyn Potthoff (Field hockey)

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.