Fall sports regular season in its final days-Southern edition

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South Portland’s Spencer Houlette dives into the end zone for a touchdown during the Red Riots’ 28-7 home win over Sanford last Friday.

Scarborough junior Molly Murnane heads the ball during Saturday’s game against Cheverus. Murnane had a goal and an assist in leading the Red Storm to a 3-0 victory.

Scarborough goalie Sam Carriero dives to make a save during the Red Storm’s 2-1 home win over Kennebunk Saturday.

(Ed. Note: For the complete South Portland-Sanford football, Scarborough-Cheverus girls’ soccer and Scarborough-Cheverus and Scarborough-Kennebunk field hockey game stories, with photos, see theforecaster.net)

The regular season is winding down in most sports, but one has already crowned its champions (see golf story). The excitement continues to grow for local squads and more is in store. Here’s a look back at what you might have missed, as well as what’s in store.

Football

South Portland’s football team got a much-needed home victory last Friday, snapping a two-game skid in the process.

The Red Riots, who came into the game winless on the road, but undefeated at home, had several players out of service due to injuries and when they fell behind, 7-0, in the first period, it looked like a long night was in store, but they rose off the deck and made an impressive statement.

South Portland quarterback Jake Poole capped an 11-play, 84-yard drive to get the Red Riots on the board early in the second quarter, scoring on a 21-yard scamper. The two-point conversion failed, but the hosts had life. South Portland then went ahead to stay after a 15-play drive, as Spencer Houlette scored on a 12-yard run and Poole added a conversion rush for a 14-7 lead.

After the Red Riots’ defense preserved the lead into the fourth period, South Portland put it away. After a Houlette interception on the first play of the final stanza, Poole scored on a 14-yard run, then hit Houlette with a two-point conversion pass for a 22-7 advantage and some breathing room. Then, after another Houlette interception, Houlette iced it with a 10-yard scoring run and the Red Riots went on to a 28-7 victory.

Both Houlette and Poole gained over 100 yards on the ground, South Portland forced four turnovers and improved to 3-3, eclipsing its win total from each of the past two seasons.

“We talk about ‘next play,’” Poole said. “We don’t worry about what happened, only the future. We made things happen.”

“Those interceptions were big to not let them score and give us the ball back on offense to put it away,” Houlette said.

“This was a character win,” longtime Red Riots coach Steve Stinson added. “We were sputtering a little bit early and Sanford is a good opponent, but we have too many strong-willed kids who had too much of an investment in this season to go away.”

South Portland (now fourth in the Class A South Heal Points standings) goes to powerhouse Thornton Academy (5-1) Saturday afternoon. Last year, the Red Riots lost in Saco, 63-14.

Scarborough improved to 5-1 last Friday after a 66-7 domination at Windham. Touchdown runs by Owen Garrard and Cody Dudley, a TD pass from Zoltan Panyi to Jaquan Seme and a safety gave the Red Storm a 24-0 lead after one period. By halftime, Scarborough was on top, 52-7, as Panyi hit Jarret Flaker and Reece Lagerquist through the air and Garrard and Dudley added scoring runs. With a mercy rule running clock in the third period, Scarborough got TD runs from Dudley and Connor Oliver to account for the final score. The Red Storm (third in Class A South) welcome 3-3 Oxford Hills Friday. The teams didn’t play a year ago.

Cape Elizabeth dropped to 4-2 and fifth in Class C South after a hard-fought 19-14 loss at Leavitt. The Capers fell behind early, 7-0, but rallied for a 14-7 halftime advantage behind a 48-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Hartel to Jack Glanville and a 2-yard TD run by Ryan Weare. The Hornets would bounce back and re-take the lead, then held off a couple late Cape Elizabeth forays to prevail.

Hartel ended up completing 10 of 22 passes for 302 yards and a score. 

Cape Elizabeth has lost two games this year by a combined 12 points.

“We’re just going to get better from this, without a doubt,” Capers coach Aaron Filieo said.

The Capers are home against 5-1 Fryeburg Academy in a critical test Friday night (see theforecaster.net for game story). Last year, Cape Elizabeth won, 29-6, at Fryeburg.

Boys’ soccer

South Portland’s boys’ soccer team improved to 11-0-1 and second to Falmouth in the Class A South Heals after recent wins over visiting Bonny Eagle (5-0) and host Portland (1-0). Against the Scots, Kyle Patterson had two goals, while Damir Brkic, Connor Mullen and Anthony Perron also scored. Charlie Cronin scored late to beat the Bulldogs. The Red Riots were home with Sanford Thursday and close the regular season at Westbrook Monday (see theforecaster.net for game story).

