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Deering Rams Fall Sports Preview

Sports

Deering Rams Fall Sports Preview

Deering’s fall teams all have high hopes as a new season dawns. Football has been as competitive as anyone the past decade and will once again be a top threat in Western A. Boys’ soccer reached the playoffs a year ago and hopes to stay even longer this time around. The girls’ squad has worked its way up the ladder and has the firepower to make noise. Field hockey welcomes a new coach and hopes to make a run at the playoffs. Both cross country teams have reason for optimism. Golf looks to remain one of the best teams in the region as well.

FOOTBALL

COACH: Jon Gallant (second year, 6-4 overall record)

2011 Record: 6-4 (Lost, 45-0, to Cheverus in Western Class A semifinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: James Doyle (Senior), Matt Fechenda (Senior), Dominic Lauture (Senior), Kenny Sweet (Senior), Tyler Wiggin (Senior), Chhorda Chhorn (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 1 @ Thornton Academy, Sept 21 (H) SCARBOROUGH, Oct. 12 (H) SOUTH PORTLAND, Oct. 20 @ Cheverus

COACH'S COMMENT: “I don’t worry about the other teams. I worry about us getting better every day. I never worry about the attitude the kids bring. We’ll be able to run the ball well and we’ll play pretty good defense. Our goal is to have a winning record and get in the playoffs. The kids have the ability to carry on our tradition.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: The Deering tradition is alive and well. With the exception of a hiccup in 2009, the Rams have posted a winning record and have made the playoffs in every season since 2001. Last year, Deering responded well to its new coach and once again sprung a playoff upset at rival Bonny Eagle before running into the Cheverus juggernaut in the semifinals. This year’s team hasn't gotten as much preseason buzz as some of its predecessors, but the Rams could be a sleeper who could be very dangerous by late October. While the quarterback position has featured big names in the past, Gallant was hesitant to name a starter heading in to the year. Based on Friday’s exhibition game against Portland, it appears as if junior Mike Marzilli will see the majority of the playing time. Lauture and Sweet will handle much of the ball carrying duties. Through the air, Doyle (an all-conference selection in 2011) is a big weapon at the tight end spot. Chhorn has great speed and is a threat to take it to the house every time the ball is in his hands (the same is true on special teams, as he’ll return punts and kickoffs, along with Lauture). Size on the line will be a big strength. Fechenda, Wiggin (a three-year starter), seniors John Deloach and Sam Ezzy and junior John Curtis will be very difficult for the opposition to deal with. Junior Patrick Lobor (tight end) and senior Elijah Tabachnick (running back) are two more big bodies Gallant can put on the field. Defensively, the line is anchored by Wiggin at nose tackle. Curtis, Deloach, Doyle, Ezzy, Fechenda, Lobor and Tabachnick are also in the defensive line and linebacker mix. The secondary appears strong as well with Chhorn, Lauture and Sweet (a three-year starter, who was a league all-star after registering over 100 tackles last season). Sophomore Jacob Coon will handle the kicking. While there might not be as many big names this season, this team figures to continue Deering’s recent success. The line will dictate play on both sides of the ball. There are plenty of skill players and game breakers and this team will be driven. The Rams have some tough challenges on the schedule, but every foe better take them seriously. This will be a fun team to watch, one that will only get better en route to another postseason berth.

BOYS' SOCCER

COACH: Joel Costigan (second year, 6-8-1 overall record)

2011 Record: 6-8-1 (Lost, 2-0, to Cheverus in Western Class A preliminary round)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Nathan Finberg (Senior), Abdi Hassan (Senior), David Bujambi (Junior), Ben Peterson (Junior), Steven Ochan (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 6 (H) PORTLAND, Sept. 10 (H) GORHAM, Sept. 18 @ SP, Sept. 25 (H) SCARBOROUGH, Oct. 4 (H) WINDHAM, Oct. 11 @ Cheverus

