Coach: Jason Jackson (first year)
2014 record: 4-5 (Lost, 28-7, to Portland in Eastern A quarterfinals)
Top returning players: Dominick Bernard (Senior), Scott Bresette (Senior), Max Chabot (Senior), Sambath Sao (Senior), Patrick Viola (Senior), Ben Williams (Senior), Rob Dacey (Junior), Raffaele Salamone (Junior)
Pivotal games: Sept. 18 TA, Sept. 25 @ South Portland, Oct. 2 BONNY EAGLE, Oct. 23 @ Scarborough
Coach’s comment: “I’m their fourth coach in four years, but the kids are still passionate. That’s a beautiful thing. I’m encouraged. They’re great kids. A big thing with these guys is having a system to be dedicated to and to stick with. I love the personnel we have. We’ll have a lot of carries to go around. We’re young up front. That’s my biggest concern, but if we execute, we can be a good team. We hope to sneak up on some people.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: The one constant around the Deering program the past few years has been change, but there’s a lot of optimism that the Jackson Era will be a long one and will bear fruit. Possibly quickly. Jackson was an all-state player in Washington state and served as an assistant coach at Cape Elizabeth. He’s the program’s fifth coach in six seasons, but has demonstrated infectious enthusiasm and optimism. Also new this fall, the Rams will play in Southern Class A and won’t meet traditional city rivals Cheverus and Portland, unless they manage to meet up with one of them in the state final. On the field, don’t forget that despite all the upheaval, Deering did make the playoffs in 2014 and should be very much in the mix again this fall as the Rams return some talented athletes who are bolstered by several newer players seeking to make a name for themselves.
Chabot returns under center. He threw for 1,362 yards and 11 touchdowns and ran for 219 yards and four more scores a year ago. He has some great weapons at his disposal, both as receiving targets and guys he can hand the ball. Potential ball carriers include Bresette, Dacey (267 yards on 62 carries last season), new senior Kobe Velez, new junior Nate Richards, new sophomore Casey Anthony and a pair of familiar names, Bernard (last year’s league leading receiver, 41 catches for 482 yards and 3 TDs) and Viola (19 receptions, 303 yards, 3 TDs in 2014), who will also be top receiving threats (both were named Eastern Class A all-stars a year ago). Chabot can also look for Richards, Salamone, Sao and Williams through the air.
The Rams need to tighten up on defense after giving up an average of 32 points per game (that includes the 42 that Portland scored in a game the Bulldogs eventually forfeited for using an ineligible player). Up front, look for Salamone (45 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 fumble recovery in 2014) and Velez to hold the fort. Bernard (44.5 tackles last season) and Bresette anchor the linebacker corps. The secondary appears strong as it features Richards, Sao, Viola (41.5 tackles and a pair of fumble recoveries last autumn) and Williams (who had four interceptions and a pair of defensive scores in 2014).
Deering is looking for its first winning record since 2011 and even though the Rams reside in a very strong region, which includes defending state champion Thornton Academy, perennial powerhouse Bonny Eagle and dangerous squads like Scarborough and South Portland, they will hold their own. If enthusiasm and stability turn into victories, Deering will be back among the top Class A contenders in no time. This will be a fun team to watch as it reclaims its place in the upper echelon.
Coach: Joel Costigan (fifth year, 39-17-6 overall record)
2014 record: 13-2-1 (Lost, 3-1, to Scarborough in Western A semifinals)
Top returning players: Jonathan Bujambi (Senior), Paolo DeMarco (Senior), Jonata Mbongo (Junior)
Pivotal games: Sept. 7 SCARBOROUGH, Sept. 9 SOUTH PORTLAND, Sept. 24 @ Gorham, Oct. 13 @ TA, Oct. 15 @ Cheverus, Oct. 20 @ Portland
Coach’s comment: “Graduating Stephen Ochan is a huge obstacle for us to overcome. He was a powerhouse on the field and his ability as a natural leader was unparalleled. We also lost our leading scorer, Hany Ramadan. However, we gain tremendous overall team speed and most importantly, cohesion. The core of our team is compiled of seniors who are playing their fourth varsity season together and we have promising young players who we feel will immediately compete for playing time and could likely start in most any other varsity program. The league is pretty wide open this year, although the usual teams are likely to be on top again. Our hope this year is to continue building on the success we’ve had the past four seasons and to make an even deeper run in the postseason.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: Deering had a terrific season a year ago, winning 13 games for the first time since 2000 and reaching the semifinals for the first time in seven years. The Rams ultimately couldn’t solve Scarborough (the only team to beat them), however, then had to bid adieu to one of the program’s legendary players, Stephen Ochan, the school’s reigning Fall Male Athlete of the Year and Maine’s lone All-American in 2014, along with several other key contributors. The cupboard is far from bare, however, and Deering should be among the best teams in Southern Class A.
