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Cheverus golfer wins state title as playoffs heat up

Sports

Cheverus golfer wins state title as playoffs heat up

(For the complete Waynflete-NYA girls' soccer game story, with additional photos, please visit theforecaster.net)

The golf season has come to a close, field hockey's playoffs are underway and cross country, soccer and volleyball's postseason are primed to begin.

Buckle up, the fun's just getting started.

Here's a glimpse:

Golf

The final act of the 2013 high school golf season, the individual championships, were held Saturday at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro, where Cheverus' Chris Billings stole the show.

Billings tied Oxford Hills' Cam Letourneau with a round of 75 and the two shared the Class A title.

"It was special," said Billings, who shot a 92 and was 27th at the individual state match as a freshman and lowered that to 81 last fall when he came in seventh. "I had to wait a half-hour after my round to find out, but I was really happy. It was a great feeling. Obviously, I would have loved to have won it (alone), but winning a state championship is a great feeling.

"I knew I had a chance, but I knew there were a lot of other good guys too. I was one- or two-over most of the round and I knew if I got down to even or one-under, I had a chance. I didn't think 75 would win it. My putting really saved me. I made three putts outside of 10 feet to save par and made a 20-footer on 16 to keep me in it. I had some birdies too."

"Chris played great," said Cheverus coach Jim Ouellette. "He was very consistent. He really deserved it."

The Stags struggled as a team this fall, failing to win a match, making Billings' showing even more impressive.

"We had a tough year team-wise, but we only missed qualifying by two strokes," said Billings. "I hope I can do it again next year. That will definitely be one of my goals."

Deering's Will Barlock capped his strong season with a 77, which tied him with four others for fifth place. Deering's Tyler Butler tied for 28th with a 90.

Field hockey

Just one city team, Cheverus, wound up making the cut for the field hockey playoffs.

The Stags, regional finalists a year ago, capped an 11-2-1 regular season last Monday with a 3-0 home win over South Portland, making it Cheverus' fifth straight year with double digit victories. Maddy Fenderson, Alex Logan and MaryKate Slattery had the goals against the Red Riots.

"We are very happy with how our regular season played out this year," said Stags coach Amy McMullin. "With this brand new group, we expected some early season struggles, but hoped that at the end of the regular season we would be playing our best field hockey. The Scarborough game (a 1-1 tie Oct. 10) gave us the confidence we needed to head into playoffs.

"If you had told me at the beginning of the season that we would be 11-2-1, I wouldn't have expected it. The girls deserve all the credit in the world for believing in the coaching staff and for believing in each other. We have jelled together and the chemistry is exactly where we want it to be."

The Stags finished fourth in the Western Class A Heal Points standings and will host No. 5 Marshwood (12-3) in the quarterfinals Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., on Deering's turf field. Cheverus won the regular season meeting, 2-1, at home on Sept. 24. The teams met last year in a the semifinals, a 1-0 Stags' triumph.

"The league is a lot more competitive this year and playoffs are going to be tough," McMullin said. "Marshwood is an excellent team and if we want to continue past the quarterfinals, we have to leave everything on the field and take nothing for granted. We will have to play with intensity, heart and maturity for us to be successful in the playoffs, but we cannot wait to get started."

A win Wednesday likely sends Cheverus to No. 1 Scarborough (13-0-1) for the semifinals Saturday.

Looking ahead, the regional finals are Tuesday, Oct. 29, at Thornton Academy. The state games will be held Saturday, Nov. 2, at Yarmouth High.

Deering finished 13th in Western A, but only 12 teams qualified. The Rams closed with a 4-0 home loss to Scarborough to wind up 4-9-1.

Portland was 14th at 3-11 after closing with a 6-0 home loss to Marshwood.

McAuley wound up 0-14 and 17th after losses at South Portland (10-0) and Thornton Academy (14-0).

In Western C, Waynflete went 0-12-1 and wound up 13th in the Heals (only nine teams made the playoffs). The Flyers closed with a 4-0 home loss to Poland.

