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Field hockey, soccer, volleyball playoffs heat up

Sports

Field hockey, soccer, volleyball playoffs heat up

Ed. Note: For the complete South Portland-Kennebunk boys' soccer, Scarborough-Marshwood girls' soccer and Scarborough-Massabesic field hockey game stories, with photos, please visit theforecaster.net)

The field hockey and volleyball playoffs have already produced an abundance of drama and soccer is following suit

Here's what you might have missed and a glimpse at what's to come.

Field hockey

Scarborough's field hockey team is once again the cream of the Western Class A crop. For the fourth time in six years, the Red Storm has advanced to the state final game.

After a 13-0-1 regular season, Scarborough earned the top seed in the region and handled No. 9 Gorham (5-0) in the quarterfinals, No. 5 Marshwood (1-0) in the semifinals and No. 2 Massabesic (6-3) in the regional final.

Against the Rams, Kristen Murray had two goals. Rachael Wallace had the winner versus the Hawks. The regional final proved to be a shootout, but Maggie Carbin had two goals, Abby Walker also scored twice and Murray and freshman Ashley Levesque rattled the cage and the Red Storm outslugged the Mustangs to advance.

"It feels amazing," Carbin said. "Just amazing. It was back and forth. They kept with us and we answered back. I'm so proud of my team."

"It feels awesome," Murray said. "The best feeling in the world right now. It's hard to beat a team that doesn't give up and they gave us a great game. Props to them for that."

The Red Storm will meet Skowhegan, the state's gold standard, Saturday at 12 p.m., at Yarmouth High School with the state title at stake.

The teams have already met in three previous state games. Skowhegan (17-0 after edging Messalonskee, 1-0, in the Eastern A Final), won the 2008 game, 2-1, in double overtime, but the following season, Scarborough earned an OT victory, on Ellie Morin's overtime goal, to prevail, 2-1, and win a state crown for the first time. Skowhegan returned the favor, 3-0, last year and will be seeking its 12th title in 13 years.

"I'm excited to see Skowhegan again," Carbin said. "I think we can do it."

"Skowhegan's a great team and a great program, but I think we can come out on top if we work our hardest," said Murray.

"We wanted an opportunity to play Skowhegan again and this is our second chance," added Scarborough coach Kerry Mariello. "We just have to play and not think about the game or that, 'Oh my gosh, it's Skowhegan.' We've called this season, 'Take two' all year. We were there last year. We wanted to get back to that game and have it be a different story. We want to show we're a better team than we showed last year. We have an extra year of experience under our belts. We'll see what happens."

Cape Elizabeth enjoyed its best season since 2000 and wound up third in Western B with a 10-4 record. The Capers then won a quarterfinal round game for the first time since 2002, downing No. 6 Kennebunk, 1-0, on a goal from Taylor Herrera. The run ended Saturday with a 4-0 loss at No. 2 Spruce Mountain, as Cape Elizabeth ended up 11-5.

"Overall we had a great season," said Capers coach Darci Holland. "This is the farthest the team has made it in over a decade, so there was a real buzz around town for another playoff win. The loss against Spruce Mountain was obviously not what we hoped for. The first half was a very evenly matched game with us dominating parts of it. They got their first goal with about five minutes remaining in the first half off a breakaway and then two back-to-back goals within five minutes of the second half  because of defensive breakdowns and no marking on our part, as was their fourth goal as well.

"I'm most pleased with how hard this team worked and their sense of perseverance to never give up. Even down 4-0 with 20 minutes to go, they were still dominating the game and trying to get shots off. They never gave up."

Cape Elizabeth has reestablished itself as a top contender and should be right back in the hunt in 2014.

"We'll lose four starting seniors, all very big shoes to fill in Sam Altznauer, Abby McInerney, Hailey Petsinger and Hannah Newhall," Holland said. "Their speed, tenacity and game sense will be missed as we start rebuilding next year's program. I'm very hopeful for next year. My underclassmen got the chance to play and learn from those talented seniors, so we'll be returning a handful of pivotal players."

Volleyball

At press time, Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough's volleyball teams were both on the verge of a trip to the state match, mighty big obstacles stood in their way.

Scarborough, after a first-ever 14-0 regular season, took the No. 1 seed in Class A into the playoffs and had no trouble with No. 8 Kennebunk in the quarterfinals, winning, 3-0 (25-8, 25-15, 25-14), as Abby Mills had 11 kills, four aces and two digs, Lauren Piper had 17 assists and three aces, Kayla Savage had seven aces and four kills and Natalie Foster added eight kills.

The Red Storm had a huge test Wednesday evening in the semifinals, as two-time defending Greely (11-4) paid a visit. Scarborough won both regular season matches, but playoffs are where the Rangers shine brightest.

If the Red Storm was able to beat Greely one final time, it would go to Windham High School Saturday at 10 a.m., to face Cape Elizabeth (13-2) or Falmouth (13-2) in the state match. Scarborough reached the 2011 state final, but lost to Greely.

Speaking of the Capers, ranked sixth in Class A, their fantasy season continued Saturday with a 3-1 quarterfinal round win at No. 3 Mt. Desert Island. Cape Elizabeth advanced to meet Falmouth in the semifinals. In the regular season meeting, the Capers gave the visiting Yachtsmen a scare, but lost in four sets.

