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Scarborough Red Storm Fall Sports Preview

Sports

Scarborough Red Storm Fall Sports Preview

Scarborough begins a new school year hoping to match the dominance of 2009-10. It won't be easy, but don't be surprised if there are some championship celebrations this fall. Football welcomes a new coach and hopes to jump right into playoff contention, which is a realistic goal. Boys' soccer has been the premier program around and hopes to win a third consecutive title. The girls should excel as well and hope to put it together in the playoffs this autumn. Field hockey is defending its first championship, but has a vastly different look. The Red Storm should remain strong, however. Both cross country squads are title-worthy. Golf is in a tough division, but should be battle tested by the time the qualifier rolls around. Volleyball welcomes a new coach and looks to make the playoffs once again.

FOOTBALL

COACH: Lance Johnson (first year)

2009 Record: 1-7 (no postseason)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Jack Adams (Senior), Zach Bean (Senior), Mike Cyr (Senior), Dennis Liu (Senior), Will Lynch (Senior), Scott Merrill (Senior), Joe Viola (Senior), Matt Brown (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 3 @ Massabesic, Sept. 10 (H) THORNTON ACADEMY, Sept. 16 (H) SANFORD, Oct. 1 (H) GORHAM,

COACH’S COMMENT: “It's going very well. The kids are responding. Our strengths are our athletes and good team speed. We're working on blocking and tackling. Our juniors and seniors played a lot last season. We may have to use the pass to set up the run, then hope to run better as the season goes on. I think it's realistic to make the playoffs.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: There's a lot of optimism around the Red Storm program this year as this is likely the most talent the team has had since moving up to Class A in 2003. Johnson takes over as coach and has an impressive pedigree. He's a 1985 graduate of Portland High, where he played football, hockey and baseball. He went on to play football at Bates College and upon graduation, became an assistant to Mike Bailey with the Bulldogs, a role he held for 21 years, as an offensive and defensive coordinator. For what it's worth, Johnson and Scarborough got a big dose of confidence last weekend with a preseason win over Bailey and Portland. Now, the Red Storm have to produce when the games count. They have the pieces in place to do so. Adams will play quarterback with Bean running the “Wildcat” on occasion. Bean will carry the ball frequently. Brown and Merrill will also see their share of carries. Viola has the potential to be one of the best wide receivers in the league. Liu's another pass catcher to watch and Cyr, at tight end, is getting college interest. Lynch anchors the line. Scarborough should score its share of points. Last year, the Red Storm barely averaged 10 points per contest. That should increase dramatically and if it does, close losses (four of last year's setbacks were by a combined total of 19 points) will turn into victories. On defense, the line features Cyr. The linebacker corps includes Bean, Brown and Lynch. The secondary should be solid behind Adams, Liu, Merrill and Viola. Being in the York County division means Scarborough will be able to compete with everyone. If the Red Storm can carry over their preseason success, they'll win some games and begin to believe they can do something special. A winning record is realistic. So is a playoff berth. It's been eight long years, but this program is on the verge of finally turning the corner.

BOYS' SOCCER

COACH: Mark Diaz (12th year)

2009 Record: 18-0 (Beat Brunswick 2-1 to repeat as Class A state champion)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Colin Cain (Senior), Matt Graef (Senior), Brett Leighton (Senior), Kevin Philbrick (Senior), Peter Rizzi (Senior), Andrew Jones (Junior), Austin Downing (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 7 @ Portland, Sept. 16 (H) GORHAM, Sept. 21 @ Westbrook, Sept. 23 (H) CHEVERUS, Oct. 7 (H) WINDHAM, Oct. 12 (H) BONNY EAGLE

