Fall sports season won't soon be forgotten

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The fall sports season, circa 2011, produced great drama and triumph in Forecaster Country.

South Portland’s football team made it to the semifinals for the first time since 2000. Cape Elizabeth was once again formidable, reaching the Western B semis. Scarborough made it to the playoffs for the second straight season.

All four local boys’ soccer teams made the playoffs, with Scarborough advancing the deepest. The Red Storm was eliminated by Windham in the Western A Final.

On the girls’ side, Scarborough got back to the Class A Final, but wasn’t able to repeat as it lost to Bangor. Cape Elizabeth, thanks in large part to the addition of a special sophomore, finished second in the region and got to the semifinals before losing a heartbreaker to the Red Storm. South Portland also reached the postseason.

Field hockey produced a playoff team in Scarborough, which was once again the top seed in Western A, but for the second year in a row, the Red Storm was upset on its home turf, this time by Windham, on penalty strokes, in the rain, in the quarterfinals.

Scarborough’s boys’ cross country team won yet another state title. Cape Elizabeth and South Portland were very good as well. Cape Elizabeth and South Portland’s girls also made it to states.

Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough’s golf teams made it to the state match.

On the volleyball court, Scarborough got to the state final for the first time, but lost to Greely in a close match.

Before we move on to winter, here’s one final look back at the best of the fall:

Southern edition fall state champion

Scarborough Red Storm boys’ cross country, Class A

Southern edition fall regional champion

Scarborough Red Storm girls’ soccer, Western Class A

Michael’s Top Five Stories

5) Another title for Scarborough cross country

Scarborough’s boys’ cross country team continued to hold sway over Class A this fall as it won yet another state title. The Red Storm, which was dominant from start to finish this year, had no peer in the conference, region or state. Senior Nick Morris provided the biggest highlight, when he came from way behind to win the individual crown at the tape. Scarborough went on to compete at the New England championships in Rhode Island.

4) Newcomer sparks Cape Elizabeth girls’ soccer

Cape Elizabeth’s girls’ soccer team was middle of the pack in 2010, reaching the quarterfinals and after graduating standout Karyn Barrett, wasn’t expected to be a top contender this fall. Then, sophomore Melanie Vangel arrived in town. Vangel, who moved from Camden, made an immediate impact on the Capers, emerging as one of the Western Maine Conference’s most prolific scorers. Vangel and her teammates wound up ranked second in Western A and rallied to knock off Deering in the quarterfinals. They were just moments away from downing Scarborough in the semis, but the Red Storm tied the score and won in double overtime. With Vangel back for two more seasons, Cape Elizabeth should be knocking on the door again.

3) Scarborough girls return to states

Scarborough’s girls’ soccer team was as close to perfect as a team could be in 2010, winning a first Class A championship while allowing one measly goal all season. This year’s squad wasn’t quite as dominant, but once again produced a solid record and earned the No. 3 seed in the regional playoffs. After downing Cheverus thanks to two early goals in the quarterfinals, the Red Storm rallied for a dramatic double overtime win at Cape Elizabeth in the semifinals, then downed Gorham in the regional final on a goal in the final minute. Scarborough’s good fortune finally dried up in the state final when Bangor avenged last year’s setback with an emphatic 4-0 decision.

2) Scarborough volleyball makes first state appearance

Scarborough’s volleyball team had never advanced past the semifinals prior to this season. This year’s group made it clear early that it was aiming for a championship and the Red Storm posted a solid regular season mark. Scarborough passed its first two playoff tests and got to meet perennial champion Greely in the Class A state match. The Red Storm lost the two regular season meetings and certainly made the Rangers sweat, winning the second game, but despite the heroics of senior Brittany Bona, Scarborough couldn’t quite get that elusive title and lost in four games. The Red Storm has established itself as a top power and hopes to build on this season’s run next year.

1) SP football wakes up the echoes

For many years, the South Portland football team was one of the state’s premier powers. In the 1990s, the Red Riots, under legendary coach John Wolfgram, won four Class A state championships and posted a 31-game win streak. The first decade of the 21st Century wasn’t as kind and for seven years, South Portland didn’t even qualify for the postseason. The Red Riots finally returned in 2010 and built on that success this fall. After a season-opening loss at defending state champion Cheverus, South Portland rattled off five successive victories (its longest win streak since 2001), thanks to a potent offense and an ever-improving defense. After a tough triple-overtime loss at Windham, the Red Riots beat rival Portland to finish 6-2 and earn the No. 3 seed in Western A. South Portland then downed Sanford in the quarterfinals, its first playoff triumph since 2000. At Thornton Academy in the semifinals, the Red Riots came oh so close to advancing, but a last play was stopped a yard short and South Portland’s season ended at 7-3. The Red Riots won’t be content with this year’s results. They have every intention of going all the way in 2012.

Sidebar Elements

Dan Medici and the South Portland football team returned to prominence this fall, reaching the regional semifinals.

Sophomore Melanie Vangel came to Cape Elizabeth this autumn and became one of the Western Maine Conference’s most prolific scorers, helping the Capers reach the Western A semifinals.

Scarborough’s boys’ cross country team once again had no peer in 2011.

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