Fall sports season off and running

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The 2011 fall sports season began with a flourish last weekend and there figures to be plenty of drama to come. Here’s a glimpse at what you might have missed:

Football

While defending Class A state champion Cheverus was cruising in its opener (please see story), Deering and Portland had mixed results in their initial outings.

The Rams, who dropped a one-point heartbreaker to the Stags in the 2010 Western A Final, welcomed new coach Jon Gallant with a 41-8 home romp over Noble Friday night. 

Deering scored 14 points in the first period, 14 more in the second and 13 in the third to put it away. Senior Trey Thomes ran for three touchdowns and senior quarterback Matt Flaherty, in his first start after replacing graduated standout Jamie Ross, ran for a score and threw a TD pass to James Doyle, who also recovered a fumble in the end zone for a TD. Senior Brandon Saucier (who also plays boys’ soccer, more on him in a moment, was 5-for-5 on extra points). The Rams look to go 2-0 Friday when they go to 0-1 Windham.

The Bulldogs weren’t nearly as fortunate. Hopeful of getting off to a good start on the road, Portland fell behind host Massabesic 32-0 at the half and went down to a 39-0 defeat. The Bulldogs will try again Friday night at 0-1 Noble.

Boys’ soccer

The Waynflete boys’ soccer team has fallen just short of championship glory in recent seasons, but has its sights set on winning it all in 2011. The Flyers got off to a great start Friday at A.R. Gould, cruising to a 9-0 victory behind two goals apiece from senior Mitch Newlin and junior Paul Runyambo. Waynflete is idle this week due to the school’s Outdoor Experience program, and returns to action Monday at Wells.

In Western A, defending regional champion Portland suffered its first regular season loss in nearly a calendar year Saturday when it fell, 3-2, at home to Windham. The Bulldogs led early on a goal from sophomore Tony Yekah, but surrendered three in the second half. A late tally from junior Tim Rovnak wasn’t enough.

“We just broke down,” said Portland’s longtime coach Rocky Frenzilli. “It was a slap of reality that everyone is out to get us. The kids were nervous and we didn’t play with intensity and fire. We had nice chances at the end. I would have loved to see that intensity for 80 minutes, but it’s something we can build on.”

The Bulldogs looked to get in the win column Tuesday at Noble. They host Deering Thursday and have a showdown at Scarborough Tuesday of next week.

Deering won its opener, giving new coach Joel Costigan a confidence boost. With time running down in the first half of Saturday’s home contest versus Massabesic, senior Brandon Saucier was in the right place at the right time to score with 0.9 seconds remaining. The Rams had chances to score more, but wound up holding on for the 1-0 win.

“We’re doing our possession game very well,” Costigan said. “We’re just not finishing. We need to play more than just the possession game and adjust. That’s one thing we’ve been working on is transitions. We have first-year guys who are hopefully going to be here a few more years. I’m looking forward to building the program. This is a good start.”

Deering welcomes Westbrook Tuesday, goes to Portland Thursday and plays at dangerous Gorham Tuesday of next week.

Cheverus opened with a 5-1 triumph at Sanford Saturday. Senior Alexander Hoglund scored in the first half and classmate Elliot Maker erupted for three goals in the second. Senior Alex Mann had the final goal. The Stags were at Biddeford Tuesday, open at home Thursday against Bonny Eagle and go to Noble Tuesday of next week.

Girls’ soccer

Cheverus’ always strong girls’ soccer team began its 2011 season at home Friday against McAuley. The Stags dominated play in the first half, but despite myriad close calls, couldn’t score a goal. Finally in the second half, Cheverus solved Lions’ standout junior goalie Molly Miller and got tallies from junior Darby Rawcliffe, sophomore Abby Maker, Maker again, senior Allie Thomas (on a PK) and junior Danielle Kane to win, 5-0.

“I liked the intensity we had the whole way through this one,” said Stags’ coach Dan LaVallee. “I thought we played just as well in the first half as the second, but we couldn’t get it in. Once Darby got the first one, we were in good shape. Our talent level is pretty good. If we can stay healthy, we’ll be pretty strong.”

Cheverus hosts Biddeford Wednesday and goes to Bonny Eagle Saturday.

McAuley fell to 0-1 with the loss, but Miller dazzled with several clutch saves.

