Fall sports fun was fantastic-Portland edition

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Deering’s volleyball stole headlines for most of the fall sports season, winning 14 matches and reaching the state semifinals in just the program’s third varsity season.

File photos.

More photos below.

The fall sports season was one of triumph and making memories.

City teams made noise across the board.

While football squads struggled more than in recent years, Cheverus managed to reach the Class A North quarterfinals, while Portland, despite an 0-5 start, got to the regional final for the third year in a row. Both the Stags and Bulldogs ultimately lost to Windham. Deering, meanwhile, qualified for the playoffs in Class A South and was ousted by defending state champion Bonny Eagle in the quarterfinals.

The soccer pitch saw high drama, as the Cheverus, Deering and Waynflete boys all reached the playoffs, with the Rams and Stags losing in the quarterfinals and the Flyers falling in the semifinals. Portland went even further (see below), but lost a heartbreaker in the state final.

On the girls’ side, Cheverus enjoyed a record-setting campaign (see below). Defending regional champion Waynflete also made the playoffs, but lost in the quarterfinals.

Cheverus was the lone local field hockey team to reach the playoffs, but the Stags’ memorable campaign ended with a tough loss to Westbrook in the quarterfinals.

Volleyball continues to grow in the city, as Portland reached the playoffs for the first time, but the biggest story was produced by Deering (see below), which dazzled from start to finish.

Cross country saw several runners and teams turn heads (see below).

Cheverus and Portland’s golf teams made it to the Class A state match. The Bulldogs tied for fifth, while the Stags had just one team finish higher (see below).

Before we move indoors to winter sports, here’s one last look at the biggest achievers and top stories of the autumn:

Portland edition regional champion

Portland Bulldogs boys’ soccer, Class A South

Portland edition individual state champion

Henry Spritz, Waynflete, Class C boys’ cross country

Michael’s top five stories

5) Cheverus golf places runner-up at states

Cheverus’ golf team enjoyed a 7-3 regular season in a very difficult division, then saved its best for the postseason. The Stags placed fourth in the conference qualifier, then, at the Class A state match, their team round of 308 was good enough to win most years, but this time around, left them three strokes behind Scarborough. Conner MacDonald’s round of 72 tied for the best individual mark on the day and MacDonald went on to compete at the individual state match as well. 

4) Strong local showing at cross country states

While no city teams won state titles at the cross country championship meet in late October, there were plenty of highlights nonetheless. Waynflete’s Henry Spritz won the Class C individual crown. Deering’s girls’ team qualified for New Englands for the first time, while the Rams boys managed to qualify again. 

3) Cheverus girls’ soccer posts record-setting victories

Cheverus’ girls’ soccer team turned it up another notch this fall, losing just twice and winning a dozen games to set a program record for victories in a regular season. The Stags rode the offensive brilliance of sophomore Emma Gallant and a strong defense, which surrendered only seven goals in 14 games. Cheverus then dispatched Sanford in the preliminary round and upset longtime nemesis Gorham in an overtime thriller to reach the semifinals, where the Stags’ run finally came to an end with a 1-0 loss to eventual regional champion Scarborough. Regardless, Cheverus’ 14 total victories was a program-best.

2) Deering volleyball steals headlines

Deering’s volleyball program began playing at the varsity level in 2015. This fall, in just the Rams’ third season at that level, they were the “it team” from the get-go. Deering, which made the playoffs a year ago after a .500 campaign, turned heads on Opening Night by shocking longtime power Scarborough in five sets, on the Red Storm’s home court no less. The Rams would win their first dozen matches before finally meeting their match against longtime contender Biddeford. After its 13-1 record locked up the top seed for the Class A playoffs, Deering downed Bonny Eagle in the quarterfinals for its first-ever postseason victory. The Rams’ quest for a Gold Ball was dashed by South Portland in the state semifinals, but there’s no doubt Deering was the feel-good story of the autumn.

1) Portland boys’ soccer gets to brink of first title

A year ago, Portland’s boys’ soccer team reached the Class A South Final before dropping a heartbreaker at Gorham. This fall, the Bulldogs started strong, winning four straight and after falling in overtime at Falmouth, Portland rattled off five more victories. After enduring an 0-2-1 stretch when they couldn’t put the ball in the net, the Bulldogs closed with a come-from-behind victory over Thornton Academy and as the No. 4 seed in Class A South, downed longtime powerhouse and nemesis Scarborough in the quarterfinals and held off Thornton Academy in the semifinals before outlasting Gorham in penalty kicks in the regional final to gain a measure of revenge from last year. That sent Portland to just its third-ever state game, against Lewiston, and while the Bulldogs came close enough to capture their first-ever Gold Ball, they couldn’t get the goal they needed and in overtime, after a controversial free kick, the Blue Devils found the goal and ended Portland’s spirited and memorable run, 1-0.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Manny Yugu helped Portland’s boys’ soccer team make a run all the way to the Class A state final.

Bella Booth and the Cheverus field hockey team had a strong campaign.

Ilyas Abdi and his Waynflete boys’ soccer teammates got to the Class C South semifinals.

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