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Early triumphs keep on coming for southern edition squads

Sports

Early triumphs keep on coming for southern edition squads

Every local varsity team is now underway and the fall sports season has produced plenty of excitement in the early going. Here's a glimpse.

Football

While the defending Western B champion Cape Elizabeth football team stayed perfect and unscored upon last weekend (please see story), our local Class A squads had mixed results.

South Portland is 2-0 for the first time since 2001 after outlasting host Westbrook, 34-22. The Red Riots (who held off defending state champion Windham, 13-6, at home in Week 1) were down 6-0 after one quarter and were tied, 14-14, at halftime despite a pair of touchdown passes from senior Tommy Ellis (one to junior Logan Gaddar, the other to senior Stephen Hodge). South Portland went on top, 21-14, on a long Ellis TD run, but the Blue Blazes retook the lead, 22-21, late in the third period. Finally, South Portland went ahead to stay on junior Jacob Stanley's scoring run. In the fourth, Ellis found senior Billy Darling for a score through the air and the Red Riots held on for the victory.

South Portland has a huge test Friday night at home when it hosts red-hot Cheverus (easy winners over Gorham and Windham so far), a regional finalist in 2009. Last year, the Stags beat the visiting Red Riots, 21-0, arguably South Portland's low point of the season.

Scarborough wasn't able to join South Portland at 2-0. After beating host Massabesic in a 33-29 thriller in the opener, the Red Storm hosted perennial contender Thornton Academy last weekend and despite having ample chances, fell 33-7. Scarborough trailed 7-0 at halftime, but could have easily been tied or ahead, having chances inside Golden Trojans' territory. The visitors broke the game open in the second half, scoring 26 points. The Red Storm's lone score came in the third period when senior quarterback Jack Adams hooked up with senior Mike Cyr for a short passing touchdown.

"I felt like our kids really competed well against a very strong team," said first-year Scarborough coach Lance Johnson. "We made too many mistakes and did not take advantage of the opportunities we had in the first half.

Senior Zach Bean led the Red Storm offense with 88 yards on 17 carries. Senior Dennis Liu was dominant on defense (11 tackles and a forced fumble) and special teams (an 80-yard kick return). Cyr made 10 tackles, while junior Kellen Smith had 12 and classmate Matt Brown finished with 11.

Scarborough hosted Sanford (2-0) in a pivotal contest Thursday night. Last year, the Red Storm lost, 7-0, at the Redskins.

"Coach Fallon has done a great job rebuilding the Sanford program and this will be a big test for us this week," said Johnson. "They are running the ball extremely well with (Shawn) Goodrich and their QB is a dual threat."

Boys' soccer

So much for the Scarborough boys' soccer team being mortal this year. The Red Storm, winners of the past two Class A championships (with undefeated records in the process), were supposed to have come back to the pack a bit in 2010, but so far, that is simply not the case.

Scarborough beat visiting Massabesic (5-0) and host Portland (3-1) in early action, then blanked host South Portland (3-0) and visiting Marshwood (5-0) to improve to 4-0 on the season, while extending its three-year win streak to 40 games. Against the Red Riots, senior Kevin Philbrick and sophomore Austin Wilcox scored. In the win over the Hawks, junior Andrew Jones scored a highlight reel goal in the 17th minute and sophomore Chris Cleary struck late in the first half for a 2-0 lead at the break. Goals from junior Elijah Wyman, Jones and Wilcox in the second half accounted for the final score.

"Marshwood's athletic," said Red Storm coach Mark Diaz. "They worked hard. I thought they played well in the first half and we played terrible, but we put two up. We should have had a third. We hit the post. We got the shutout. I got a lot of time for my young guys. My defense is playing so well. Our transition game's been pretty good. We're still maturing."

Scarborough was back in action Thursday afternoon when it hosted Gorham. The Red Storm go to Westbrook Tuesday.

South Portland bounced back from its loss to Scarborough and improved to 3-1 Tuesday with a decisive 6-0 home win over Massabesic. A five-goal uprising in the first dozen minutes of the second half was the difference. Junior Dan Grazewski's goal (from senior Nem Kaurin) broke the ice. Kaurin fed junior Will Bushey to make it 2-0 and senior Brooks Cannon, sophomore Damjan Draskovic, senior Dillon Leary and sophomore Dillon Burns all followed with tallies to account for the final score.

The Red Riots are at Biddeford Saturday and host Marshwood Tuesday.

Cape Elizabeth took a 2-0 record into Thursday's showdown at rival Greely. The Capers, who blanked visiting Lake Region, 6-0, in their opener, held off visiting North Yarmouth Academy, 1-0, last Wednesday. Junior Tim Lavallee had the goal in the final minute of regulation.

Cape Elizabeth hosts defending Class B state champion Falmouth Saturday and York Monday.

Greater Portland Christian School of South Portland is 1-1 to date. The Lions dominated visiting Chop Point Christian, 9-1, in the opener, as Anthony Simpson erupted for a career-high seven goals. GPCS scored five times Tuesday, but lost, 6-5, at home to Buckfield. Ben Hammond scored twice for the Lions. Simpson added a goal and an assist. Matt Hammond and Jacob Rudolph also tickled the twine, while Sam Carlson made nine saves.

Girls' soccer

On the girls' side, while Scarborough was earning an inspirational overtime victory at Gorham (please see story), other local teams are chugging along.

South Portland was 1-1-1 entering Wednesday's contest at Massabesic. The Red Riots, who defeated host Westbrook (3-1) in the opener before falling, 2-1, at Noble, played at top contender Cheverus Friday. The teams battled to a 0-0 tie, an encouraging result for South Portland against an established foe.

