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Deering Rams Fall Sports Preview

Sports

Deering Rams Fall Sports Preview

Several Deering teams made noise a year ago and the Rams are primed for even more triumph this fall. Football welcomes a new coach and begins a new era. While this year's squad lacks seasoning, it will be heard from. Boys' soccer is viewed as one of the top contenders in the league. The girls could be poised to make a deep playoff run as well. Field hockey got to the postseason a year ago and aims for even more. Both cross country teams are seeking a trip to the state meet. Golf will give its all as well.

FOOTBALL
COACH: Scott Parsons (first year)
2012 Record: 3-6 (Lost, 49-0, to Cheverus in Western A quarterfinals)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: John Curtis (Senior), Baylee Lewis (Senior), Mike Marzilli (Senior), Geoff Matthews (Senior), Jacob Coon (Junior), Fritz Gemmer (Junior), Matt Krusciec (Junior), Jonah Rogers (Junior)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 6 @ Windham, Sept. 12 PORTLAND, Sept. 20 @ Bangor, Sept. 27 @ Massabesic, Oct. 25 CHEVERUS

COACH'S COMMENT: “Every day we're getting better. We're a very young program. The seniors have been great and work hard. We've made a lot of progress in the short time we've been together. We have skill guys and if the line is clicking, we can be very competitive. Athletically, we're right there with the other teams. Our goal is to win a championship. We know being young that the probability is small, but that's where our mind is at.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Last fall, Deering overcame an 0-4 start to make an improbable playoff appearance, thanks in large part to the heroics of Fall Male Athlete of the Year Kenny Sweet, who did a little of everything, right through a Thanksgiving Day win over rival Portland. This fall, the Rams welcome a promising new coach and there's a lot of excitement around the program. Parsons once played at Kennebunk High and went on to Central Connecticut, where he was a four-year starter at defensive end. He's had several coaching stints at the high school and college levels (including at Fordham University). Parsons, who also serves as the offensive coordinator, has a solid staff of assistants, including former South Portland star Rob Kierstead at defensive coordinator, one-time Tennessee all-stater Rocco Severino (defensive backs), Matt Riddle (offensive line), former Portland High star Eamon White (line), former University of Maine kicker Bobby Donnelly (kicking) and longtime Deering stalwart Bill Presby (freshman team). The staff inherits a program that isn't on the list of contenders, but could be a team no one wants to face as the season progresses.
This team will run a spread offense with two or three quarterbacks getting a chance to run the show. Coon, Gemmer and sophomore Max Chabot will all get an opportunity to throw to the likes of Marzilli, sophomore Sambadh Sao and sophomore Dominic Bernard (whom Parsons views as a budding star). Coon and Gemmer will also see time at wide receiver when they're not behind center. The running game will be shouldered by Matthews, sophomore Scott Bresette and promising freshman Anthony Pruitt. The line features Curtis, Krusciec, Lewis and Rogers. Deering should be formidable running and throwing the ball. Coon will handle kicking duties.
On defense, the line features Curtis and Krusciec. The linebacking corps includes Bernard, Bresette, Lewis and Rogers. In the secondary, Coon, Gemmer, Marzilli, Pruitt and Sao will look to keep opposing aerial attacks at bay.
The Rams (along with city rivals Cheverus and Portland) move to Eastern A this fall, introducing some unfamiliar opponents. The schedule is challenging and it will take some time to get up to speed, but it's quite possible the 2013 version follows last year's script, improves as the season progresses and finds itself in the playoffs even if many don't think it's worthy. Whatever happens this autumn, Deering will be soon be back among the finest programs in the state. The future is very bright.

