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Playoffs underway, more drama to come

Sports

Playoffs underway, more drama to come

(Ed. Note: For the complete Cape Elizabeth-Waynflete boys' soccer, Cape Elizabeth-Waynflete girls' soccer and Scarborough-Thornton Academy field hockey game stories, with photos, please visit theforecaster.net)

The postseason is now in full swing for every sport save football (please see story). One local cross country team had its conference championship meet Friday. Golf wrapped up its 2012 campaign with individual championships Saturday. Field hockey's playoffs are underway and soccer and volleyball will commence starting this weekend.

Here's a glimpse:

Golf

Cape Elizabeth's Reese McFarlane is the Class B individual golf champion. Saturday at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro, McFarlane, who had the best score at the team competition as the Capers came in fifth, finished with a round of 74, which was three shots better than Maranacook's Luke Ruffing and Yarmouth's Red DeSmith.

"I was thrilled to earn this title as a sophomore, it means a lot to me," said McFarlane. "My performance at the team championship definitely gave me a lot confidence and it proved to me that I can compete with the top players in the state. Saturday definitely set fourth a challenge, with the high winds and the freezing cold. I made plenty of mistakes, but I took advantage of the par 5's, where I made three of my five birdies."

Teammate Xander Schonewolf placed 11th with an 84.

In Class A, Scarborough's Brandon Hall tied Mt. Ararat's Tyler O'Connor for fifth with a score of 80 (Gorham's Mike Caron took the title with a round of 75). Scarborough's Kyle Parrott tied Greely's Kyle Bickford for 10th with an 82.

In the girls' championship, won by Bangor's Alice Hwang with an 84, Scarborough's Katie Huffines finished 23rd with a 106 and teammate Megan Thibault tied Noble's Kailey Coleman for 26th with a 110.

Field hockey

Scarborough's powerhouse field hockey team capped a perfect regular season with a 14-0 record, outscoring the opposition, 59-0. That allowed the Red Storm to tie the national record for not allowing a goal in an entire regular season. Goalie Shannon Hicks will go in the record books as well with 14 shutouts.

Top-ranked Scarborough made it 15 wins and whitewashings in a row Wednesday evening, 4-0, over visiting No. 8 seed Thornton Academy in the Western Class A quarterfinals. The Red Storm, which beat the visiting Golden Trojans, 4-0, Sept. 27, and won the lone prior playoff meeting (2-0 in the 2009 quarterfinals), quickly served notice that it had no intention of repeating last year's painful first round ouster to Windham by racing to a 1-0 lead just 3 minutes, 25 seconds in when Emily Bunting scored on a rebound. Four minutes later, Kristen Murray scored on a penalty corner and with 12:54 to go before halftime, a goal by Elly Walker on a penalty corner ensured a healthy 3-0 advantage at the break. A second goal from Walker off a corner in the second half accounted for the final score.

"It was so important to score early," said Walker. "We remembered last year, going on and on, the rain and everyone was tired. We all just wanted to win so bad. Last year has driven us so much. Most of this team was there last year. Some of us the last two years. We remember the feeling. It's built up. We couldn't have that feeling again."

"It feels absolutely amazing," said Gove. "It's all about our team. We work together on the field. If it comes down to the defense, we stick together and we just push the ball out. We have amazing goalies. We keep our passing going to get around other players and just stay confident in ourselves. It crosses our mind because we know there's probably a team out there wishing they get that first goal on us. It's not about whether we get a shutout or not. It's about winning and advancing."

"It's a fantastic feeling," added Scarborough coach Kerry Mariello. "We got the monkey off our back. We had to do it. We didn't need to say a whole lot. The girls know the position we're in. They know last year's experience. They wanted it. They deserved it. We came out ready to play from the start. (These girls) remind me a lot of the special group of a few years ago. They have pure hearts, complete passion for the sport and want to do well, not just for themselves, but for this team and for this community."

Scarborough is now one shutout away from joining a select national list with 16 successive shutouts (you could argue the Red Storm's streak is at 18, as last year's playoff loss to Windham didn't come from a goal in the regular run of play, but on "sudden victory" penalty corners).

The Red Storm will host fourth-ranked Westbrook (11-2-2) in Saturday's semifinals (1 p.m.). In the regular season, Scarborough handled visiting Westbrook, 2-0. The Red Storm previously faced the Blue Blazes in the 2006 quarterfinals (a 2-1 overtime loss) and the 2008 regional final (a 2-1 victory).

