Fall sports season passes midway point

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As September gives way to October, all fall sports are heating up and playoff jockeying is underway. Here’s a glimpse at where local squads stand:

Boys’ soccer

The Scarborough’s boys’ soccer team hosted Kennebunk last Wednesday, seeking revenge for last year’s surprising ouster on penalty kicks in the Western Class A quarterfinals. When junior Austin Downing was given credit for scoring on a Rams’ own goal in the 27th minute, it appeared the Red Storm was on its way, but Kennebunk improbably struck with 0.2 seconds to go in the first half to make it a 1-1 game. Despite ample opportunities, including a penalty kick in overtime, Scarborough couldn’t beat Kennebunk goalkeeper John Burns and had to settle for a 1-1 draw.

“That was one of the best games we’ve played all year, top to bottom,” said Red Storm coach Mark Diaz. “We learned a bunch of stuff tonight. We’re fine. (The goal before halftime is) part of our youth. I’m proud of how we played in OT. I’m optimistic.”

Scarborough then blanked host Bonny Eagle (5-0) and visiting Deering (1-0) to improve to 6-0-2 (good for first in the Western Class A Heal Points standings, as of Wednesday morning). Against the Scots, Downing scored twice. He also had the lone goal in the win over the Rams. The Red Storm go to Windham Saturday and host Noble Monday.

South Portland remains in the playoff chase. The Red Riots dropped a tough 3-2 home decision to Windham last Thursday (despite goals from senior Akiba Davis and junior Damjan Draskovic). Saturday, they bounced back with an easy 8-2 home win over Sanford (senior Nem Kaurin scored four times, classmate Will Bushey added two goals). Tuesday, South Portland improved to 5-2-1 with a 2-0 victory at Kennebunk behind goals from Draskovic and Kaurin and a shutout from senior goalkeeper Shawn Shannon. The Red Riots (ninth in the latest Heals) hosted Bonny Eagle Thursday and welcome Gorham in a critical matchup Tuesday.

Cape Elizabeth was a 3-1 winner at Gray-New Gloucester Saturday (senior standout Tim Lavallee scored twice), but stumbled at home Monday, losing to Freeport for the first time in six years (2-1), despite a goal from Lavallee. The Capers (4-2-1 and third behind Scarborough and Windham in Western A) went to Lake Region Wednesday, have a pivotal game at York Friday, then host defending Class B state champion Yarmouth Tuesday.

In Western D, Greater Portland Christian School improved to 3-4 and seventh in the standings after Friday’s 5-2 home win over Islesboro. Adam Simpson scored twice. David Davol, Than Peterson and Ryan Waugh once apiece. The Lions were at Gould Thursday, host Acadia Christian Saturday and Chop Point Monday.

Girls’ soccer

On the girls’ side, South Portland has really come on as of late. The Red Riots were sixth in the Western A Heals as of Wednesday morning after recent wins over visiting Deering (2-0) and Kennebunk (3-2). Junior Ericka Lightner scored and senior Domonique Smith had the shutout in goal against Deering. Junior Erin Bogdanovich had two goals and sophomore Shae O’Brien had one versus Kennebunk. South Portland also suffered a 3-2 loss at Windham last Thursday (Bogdanovich and junior Jenacee Bradley had the Red Riots’ goals). South Portland (4-3-1) goes to Bonny Eagle Friday, hosts Massabesic Monday and has a big test at Gorham Wednesday.

Defending Class A state champion Scarborough had to settle for a 1-1 home tie versus Thornton Academy Saturday and was 4-1-2 and fourth in Western A at press time. In the draw, junior Ashley Ronzo had the goal. The Red Storm was at Deering Wednesday, visits Windham Saturday and goes to Noble Wednesday of next week.

Cape Elizabeth is still atop the Western A Heals with a 6-0-2 mark after a 2-2 home tie with York last Thursday and a 4-1 victory at Freeport Monday. In the draw, sophomore sensation Melanie Vangel and classmate Addie Wood scored. In the win over the Falcons, Wood struck twice.

“The girls are working very hard, they all get along and it’s all paying off,” said first-year coach Luke Krawczyk. “We play some very tough teams. The main thing was to get the girls to work together. I trust them and hopefully, they trust me as well. It was a different preseason than what they’ve had before. We’ve started well and hope to finish well.”

The Capers hosted Lake Region Wednesday and go to Gray-New Gloucester Monday.

In Western D, GPCS dropped to 0-6 and sixth in the region after a 4-0 loss at Vinalhaven Tuesday. The Lions host Rangeley Friday, Calvary Chapel Saturday, Old Orchard Beach Monday and Buckfield Wednesday.