COACH’S COMMENT: “We graduated five starters. What we're searching for is more scoring balance. I don't know if we'll be as exciting as we've been the last few years. The seniors really have to take ownership of the team. I think we'll be right in the mix. Everyone else lost players like we did. Home playoff games are the goal.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Scarborough's recent dominance is staggering. Not only have the Red Storm won the past two Class A titles, they did so in undefeated fashion, meaning they've won 36 straight contests. If that's not enough, Scarborough hasn't lost a regular season game since Sept. 6, 2005!. That's a span of 68 outings. After outscoring the opposition 80-5 a year ago, you have to wonder what this program can do for an encore. If the Red Storm are ever going to be vulnerable it might (I stress might) be this autumn, but don't bet on it, because even after losing all-stars Trevor Hoxsie, Andrew Nigro, Tennessee Peters and Nate Tolman, Scarborough is still the odds-on favorite in Western A. Three other all-stars return. Jones and Philbrick pace the offense (along with Downing and Leighton). Rizzi is the other all-star. He anchors the defense along with Cain and Graef. Moore, who saw limited time behind Peters in 2009, will be in goal. Diaz doesn't get enough credit for not only creating a dynasty, but sustaining it despite losing standouts every single year. This year's challenge is daunting, but manageable. The Red Storm will be tested more often in the regular season this year and might not boast the gaudy record they're accustomed to, but by late October, rest assured they'll be ready to take on anyone as they seek to win a third straight championship for the first time since the glory days of the 1970s. The beat goes on.

GIRLS' SOCCER

COACH: Mike Farley (sixth year)

2009 Record: 13-2 (lost 2-1, in overtime, to Marshwood in Western Class A quarterfinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Tori Armishaw (Senior), Heidi Bogdanovich (Senior), Nicolette Caron (Senior), Jill Deering (Senior), Cortney Hughes (Senior), Sarah Little (Senior), Margaret Palmer (Senior), Abby Van Note (Senior), Jessica Broadhurst (Junior), Haley Carignan (Junior), Emily Tolman (Junior), Meghan Tyson (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 8 (H) PORTLAND, Sept. 13 @ Gorham, Sept. 23 @ Cheverus, Oct. 4 (H) WINDHAM, Oct. 19 @ Thornton Academy

COACH’S COMMENT: “We have a lot of experience with 12 seniors. These seniors are very determined to get back to the playoffs this year and avenge last year's loss. Our junior class has five players that played major roles on last year's team and they are sure to be impact players on this year's team. The seniors and juniors will lead the way on this team and hopefully draw on their talent and experience to get us through the tough conference games with wins. We have five sophomores who will see extensive playing time and will be in pressure situations throughout the year, because of their ability to play at a high level. They provide us with speed, toughness and athletic ability that will make it tough for teams to match up against us and compete with the depth of our team. We want to strive for a level of consistency that has eluded us the past couple years that will allow us to play our style and impose our will on every team that we play, regardless of their record. If we can achieve that level of consistency, I believe we will be a playoff team that has the ability to go deep.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Scarborough has suffered its share of agonizing playoff losses under Farley, perhaps none more excruciating than last year's when the Red Storm appeared invincible and en route to a title. The good news is that several great players return and this might be the season that Scarborough makes it to the state final for the first time since 2000. Carignan projects to be one of the top scorers. She was an honorable mention all-star in 2009. Hughes (a second-team all-star) and Palmer will be a dynamic midfield combination. Both can pass and shoot. Little and Tyson at outside-mid, will create their share of goals. Armishaw (a first-team all-star last year) will also be heard from. Bogdanovich and Caron (another honorable mention all-star in 2009) leads the defense. Broadhurst and Tolman have experience and will help protect the goalkeeping tandem of Deering and Van Note, who have alternated as the starter. Four newcomers will see major minutes. Sophomores Taylor Leborgne and Jessica Meader make the offense that much more powerful. Sophomore Ashley Ronzo brings speed and is a good ball-handler. Sophomore Maria Philbrick will help on defense. This is a veritable all-star team that if healthy will score a ton and frustrate the opposition. While there are several other good teams in the SMAA, the Red Storm appear to be above the rest. Ultimately, this squad will be measured on what it does in the playoffs. Scarborough is consumed with writing old wrongs and going all the way. There's every reason to believe this group will be in the hunt until the very end.