"(Westbrook's) always in it," added Mariello. "They're always that team that fights until the bitter end. It will be a battle. Semifinals is a tough game to get through because you tend to look ahead a little bit. Every team will show us different things. As long as we play the balanced game we've been playing from day one, I think we'll be in a good position."

The Western A Final is Tuesday, at Scarborough. If the Red Storm makes it, it will face either No. 2 Cheverus (14-1) or No. 3 Marshwood (13-2), the reigning regional champion. Scarborough handled the host Stags, 4-0, Sept. 21, and blanked the visiting Hawks, 1-0, Sept. 15.

The Class A state final is Saturday, Oct. 27, at the University of Maine in Orono.

South Portland finished 3-10-1 and 13th in Western A, but only the top 11 teams made the playoffs.

In Western B, Cape Elizabeth had a solid 8-6 regular season, capped by a 2-1 home win over Yarmouth last Wednesday as Jane Coffrin scored both goals. That victory allowed the Capers to finish seventh in the region and host a playoff game for the first time since 2008.

Saturday, Cape Elizabeth welcomed No. 10 Oak Hill for a prelim and eked out a 3-2 win. The Capers, who don't play Oak Hill in the regular season, fell behind 2-0 before the curtain came up on the latest installment of the Lauren Steidl Show. Steidl scored twice late in the first half, including the tying tally after time had expired on a penalty corner. She then delivered the winner in the 37th minute as Cape Elizabeth enjoyed its first postseason victory since 2007.

The Capers advanced to play No. 2 Fryeburg in Tuesday's quarterfinals. The teams split in the regular season, each winning at home (Raiders, 1-0; Capers, 3-0). The teams previously met in the 1981 semifinals (3-0 Cape Elizabeth win), 1982 quarterfinals (a 1-0 Capers' win in six overtimes), 1988 quarterfinals (a 1-0 Cape Elizabeth triumph), 1998 quarterfinals (a 2-1 Capers' victory), 2002 quarterfinals (2-0 Cape Elizabeth) and 2005 preliminary round (3-0 Capers), but this time, Fryeburg carried the day.

The Capers fell behind early, 2-0, but Steidl set up Hannah Newhall for a goal to cut the deficit to 2-1 at halftime. The Raiders managed to get a third goal in the second half and went on to a 3-1 victory, ending Cape Elizabeth's season at 9-7.

"It was a tough loss for the girls, as we split with Fryeburg during the regular season and knew they were beatable," said Capers coach Darci Holland. "I thought we were very comparable teams and it was anyone's game. Unfortunately, we got off to a very slow start. My girls put on some pressure and Hannah scored a goal with about two minutes left to go in the first half. Starting the second half, we still had issues adjusting to the field conditions and couldn't complete passes making it difficult to get the ball in our offensive circle.
 
"The girls had a great season, especially coming off only three wins last year. Our big issue last year was that we couldn't finish. This year we had a whole bunch of scoring and although most if it came from Steidl, the whole front line (and a few mids) were able to poke the ball in. We capitalized on our strengths and had some great games this season."
 
Cape Elizabeth expects to remain a factor in 2013.
 
"We lose some key players in Jane, our captain, chief playmaker and leader in assists, Lauren, our top goal scorer, and Julianne Ayers in goal, so we have some big shoes to fill," Holland said. "However, if I look at it a little differently, I'm still getting back nine of my starters which is a good number, only four of which will be seniors next year. I'm heartbroken that our season got cut short, but I'm feeling positive about the group I have coming up. Hopefully they will want to avenge this year's early out and take it further."

Cross country

Cape Elizabeth's cross country team began its postseason last Friday at the Western Maine Conference championship meet at St. Joseph's College in Standish.

The boys were second overall to Falmouth, while the girls came fifth behind Falmouth, Greely, Freeport and Yarmouth.

The meet was further broken down into Division I and II. The Capers took part in Division II. The boys were second to Falmouth, while the girls placed fourth behind Greely, Falmouth and Freeport.

Individually, the boys were paced by Liam Simpson, who was fourth overall, but second in Division I with a time of 17 minutes, 3 seconds on the 5-kilometer course. Also scoring were Peter Doane (third, 17:14), Justin Guerrette (13th, 18:21), Julian Pelzer (15th, 18:24) and Trevor Ewald (29th, 19:13).

"While the results show we finished behind Falmouth, this was one of better races on the year," said Capers coach Derek Veilleux. "We ran without our No. 3, Kyle Kennedy, and No. 4, Will Britton, but got great races up front from Liam and Peter and Justin had his breakout race of the season. Also, Julian had his best race of the season, finishing right behind Justin. The race gave the team a lot of confidence heading into this weekend. I challenged them to overcome the adversity and they responded.