COACH’S COMMENT: “Our expectations are extremely high this year. We were one of the top defending teams in the league last year, taking both Scarborough and Windham to double overtime, losing in the final minute-and-a-half to the state champions, Windham. We have most of our pieces back from last year, but have added some amazing standout freshman to fill our offensive gaps. More of our guys are playing year-round and we are hoping to have a more well-rounded team this year. We are extremely deep. Look for us to go deep into the playoffs. I would even argue that this is ‘our’ year.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Deering has reason for optimism this fall. After missing the playoffs three straight seasons, the Rams got to play an extra game last year. They’ll build on that success this season with a talented roster which features returning talent and some promising newcomers. Ochan is a star in the making. He was named to the league all-star team as a freshman and will be a treat to watch in the midfield. Hassan, Peterson and freshman Matthew Alvarez figure to lead the scoring parade. Bujambi is another midfielder to watch. Deering hangs its hat on its defense and appears solid in that aspect, led by Finberg, who was an honorable mention all-star in 2011. Sophomore Anthony Russo steps in between the pipes. Freshmen Jonathan Bujambi and Christian Castaneda are a couple other new players to keep an eye on. The Rams were happy to get back to the postseason last fall. This season, Deering is eyeing its first winning record and playoff victory since 2007. Don’t be surprised if the Rams are one of the league’s feel-good stories in the weeks to come.

GIRLS' SOCCER

COACH: Kevin Olson (seventh year, 36-43-11 overall record)

2011 Record: 7-7-2 (Lost 2-1, 2-1 on PKs, to Cape Elizabeth in Western Class A quarterfinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Chelsea Saucier (Senior), Samantha Sivovlos (Senior), Lee Ann Downs (Junior), Alexis Elowitch (Junior), Edie Pallozzi (Junior), Cole Spike (Junior), Courtney Brett (Sophomore), Meaghan Wells (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 12 @ Gorham, Sept. 20 @ Thornton Academy, Sept. 25 @ Scarborough, Oct. 6 @ Windham, Oct. 12 @ Cheverus, Oct. 16 (H) SANFORD

COACH’S COMMENT: “We are all excited for the upcoming season. We hope to be competitive in the conference. We have a great core group of players returning and are very happy with all of our newcomers. The team and I would like to make it to the playoffs again and to build on where we left off last season.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Deering has made the playoffs three years running and has a good chance to make it four in a row. The Rams have been very competitive the past few years and should be in the mix again this autumn. While the loss of 2011 Fall Female Athlete of the Year Alexis Sivovlos, captain Lindsey Sneider, Veronica Mitchell, Maura Densmore, Katie Donlan, Becca Elowitch, Georgia Hutchins and Nicole Mason to graduation creates some holes, Deering still boasts its share of talent. Leading the offense will be Alexis Elowitch, a conference, regional and state all-star in 2011, and Spike. The midfield features Pallozzi and Saucier. Freshmen Simone Lauture and Cora Melcher join the squad and add depth in the middle of the field. On defense, Brett, Samantha Sivovlos, Wells and new junior Sophie Duarte make up a formidable unit in front of Downs in goal. There are several very good teams in Western Class A, but the Rams have the necessary ingredients to hold their own. Deering will score its share of goals while making life difficult for the opposition. A winning record and a playoff trip are realistic goals. Don’t be surprised if the Rams make some noise once they get there.

FIELD HOCKEY

COACH: Liz Koharian (first year)

2011 Record: 2-10-2 (no postseason)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Kiana DiBiase (Senior), Bri Delano (Junior), Amanda LeMoult (Junior), Rylie Turner (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 1 @ Cheverus, Sept. 15 (H) SANFORD, Sept. 21 @ Westbrook, Sept. 24 @ Portland, Oct. 1 (H) SCARBOROUGH

COACH’S COMMENT: “We graduated 14 seniors, so we’re rebuilding. We have upperclassmen with talent and a large amount of underclassmen with talent. We want to win more games and get the girls quality playing time. Our focus is fitness and basic field hockey skills. The kids are very coachable. I’m very pleased with what I’ve seen so far.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Deering made some nice strides a year ago. After going winless in 2010, the Rams won twice and tied two other games last fall and hope to be competitive in 2012 behind a new coach. Koharian played at Portland High and spent seven years as an assistant coach at Portland and Falmouth. She’s assisted by Courtney Rague, who played at Old Orchard Beach and St. Joseph’s College. Kiana DiBiase and LeMoult, whom Koharian calls “very skilled and speedy” will pace the offense. Turner and freshman Kaytlin DiBiase also look to rattle the cage. Senior Carly Ladd and freshman Kelly Wells are midfielders to watch. Defensively, senior Maren Crabill and juniors Colleen Donlan and Kylie Patchell lead the way. Replacing all-star Caley Presby in goal will be junior Bri Delano. Deering should be able to compete with most foes this fall and looks continue its upward trend. The Rams are heading in the right direction and with a little luck, could be in the hunt for a playoff spot when October rolls around.