FIELD HOCKEY

COACH: Kerry Mariello (ninth year)

2009 Record: 18-0 (Beat Skowhegan 2-1, in overtime, to win first Class A state championship)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Kristen Felt (Senior), Shauni Cowan (Junior), Kelsey Howard (Junior), Stephanie Felt (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 2 (H) PORTLAND, Sept. 10 @ Thornton Academy, Sept. 17 (H) DEERING, Sept. 30 (H) SANFORD, Oct. 2 @ South Portland, Oct. 4 (H) WESTBROOK, Oct. 6 @ Biddeford, Oct. 9 (H) CHEVERUS, Oct. 12 @ Gorham

COACH’S COMMENT: “The girls are learning a lot in a little time. They're doing well. Defense will be a strength. We'll be balanced when it comes to scoring. It'll be a fun year. A lot to do and learn. I think the girls are very excited. We still have a lot of talent, just very little varsity experience.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: While Scarborough will never be able to approach the thrills and triumph of last year's first ever championship, this year's team isn't getting near enough respect in the preseason. The Red Storm, despite the loss of such standouts as Heather Carrier, Ellie Morin and Brittany Ross, will be very competitive all season. Offensively, Howard, who's quite an accomplished winner in her own right, and Kristen Felt will look to replace the departed firepower. Last year, Scarborough averaged over five goals per contest. If this team can get anywhere that type of production, it will be in great shape. Defense got overlooked a year ago when it surrendered just 12 goals in 18 contests. This year should see similar stinginess. Cowan and Stephanie Felt lead that unit in front of sophomore Shannon Hicks, who is new in goal. The rise of this program has been staggering, best illustrated by the fact that for seven straight seasons, the Red Storm posted a better record than the year before. Scarborough's can't improve on 18-0, but 2010 should still be a memorable campaign. There might be a few speed bumps in the regular season, but by October, no one will want to meet the defending champs. If the newer players can quickly get up to speed, the Red Storm will once again be in a hunt for a trophy.

CROSS COUNTRY

BOYS COACH: Jim Harmon (13th year)

GIRLS COACH: Ron Kelly (38th year)

2009 Results:

(BOYS) 2nd @ Class A state meet

(GIRLS) 8th @ Class A state meet

TOP RETURNING RUNNERS

BOYS: Zach Brown (Senior), Tom Hague (Senior), Ethan Law (Junior), Nick Morris (Junior), Wout Moulin (Junior), Robby Hall (Junior)

GIRLS: Abby Chick (Senior), Sarah Dugas (Senior), Emily O'Connor (Senior), Marisa O'Toole (Sophomore)

TOP FOES: Cheverus, Gorham, Massabesic

COACH HARMON’S COMMENT: “I think we should be competitive in our class and league and we'll see where our hard work will take us as we go through the season. We hope to be a top contender for the state title.”

COACH KELLY’S COMMENT: “We'll be stronger than last year. The newcomers can play an important role in our team. My top runners must challenge for a top 10 as individuals. The balance of the team needs to be in the top 30 for us to challenge Cheverus. Our pack must be very close from 1-5.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Both Scarborough cross country teams will battle for top honors this fall.

The boys' team couldn't beat Cheverus a year ago, but despite the departure of Nate Hathaway, Sean Griffin and Joe Prosack, have enough talent this time around to go all the way. The top returner is Morris, who was eighth at states in 2009. Hall (27th), Brown (29th) and Hague (40th) also scored or took part last fall. Law and Moulin bring depth. Top newcomers include sophomores Jack Sullivan and Sam Terry and freshmen Matt Aceto and Ian Morris. The Red Storm will have a very strong pack. The questions will be can last year's scorers move up and will the newcomers make an immediate impact? If the answers are affirmative, look for Scarborough to have a great shot to finish first after a one-year absence.

On the girls' side, the Red Storm are coming off their lowest state finish since moving up to Class A. They figure to move way up in 2010. While Margaret Benoit, Libby Davis and Melissa DellaTorre have departed, there's plenty of talent in reserve. Chick (35th), O'Toole (39th) and Dugas (44th) scored at states last autumn. O'Connor (52nd) also competed. Juniors Nicole Kirk, Mary Scott, Maggie Smith and Andrea Tolman and freshman Marian Gardner will make an impact as well. While defending champion Cheverus is again the favorite and other SMAA teams will be heard from, Scarborough should be able to impress all year. Look for a much stronger finish in late-October.