"We know that this weekend at regionals we will be racing Falmouth again for the top spot, although anything can happen in the postseason. Our goal is to qualify for the state meet. If we win, that would be great."

The top girls' finisher was Rhoen Fituak (eighth in Division II, 21:41). Also scoring were Ellen Best (ninth, 21:45), Dana Hatton (14th, 22:20), Emma Inhorn (15th, 22:28) and Sarah Long (31st, 23:41).

Scarborough and South Portland finished their regular seasons with meets against traditional rivals.

The Red Storm was at Gorham (along with Bonny Eagle, Westbrook and Windham). The boys were first, while the girls placed third behind Bonny Eagle and Windham. Individually, Brendan Hall was tops on the boys' side with a time of 16:58. For the girls, Marisa Agger placed fifth with a time of 20:08.

The Red Riots joined Cheverus, McAuley and Portland at Deering. The boys were third behind the Stags and Rams. Gavin Damian-Loring was fifth individually (17:48). The girls finished runner-up to Cheverus. Nyajock Pan was second to Stags' standout Shannon Conley with a time of 19:57.

The regional championships meet is Saturday at Twin Brook Recreation Center in Cumberland. The Class A boys' meet begins at 10 a.m. The girls go at 10:35 p.m. Cape Elizabeth's boys run at 12:30 p.m. The girls begin at 1:05 p.m.

The state meet is Saturday, Oct. 27 at Belfast. The New England championships are in Maine this year, Nov. 10, back at Twin Brook.

Boys' soccer

Three of four local boys' soccer teams will take part in the postseason.

Leading the way once again is Scarborough, which finished 12-0-2 after downing visiting Biddeford (4-0) and Marshwood (3-0) to wrap up the regular season. Against the Tigers, Trevor Sparda scored three times and Austin Downing added a goal. In the win over the Hawks, Sparda scored twice and Dan Ornstein had the third goal.

The Red Storm's eight-year run as the top seed in Western Class A came to an end, barely, as it finished slightly behind Gorham in second. Scarborough will host either No. 7 Windham (10-4), the defending state champion, or red-hot No. 10 Portland (6-7-1) in a quarterfinal round game Wednesday. The Red Storm handled the Bulldogs, 6-1, in Portland, Sept. 11, and blanked the visiting Eagles, 4-0, Sept. 29.

South Portland produced another strong year, going 8-3-3 after finishing with a 3-2 loss at Portland, a 1-0 home victory over Thornton Academy and a 2-0 home win over Marshwood. In the loss, Robert Graff and Ahmed Suja scored. Suja had the lone goal against the Golden Trojans and Danny Fox and Caleb Elsemore scored against the Hawks. The Red Riots earned the No. 6 seed and will host No. 11 Noble (8-6) in the preliminary round Friday at 5 p.m. The teams didn't play in the regular season.

A victory in the prelim would send South Portland to third-ranked Greely (10-4) for the quarterfinals Wednesday. The teams don't play in the regular season.

Cape Elizabeth overcame a 2-5-1 start and finished with a 5-0-1 surge to wind up 7-5-2, good for the No. 8 seed. The Capers closed by handling host Sacopee (5-1) and Gray-New Gloucester (4-0), before settling for a 1-1 home tie with defending Class C champion Waynflete. Against the Hawks, Eli Breed, Cam Caswell, Maam Fall, Eddie Galvin and Griffin Thoreck all had goals. Charlie Laprade scored twice, while Fall and Omar Khalidi also tickled the twine in the win over the Patriots. Monday, against the Flyers, a 25-yard free kick from Thoreck in the first half put Cape Elizabeth on top, but Waynflete answered in the second half and game wound up deadlocked, 1-1.

"We've gotten much, much better through the season," said Capers coach Ben Raymond. "The kids definitely got better. We're a much different team than last year. We play much more of a team game and defend really well. We grew into ourselves and the kids figured it out. Everyone knows their role at this point. The kids have adjusted well."

Cape Elizabeth will host No. 9 Marshwood (8-5-1) in a preliminary round game Saturday at 6 p.m. The teams don't play in the regular season. If victorious, the Capers will go top-ranked Gorham (12-0-2) for the quarterfinals Wednesday. The teams don't meet in the regular year.

In Western D, Greater Portland Christian School finished 6-8 and ninth in the Heals, but only seven teams make the playoffs. The Lions closed with a 13-2 victory at Highview Christian and a 4-1 home loss to Buckfield. Against Highview, Ethan Spaulding had four goals and Eddie Daigneault, David Davol, Byeong Woo Jung and Eric Pearson each had two. Spaulding also had four assists, tying the school record. Spaulding had the lone goal against Buckfield. He finished the year with 11 goals and 11 assists and was involved in 22 of the team's 40 goals on the season.