CROSS COUNTRY

COACHES:
(BOYS) Frank Myatt (first year)
(GIRLS) Gerry Myatt (11th year)

2011 Results:
(BOYS) 11th @ Class A state meet
(GIRLS) no score @ Class A state meet (14th @ regionals)

TOP RETURNING RUNNERS:
(BOYS) Nick Darling (Senior), Alex Hebert (Senior), Jordan Stebbins (Senior), Dakota Hiott (Junior), Matt Bernier (Sophomore), Kerry Randazzo (Sophomore)
(GIRLS) Nyalet Biliew (Senior), Sarah Gardner (Senior), Mercedes Meyers (Senior), Isabel Handanos (Junior), Alexis Porter-Fitzsimmons (Junior)

TOP FOES: Cheverus, Scarborough, South Portland boys; Cheverus, Massabesic, Portland, South Portland, Thornton Academy, Windham girls

COACH FRANK MYATT 'S COMMENT: “It’s an interesting group. Pretty diverse. We have a few seniors, one junior and a decent crop of sophomores. I’m looking for freshmen once school starts. I’d like us to run at the state meet.”

COACH GERRY MYATT’S COMMENT: “We’re building, hoping to improve. Ella (Ramonas) was a shining star. We’ll have to put together a pack this year. States is always our goal.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Both Deering cross country teams are looking to make it to the state meet this fall.
The boys welcome a new coach in Frank Myatt, who is the son of the girls’ coach. Myatt went to Cheverus, where he ran outdoor track and managed the basketball team. He’s coached the Southern Maine Catholic (St. Brigid's and Holy Cross) indoor and outdoor teams in recent years. Myatt inherits a team that returns two state meet scorers: Hiott (71st) and Stebbins (75th). Darling and Hebert also bring experience to the pack. Bernier and Randazzo ran as freshmen. New sophomores Daniel Getchell, Yahye Hussein and Stephen Matoian bring depth. Deering will be able to run with most teams in the conference and has a legitimate chance to get the job done at the regional meet, earning a state berth for the third time in four seasons in the process.
On the girls’ side, Deering will miss departed all-star Ella Ramonas. Biliew could help pick up the slack. There are also three returning scorers from last year’s regional meet: Handanos (66th), Gardner (87th) and Porter-Fitzsimmons (92nd). Meyers also has experience. Sophomores Kathy Cho, Veronica Eng and Katherine Reynolds and freshman Mel McClure-Chute are new to the team and will help the pack. The Rams are seeking to get back to the state meet. It won’t come easily, but if this group can develop and improve as the season progresses, Deering can’t be ruled out.

GOLF

COACH: Billy Goodman (11th year, two state championships)

2011 Results: 5-5 (3rd @ Class A state match)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Dan Ruhlin (Senior), Will Barlock (Junior), Tyler Butler (Junior)

TOP FOES: Cheverus, Falmouth, Scarborough

COACH’S COMMENT: “It’s a very inexperienced team, but they’re great kids. They’ll be fun to coach. We want to be competitive in our matches.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: After being among the finest teams in the state for many years, Deering appears to be in for a rebuilding season in 2012. The program has been hard hit by graduation in recent years, especially this past spring when Class A individual co-champion and Forecaster Fall Male Athlete of the Year Joe Walp along with standout Rocco Spizuoco, departed. The cupboard isn’t completely bare this fall. Barlock, Butler and Ruhlin all have experience and will be this team’s core. Several other players are eager to earn their opportunity to play and impress. With all eyes on reigning champion Falmouth, last year’s runner-up Cheverus and talented Scarborough (all division foes), the Rams have a chance to be a dark horse. It will be an uphill climb, but Goodman always gets the most from his players. Don’t be surprised if Deering finds a way to win a few matches and improves dramatically between now and October.

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

Photo: File photo

Junior Chhorda Chhorn is a game breaker for Deering's talented football team.

Photo: File photo

Senior Kenny Sweet will be a force on both sides of the ball for the Rams this year.