BOYS' SOCCER
COACH: Joel Costigan (third year, 15-12-4 overall record)
2012 Record: 9-4-3 (Lost, 2-1, 4-1 PKs, to Kennebunk in Western A quarterfinals)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: David Bujambi (Senior),  Gabe de Oliveira (Senior), Ben Peterson (Senior), Stephen Ochan (Junior), Anthony Russo (Junior), Jonathan Bujambi (Sophomore)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 6 CHEVERUS, Sept. 12 @ Portland, Sept. 17 @ Gorham, Sept. 26 SOUTH PORTLAND, Oct. 8 SCARBOROUGH
COACH’S COMMENT: “We're looking to change some roles on our team. Our top two goal scorers last year are returning. Our returners did a lot of work in the offseason. We get back most of our top players. We hope to be a top contender and hopefully make a deep run in the playoffs.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: There's a buzz around the league this fall that Deering could be a darkhorse title contender. The Rams enjoyed their first winning record in five seasons, made a spirited postseason run a year ago and will likely be even stronger in 2013.
Offensively, the squad projects to score plenty. Leading the way will be Ochan (a first-team league all-star in 2012) and Peterson, who set the tone a year ago. Jonathan Bujambi is expected to tickle the twine on several occasions and a trio of newcomers, junior Ahmed Adnan (who had 17 goals for the junior varsity team last fall), sophomore Fernando Lopez and freshman Jonata Mbongo, make life that much more difficult for the opposition. Second-team league all-star David Bujambi and de Oliveira will anchor the midfield. Danny Ademi, Ahmed Adnan, Christian Castaneda, Zach Duperry and Isaac Santerre are core defenders in front of Russo (an honorable mention all-star in 2012) in goal (senior Sam Hornblower will see some time as well).
While Deering has the talent to match up with anyone, the Rams will need to stay healthy and remain strong mentally. The last time this program reached the semifinals was 2007 and the regional final trip was way back in 1999. If all goes well, such lofty heights could be attained. Look for Deering to be among the last teams standing when all is said and done.

GIRLS' SOCCER
COACH: Kevin Olson (eighth year, 45-48-12 overall record)
2012 Record: 9-5-1 (Lost, 3-0, to Cheverus, in Western A preliminary round)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Lee Ann Downs (Senior), Sophie Duarte (Senior), Alexis Elowitch (Senior), Edie Pallozzi (Senior), Cole Spike (Senior), Courtney Brett (Junior), Meaghan Wells (Junior), Simone Lauture (Sophomore), Cora Melcher (Sophomore)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 6 CHEVERUS, Sept. 12 @ Portland, Sept. 18 GORHAM, Oct. 9 @ Scarborough, Oct. 11 THORNTON ACADEMY
COACH’S COMMENT: “We're all excited for the upcoming season. We hope to be competitive in the conference and have a great regular season. The team and I would like to make it to the playoffs again and build on where we left off last season. We have a great group of players returning and are very happy with the new members of the team.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Last fall, the Rams posted their best record in seven seasons, but after a regular season of palpitating performances and stirring victories, they couldn't find the net in a disappointing home playoff loss to rival Cheverus, a team they had beaten on the road just a week earlier. While graduation took five players, this year's squad could be even better and more equipped for a long postseason stay.
The most recognizable name is Elowitch, an all-conference and all-state selection, as well as Deering's Fall 2012 Female Athlete of the Year, after scoring 14 goals (many of them clutch) and adding six assists. Not only can Elowitch bury shots from all over the field, she's a matchup nightmare and she hopes to bow out with a special senior season. Then there's the underrated Pallozzi, another SMAA first-team all-star, who also has a flair for the dramatic. She scored 10 times in 2012, while dishing out seven assists. Lauture, Wells and freshman Meghana Clere will also be in on the goal-scoring fun. Other players to watch include Brett, Duarte, Melcher, Spike and veteran goalie Downs, who will be spelled at times by junior Emily Mooney. A bevy of newcomers will also see action and help lead the program forward. That group includes sophomore Megan Violette and freshmen Abby Elowitch, Sophie Silva, Wyeth Spike and Ewka Varney.
The Rams have a chance to avenge their playoff ouster when they host Cheverus in the opener Friday. There are several other key tests on the schedule, but Deering will be up for the challenge. If the veterans keep their fire and the newcomers produce as hoped, there's every reason to believe the Rams will match or better last year's record and play deep into October, perhaps even November.