GOLF

COACH: Mike Murphy (22nd year)

2009 Results: 4-6 (no postseason)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Dan Slavin (Junior), Zach Telczar (Junior), Brendan Hall (Sophomore)

TOP FOES: Cheverus, Deering

COACH’S COMMENT: “We have some great kids. I like the 12 guys I have on my team. We have youth, but overall, I like our attitude. It's a work in progress. We're in a very competitive pod schedule-wise. Wins will be hard to come by.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Scarborough has a very young team in 2010 and certainly has its hands full competing against powerhouses like Cheverus and Deering in the regular season. This year's team will be led by returners Hall, Slavin and Telczar. Three newcomers, seniors Alex Colville and Kyle Nabio and sophomore Hunter Sackville, hope to step right in. The Red Storm aren't too concerned about their win-loss record. They hope to be at their best for the qualifier and if the breaks go their way, it could result in a state meet berth. With much of the roster consisting of underclassmen, that suggests that the program's future is bright.

VOLLEYBALL

COACH: Jon Roberts (first year)

2009 Results: 9-7 (Lost 3-0 to Greely in West Region semifinals)

TOP RETURNERS: Christina Bilodeau (Senior), MacKenzie Bowker (Senior), Bridget Hicks (Senior), Brittany Bona (Junior), Emily Robbins (Junior)

PIVOTAL MATCHES: Sept. 7 (H) FALMOUTH, Sept. 11 (H) YARMOUTH, Sept. 11 (H) MDI, Sept. 15 @ Greely, Sept. 20 (H) BIDDEFORD, Sept. 23 @ Falmouth, Sept. 28 (H) GREELY, Oct. 4 @ Gorham, Oct. 12 @ Yarmouth, Oct. 15 @ Biddeford

COACH’S COMMENT: “Our whole program has committed to playing at a high level and working as hard as possible in practice. It wouldn't be surprising to see other standout players develop during the course of the season. We always aim to be the hardest working team in the gym, wherever we go, and look forward to some great volleyball this season.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Scarborough has a new look this year as roughly half of last year's team has departed, but the Red Storm are equipped to be one of the top contenders in Class A. There's a change at the top as program founder Jody King has been replaced by Roberts, who was previously the assistant coach at Coventry (Conn.) High School. He's helped by Kim Stoddard at the JV level. After making it to the semis in 2009, the Red Storm are hoping to be a force this autumn. Junior Amber Bowen is the defensive specialist. Robbins is a setter. Bona brings size and athleticism to the middle blocker position. Bilodeau (outside hitter), Bowker (opposite) and Hicks (outside hitter) are tri-captains. Roberts believes that junior outside hitter Rachel Webber and freshman middle blocker Mary Cleary will also be big contributors. Scarborough is still chasing seven-time champion Greely and rising power Falmouth, but there's a good chance it can improve its win-loss record and make another deep run in the postseason. This team will be heard from all the way through.

Photo: File photo

Senior Matt Graef is one of the top defenders in the league.

Photo: File photo

Senior Cortney Hughes figures to be dominant for the powerful Red Storm in 2010. She and her teammates hope to erase a recent string of playoff heartbreaks and go all the way.

Photo: File photo

Junior Kelsey Howard is a top returner for a defending Class A state champion Red Storm field hockey team which graduated plenty of firepower.

Photo: File photo

Seniors Zach Brown and Tom Hague are two of the top returners for the Scarborough boys' cross country team. A year ago at states, Brown finished 29th, while Hague came in 40th.

Photo: File photo

Senior Abby Chick, who came in 35th at last year's Class A state meet, and her teammates hope to move up the standings in 2010.

Photo: File photo

Junior Brittany Bona (left) is one of the most imposing players at the net in the state. She and her teammates should be right in the Class A mix this autumn.