Photo: File photo

Senior Tyler Wiggin is a three-year starter for the Rams and will wreak havoc on offense and defense.

Photo: File photo

Senior Abdi Hassan figures to do his share of scoring for Deering's boys' soccer team this season.

Photo: File photo

Senior Chelsea Saucier will be a leader for the girls' soccer squad.

Fall Schedules

FOOTBALL

Sat., Sept. 1 @ TA

Fri., Sept. 7 H SANFORD

Fri., Sept. 14 @ Massabesic

Fri., Sept. 21 H SCARBOROUGH

Fri., Sept. 28 H BIDDEFORD

Fri., Oct. 5 @ Noble

Fri., Oct. 12 H SP

Sat., Oct. 20 @ Cheverus

BOYS' SOCCER

Fri., Aug. 31 @ Massabesic

Tues., Sept. 4 @ Westbrook

Thurs., Sept. 6 H PORTLAND

Mon., Sept. 10 H GORHAM

Sat., Sept. 13 @ Noble

Tues., Sept. 18 @ SP

Thurs., Sept. 20 H BIDDEFORD

Tues., Sept. 25 H SCARBOROUGH

Fri., Sept. 28 H TA

Tues., Oct. 2 @ Kennebunk

Thurs., Oct. 4 H WINDHAM

Tues., Oct. 9 H MARSHWOOD

Thurs., Oct. 11 @ Cheverus

Tues., Oct. 16 @ Sanford

GIRLS' SOCCER

Fri., Aug. 31 H MASSABESIC

Tues., Sept. 4 H WESTBROOK

Thurs., Sept. 6 H PORTLAND

Wed., Sept. 12 @ Gorham

Fri., Sept. 14 H NOBLE

Thurs., Sept. 20 @ TA

Sat., Sept. 22 H SP

Tues., Sept. 25 @ Scarborough

Sat., Sept. 29 H MCAULEY

Wed., Oct. 3 H KENNEBUNK

Sat., Oct. 6 @ Windham

Wed., Oct. 10 @ Marshwood

Fri., Oct. 12 @ Cheverus

Tues., Oct. 16 H SANFORD

FIELD HOCKEY

Thurs., Aug. 30 H WINDHAM

Sat., Sept. 1 @ Cheverus

Wed., Sept. 5 @ Biddeford

Tues., Sept. 11 H KENNEBUNK

Thurs., Sept. 13 @ McAuley

Sat., Sept. 15 H SANFORD

Wed., Sept. 19 H BONNY EAGLE

Fri., Sept. 21 @ Westbrook

Mon., Sept. 24 @ Portland

Thurs., Sept. 27 H NOBLE

Fri. Sept. 28 @ Marshwood

Mon., Oct. 1 H SCARBOROUGH

Wed., Oct. 3 @ SP

Fri., Oct. 5 H GORHAM

BOYS' CROSS COUNTRY

Fri., Sept. 7 @ Kennebunk (Marsh, West)

Fri., Sept. 14 @ TA (Mass, Windham)

Fri., Sept. 21 @ Scarborough (Bidd, Sanford)

Thurs., Sept. 27 H KENNEBUNK, NOBLE, SCAR

Fri., Oct. 5 @ Noble (Gorham)

Fri., Oct. 12 @ Cheverus (Port, SP)

GIRLS' CROSS COUNTRY

Fri., Sept. 7 @ Kennebunk (Marsh, West)

Fri., Sept. 14 @ TA (Mass, Windham)

Fri., Sept. 21 @ Scarborough (Bidd, Sanford)

Thurs., Sept. 27 @ McAuley (Kbunk, Noble, Scar)

Fri., Oct. 5 @ Noble (Gorham)

Fri., Oct. 12 @ Cheverus (Port, SP)

GOLF

Thurs., Aug. 30 @ SP

Tues., Sept. 4 H FALMOUTH

Thurs., Sept. 6 H PORTLAND

Mon., Sept. 10 @ Scarborough

Wed., Sept. 12 H CHEVERUS

Thurs., Sept. 13 H SP

Wed., Sept. 19 @ Falmouth

Fri., Sept. 21 @ Portland

Tues., Sept. 25 H SCARBOROUGH

Thurs., Sept. 27 @ Cheverus

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