FIELD HOCKEY
COACH: Liz Koharian (second year, 6-9 overall record)
2012 Record: 6-9 (Lost, 3-0, to Gorham in Western A preliminary round)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Amanda LeMoult (Senior), Kylie Patchell (Junior), Rylie Turner (Junior), Katy Cyr (Sophomore), Kaytlin DiBiase (Sophomore), Mia Thurston (Sophomore), Kerry Wells (Sophomore)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 6 @ Westbrook, Sept. 18 @ Cheverus, Sept. 24 @ Gorham, Sept. 26 @ Marshwood, Oct. 7 PORTLAND, Oct. 16 SCARBOROUGH
COACH’S COMMENT: “It's a little smaller team this year, but skill-wise, we're stronger. We have a higher level of fitness than last year. We're focusing on fundamentals, communication and making nice passes. Our next goal could be to make it to the second round. Now, we have playoff experience. Our mentality has changed. We have more depth than last year. I feel we'll be competitive.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Last year's Deering team tripled its win total from 2011 and returned the playoffs after a two-season absence. Now that the Rams have cleared that hurdle and have some winning experience, they'll be even more of a factor in 2013.
Deering is looking for more offense this fall, after scoring just 18 goals in 2012 (seven in one game). The Rams were shut out on six occasions last year, including the playoff game, but that should change. LeMoult (a first-team league all-star last season), Patchell, Turner and Wells (All-Rookie team in 2012) lead the way, while Cyr, DiBiase and Thurston will look to rattle the cage as well. Sophomore Alyssa Miles, a transfer from Biddeford, is another potential threat. Turner is a top defender (who also sees time in the offensive zone) and help break in first-year goalie Sadie Rhinehardt, a sophomore who played junior varsity last autumn. Rhinehardt replaces Bri Delano, a second-team all-star, who graduated a year early.
Deering won't sneak up on anyone this season, but it won't have to. The Rams hope to continue their trajectory back to being one of the top contenders in the league. A winning record and a return to the playoffs are realistic goals and perhaps this time, the Rams will make some noise in the postseason.


CROSS COUNTRY

COACHES:
(BOYS) Frank Myatt (second year)

(GIRLS) Gerry Myatt (11th year)

2012 Results:
(BOYS) 14th @ Class A state meet
(GIRLS) 14th @ Western A regional meet (DNQ for state meet)
TOP RETURNING RUNNERS:
(BOYS) Dakota Hiott (Senior), Matt Bernier (Junior), Yahye Hussein (Junior), Kerry Randazzo (Junior)
(GIRLS) Isabel Handanos (Senior), Alexis Porter (Senior), Katherine Reynolds (Senior), Eleanor McClure-Chute (Sophomore)
TOP FOES: Cheverus, Gorham, Massabesic, Scarborough boys; Cheverus, Massabesic, Portland, South Portland, Thornton Academy girls
FRANK MYATT 'S COMMENT: “We want to do well against the city teams. If we do, it's a good year. We'd like to defend our city title and qualify for states. Those are my two goals. Yahye will be the top guy. He'll go far. If we buckle down and train hard, good things are down the road.”
GERRY MYATT'S COMMENT: "We have a good turnout this fall, including five freshmen. We're always building and looking to improve. I hope we can slip into the state meet. I'd like to bring a team to states to support Mel."

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: The Myatts, father and son, are optimistic about the upcoming Deering cross country season.
The boys qualified for states for the second year in a row last year and return one of the better runners in Class A in Hussein, who placed 18th at the state meet a year ago. Hiott (81st) and Bernier (88th) are the other returning state meet scorers. They're joined by Randazzo and a pair of newcomers, junior David Doering and freshman Caleb Niles, who will provide depth. The Rams will be very competitive throughout and have the pieces in place to be a factor in the postseason. Hussein has the ability to place in the top 10 at states.
On the girls' side, Deering is hoping to qualify for states after a three-year absence. A year ago, McClure-Chute qualified as an individual and came in 42nd. She's aiming for an even higher finish this time around. Handanos is a four-year veteran. She was 96th at the regional meet a year ago. Reynolds (90th) also scored last year at regionals. Porter has experience as well. Sophomore Maddy Bennett, an indoor and outdoor track veteran, is a nice addition. Others will look to make their mark as the season progresses. McClure-Chute will lead the way as the Rams figure to hold their own in league competition. If Deering shows steady improvement, it might just turn some heads at the regional meet.

GOLF
COACH: Billy Goodman (12th year, two state championships)
2012 Results: 2-8 (no postseason)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Will Barlock (Senior), Tyler Butler (Senior), David Fowler (Senior)
TOP FOES: Cheverus, Falmouth, Scarborough
COACH’S COMMENT: “It's a very small team. Only 10 total in the whole program. We want to be competitive in matches. We're looking to get better and get some individuals to qualify for the state meet.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Deering has its work cut out in a very challenging division this fall. The Rams do have a few experienced players, but the rest of the small roster is made up of newcomers, so Goodman's goals are understandably modest. Keep an eye on Barlock, a league all-star a year ago, who also qualified for states. He could be one of the better golfers in the SMAA. Butler and Fowler also return and will look to help Deering be at its best every time out. Cheverus, Falmouth and Scarborough are at another level, but the Rams should compete with Portland and South Portland and will look to improve every time they take the course. Look for the seniors to go out with strong performances.

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

Photo: File photo

Junior Stephen Ochan is viewed as one of the best boys' soccer players in the region.

Photo: File photo

Junior Anthony Russo returns in goal for the Rams.

