Portland boys fall in regional final
On Sept. 10, the Portland boys' soccer team won its biggest regular season game in years, shocking the host defending Class A state champion Scarborough Red Storm, 1-0.
Last Wednesday evening, the Bulldogs made a return trip to Scarborough for the Western A Final and had a far different result, losing, 4-0, as their season came to an end at 12-3-2.
"We had a great ride," said longtime Portland coach Rocco Frenzilli. "I hope it was as fun for the kids as it was for us coaches. We enjoyed it."
Portland had a challenging campaign in 2012 and was ousted by Scarborough in the quarterfinals.
This fall, the Bulldogs exceeded their expectations by going 10-2-2 in the regular season and earning the No. 3 seed for the playoffs. After blanking sixth-ranked, two-time defending Class B champion Falmouth (which moved up a class this year for playoffs), 3-0, in the quarterfinals, Portland went to No. 2 Noble and avenged one of its regular season losses with a 1-0 victory, punching its ticket to the regional final.
Scarborough had won three of the previous four playoff meetings between the schools and got an immediate jump when standout Wyatt Omsberg scored a goal just 22 seconds in.
"Wyatt didn't have a blue shirt near him," lamented Frenzilli.
After one of the Bulldogs' few good chances, a shot by Yusef Yama, was saved, the Red Storm really seized control just before halftime on a goal from Charlie Mader.
Omsberg added a second goal and Max Ornstein also scored in the second half to account for the 4-0 final score.
"Hats off to Scarborough," said Frenzilli. "They knew we were the only team to blemish their record. They played an excellent game. Their passing was right on. They had a plan and they knew what to do and executed it to near perfection. They were surgical. They played the same as last time, but this time, they connected. We had a few chances, but they minimized them. Credit to our players for doing the best they could. It just wasn't meant to be."
Portland's 12-3-2 mark was its third-best this century.
"We had a great group of young men who accomplished a lot," Frenzilli said. "They brought so much spirit. We're not defined by that one loss.
"I've come to the epiphany that the heartache of sports is that you keep winning and building up that when you lose, it just takes so much out of you."
The Bulldogs lose four starters, Yama, Ek Bakunda, Ibrahim Dahir and Charlie Gauvin, but have a lot returning, meaning they should be a force again in 2014.
"We lose 10 total, but I think we have 10 kids back who have experience, as well as some good JV players coming up," Frenzilli said. "I'm already excited about working with the guys next year. They're excited too. We'll be competitive. Maybe we can make some good things happen again."