Fall sports season was special

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The fall sports season produced no shortage of drama from beginning to end and Forecaster Country athletes and teams created countless thrills.

The greatest came from the Cape Elizabeth volleyball team, which three times was pushed to the brink, but won each time in five sets to win a first ever state championship. Scarborough was the Capers’ first victim.

Scarborough’s cross country teams swept the Class A titles.

Scarborough also won a first title in golf.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Scarborough also captured a field hockey title, on a storybook goal with just two seconds to play. Cape Elizabeth and South Portland also reached the postseason.

On the pitch, Cape Elizabeth’s girls fell a goal shy of repeating as Class B champions. Scarborough lost to eventual champion Windham in the regional final.

On the boys’ side, Scarborough’s bid for a third successive championship was denied in improbable fashion by Cinderella Cheverus in the Western A Final. South Portland made its first semifinal in a quarter century before it was ousted by the Stags. Cape Elizabeth and Greater Portland Christian School also made it to the semis.

Last, but not least, all three football teams qualified for the playoffs, with Cape Elizabeth and South Portland falling in the quarterfinals and Scarborough being sent home in the semifinals.

Here’s one last look at an active autumn:

Fall champions

Cape Elizabeth Capers volleyball, Class A
Scarborough Red Storm field hockey, Class A
Scarborough Red Storm boys’ cross country, Class A
Scarborough Red Storm girls’ cross country, Class A
Scarborough Red Storm golf, Class A

Cape Elizabeth Capers girls’ soccer, Western Class B

Michael’s Top Five Stories

1) Cardiac Capers make history

Nothing came easily for Cape Elizabeth’s volleyball team this fall and the Capers redefined the word drama during its playoff run. Cape Elizabeth, which fell mere points shy of playing for a title in 2013, had to spend a good chunk of this season without a homecourt, but the Capers came alive late in the year with impressive wins over Greely and Scarborough to serve notice they would be a factor in the playoffs. Then, Cape Elizabeth earned a brutal draw, being ranked fifth despite a 12-2 record. The Capers had to go to Scarborough for the quarterfinals and fell behind, 2-1. That deficit was no problem, however, and they rallied to win, 3-2. The next time out, at perennial champion Greely, Cape Elizabeth dropped the first two sets, but rallied again to win in five. That script would be followed one final time in the state match against defending Falmouth, as the Capers erased a 2-0 hole and secured their first title in epic fashion. The Cardiac Capers provided thrills for a lifetime and we haven’t seen the last of their title celebrations.

2) Scarborough solves Skowhegan in final seconds

Scarborough’s field hockey team has long run roughshod over its foes in Western Class A, but the Red Storm hadn’t been able to defeat the state’s gold standard, Skowhegan, in the state final, losing in both 2012 and 2013. This fall, from the first second of preseason practice, Scarborough’s goal was simple: Get back to states and slay Skowhegan. After another superb 14-0 regular season, the Red Storm beat Biddeford, Thornton Academy and Marshwood, all by 3-1 margins, in the regional tournament to earn their chance. Neither Scarborough or Skowhegan could score in the state final. Until just over two seconds remained, that is. Red Storm senior Kristen Murray, who had scored several big goals in her team’s playoff run, produced the tally of her life and Scarborough’s dream was realized in most dramatic fashion. A special team had its fairy tale ending.

3) A first for Scarborough golf

Scarborough’s golf team has been competitive over the years, but it had never been able to be the best squad at the biggest match of all. Until Oct. 11. After a 10-0 regular season, the Red Storm were second to Gorham at the league qualifier and knew they had a golden opportunity to bring home the hardware, but that there were also several other strong teams in the field. Scarborough got strong efforts from Drew Kane, Mitchell Wedge, Braeden Kane and Nate Roberts for a team score of 318, which was two strokes better than Falmouth and Greely. Expect that first trophy to soon have company.

4) Scarborough cross country sweeps Class A

Scarborough’s boys’ cross country team has been the gold standard since joining Class A and this fall, the Red Storm captured the championship for the seventh time in 11 seasons. Even better, the boys had company as the girls’ squad, which failed to qualify for the state meet in each of the past three years, returned to top form this fall and also took home the hardware. It was just the second time (2008) in school history that both teams wound up on top of the heap. It won’t be the last.

5) South Portland boys’ soccer turns back the clock

The last time the South Portland boys’ soccer team advanced to the semifinals, the year was 1989. George H.W. Bush was in his first year in the White House, the World Series had just been interrupted by an earthquake and Janet Jackson, Milli Vanilli and Roxette topped the music charts. This year’s Red Riots expected to be very good and despite some early struggles, hit their stride late. As the No. 6 seed for the playoffs, South Portland ousted No. 11 Kennebunk in the preliminary round, then avenged several years of playoff disappointment at the hands of No. 3 Gorham with a 1-0 upset victory. The Red Riots had a great opportunity to advance further, but couldn’t hold a second half lead and lost in penalty kicks to eventual champion Cheverus in the semifinals. Regardless, South Portland restored the pride.

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

Sidebar Elements

No team produced drama quite like Cape Elizabeth’s Class A volleyball state champions. The Capers had to go the distance in all three playoff matches and each time found a way to prevail. It was certainly worth screaming about.

Senior Kristen Murray’s heroics helped Scarborough’s field hockey team to a thrilling Class A state title.

Silas Zechman and the rest of the South Portland boys’ soccer team soared high this fall, producing the best season in a quarter-century.

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