Field hockey

Scarborough’s field hockey team has the top spot in the Western Class A Heal Points standings all to itself after downing visiting Cheverus in a showdown/grudge game last Thursday. The Red Storm got goals from senior Lindsay Dobecki and junior Grace Whelan and the defense stifled the Stags from start to finish in a 2-1 victory. Cheverus had eliminated the then-defending state champion Red Storm in last year’s semifinals, 2-1.

“It feels fantastic,” said Whelan. “It feels like the game was reversed from last year. We talked about it a lot. No one thinks it should have happened. We were ready to beat them.”

“This is definitely a very well balanced team,” added Scarborough coach Kerry Mariello. “We have a lot of strengths. They’ve been turning it on and showing improvement game by game. This was a pivotal game in our season. We had last year to fuel us on. It’s great. We played well tonight. Last year was a lesson that was good for us. We needed it, maybe. We did our homework over the summer and came back and it showed in this game. We expressed control aggression. We had to control the tempo of the ball and be aggressive and composed 100 percent of the time. Having experience from last year helps.”

Saturday, the Red Storm improved to 8-0-1 with a 3-0 home win over Gorham. Wheeling, sophomore Emily Bunting and freshman Abby Walker had the goals, while junior Shannon Hicks had the shutout in goal. Scarborough was at Thornton Academy Wednesday, visits Windham Saturday and hosts Deering Tuesday.

South Portland fell to 1-8 and 15th in the standings after recent losses to host McAuley (4-2) and visiting Cheverus (5-0). Senior Maraka Soule and freshman Courtney Pelkey scored against the Lions. The Red Riots were at Biddeford Wednesday and play at Sanford Friday. Tuesday, they host Windham.

In Western B, Cape Elizabeth dropped to 2-5-1 and 11th in the standings after recent losses to Lake Region (3-1), Fryeburg (1-0) and Greely (4-1), all at home. Junior Jane Coffrin had the goal against the Lakers. Senior Bella Robinson rattled the cage against the Rangers. The Capers go to Fryeburg Saturday, host York Monday and visit Wells Wednesday.

Volleyball

Scarborough’s volleyball team bounced back from its only loss of the regular season with three straight wins. After downing defending Class A state champion Biddeford in four games, the Red Storm hosted last year’s state finalist Falmouth last Thursday and had to go the distance to win, 3-2 (25-20, 24-26, 25-19, 12-25, 15-9). Brittany Bona had 17 kills and eight digs. Rachael Webber had 10 kills and Emily Robbins finished with 28 assists.

Tuesday, at Gorham, Scarborough prevailed in three games (25-19, 25-19, 25-16) to improve to 7-1. Robbins had 25 assists and five digs against the Rams. Bona finished with 12 kills and 11 digs. Webber had 10 kills and Meghan Mcalary finished with 10 digs.

After playing at Kennebunk Wednesday, the Red Storm get a rematch with the team it lost to, Greely, Friday night. Next Wednesday, Scarborough (second to Greely in the Class A Heals) goes to Cony.

If the season ended today, Cape Elizabeth would make the playoffs for the first time. The Capers won in three games at Lake Region last Thursday, but lost to Greely in straight sets Tuesday to drop to 3-6 (good for the seventh and final playoff spot in Class A). Cape Elizabeth hosts Kennebunk Friday and goes to Gorham Tuesday.

Cross country

Scarborough’s boys’ cross country team, ranked the best in the state of Maine by the coaches, joined Biddeford and Deering for a meet at Sanford last week and stayed undefeated on the season. The Red Storm were led by individual winner Nick Morris (who completed the course in 16 minutes, 53 seconds). The girls placed second at Sanford, a point behind the hosts.

South Portland hosted Noble and Windham last week. The fifth-ranked boys were first behind Darryl Wilkinson’s first place showing (14:24). The girls’ team was second to Windham. No individual results were available at press time.

Cape Elizabeth hosted Fryeburg, Waynflete and York. The Capers girls (ranked seventh by the coaches) were first and had Catherine Tierney place third individually (20:38). The boys were second to York as Thomas Bottomley came in third (16:43).

South Portland hosted Sanford, Thornton Academy and Westbrook Wednesday, while Scarborough was home with Kennebunk, McAuley and Noble. Cape Elizabeth joins Merriconeag and Noble Saturday at Fryeburg.

Golf

With the golf postseason right around the corner, local squads wrapped up the regular season this week.

Cape Elizabeth wound up 8-2 after Tuesday’s win over Gray-New Gloucester. Scarborough took a 7-1 mark into its final two matches, showdowns at Cheverus and Falmouth. South Portland went into its final matches versus Portland and Deering seeking its initial win of 2011.

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.