Bujambi, a returning captain, was named to the SMAA all-star second-team in 2014 and will be a force in the midfield. DeMarco scored five times a year ago and hopes to add to that number. Mbongo was a first-team all-star at defense last season and will be in the midfield this year. The offense will be bolstered by Matthew Alvarez and Fernando Lopez and by freshman Iessa Ramadan. Two juniors, Orey Dutton (an honorable mention all-star in 2014) and Mustafa Kadhim, were vying at press time to be the starting goalkeeper.
While there are big holes to fill, Costigan (last year’s SMAA Co-Coach of the Year) has some pieces to work with. This program has established itself as one of the league’s best and won’t settle for anything shy of being on the short list of title contenders by the time the postseason rolls around. If Deering can find a way to produce offense against the top teams, especially in a brutal closing stretch which brings trips to Thornton Academy, Cheverus and Portland, and the newer players come along as hoped, this group could advance even deeper in the playoffs than last year’s powerhouse managed to do.
Coach: Kevin Olson (10th year, 64-58-14 overall record)
2014 record: 8-6-1 (Lost, 2-1, 2-1 PKs, to Portland in Western A preliminary round)
Top returning players: Siobhan Densmore (Senior), Simone Lauture (Senior), Cora Melcher (Senior), Sinead Scott (Senior), Micary Verville (Senior), Megan Violette (Senior), Abby Elowitch (Junior), Sophie Silva (Junior), Ewka Varney (Junior), Darrah Scott (Sophomore)
Pivotal games: Sept. 5 @ Scarborough, Sept. 25 GORHAM, Sept. 30 @ Windham, Oct. 13 TA, Oct. 15 CHEVERUS, Oct. 20 @ Portland
Coach’s comment: “I have a great core group of players coming back this season. The energy in the early going has been great. I want to be competitive throughout the season and get a playoff spot. The girls have been working extremely hard and are excited for the season to begin.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: Deering had visions of a deep playoff run a year ago, but those dreams were dashed with an agonizing loss to Portland in a game that went on and on and on before ending in heartbreak. The Rams are trying again this fall and with some solid players on the roster, should be in line to not only get back to the postseason, but to perhaps advance a round or two.
This squad has strong senior leadership. Lauture, a second-team league all-star in 2014, will pace the offense. Verville also will be a factor up top. Melcher, an honorable mention all-star last season, Densmore, Sinead Scott, Verville and Violette bring experience to the midfield. They’re joined by Darrah Scott. Goal scoring is projected to come from Lauture, Melcher, Varney, Verville and junior Meghana Clere, who missed last season due to an injury. On defense, Elowitch and Silva (a second-team all-star a year ago) return and are joined by junior Phoebe Bell. The graduation of goalkeeper Emily Mooney (six shutouts during a first-team all-star campaign in 2014) will hurt, but senior Cassidy Coyne is primed to step in and fill her shoes.
Look for Deering to post a winning record for the fourth year in a row and to make it seven consecutive postseason trips. This fall, the Rams won’t be content just getting there. They have unfinished business and they have the necessary ingredients to make their dreams come true.