Scarborough lost at home to Cheverus, 4-1, last week, then improved to 8-4 and seventh in Class A South with a 5-0 victory at Bonny Eagle. Elliot Dumais had the goal in the loss. Against the Scots, Dumais and Marco Manfra both scored twice, while Brandon Wasser also found the net. The Red Storm were home with Portland Thursday (see theforecaster.net for game story) and close the regular season at Sanford Tuesday of next week.

Cape Elizabeth was 7-3-1 and third behind Yarmouth and York in Class B South following a 2-1 win at Greely and a 2-0 victory at Waynflete. David Hare and John O’Connor scored in the win over the Rangers in a playoff rematch. O’Connor had both goals, including one on a penalty kick, against the Flyers. The Capers have a makeup game at Gray-New Gloucester Friday, host Yarmouth Saturday (see theforecaster.net for game story) and close the regular season at Poland Tuesday of next week.

In Class D South, Greater Portland Christian School lost at home last week to Chop Point (3-2) and Buckfield (7-0) to fall to 3-6-1 and 11th in the Heals. The Lions were at Rangeley Wednesday, hosted Highview Christian Thursday, visit Seacoast Christian Friday and close at Pine Tree Academy Tuesday of next week.

Girls’ soccer

On the girls’ side, Scarborough passed its biggest test to date last week to remain undefeated. After enjoying a 2-0 win at Noble (Molly Murnane had both goals), the Red Storm hosted once-beaten Cheverus Saturday afternoon and made an immediate statement, getting a goal on a free kick from Sophie Martens just 84 seconds in. Murnane then set up Gaby Panagakos for a goal in the fourth minute and Murnane scored herself on a shot from a difficult angle just before halftime and Scarborough went on to a 3-0 victory.

“I’m really happy we could put them away early,” Murnane said. “It was important to get off to a good start.”

“We wanted to come in and get (Cheverus) back on their heels,”said Red Storm coach Mike Farley. “I’m proud of how well the girls started. That made it easier for us.”

Scarborough (11-0 and first in Class A South) hosted Marshwood Wednesday (see theforecaster.net for game story), has a showdown at defending regional champion Gorham Friday and closes the regular season at Windham Tuesday.

South Portland improved to 5-3-3 and ninth in Class A South after wins last week at Westbrook (7-0) and at home over Maine Girls’ Academy (4-2). In the victory over the Blue Blazes, Julia Banks, Sophie Chase, Bela Cloutier, Madi Cyr, Meghan Graff, Brooklynn Ortiz and Evelyn Selser all scored. The Red Riots then trailed the Lions, 2-1, at halftime, but rallied behind two goals from Selser and one from Jena Leckie (Graff also scored). South Portland was home with Noble Wednesday, goes to Bonny Eagle Friday and closes the regular season at home versus Deering Tuesday. The Red Riots have a chance to post a winning regular season record for the first time since 2006.

In Class B South, Cape Elizabeth dropped a 4-3 home decision to Greely last Thursday, then snapped a four-game skid with 5-0 victories over host Lake Region and visiting Waynflete to improve to 7-5 and sixth in the standings. Prezli Piscopo had two goals and Karli Chapin one in the loss. Against the Lakers, Chapin and Piscopo had two goals each and Liv Cochran also tickled the twine. In the win over the defending Class C South champion Flyers, Piscopo had two more goals and Chapin, Cochran and Grace Gillian also scored. The Capers host defending Class B champion Yarmouth Saturday (see theforecaster.net for game story) and close at home versus Poland Tuesday.

GPCS was 0-10 and 11th in Class D South after a 6-0 loss at North Yarmouth Academy and a 3-0 home setback to Buckfield. After playing at Rangeley Wednesday and at home versus Highview Christian Thursday, the Lions close at Pine Tree Academy Tuesday of next week.

Field hockey

Scarborough’s field hockey team fell from the ranks of the unbeaten last Thursday with a shocking 3-2, double-overtime loss at Cheverus. The Red Storm took a 2-0 first half lead behind a pair of goals from Lauren Topchik, but the Stags rallied to force OT before beating Scarborough in Portland for the first time. Red Storm goalie Sam Carriero made 10 saves, many of them the highlight reel variety, but Scarborough couldn’t put the game away despite 17 penalty corners.

“It was a great game and a great effort by Cheverus,” Scarborough coach Kerry Mariello said. “They absolutely deserved it. We couldn’t quite match their intensity.”