"So far, I like the way we've played," said Red Riots coach Andy Pappas. "Cheverus had a strong game today, but I felt we kept their opportunities to a minimum. It was a good effort defensively. We know it's a long season. Anybody can beat anybody. I think we're the type of team that can compete in every game."

South Portland is home with Biddeford Saturday.

Cape Elizabeth, which didn't play for nine days, took a 2-0 mark into Thursday's home game against Greely. The Capers host Falmouth Saturday and go to defending Class B champion York Monday.

GPCS is 1-0-1. The Lions had no trouble with visiting Valley in the opener, rolling, 5-0. Elaine Beech had four goals. Tuesday, GPCS settled for a 5-5 home tie against Buckfield, rallying from deficits of  3-1 at halftime and 5-3  in the second half. Beech had three goals, while Liz Garland and Robyn Waugh also scored.

Field hockey

Scarborough's field hockey team won a state championship for the first time last fall, then graduated a ton of talent, meaning the Red Storm were supposed to come back to the pack in 2010.

It hasn't happened.

Scarborough is three games into a new season and has outscored the opposition, 15-1. After downing visiting Portland, 5-1, in the opener, the Red Storm shut out host Thornton Academy, 3-0, last Friday, then dominated visiting Windham, 7-0, Tuesday.

Against the Golden Trojans, seniors Sarah Bunting and Kristen Felt and junior Kelsey Howard scored. In the win over the Eagles, Flet, Howard and sophomore Grace Whelan had first half goals and Felt, sophomore Karli-An Gilbert, senior Lauren Sullivan and senior Chelsey Michaud added second half tallies.

"We know we have a championship to protect and the girls want it," said Scarborough coach Kerry Mariello. "They're just as hungry as the last group was. The dynamics are different, but the mentality's the same. It's definitely been a pleasant surprise. They're catching on quickly."

The Red Storm were at Bonny Eagle Thursday, play host to Deering (now coached by former assistant Marcia Wood) and visit Kennebunk Monday.

South Portland is still seeking its first win, although the Red Riots have been competitive. Recent losses to visiting Sanford (2-0) and host Westbrook (3-1) left South Portland 0-3 on the year. Senior Felicia Farnham had the goal against the Blue Blazes.

The Red Riots hoped to get in the win column Thursday at home against Biddeford. Saturday, they visit Cheverus. They're home Monday against Gorham.

In Western B, Cape Elizabeth won its first three games, then ran into the league's elite. Saturday, the Capers fell at home to York, 4-0. Monday, they hosted Wells and took a 1-0 lead on sophomore Lauren Steidl's early goal, but the Warriors converted three penalty corners in the first half (including one after time expired) and went on to a 3-1 victory.

"We played hard," said Cape Elizabeth coach Darci Holland. "Our defense is usually very strong on corners. It was just one of those days. Having York and Wells back-to-back is tough. I still feel wonderful about this team. It's one of the best teams I've ever coached. Solid talent. A lot of them played through the winter and want to be better players. It's a very coachable, hard nosed group. Willing to get dirty and break a nail."

The Capers host Traip Friday and go to Lake Region Tuesday.

Cross country

Cape Elizabeth's girls' cross country team, the three-time defending Class B state champion and second-ranked team in the latest coaches' poll, won a meet at Greely (which also included York) last weekend. The Capers were paced by senior Kelsey Barton, who was third individually (20 minutes, 41 seconds). Cape Elizabeth's boys also came in first, paced by senior Reid Douty (who was second, 17:29). The Capers (ranked third by the coaches) join Gray-New Gloucester and Traip at Wells Friday.

The Scarborough boys, ranked first in the coaches' poll, won their opening meet at Marshwood. South Portland finished second and Thornton Academy also participated. Red Storm junior Nick Morris was the top individual (17:15). The Red Riots were paced by senior Sam Redstone (eighth, 18:51). In the girls' meet, Scarborough (ninth in the coaches' poll) was first and South Portland second. Red Riots sophomore sensation Nyajock Pan came in first individually (21:35). Red Storm sophomore Sarah Dugas placed second (21:54).

Scarborough joined Kennebunk at Westbrook Friday. South Portland hosted Biddeford and Noble.

Golf

On the links, Scarborough is leading the way with a 3-1 mark. The Red Storm won at South Portland, 8.5-4.5 Tuesday, dropping the Red Riots to 1-3. Cape Elizabeth is still seeking its first win after falling, 4-3, at home to Greely Tuesday.

Volleyball

Scarborough's volleyball squad took a 2-2 mark into Wednesday's showdown at seven-time defending state champion Greely. Saturday, the Red Storm split home matches against Yarmouth (losing in four games, 13-25, 23-25, 25-18, 23-25) and Mt. Desert Island (winning in five, 25-19, 25-13, 15-25, 23-25, 15-5). In the loss to the Clippers, junior Brittany Bona had seven kills and four digs, junior Emily Robbins finished with 19 assists, Amber Bowen had nine digs and Meghan McAlary added eight digs. In the victory, Bona finished with 10 aces, 11 kills, 11 digs and two blocks, Robbins had 17 assists and four aces and Bridget Hicks added nine digs.

Scarborough goes to NYA Friday and is home against undefeated Biddeford Monday.

Cape Elizabeth is 0-5 after recent three-game losses to Cony, Falmouth and Gorham. The Capers were at Greely Thursday and host NYA Monday.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net