Boys' soccer

All four local boys' soccer teams are playoff-bound, but they don't know where they'll be seeded.

In Western A, Portland was second to defending champion Scarborough in the Heals at press time after improving to 9-2-2 last week with a 5-0 win at Westbrook and a 2-0 home victory over Windham. At the Blue Blazes, Stephen Barry, Ibrahim Dahir, Sam Farr, Charlie Gauvin and Erik Molina had the goals. Barry and Haron Habibzai scored against the Eagles. Goalkeeper Bobby Brittingham had shutouts both games. Portland closes at Biddeford Tuesday, then will host at least one playoff game.

Deering began the week third at 10-2-1 after a 5-0 triumph at Biddeford last week. The Rams, who have posted their best record since 2007, closed against visiting Sanford Tuesday night. Deering will host at least one playoff round.

Cheverus was fifth at press time at 9-3-1, but that spot wasn't ensured. Last week, the Stags earned a pivotal 5-0 win at Noble (Brady Levesque had three goals, while Mackenzie Hoglund and Nate Smith each added one), then suffered a painful 2-1 double-overtime home loss to Westbrook. Cheverus fell behind in the 33rd minute and wasn't able to draw even until senior Jamie Biegel fired a shot into the net with 10 minutes to go. The Stags almost won it a few times at the end of regulation, but couldn't do so and the Blue Blazes ended it in the second OT. Cheverus closed at home versus Gorham in another pivotal test Tuesday (see theforecaster.net for game story).

In Western C, Waynflete was 8-3-2 and sixth after tying visiting Sacopee Valley (2-2), beating visiting Traip (1-0) and falling at North Yarmouth Academy (3-0). In the draw, Harry Baker-Connick and Henry Cleaves had the goals, while Milo Belleau made four saves. Isaac Scher's first goal of the season was the difference against the Rangers. Baker-Connick filled in for Belleau in goal and made two saves. The Flyers closed the regular season Monday night at two-time defending Class B champion Falmouth. There's a chance Waynflete will have to go to NYA again for the quarterfinals next week.

Girls' soccer

On the girls' side, a lot of uncertainty reigned at press time as to who was in and who was out.

One definite team in the field is Deering, which was 9-3-1 and sixth in the Western A Heals at press time after rolling at McAuley (8-1) and handling visiting Biddeford (2-0). Edie Pallozzi had a hat trick against the Lions, while Meghana Clere and Alexis Elowitch scored against the Tigers. The Rams closed at Sanford Tuesday. They'll likely be the sixth seed for the playoffs and will host a preliminary round match this weekend.

Portland was sitting 10th in the region with a 5-6-2 record after a 4-0 home triumph over Westbrook and a 6-0 loss at powerhouse Windham. The Bulldogs appear playoff bound for the first time since 2009. They could move up a spot it they won at Biddeford in the finale Tuesday.

Cheverus extended its win streak to three games and its unbeaten run to four with wins last week over visiting Noble (4-1) and host Westbrook (1-0). Katie Gordon had two goals, while Abby Goodrich and Olivia Mull also scored against the Knights. In the win over the Blue Blazes, Gordon had the goal and Anna Niedermeyer had the shutout in goal. The Stags (4-7-2) were 11th in the region at press time and 12 teams make the playoffs. Cheverus closed at Gorham and was hoping to lock up its 11th straight postseason berth with a win. Even with a loss, the Stags may travel for a prelim this weekend.

McAuley was the first team out at press time, sitting 13th at 4-9 after falling, 8-1, to visiting Deering last week. The Lions hoped to win at home against Westbrook in the finale Monday to secure a playoff berth, which would be McAuley's first since 2010.