Cape Elizabeth, which has already advanced further than ever before in the playoffs, hopes to reach the state match for the first time and either see Scarborough for the first time all season or look to avenge a hard-fought five set home loss to Greely.

Boys' soccer

The boys' soccer playoffs began Saturday when South Portland hosted Kennebunk in what proved to be a marathon preliminary round contest.

The eighth-ranked Red Riots fell behind the ninth-seeded Rams early, but tied the score on a goal from Andrew Whipple. Neither team could score again in regulation or 30 minutes of overtime, so it went to penalty kicks. South Portland goalkeeper Henry Curran made two saves and Danny Fox, Ahmed Suja, Brady Cyr and Ben Michaud converted their attempts to give the Red Riots a 2-1 (4-2 PK) victory.

"I just had to clear my mind and I knew I had to put it in the back of the net," Michaud said. "I thought I had to just keep my knee over the ball and put it in. It was a great feeling."

"I just had a blank mind and it worked out," Curran said.

"It was worth the wait," added South Portland coach Bryan Hoy. "I knew if we could get to PKs, we'd have them. I just told them to put it in the back of the net."

That win sent the Red Riots to top-ranked, defending Class A champion Scarborough Tuesday night for a quarterfinal. The Red Storm earned the top seed after going 13-0-1 in the regular season.

South Portland kept things close for a half, as the game was 0-0, but early in the second half, Wyatt Omsberg scored for Scarborough and Sam Cekada added an insurance tally as the Red Storm prevailed, 2-0, ending the Red Riots' season at 9-6-1.

Scarborough will host No. 4 Deering (11-2-1) or No. 5 Gorham (11-3-1) in the semifinals Saturday. The Red Storm won at Gorham, 2-1, in overtime, Oct. 3 and downed host Deering, 1-0, five days later. If Scarborough wins there, it would give longtime coach Mark Diaz his 200th victory with the program.

In Western B, Cape Elizabeth, which closed with three straight wins to wind up 5-5-4 and fourth in the standings, hosted No. 5 Lincoln (2-5-7) Wednesday in the quarterfinals. The teams had no history.

If they prevailed, the Capers will likely visit top-ranked Yarmouth (11-0-3) Saturday at 7 p.m. Cape Elizabeth lost at home to the Clippers, 1-0, in OT, Sept. 27, and played host Yarmouth to a 3-3 tie eight days later. The teams have no playoff history.

In Western D, Greater Portland Christian School, ranked sixth after an 8-5-1 regular season, went to No. 3 Chop Point (8-2) for the quarterfinals Wednesday.

Looking ahead to next week, the regional finals are Wednesday, on the fields of the higher remaining seeds. The Class A and D state finals are Saturday, Nov. 9 in Bath, while the Class B and C state games are the same day at Hampden Academy.

Girls' soccer

On the girls' side, defending Class A champion Scarborough and Class B title hopeful Cape Elizabeth both began their quests for Gold Balls Tuesday night.

The Red Storm wound up fourth in Western A after an 11-1-2 regular season. It hosted No. 5 Marshwood Tuesday and had a battle. Morgan Rodway scored two first half goals to give Scarborough a cushion and Sam Sparda's goal seven minutes into the second half appeared to put it away, but the Hawks scored twice off corner kicks to make things interesting. Finally, with just over 10 minutes to play, Mary Farnkoff delivered an insurance tally and the Red Storm held on, 4-2.

"I was very surprised they came back," Rodway said. "They picked up the momentum."

"I was really happy with the first half," Scarborough coach Mike Farley said. "We started attacking on the outside and we scored some easy goals. I thought we'd cruise, but we got sporadic in the back. Credit to Marshwood. Usually when we get a team down, 3-0, they pack their stuff and go home, but Marshwood wouldn't have any of it."

The Red Storm will visit top-ranked Windham (14-0-1) in the semifinals Saturday. The teams played to a 2-2 draw in Scarborough Oct. 16.  The teams' only previous playoff meeting came in the 2006 semifinals (a 1-0 Red Storm win).

"We have to keep our defense up and play balls to the outside," said Rodway. "We can't give up shots to Windham. If we keep the pressure on, keep passing and take good shots, we should be in good shape."

"It will only get more difficult," Farley said. "It was an unbelievable game the first time. A flip of a coin. They're familiar with their field, but I think we're a better grass team. It's going to be a challenge. This is a tough bracket to get through."

Cape Elizabeth earned the top seed in Western B after an 11-2-1 regular season and Tuesday, in the quarterfinals, had no trouble with No. 7 Poland in a 4-0 victory. Sarah O'Connor had the first goal. Kate Breed added a second on a penalty kick. Elise Flathers made it 3-0 at halftime and Kathryn Clark finished it off in the second half.

The Capers host No. 5 Freeport (10-5 after an upset win at Yarmouth in its quarterfinal Wednesday) in the semifinals Saturday at 5 p.m. In the season opener Sept. 7, Cape Elizabeth won at Freeport, 5-0. The teams have no playoff history.

Looking ahead to next week, the regional finals are Wednesday, on the fields of the higher remaining seeds. The Class A and D state finals are Saturday, Nov. 9 in Bath, while the Class B and C state games are the same day at Hampden Academy.

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