October arrives, finishing kick begins
(Ed. Note: For the complete Portland-Deering and Waynflete-Yarmouth boys' soccer and Cheverus-Portland and Deering-Portland girls' soccer game stories, with photos, please visit theforecaster.net)
The calendar has flipped to October and an already exciting fall sports season is about to get even more riveting. Local teams are jockeying for playoff positioning and showdowns will continue.
Here's a glimpse:
Portland's boys' soccer team earned a huge victory Saturday morning.
The Bulldogs, coming off a 4-0 home win over Massabesic (Haron Habibzai and Yusef Yama both scored twice) and a frustrating 1-1 home tie against Cheverus, in which they tied the score in the second half on Yama's goal, but had an apparent game-winning tally waved off in overtime due to a controversial offsides call, hosted a rival Deering squad which came in undefeated, after home wins over Bonny Eagle (3-0, on goals from Stephen Ochan, Fernando Lopez and Jonathan Bujambi) and South Portland (3-2, on Ben Peterson's late game winner, as Bujambi and Qutaiba Hassoon also scored).
Saturday, Habibazi gave Portland a quick 1-0 lead and Yama, set up by Sam Farr, added a second half tally as the Bulldogs beat the Rams, 2-0.
"We played with heart," said Habibzai. "We passed as a team, not as individuals. It worked for us. Opportunities presented themselves and we came through."
"We get fired up for Deering," said freshman Tim Baker, who filled in at sweeper and dazzled. "This was a great game for us. We lost, 1-0, to them in the preseason. This was our redemption."
"I'm so proud of how the kids came and competed," added longtime Bulldogs coach Rocco Frenzilli. "We've had success against (Deering) in the past, but we knew it would be tough. I told the guys if we couldn't get up for a game like this, we didn't have a pulse, but we got up for it. The kids were great."
With the win, Portland improved to 6-1-1 (second in the Western Class A Heal Points standings). The Bulldogs hosted Marshwood Tuesday. After going to South Portland Thursday, Portland welcomes dangerous Gorham Tuesday of next week.
"We have huge games coming up," said Frenzilli. "We've already done some special things. This showed what we can do when we play together."
Despite the loss, Deering retained the No. 1 spot in Western A with a 6-1-1 record.
"I think we had tremendous opportunities," said Rams coach Joel Costigan. "We controlled the ball and played good soccer, but we made two mistakes in the back and they cleaned up."
Deering was at Westbrook Tuesday, goes to Marshwood Thursday, then hosts defending Class A champion Scarborough Tuesday of next week.
"The loss came at the perfect time," Costigan said. "I'd rather it come in the middle of the season instead of at the end, so we can learn from it."
Cheverus began the week 4-2-1 and ninth in Western A after a win, a loss and a tie last week. The Stags won at Sanford, 4-0, behind two goals from Felix del Vecchio, tied host Portland, 1-1, as Alex Nason scored, then fell at home to Scarborough, 3-0. Cheverus was home with Thornton Academy Tuesday, plays host to Massabesic Thursday and visits South Portland Tuesday of next week.
In Western C, Waynflete played host to perennial Class B title contender Yarmouth last Tuesday and dropped a 3-0 decision. Milo Belleau made 15 saves.
"Yarmouth's obviously a great team, a traditionally strong program, top tier," longtime Flyers coach Brandon Salway said. "You have to play well anytime you come up against them. They're quick and put pressure on, but we're a little disappointed in our showing today. They exposed our weaknesses. It wasn't a good game for us today."
Friday, Waynflete bounced back with a 2-0 victory at Poland to improve to 5-1 and seventh in the standings. Harry Baker-Connick and Serge Nyirikamba had the goals. The Flyers have a big home tilt Wednesday against rival North Yarmouth Academy (see theforecaster.net for game story), go to Sacopee Valley Friday and play host to Freeport Tuesday of next week.
On the girls' side, Deering remains the top local team.