In Western C, Waynflete, the defending state champion, appears to be coming together as the postseason nears. Last week, the Flyers held off visiting Sacopee Valley, 2-1, handled host Traip, 4-1, and won with surprising ease over visiting NYA, 4-1, to improve to 10-1-2 and fourth in the Heals. Against the Hawks, Cat Johnson and Beata Vest had the goals. In the win over the Panthers, Esme Benson scored twice in the first five minutes and Ella Millard also had two goals. Meddy Smith and Vest had the other goals.

"We talked about finishing it early, so we could relax more in the second half and not have to stress," Benson said. "We did that."

"I think we've improved a lot," said Millard. "We've come together as a team a lot since we played them last time. We came out a little flat the last time we played them and today we talked about coming out with urgency."

"It was a good result for us today," added Waynflete coach Todd Dominski. "Obviously, NYA's a rival. We wanted the game and we wanted the (Heal) Points. We want to seed ourselves as high as possible. We want to get rolling for the playoffs."

The Flyers finished with a home showdown versus three-time defending Class B champion Falmouth Monday afternoon (see theforecaster.net for game story), then will likely host at least one round of playoffs.

Cross country

The postseason begins for local runners Saturday when they converge on Twin Brook Recreation Center in Cumberland for the regional championships. McAuley and Waynflete's girls run in the Western C race at 12:30 p.m. The Flyers boys go at 1:05 p.m. The Cheverus, Deering and Portland girls run in the Class A race at 2:30 p.m. The Stags, Rams and Bulldogs boys compete at 3:05 p.m. Teams and individuals will look to qualify for the state meet the following Saturday, Nov. 2, back at Twin Brook.

Last weekend, Cheverus hosted Deering, McAuley and Portland in the annual "City Championship."

In the boys' meet, the Rams were first, Stags second and Bulldogs third. Individually, Deering's Yahye Hussein was first with a time of 17 minutes, 0.80 seconds. Teammate Eid Sheikh-Yusef was runner-up in 17:05.4. Portland's top finisher was Jake Morrow-Spitzer (third, 17:54.2). Cheverus was paced by Paul Dube (sixth, 18:28.8).

The girls' race was won by the Stags, with the Bulldogs second, Rams third and Lions fourth. Cheverus' Kiera Murray won the race in 22:12. Teammate Georgia Caso was runner-up (22:18.4.). Portland's Lizzie Landry (22:18.9) and Darcy Hinck (22:23.6) finished third and fourth, respectively. Deering was led by Mel McClure-Chute (fifth, 22:24.1). McAuley's top finisher was Adele Werner (15th, 24:15.2).

Waynflete competed in the Western Maine Conference championship meet at St. Joseph's College in Standish. The Flyers girls were third behind Yarmouth and Merriconeag in Division II. Waynflete's Gail Johnson was 13th in 23:17. The boys came in fourth (Fryeburg was first). Julian Ireland was the fastest Flyer, placing 17th in 20:18.

Volleyball

Cheverus' volleyball team, in just its second varsity season, is in line for a first trip to the playoffs. Last week, the Stags beat visiting Cony and Kennebunk by 3-1 margins, then dropped a couple matches Down East, 3-2, to Ellsworth and 3-0 to Mt. Desert Island, to finish the regular season 6-8. At press time, Cheverus was ninth in the Class A Heals. Ten teams make the playoffs. The Stags are awaiting the final standings, but hope to take part in a state preliminary round match later this week.

"As far as I know, we have made playoffs," said Cheverus' first-year coach Kiah Begley. "I think it has been a crazy ride. We started off strong and looked really solid, then hit a rut, as most teams do, and now we're back at it. I'm extremely happy with how this season has gone. As a first-year coach, I couldn't have asked for more from this group of girls. They are awesome and they want to win so badly. I think that a lot of people underestimated us because we are a fairly new program, but the girls wanted to prove that being 'new' doesn't mean that we have to let the bigger and stronger teams keep us down."

The state quarterfinals are Saturday and semifinals Wednesday of next week. Both of those rounds will take place on the courts of the higher seeds. The state matches are Saturday, Nov. 2, at Windham High School.

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