Saturday, the Red Storm improved to 12-1 and third in the Class A South Heals with a 2-1 come-from-behind win over visiting Kennebunk. Scarborough trailed 1-0 at the half, but got a pair of goals from Carrie Timpson to rally. 

“We’ve played more as a unit this year,” Timpson said. “We all play a part. We don’t rely on one or two players.”

“We tried to put that sense of belief in them and I stressed what it says about a team when it comes off a loss,” said Mariello. “This was a critical game in our season.”

Scarborough finished at defending regional champion Massabesic Wednesday in a game that likely determined the top seed for the upcoming postseason. Mariello was seeking her 200th victory with the program.

South Portland dropped a 2-1 overtime decision to visiting Sanford last Thursday, then improved to 4-9 with a 3-1 win at Portland Monday. Kaylee Whitten had the goal in the loss, while Lydia Grant had two goals and Lauren DiBiase one against the Bulldogs. The Red Riots (14th in Class A South) closed at home Wednesday versus Wednesday and likely needed a win to make the playoffs.

Cape Elizabeth will fall short of the postseason despite finishing with victories at Old Orchard Beach (3-0) and at home over Maine Girls’ Academy/Waynflete (8-0) and Gray-New Gloucester (2-1), with a 2-1 overtime home loss to Yarmouth mixed in. Isabel Berman had the goal and Christiana Pinette stopped 23 shots in the setback. Erika Miller and Kaitlin Norrad had two goals, while Berman, Katie Dunham, Emily Goulding and Sophie Miller also scored against the Flying Lions. Miller and Emily Logue had the goals against the Patriots. The Capers were ninth in Class B South at press time, but only eight teams make the playoffs.

The field hockey playoffs begin Saturday with the preliminary round on the fields of the higher seeds. 

Volleyball

Cape Elizabeth’s volleyball team kept its perfect record intact by holding off visiting Falmouth in five sets (19-25, 25-15, 25-12, 20-25, 15-7) and sweeping host Windham (25-23, 25-10, 25-12) to improve to 13-0. The Capers, who have the top seed for the Class B tournament locked up, close at home versus Cony Tuesday.

Scarborough was 10-2 and third behind Deering and Biddeford in Class A at press time following a four-set (16-25, 25-14, 25-8, 25-6) home win over Thornton Academy and a three-set (25-7, 25-12, 25-10) home victory over Portland. The Red Storm went to Biddeford for a critical match Thursday and close at South Portland Tuesday.

Speaking of South Portland, the Red Riots were 8-5 and fourth in Class A South at press time following three-set wins at York (25-19, 25-15, 30-28) and at home versus Windham (25-17, 25-23, 25-19) and a five-set (20-25, 25-21, 21-25, 27-25, 15-12) victory at Thornton Academy. Molly Mawhinney had eight kills and six aces and Ashley Aceto added 16 assists against the Eagles.

“Set one, we wanted to get all of our seniors in,” said South Portland coach Nicole Kane. “This is Senior Night and I’ve been coaching them for the past three years, so I wanted to be able to honor them.”

Mawhinney had 27 kills in the marathon victory over the Golden Trojans. The Red Riots, who have clinched their best record to date, close at home against Scarborough Tuesday.

Cross country

The cross country postseason is right around the corner.

Last weekend, Scarborough hosted South Portland, Massabesic, Noble and Windham. In the boys’ meet, the Red Storm finished first while the Red Riots came in fourth. Scarborough’s Connor Coffin (16 minutes, 41.40 seconds) and Tristram Coffin (16:43.70) were the top two individuals. South Portland’s top finisher was Cliff Robbins-Senewald (eighth, 17:52). In the girls’ race, the Red Storm were second to Massabesic while the Red Riots came in fifth. Scarborough’s Bethany Sholl was the individual champion (19:28.70). South Portland’s fastest runner was Grace Caselden (26th, 25:41).

Cape Elizabeth joined NYA and Wells at Traip Academy. The Capers girls came in first as a team and were led by Lila Gaudrault, who was first individually in 20:26. The boys placed second to the Warriors. Jack Bassett was runner-up individually (16:58).

Friday, Cape Elizabeth will take part in the Western Maine Conference championship meet at St. Joseph’s College in Standish, while South Portland, along with Cheverus, Deering, Falmouth, MGA and Portland, goes to South Portland and Scarborough joins Bonny Eagle, Gorham and Westbrook and Windham for regular season-ending “rivalry meets.”

Adam Birt contributed to this story.

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

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