Girls' soccer

On the girls' side, two-time defending regional champion Scarborough ended the regular season 12-1-1 to earn the No. 3 spot in the Western A standings, just ahead of Cape Elizabeth.

The Red Storm closed with victories over host Westbrook (7-0), visiting Biddeford (2-0) and host Massabesic (2-0) to finish the year with a 51-3 goals differential. Against the Blue Blazes, Sarah Martens had three goals and Jess Meader added a pair. Meader and Hadlee Yescott had the goals against the Tigers. In the win over the Mustangs, Meader scored again.

Scarborough will host either No. 6 Sanford (10-3-1) or No. 11 Marshwood (6-7-1) in the quarterfinals Tuesday. In the regular season, the Red Storm won, 3-0, at the Hawks Sept. 5 and didn't face the Spartans.

South Portland eked out the 13th and final playoff spot with a 5-9 record. The Red Riots closed with losses at Thornton Academy (8-0) and Marshwood (3-1) sandwiched around a 1-0 home triumph over Portland. Jenacee Bradbury had the goal and Emma Russell made eight saves in the victory.

South Portland will visit No. 4 Cape Elizabeth (12-1-1) in the preliminary round Friday at 6:30 p.m. The teams didn't square off in the regular season.

The Capers completed their best season in a decade with wins at home over Gray-New Gloucester (1-0) and at Waynflete (6-0). Kathryn Clark had the goal against the Patriots.

In the win at the Flyers, Clark set the tone just 83 seconds in with a goal and by halftime, Clark had scored again and freshman Kate Breed also tickled the twine to give the Capers a commanding 3-0 lead. Six minutes into the second half, Clark scored her third goal and later in the half, freshmen Morgan Wight and Katherine Briggs got in on the act with goals, as Cape Elizabeth cruised.

"It's so surprising," said Clark. "Coming into the season, I didn't want to be down on us, but I didn't think we'd get anywhere close to where we were last year. We had five freshmen coming in. They didn't know how to handle high school soccer. They've proven themselves. Our whole team has proven ourselves. I think we're a much better team this year."

"We've come a long way," said Capers coach Luke Krawczyk. "I wanted to do well in the regular season and we were brilliant. We finished with a better record than last year. We win the conference again. It was great development for the girls. It was a great year for the program. Our first team did really well. JV went unbeaten."

Cape Elizabeth likes its chances entering the postseason.

"It's tough because we don't know what to expect," Clark said. "We played some of those teams like Scarborough in the summer. It's always hard shifting, but we're confident. If we put our minds to it, I think we can go far. We don't adjust according to what other teams play. We just try to play our game. Coach says we do the bad things well. We're scrappy. We know 50-50 balls can determine games."

"I want to play (the SMAA teams)," Krawczyk said.. "We've earned the right to compete against those teams. We'll see what happens. They'll be older than us and they may have some better players than us, but we want the opportunity to play them. Playoffs are a lottery. I'm not a big fan of it. Where I'm from (Peterborough, England), you win the league and that's it. We hope to give a good account of ourselves and enjoy it."

In Western D, GPCS finished 0-10 and seventh (only five teams make the playoffs) after falling, at home to Vinalhaven (5-2) and Buckfield (3-0).

Volleyball

Cape Elizabeth's nascent volleyball program earned its first playoff berth.

The Capers finished 5-9 after a 3-0 home loss to defending Class A state champion Greely and a 3-0 home win over Cheverus Friday, in what was essentially a play-in game. Cape Elizabeth earned the No. 8 spot in the region and hosted No. 9 Windham (4-10) in the preliminary round Thursday. The Capers won, 3-0, at the Eagles, Oct. 6.

If Cape Elizabeth advanced, it will go top-ranked Biddeford (14-0) for the quarterfinals Saturday. In the regular season, the Capers lost, 3-0, Aug. 31, at the Tigers.

Scarborough finished 10-4 after dropping a five-set (22-25, 25-17, 26-24, 19-25, 10-15) home decision to Gorham Friday. As a result, the Red Storm slipped to the No. 6 spot and will go third-ranked Ellsworth (12-2) for the quarterfinals Saturday. The teams didn't play in the regular season.

The playoffs continue Wednesday with the semifinals and the state matches are Saturday, Oct. 27, at Husson College in Bangor. The Class B match is at 5 p.m. The Class A match begins at 7 p.m.

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