Coach: Liz Koharian (fourth year, 16-25-3 overall record)
2014 record: 6-7-2 (Lost, 1-0, to Biddeford in Western A preliminary round)
Top returning players: Katy Cyr (Senior), Kaytlin DiBiase (Senior), Lili Kien (Senior), Emily Krabbe (Senior), Mia Thurston (Senior), Kerry Wells (Senior), Lillian Frager (Junior)
Pivotal games: Sept. 2 TA, Sept. 8 SCARBOROUGH, Sept. 10 @ South Portland, Sept. 14 PORTLAND, Sept. 24 GORHAM, Sept. 28 @ Marshwood, Sept. 30 @ Cheverus, Oct. 3 BIDDEFORD
Coach’s comment: “We’re starting from a good place. All of my seniors have been with me since day one. We can definitely go farther in the playoffs this year. We’re a stronger team and we have playoff experience under our belts. Our fitness level and skill level are high. We have good energy. We just have to put it all together. I’m really excited for the season.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: Deering reached the playoffs in 2014 for the second time in three seasons, but the Rams are still seeking their first postseason win since 2007. While All-State selection and reigning Fall Female Athlete of the Year Rylie Turner has graduated, this year’s team returns some top notch talent and that nucleus is bolstered by some newcomers who are looking to make their mark.
Deering should be strong on defense, as Frager returns in goal and will get help from Cyr. In the midfield, look for Kien (a second-team all-star a year ago) and Krabbe to handle the ball. Freshman Kaylie Guimont is another player to watch. Offensively, DiBiase, Thurston and Wells project to lead the way. Freshman Allie Donovan is another potential scorer. The Rams will have a balanced attack and should be able to hold the opposition in check most of the time.
Deering is no longer content just getting to the playoffs. The Rams were quite disappointed when they came up short last fall. That hunger should propel them a long way this season. If Deering can produce more consistent offense (the Rams only scored three goals in their final eight games last fall), it will be able to toe-to-toe with everyone in a stacked Southern Class A. This is a squad that could turn some heads come October.
FIRST YEAR VARSITY PROGRAM
Coach: Larry Nichols (first year)
Players to watch: Delaney Donovan (Senior), Gabriela Legaspi (Senior), Zindaory Ly (Senior), Sydney Giroux (Junior), Kaylee Helmick (Junior), Cindy Hoang (Junior), Zainab Mayoof (Junior), Avery Donovan (Sophomore)
Pivotal matches: Sept. 4 PORTLAND, Sept. 10 @ Bonny Eagle, Sept. 24 @ Cheverus, Sept. 26 @ Wells, Sept. 29 @ Wells, Oct. 3 CHEVERUS, Oct. 6 @ Portland, Oct. 8 BONNY EAGLE, Oct. 15 WELLS
Coach’s comment: “We’re taking baby steps. We’re trying to mesh the returning players with athletes from other sports. It’s always a cool feeling when something works. The girls are coming into their own. Their confidence and skill are increasing. When we play the established teams, we want to play our best. Against the new teams, we have goals of who we think we should compete with.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: A new era begins as Deering fields a varsity volleyball team for the first time. Nichols, the school’s longtime assistant boys’ basketball coach and former boys’ tennis coach, is excited about what he has to work with. While there will be some lumps to take, the Rams will have fun and should improve in the weeks to come.
Helmick, best known for her softball exploits, is the team’s best server and will be a top hitter as well. Avery Donovan, Giroux (a top server) and Legaspi are other hitters to watch. Delaney Donovan, Hoang and Ly are top setters. Mayoof is the defensive specialist and also has a potent serve. Several other girls await their opportunity.
There will be a team-wide learning curve as the program is still in its infancy, but look for steady improvement in the weeks to come. The Rams won’t measure themselves this fall by wins or by making the playoffs. Those are concerns for future seasons and they’ll get to that point. This season, enjoy the journey. Baby steps will eventually lead to a full stride. A new era is underway.
(Boys) Frank Myatt (fourth year)
(Girls) Gerry Myatt (13th year)
(Boys) 11th @ Class A state meet
(Girls) no score @ Class A state meet (14th @ regionals)
(Boys) Abdi Hassan (Senior), Roman Anderson (Junior), Wilder Baldwin (Sophomore)
(Girls) Maddie Bennett (Senior), Bridget Fears (Junior), Evelyn Randazzo (Junior), Julia Lancia (Sophomore), Lucy Tumavicus (Sophomore), Nicole Whipkey (Sophomore)
Top foes: Gorham, Massabesic, Scarborough, Windham boys; Scarborough, South Portland girls
Coach Frank Myatt’s comment: “We’re on the smaller side numbers-wise. You can’t replace first and fourth in the regional meet. We got five points out of two guys. We have a different look this year. We’re very young. We have to learn how to race. A lot of guys haven’t run competitively before. It’s a learning process. It will be more of a team effort this year. We always want to do well against the city teams. That’s a measuring stick for us. We’re always looking to get back to the state meet.”