Photo: File photo

Senior Edie Pallozzi is one of the best players in the state and will help the Rams accomplish great things this fall.

Photo: File photo

Junior Meaghan Wells is a player to watch for the Deering girls' soccer team.

Photo: File photo

Senior Amanda LeMoult is a top returner for a Deering field hockey team which is on the rise.

Photo: File photo

Junior Kylie Patchell is another key player for the Deering field hockey team.

Photo: File photo

Yahye Hussein placed 18th at last year's Class A state boys' cross country meet.

Photo: File photo

Eleanor McClure-Chute had a tremendous freshman season, qualifying for states as an individual.

2013 schedules

FOOTBALL
Fri., Sept. 6 @ Windham
Thurs., Sept. 12 H PORTLAND
Fri., Sept. 20 @ Bangor
Fri., Sept. 27 @ Massabesic
Fri., Oct. 4 H LEWISTON
Fri., Oct. 11 @ Oxford Hills
Fri., Oct. 18 H EL
Fri., Oct. 25 H CHEVERUS

BOYS' SOCCER
Fri., Sept. 6 H CHEVERUS
Tues., Sept. 10 H MASSABESIC
Thurs., Sept. 12 @ Portland
Tues., Sept. 17 @ Gorham
Thurs., Sept. 19 H NOBLE
Sat., Sept. 21 @ Windham
Tues., Sept. 24 H BONNY EAGLE
Thurs., Sept. 26 H SP
Tues., Oct. 1 @ Westbrook
Thurs., Oct. 3 @ Marshwood
Tues., Oct. 8 H SCARBOROUGH
Thurs., Oct. 10 @ TA
Thurs., Oct. 17 @ Biddeford
Tues., Oct. 22 H SANFORD

GIRLS' SOCCER
Fri., Sept. 6 H CHEVERUS
Wed., Sept. 11 @ Massabesic
Thurs., Sept. 12 @ Portland
Wed., Sept. 18 H GORHAM
Sat., Sept. 21 @ Noble
Wed., Sept. 25 H BONNY EAGLE
Sat., Sept. 28 @ SP
Tues., Oct. 1 H WESTBROOK
Fri., Oct. 4 @ Marshwood
Wed., Oct. 9 @ Scarborough
Fri., Oct. 11 H TA
Wed., Oct. 16 @ McAuley
Sat., Oct. 19 H BIDDEFORD
Tues., Oct. 22 @ Sanford

FIELD HOCKEY
Wed., Sept. 4 H TA
Fri., Sept. 6 @ Westbrook
Mon., Sept. 9 H BIDDEFORD
Thurs., Sept. 12 @ Bonny Eagle
Mon., Sept. 16 H MCAULEY
Wed,. Sept. 18 @ Cheverus
Fri., Sept. 20 H WINDHAM
Tues., Sept. 24 @ Gorham
Thurs., Sept. 26 @ Marshwood
Wed., Oct. 2 H MASSABESIC
Fri., Oct. 4 @ Noble
Mon., Oct. 7 H PORTLAND
Thurs., Oct. 10 @ Sanford
Wed., Oct. 16 H SCARBOROUGH

BOYS' CROSS COUNTRY
Fri., Sept. 13 H GORHAM, NOBLE, WEST
Fri., Sept. 20 @ SP (BE, Mass)
Fri., Sept. 27 @ Marshwood (Scar, TA)
Fri., Oct. 11 @ Windham (Bidd, Sanford)
Fri., Oct. 18 @ Cheverus (Portland)
Sat., Oct. 26 @ Western A Regionals
Sat., Nov. 2 @ Class A States

GIRLS' CROSS COUNTRY
Fri., Sept. 13 H GORHAM, NOBLE, WEST
Fri., Sept. 20 @ SP (BE, Mass)
Fri., Sept. 27 @ Marshwood (Scar, TA)
Fri., Oct. 11 @ Windham (Bidd, Sanford)
Fri., Oct. 18 @ Cheverus (McA, Portland)
Sat., Oct. 26 @ Western A Regionals
Sat., Nov. 2 @ Class A States

GOLF
Wed., Sept. 4 @ Falmouth
Thurs., Sept. 11 H SCARBOROUGH
Tues., Sept. 16 @ Cheverus
Thurs., Sept 18 H SP
Tues., Sept. 23 @ Falmouth
Thurs., Sept. 25 H PORTLAND
Sat., Sept. 27 @ Scarborough
Tues., Oct. 1 H CHEVERUS
Thurs., Oct. 3 @ SP