“Molly played really well,” said Lions’ coach Vince Aceto. “I hate to see what it would have been, quite honestly, but that’s why she’s an all-conference keeper. We’ll use this game as a measuring stick and build from there.”

McAuley returns to action Saturday at Sanford and opens at home Monday versus Windham.

“The first four, five games for us are tough,” Aceto said. “We have kids in new places after the departures we had. We have some good players. That’s the best part.”

Deering is 1-0 after a hard-fought 3-2 triumph at Massabesic Saturday. After going to Westbrook Wednesday, the Rams open at home Friday against Portland.

Portland’s first game under new coach Britney Dupee resulted in an 8-0 loss at Windham Saturday. The Bulldogs host Noble Wednesday and visit Deering Friday.

Waynflete had a tough draw in its opener and suffered an 8-0 home loss to perennial Western B power York. The Flyers are idle until Monday when they host Old Orchard Beach.

Field hockey

Cheverus’ field hockey team, which enjoyed a stunning run to the state final in 2010, was expected to come back to the pack this fall, but made a big-time statement in the opener last Wednesday, romping at Thornton Academy, 5-0, behind two goals from junior Emily Rodrigue and one apiece from senior Sarah LaQuerre and juniors Brooke Flaherty and Staci Swallow. The Stags went to Deering Tuesday, have their home opener versus Windham Thursday and visit Biddeford Saturday and Bonny Eagle Monday.

Deering is still seeking its first win since 2009. After going 0-13-1 in 2010, the Rams opened last week with a 5-0 setback at Windham. After hosting Cheverus Tuesday, Deering is home with Biddeford Thursday and visits Kennebunk Monday of next week.

McAuley opened last week with always dangerous Scarborough in Alexandra Murphy’s debut as coach and dropped a 7-0 decision. The Lions went to Biddeford Tuesday, play at Marshwood Thursday, host Thornton Academy Saturday and visit Windham Monday.

Portland hopes to be improved and make the playoffs in 2011, but the Bulldogs dropped a 4-1 decision at Massabesic in their opener last week. Senior standout Raechel Allen had the team’s lone goal. Portland played at Marshwood Tuesday, has its home opener Thursday versus South Portland, welcomes Scarborough Saturday and Gorham Tuesday of next week.

Waynflete gave new coach Kelly Hoffman a win in its opener, 3-2, in OT, at Old Orchard Beach. Junior Jo Moore had the winning goal. Senior Suzy Moore and Nyanen Deng also rattled the cage for the Flyers, who then fell, 4-0, at home to Freeport Friday. Waynflete returns to action Tuesday at Traip.

Cross country

Waynflete’s strong cross country teams began their season Friday at Poland (along with Freeport and Yarmouth). The Flyers were second in the boys’ race and third on the girls’ side. Senior Abshir Horor was first among the boys with a time of 18 minutes, 16 seconds. Junior Martha Veroneau was runner-up in the girls’ race (21:48). Waynflete is back in action Sept. 16 at Lake Region.

Cheverus, Deering, McAuley and Portland start their regular seasons this week.

The Stags host Sanford and Gorham Friday. The Rams join Kennebunk and Marshwood at Westbrook. The Lions, along with Biddeford, go to Windham. The Bulldogs host Bonny Eagle, Noble and Thornton Academy.

Golf

Cheverus’ golf team got off to an auspicious beginning Thursday with a 10-3 home win over Deering, which is always in the title hunt. Portland’s first match was Tuesday at Falmouth.The Bulldogs host Deering Thursday, while the Stags go to Falmouth, the defending Class B champion, which has moved up to Class A this season.

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

Deering senior Renaldo Lowry looks for yardage as Noble junior LT Flores gives chase.

Deering senior quarterback Matt Flaherty sets his eyes on the hands of one of his favorite targets, senior receiver Renaldo Lowry. Flaherty’s first start after the departure of standout Jamie Ross was an unmitigated success.

Deering senior Anthony Miller returns an interception deep in Noble territory as senior teammate Nick DiBiase looks on and Noble junior LT Flores is in pursuit. The interception set up a Deering touchdown moments later.

Deering senior Trey Thomes leaves a pair of Noble defenders in his wake as he charges in for one of his touchdowns.

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Deering junior James Doyle is congratulated by teammates after recovering a Noble fumble for a defensive touchdown on Friday night. The Rams began the Jon Gallant Era with an emphatic 41-8 triumph.

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