Coach Gerry Myatt’s comment: “I hope to have six returning runners and we’ve added a couple freshmen. If everybody comes along and we all stay healthy, I’d like for us to make it to states. That’s a big goal. I like to think we’re good enough. I’d also like to see the girls do well individually. They have great attitudes. That’ s rewarding.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: Both Deering cross country teams are hoping to make the most of a small roster this fall and are looking to reach the state meet.
The boys graduated standouts Yahya Hussein and Iid Sheikh-Yusef, but have some runners to watch. Baldwin (90th at last year’s state meet) and Hassan (93rd) are the top returners. Anderson also ran at states in 2014. Sophomore Yahya Nure and freshman Alec Troxell (who had a strong career at Lincoln Middle School) are key additions. The Rams are hoping to reach states for the fifth year in a row. If the returners improve and the newcomers can step in and make a mark, that’s a realistic goal.
On the girls’ side, all classes are represented and the potential is there for a strong season. Tumavicus was 21st at last year’s regional meet and qualified for states as an individual, where she had the 23rd-best time. Bennett, Fears, Lancia, Randazzo and Whipkey also have experience. Several newcomers help the cause. Junior Violet Sulka-Hews, sophomore Morgan Aponte-Clark and freshmen Zoe Leland and Grace Tumavicus look to make an immediate splash. The fact that its an odd-numbered year bodes well for this squad. In 2009, 2011 and 2013, Deering qualified for states. The Rams didn’t do so in 2010, 2012 or last year. This group looks to uphold tradition and there’s enough talent here for Deering to make it to the final Saturday as a team.
Coach: Billy Goodman (14th year, two state championships)
2014 results: 1-9 (no postseason)
Top returners: Andrew Burr (Senior), Nathan Loranger (Senior), Ian Westphal (Senior), Alex McMonagle (Sophomore)
Top foes: Cheverus, Falmouth, Scarborough
Coach’s comment: “They’re good kids. I really enjoy working with them every day. Hopefully we’ll be better in October than we are now. We do have better numbers this year, including a lot of beginners who will try to get better every day.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: Deering has a lot of youth and while there is promise on the roster, this group will take some time to hit its stride, something that isn’t really possible considering the Rams play in arguably the toughest division in the state.
Westphal is the top returner. He shot an 87 at the league qualifier and was a second-team league all-star in 2014. He’ll pace this squad. Burr and Loranger are also veterans and McMonagle (95 at last year’s qualifier) looks to play more of a role this time around. Sophomore Connor Buckley comes over from Cheverus to provide depth.
Deering will gauge its progression by how much it improves between now and the end of September. Making it to states is a longshot, but the Rams have surprised before. Look for this team to be a much more formidable foe by the end of September than it will be at the outset.
Senior Dominick Bernard will see the ball a lot this fall for a Deering football team looking to get back to the playoffs.
Senior Max Chabot is back under center.
Senior Ben Williams will be a matchup nightmare.
Junior Jonata Mbongo was an all-star last year as a defender. He’ll see time in the midfield this fall.
Junior Abby Elowitch figures to have a strong season for the competitive Deering girls’ soccer team.
Senior Simone Lauture will be one of the top scoring threats in the SMAA.
Senior Cora Melcher is another top returner to watch.
Junior Ewka Varney has scored her share of big goals and will be a force again this fall.
Senior Megan Violette will make her presence felt all over the field.
Senior Lili Kien is a top returner for the Rams and will help anchor the defense.
Senior Emily Krabbe is another key returner for the Rams.
Senior Kerry Wells is back to help pace the offense.
Sophomore Avery Donovan is a player to watch for Deering’s first-year varsity volleyball team.
Senior Delaney Donovan will be a force at the net.
Junior co-captain Kaylee Helmick is a top server and hitter for the Rams.
Senior Gabriela Legaspi will be one of Deering’s top servers.
Senior Zindaroy Ly has shown great improvement and should be a top player for the Rams this fall.
Senior Jonathan Bujambi and his teammates figure to be celebrating many goals in the weeks to come as Deering expects to be one of the top boys’ soccer teams in Southern Class A.