The Rams began last week with an impressive, bragging rights victory at rival Portland, 3-0. Deering went ahead to stay 22 minutes in when freshman sensation Ewa Varney scored on a long shot. Then, just when it appeared Portland would be very much in the game at halftime, the Rams made it 2-0 when Meaghan Wells scored on a rebound just 44.5 seconds before the break. Another rebound goal, this one from Edie Pallozzi, with 28:58 to play, broke the game open.
"I really did want to beat them, because they're Portland," Varney said. "It was stressful. I'm happy."
"It's awesome," said senior Alexis Elowitch, who moved to defense for this game and helped stymie the Bulldogs. "It's an intense game every year. You have to play your best game against Portland, no matter the records."
"It was a very nice win tonight," added Rams coach Kevin Olson. "We played really well together. We knew Portland was much improved. We knew we just had to come out and play with intensity. Our ball movement was really, really good."
Deering then dominated visiting Bonny Eagle (8-0) and South Portland (5-0) to improve to 6-1 (sixth in the Western A Heals). Simone Lauture had three goals and Meghana Clere two against the Scots. Wells scored twice in the win over the Red Riots. The Rams hosted Westbrook Monday, go to Marshwood Friday, then have a showdown at Scarborough Wednesday of next week. Thornton Academy and Biddeford also remain on the schedule.
"We have big games to come," Olson said. "TA will be a big match for us. Scarborough too. To be honest, anybody is tough right now."
Portland, meanwhile, wasn't overly discouraged with its loss to Deering.
"It was disappointing to let that goal in right before halftime, but I thought the girls did a nice job hanging in there tonight," Bulldogs coach Art Mosen said. "They possessed the ball very well. They move the ball quickly. I thought that we left a little too big a gap between the midfield and the back four. That comes with experience."
Portland then went to Cheverus Friday and settled for a 0-0 tie.
"I thought this was an opportunity to get some good (Heal Points)," said Mosen. "I'm disappointed we weren't able to do that. We don't have much of a choice but to move on to our next game."
The Bulldogs (3-2-1) were 11th in the Heals at press time (the top 12 squads qualify for the playoffs). Portland welcomes Marshwood Wednesday, visits South Portland Friday and plays at Gorham Wednesday of next week.
"The season's flying by," Mosen said. "We do have a very good shot (at the playoffs). We have to keep the teams below us at a distance. That distance will get smaller as the season goes on."
McAuley would be the 12th and final playoff team if the postseason started today. Last week, the Lions fell to 2-5 with 9-0 losses to Gorham and Scarborough. McAuley goes to Noble Wednesday, welcomes Bonny Eagle Friday, visits Marshwood Monday and plays at Thornton Academy Wednesday of next week.
Cheverus got its first victory last week, 1-0, over visiting Sanford, on a goal from Katie Gordon. Friday, the Stags settled for a 0-0 home tie against Portland.
"We felt based on the scores we had and Portland's scores, it would be a competitive game, but one we could win," said first-year Cheverus coach Craig Roberts. "We weren't disappointed with the effort or how we played. I think it was one of our better games. We're just disappointed because we had an opportunity to win and we didn't take advantage."
The Stags (1-5-1 and 13th in Western A) go to Thornton Academy Wednesday, host Massabesic Friday and welcome South Portland Wednesday of next week.
In Western C, Waynflete won at Old Orchard Beach last Tuesday, 5-0 (freshman Isabel Canning and senior Leigh Fernandez both had two goals), then suffered its first loss, 2-1, to visiting Poland, to fall to 4-1-1 (11th in the Heals). Ella Millard had the goal in the loss. The Flyers welcomed OOB Monday, go to NYA Wednesday, play at Sacopee Valley Friday and visit Freeport Tuesday of next week.
Cheverus' field hockey team was fourth in the Western A Heal Points standings at press time after going 2-1 last week. The Stags first enjoyed a hard-fought 2-1 home win over Marshwood, as Colleen Slattery scored the game's lone goal in the second half. A difficult 1-0 loss at Massabesic followed, as Cheverus had a goal called back in the second half. The Stags then improved to 7-2 Friday with an 8-0 win at McAuley, as Becca Archer had her first career hat trick and Hattie Train added two goals. Cheverus is home versus Noble Wednesday, goes to Portland Friday and welcomes Sanford Tuesday.
