Hannah Abbott and her Cheverus field hockey teammates enjoyed another successful season.
Deering’s Yahya Nure had a terrific individual campaign and helped the Rams finish second in Class A.
Taylor Crosby made a lot of dramatic saves this season for a Portland girls’ soccer team which got back to the playoffs.
Isabel Canning and her Waynflete girls’ soccer teammates got back to the Class C state final.
Another triumphant fall sports season has come and gone.
The weather was pleasant and local teams provided plenty of thrills.
On the gridiron, Cheverus and Deering got to the playoffs and Portland made a return trip to the Class A state final.
On the pitch, Waynflete’s girls got to the Class C state game again, Portland’s boys made a spirited run to the regional final and six of nine city squads played at least one postseason game.
Cheverus’ field hockey team once again led the way, exceeding expectations in making the playoffs.
Cheverus and Deering both made the volleyball playoffs, with the Rams doing so for the first time.
Cross country saw strong performances from teams and individuals with Deering leading the way.
Several local golfers impressed and Cheverus placed sixth in Class A.
There indeed has been plenty of excitement since early September. Before we turn our attention to winter sports, here’s one last look at a fun and fabulous fall.
Portland Bulldogs football, Class A North
Waynflete Flyers, girls’ soccer, Class C South
5) Deering cross country one of the best
Deering’s cross country team excelled during the league season, winning every meet. The Rams were hopeful that they might even win a regional or state title, but Falmouth proved to be too tough. Regardless, Deering, led by individual standout Yahya Nure, qualified for New Englands and enjoyed its best season since 2003.
4) Cheverus field hockey surprises the pundits
Cheverus’ field hockey team had a new coach (Sally Cloutier) and a lot of holes to fill when the 2016 season commenced. The Stags then went out and won their first three games and never looked back. Cheverus beat eventual regional champion Massabesic in double overtime and closed by winning four of its final five contests to make the playoffs yet again. The Stags then beat South Portland in the preliminary round, but their season came to an end at Marshwood in the quarterfinals. Cheverus is well positioned to be an even bigger factor in 2017 and that won’t catch anyone by surprise.
3) Waynflete girls’ soccer gets back to states
After losing to Orono in double overtime of the 2015 Class C state final, this year’s Flyers were bound and determined to get another shot at a Gold Ball. After an 8-4-2 regular season, Waynflete was only ranked fifth for the regional playoffs, but they won at Lisbon, Monmouth and Madison to punch its ticket to states. There, the Flyers found Orono waiting again and after digging a two-goal deficit, Waynflete couldn’t answer and its title quest fell just short, 2-0.
2) Portland boys’ soccer makes spirited run to regional final
Portland’s boys’ soccer team had a solid 9-3-2 regular season, but the Bulldogs were on no one’s radar when the Class A South playoffs began. Then, Portland made its presence felt. After a 1-0 win over Bonny Eagle in the preliminary round, the Bulldogs sprung their first upset, ending Deering’s fine season with a goal in the final minute. Portland then went to the state’s most storied program, Falmouth, for the semifinals and after letting a late lead slip away in the final minute, went to a penalty kick shootout for the time in program history and found a way to prevail. The Bulldogs had to go to top-ranked, preseason favorite Gorham for the regional final and only surrendered one goal, but Portland couldn’t score and couldn’t get any calls to go its way as its run came to a close.
1) Portland football gets to states again
Portland’s football team had a singular goal this fall, to get back to the Class A state final and win the Gold Ball. Ultimately, the Bulldogs had to settle for just getting there. After losing to Thornton Academy on the big stage in 2015, this year’s squad, led by a special and accomplished group of seniors, lost its opener by a point to Scarborough, then ran off seven wins in a row to earn the top seed in Class A North. After a quarterfinal round bye, Portland dominated Oxford Hills in the semifinals, then rallied past Windham in the regional final to set up a state game showdown versus preseason favorite Bonny Eagle. There, the Bulldogs scored first and led at halftime, but in the second half, couldn’t slow the powerful Scots and the dream ended with a 34-14 setback.