New season opens in style for Portland area teams
Under beautiful blue skies with a nip in the air, the 2009 fall sports season kicked off last weekend.
It didn't take long for local standouts to make their mark, suggesting that this autumn will prove to be yet another full of triumph.
Here's a glimpse:
While Deering and Portland squared off in a much-anticipated showdown Friday night, the Cheverus Stags traveled to Gorham, hoping to build on last year's playoff run.
The Stags broke open a tie game on a scoring run from junior Evan Jendrasko in the second quarter, then got TD runs from senior Matt Ball and senior Matt Place in the second half to cruise to a surprisingly easy 30-6 victory. Cheverus produced almost 400 yards of offense and held the potent Rams' attack in check throughout. The Stags look to go 2-0 Saturday afternoon when they welcome preseason darling Windham (1-0) in their home opener.
The Portland Bulldogs entered 2009 full of optimism after last year's breakout season. The Bulldogs traveled to Thornton Academy Friday and dazzled, riding three goals from junior standout Fazal Nabi to a 6-0 victory. Portland then got a great idea of just how legitimate it was when it went to defending Class A champion Scarborough Tuesday night (too late for print). The Bulldogs have their home opener Thursday versus Windham.
Deering is 1-0 after beating visiting Sanford 2-0 Saturday. In that one, Charlie Dupee and Ian Bussiere-Nichols scored. The Rams were at Windham Tuesday (too late for print) and host Massabesic Thursday.
Cheverus hosted Gorham in a rematch of last year's playoff loss Friday afternoon. The Stags tied the contest in the second half on a gorgeous free kick from senior standout Thomas Mourmouras, but the Rams answered with a goal in 72nd minute and handed Cheverus a 2-1 setback. The Stags visited Marshwood Tuesday (too late for print) and play at Sanford Thursday.
Waynflete is looking to ride the momentum from last year's stirring playoff run and got off to a great start Friday with a 3-1 victory at Traip Academy. Junior Tucker Geoffroy (a transfer from Greely) scored twice and senior Sam Cleaves added a goal. The Flyers are off until Tuesday of next week when they play at Lake Region.
Portland hosted McAuley in the teams' season-opener Friday. The Bulldogs are expected to be one of the top contenders in Western A this season, while the Lions are rebuilding and are hoping to improve on last year's one victory. With that in mind, those on hand were shocked when, thanks to Lauren Holt's first half goal, McAuley carried a 1-0 lead late into the contest. Portland came to life just in time, however, tying the score on senior Kristen Baker's goal, then winning it on senior Nancy McAdam's long shot in the waning moments.
The Bulldogs play host to Scarborough Wednesday and visit Windham Friday.
The Lions seek their first 2009 victory Wednesday at Biddeford and welcome Massabesic in their home opener Saturday.
Deering is 1-0 following a 3-1 home victory over Sanford Friday. Sophomore Alexis Sivovlos scored twice and senior Fiona Densmore added a tally. The Rams go to three-time regional champion Gorham Wednesday and visit Noble Saturday.
Cheverus got a look at Gorham Saturday and was able to go toe-to-toe with the Rams. Gorham finally broke through with a goal early in the second half, but after several close calls, the Stags answered on a free kick from junior Kaitlin Doherty in the 69th minute. Cheverus held on and earned some valuable Heal Points with the 1-1 tie.
"I'm ecstatic," said Stags coach Dan LaVallee. "We played really hard. We had some great chances. It could have gone either way. Great game. We're pretty pleased. Anytime you can tie Gorham, you take it."
The Stags' slate gets no easier. They play at last year's regional runner-up, Marshwood, on Wednesday. Saturday brings a trip to South Portland.
The defending Class C state champion Waynflete Flyers gave new coach Todd Dominski a victory in their first outing Friday, blanking visiting Traip Academy 7-0 behind four goals from senior standout Morgan Woodhouse. Senior Sasha Timpson scored twice. Waynflete is idle until Monday when they welcome Lake Region.
Cheverus hosted Deering in the teams' mutual opener Friday afternoon. The Rams, a longtime contender, and the Stags, who have recently arrived as a top threat, played a relatively even first half. Cheverus grabbed an early 1-0 advantage on sophomore Sarah LaQuerre's goal. The hosts then opened it up in the second half, getting goals from LaQuerre, senior Julie Smith and senior Sage Witham to win, 4-0.
"That's exactly what we needed," said Cheverus coach Amy McMullin. "We wanted to see some other people step up and score and we did. That was great. We have a new goalie. We wanted to make the transition easy for her. We wanted to keep pushing on offense. We're very deep this year. The most we've ever been. That's exciting."
"It was partly expected," said Deering coach Andrew Gordon. "They play really well together. We're getting better. I think it will take a little longer this year to get to a point where we're really competitive. It's not where you start, but where you finish."
The Stags were back in action at Kennebunk Tuesday (too late for print). Thursday, Cheverus hosts Massabesic. Saturday, it goes to Noble.
The Rams hosted Gorham Tuesday (too late for print). Thursday brings a trip to Marshwood. Saturday, Deering is home against McAuley.
Speaking of the Lions, they opened the Lauren Gillespie Era with a 5-0 setback at Thornton Academy Friday. McAuley hoped for its first win at Windham Tuesday (too late for print). The Lions are home with Bonny Eagle Thursday.
Portland had the unenviable task of opening against defending regional champion and this year's heavy favorite, Scarborough. The Bulldogs suffered a 12-0 loss to the Red Storm Friday afternoon. The road figured to get easier Tuesday with a trip to Thornton Academy (too late for print). Thursday, Portland is home with Windham. Saturday, the Bulldogs visit Bonny Eagle.
In Western C, Waynflete lost 1-0 at home to Gray-New Gloucester Friday, then fell 5-0 at Old Orchard Beach Saturday. The Flyers are off until Tuesday of next week when they play at defending state champion North Yarmouth Academy.
Preseason favorite Cheverus, Deering, McAuley and Portland opened their 2009 cross country season Thursday at the Southern Maine Activities Association relays in Saco. The Cheverus girls came in first, while the Stags were second to Scarborough on the boys' side. McAuley was fifth and Deering ninth in the girls' race, while Portland came in ninth among the boys. Regular season action begins this weekend.
Defending Class A champion Deering is the heavy favorite again in 2009 and got off to a strong start last week with an 11-2 victory over Westbrook. Portland was a 7-4 loser to South Portland in its first match. Cheverus was supposed to open with Scarborough, but that match was postponed until this week. Waynflete plays its first match Tuesday of next week at home against NYA.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org