Deering entered the week 2-6-1 and would make the playoffs if they started now. The Rams were ranked 11th and the top 12 squads qualify. Last week, Deering fell at Gorham (1-0) and at Marshwood (3-0). The Rams host Massabesic Wednesday, visit Noble Friday and welcome Portland Monday.
Portland is back in the hunt following an impressive 3-0 home win over Bonny Eagle Friday. The Bulldogs, who were coming off a 5-0 loss at defending regional champion Scarborough and a 2-1 setback at Biddeford (Tara O'Neal had the goal), got goals from Lauren McIntyre (on a penalty stroke), Gabby Wagabaza and Eliana Finberg in the win. Portland (2-7 and 13th in Western A) goes to McAuley Wednesday, hosts Cheverus Friday and plays at Deering Monday.
McAuley dropped to 0-9 and 17th after losses to Massabesic (12-0), Noble (6-1) and Cheverus (8-0). Against the Knights, Julia Bailinson scored the team's first goal of the season (assisted by Jenny Devine). The Lions host Portland Wednesday, visit Sanford Friday and play host to Scarborough Tuesday.
In Western C, Waynflete began the week 0-5-1 and 13th after a 6-0 home loss to Traip and a 4-1 setback at Greely. After playing at Yarmouth Tuesday, the Flyers visit Traip Friday, welcome Sacopee Monday and go to NYA Wednesday.
On the trails, Cheverus joined Biddeford and Bonny Eagle at Noble Friday and the boys placed first and the girls came in second. Parker Montano came in second in the boys' meet (completing the 5K course in 17 minutes, 21.4 seconds) and Kiera Murray (third, 19:21.7) led the girls.
Deering joined Scarborough and Thornton Academy at Marshwood, where both Rams squads placed third. Yahye Hussein was third for the boys (18:35). Phoebe Bell finished fifth in the girls' race (25:35).
McAuley joined Massabesic, Marshwood and Windham at Noble and came in fourth. Adele Werner (12th, 23:39) led the way.
Waynflete joined Freeport, Kennebunk and Sacopee Valley at Yarmouth. The Flyers were fourth in both the boys' and girls' races. Graham Chance (12th, 21:16.2) led the boys. Gail Johnson (14th, 23:53.5) was the fastest girl.
Results for Portland's meet at Sanford weren't available.
This weekend, Waynflete, along with Kennebunk, Lake Region, Sacopee Valley and York runs at Poland, while Cheverus, Deering, McAuley and Portland will compete at the Festival of Champions in Belfast.
Golf's regular season comes to a close this week. Portland took a 5-3 record into Tuesday's home match versus Scarborough. Last week, the Bulldogs beat South Portland and Deering, but lost to Falmouth. Deering took a 2-6 mark into Tuesday's meeting versus Cheverus, which was 0-8. Waynflete fell to 0-5 in varsity matches with losses last week to Cape Elizabeth and Fryeburg.
The SMAA qualifer is Monday. The golf team state match is Oct. 12 with the individual championships Oct. 19. All of those matches will be contested at Natanis in Vassalboro.
Cheverus' volleyball team is still in line for a playoff spot, at least at press time.
The Stags started the week 4-3 after a 3-2 (25-21, 22-25, 25-18, 9-25, 15-8) win over Windham and a 3-0 (4-25, 12-25, 17-25) loss to Falmouth. Against the Eagles, Caty Galligan had eight straight aces in the first game, Caroline Petitti had five kills in the third game and three more in the fifth, Emma Ryan had eight kills and Steph McKew finished with 10 kills. Cheverus (clinging to the 10th and final spot in the Class A Heals) was home with Thornton Academy Tuesday, visits Cape Elizabeth Thursday and returns home Tuesday of next week to face Biddeford.