Action heats up for local teams as postseason nears
While it seems like only yesterday that we were previewing the fall sports season, the fact of the matter is that the playoffs are right around the corner.
The field hockey regular season comes to an end this week and the golf team state match is Saturday in Vassalboro. While football, soccer, cross country and volleyball still have a few weeks remaining, we're closer to the end of the season than the beginning.
With that in mind, several local teams have ample reason for optimism and excitement.
Here's a glimpse at where things stand after Mother Nature finally made her presence felt the first weekend in October.
As the football season hits the home stretch, both Cape Elizabeth and South Portland have their playoff destinies in their hands.
The Capers improved to 5-0 last Friday night with an easy 39-0 win at Gray-New Gloucester. Senior Tommy Foden scored on the ground and through the air in the first quarter to make it 13-0. Senior quarterback Ezra Wolfinger hooked up with classmate Finn Melanson for a 21-yard strike, Foden returned an interception 17 yards and senior Kyle Piscopo scored on a 21-yard pass from Wolfinger to make it 33-0 at the half. In the fourth, freshman Sam Sherman scored on an 8-yard run to account for the final score. Cape Elizabeth faces a much sterner test this week when it hosts Wells (4-1).
South Portland continued its resurgence down at Noble, following up on its inspirational and stunning upset victory over defending state champ Bonny Eagle with a 36-0 win at the Knights. Senior Ryan Curit got the party started with a long punt return for a score. Curit had a TD run and senior Mike Foley caught a TD pass from classmate Jon DiBiase to make it 21-0 after one quarter. Two more Curit scoring runs in the second made it 36-0 at the break and that score stood up as the Red Riots improved to 3-2. South Portland has a critical home contest against struggling Deering (2-3, after three straight losses) Friday night at Martin Memorial Field. If the Red Riots can beat the Rams for the first time since 2000, they'll be in great shape for their first playoff berth in seven seasons.
Scarborough fell to 0-5 last Friday night after a 52-14 loss at Gorham. The Red Storm fell behind 20-0 after one period and couldn't catch up despite a pair of touchdowns from senior Blake Brubach. Scarborough has a great shot to get in the win column Friday night when it goes to 0-5 Noble.
Scarborough's boys' soccer team keeps on trucking. The Red Storm blanked visiting Noble (10-0) and Deering (4-0) in recent action to improve to 10-0 on the year and extend their two-season winning streak to 28 games. Against the Knights, senior Trevor Hoxsie had three goals and freshman Trevor Sparda scored twice. Against the Rams, Hoxsie had two first half goals and assisted on a pair of senior Chase Beech second half strikes. Scarborough (first in the latest Western Class A Heal Points standings) was at dangerous Windham Thursday and visits Bonny Eagle Tuesday.
South Portland had its five-game win streak snapped by visiting Windham, 2-0, last Thursday. Tuesday, the Red Riots fell to 6-3-1 after a 1-0 loss at Kennebunk. South Portland (ninth in Western A) hoped to get back on track Thursday at Thornton Academy. Tuesday, the Red Riots play host to Gorham.
Cape Elizabeth has also lost two in a row: 3-2 at home to Greely (despite goals from seniors Brock Barritt and Ben Brewster) and 4-0 at home to Falmouth to fall to 6-4 on the season. The Capers (10th in Western A) went to York Thursday, host Yarmouth Saturday night and play at Greely Wednesday. Cape Elizabeth likely still needs a big win to secure enough Heal Points to qualify for the postseason.
While Cape Elizabeth's girls' team lost at Falmouth Tuesday in its most recent outing (please see story, page 13), Scarborough has bounced back from its upset loss at South Portland with three victories: 7-1 at Kennebunk, 7-0 over visiting McAuley and 3-0 at Windham. Junior Tori Armishaw had two goals against the Rams, junior Cortney Hughes scored twice against the Lions and Hughes, junior Emma Bagley and sophomore Haley Carignan tickled the twine against the Eagles as the Red Storm improved to 9-1 on the year (good for first in the latest Western A Heals). Scarborough was home against Deering Wednesday and is then idle until next Wednesday when it hosts Bonny Eagle.
South Portland hasn't been able to build on its upset win over the Red Storm. The Red Riots settled for a 1-1 tie at Bonny Eagle last Wednesday (sophomore Emily Masters scored to force the deadlock), then fell 1-0 at Windham Friday and are now 4-4-1 on the year (12th in Western A). South Portland's game at McAuley Wednesday was postponed by rain (and hadn't been rescheduled by press time). The Red Riots host Thornton Academy Friday and play at Gorham Wednesday.
The defending Western Class A champion Scarborough field hockey team is closing its regular season in style. The Red Storm improved to 12-0 with recent blankings of South Portland (7-0), Westbrook (2-0) and Biddeford (6-0). Against the Red Riots, senior standout Brittany Ross had three goals and classmate Ashley Anastasoff added two. Scarborough then dominated at the Blue Blazes, outshooting the hosts 20-1 and having 18 corners to just one for Westbrook, but other than two goals off penalty corners late in the first half (Anastasoff, on a rebound of a Ross shot, and junior Rachael Millett, from Ross), the Red Storm couldn't finish.
"Westbrook definitely has a defensive team and they were ready for us," said Scarborough coach Kerry Mariello. "When we come out on the winning end, we'll take that."
Against the Tigers, Ross had three first half goals and the Red Storm improved to 12-0 (good for first in the Western A Heals).
Scarborough had a showdown at undefeated Cheverus Thursday and closes the regular year at home versus Gorham Saturday.
"This is where we want to be," Mariello said. "We're playing the teams that will help us in the Heal Points. If we win out, we should finish No. 1. It's all laid out for us. It's just a matter of us doing it now. It gets harder as the year goes on. We'll continue to play our game. If we eliminate our mistakes as much as possible, I don't foresee anyone playing with us."
South Portland has enjoyed a season of rebirth, winning four times after going 0-for-2007 and 2008, but its slim playoff hopes likely took a fatal hit Tuesday when the Red Riots dropped an agonizing 4-3 (double overtime) decision at Windham. Junior Felicia Farnham, sophomore Brianna Bower and freshman Jaclyn Salevsky scored the South Portland goals. The Red Riots had previously lost 7-0 to Scarborough and 3-0 to Thornton Academy. South Portland (4-8 and 13th in the Western A Heals) hosted Bonny Eagle Thursday and finishes up at Deering Friday.
In Western B, Cape Elizabeth is still in the postseason discussion. The Capers are 3-7-1 after recent losses to Wells (3-0) and Greely (1-0), but they're ninth in the Heals and still have a chance to secure a playoff spot. Cape Elizabeth was at Fryeburg Wednesday and visited Lake Region Thursday, then wraps up the regular year Saturday at home versus Falmouth.
The defending Class A state champion Scarborough cross country teams took part in the Maine Festival of Champions meet in Belfast last weekend and the boys beat out 46 other teams to come in first. Senior Nate Hathaway had the fastest time (third, 15 minutes, 44.9 seconds). The girls came in fourth as a squad. Senior Melissa Dellatorre was the top individual (12th, 20:04.4). The Red Storm host Deering, Noble and Thornton Academy Friday.
South Portland ran at Sanford last weekend and both teams came in first. The Red Riots join Gorham at Biddeford Friday.
Cape Elizabeth competed at Greely in a six-team meet. The powerhouse defending Class B state champion girls finished first while the boys came in sixth. The Capers took part in the Western Maine Conference championship meet Thursday in Falmouth.
Cape Elizabeth and South Portland's golf teams are heading for Saturday's team state championships at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro.
The Capers return to the Class B match after a year away. They shot a 634 over the two-day qualifier at Willowdale Golf Course in Scarborough. Cape Elizabeth was the fourth of four Western Maine Conference teams to make it. The Capers hope to win the team title for the second time in three years.
Wil LaPrade, Conor Moloney and Will Pierce all qualified to compete in the individual Class B championships, held Oct. 17.
In Class A, South Portland shot a 322 at the Southern Maine Activities Association qualifier Monday to join Deering, Thornton Academy, Kennebunk, Cheverus and Biddeford as SMAA teams in the Class A state field. It's the first time the Red Riots have qualified since 2001 (when they came in fourth). Scarborough shot a 337 at the qualifier and fell short.
South Portland's Aidan Boyce and Anthony Canarie, along with Scarborough's Kevin Fasulo qualified for the individual state championships, held Oct. 17 at Natanis.
Scarborough's volleyball team has won four straight matches and is now 7-3 on the year. Last Thursday, the Red Storm blanked host Kennebunk 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-17). Tuesday, Scarborough eked out a thrilling five-game win at Gorham (17-25, 25-18, 25-11, 23-25, 15-8). Scarborough (fifth in the latest Class A Heals) was at Greely Thursday, hosts Cony Friday and plays at undefeated and top-ranked Falmouth next Wednesday.
Cape Elizabeth is 1-9 after recent 3-0 losses to Greely (23-25, 12-25, 6-25), Falmouth (9-25, 21-25, 8-25) and Biddeford (8-25, 11-25, 17-25). The Capers (11th in Class A) went to Yarmouth Wednesday, host Kennebunk Friday and go to Greely Wednesday.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com