October drama at a fever pitch-Southern edition

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Cape Elizabeth’s Jack Glanville races for a touchdown in the Capers’ 23-7 home win over Fryeburg Academy last Friday.

South Portland’s Alecks Kaurin boots the ball during the Red Riots’ 2-0 win at Westbrook Monday. South Portland finished the regular season undefeated for the first time.

Scarborough’s field hockey team celebrates its lone goal in Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Falmouth in a Class A South quarterfinal.

Ed. Note: For the complete Cape Elizabeth-Fryeburg Academy football, Cape Elizabeth-Yarmouth, Scarborough-Portland and South Portland-Westbrook boys’ soccer, Cape Elizabeth-Yarmouth and Scarborough-Marshwood girls’ soccer and Scarborough-Falmouth field hockey game stories, with photos, see theforecaster.net)

The golf season has come to a close (see story) and the regular season is now over in field hockey, soccer and volleyball, meaning only football remains.

The postseason is underway in field hockey and will commence this weekend in cross country, soccer and volleyball.

As the days get shorter, the clock is running out on the fall sports season, but the greatest drama is still to come.

Here’s an overview:

Field hockey

Scarborough was the lone local field hockey team to make the playoffs and the Red Storm plan to stay for awhile.

Scarborough finished 13-1 and first in Class A South for the seventh time in nine seasons thanks to a 4-3 win at Massabesic in the regular season finale last Wednesday, which gave longtime coach Kerry Mariello her 200th victory with the program (see story). The Red Storm got goals from Cat Taylor, Rachel Paradis, Lauren Topchik and Carrie Timpson. 

Scarborough opened the playoffs Tuesday night at home against No. 9 Falmouth in the quarterfinals. As was the case two years ago in the only other previous postseason encounters between the schools, the Red Storm prevailed, 1-0. Two years ago, Paradis had the winning goal. This time, she set up Lucy Malia off a corner and Scarborough made it hold up to advance.

“It’s playoffs and I told the girls at the start that there are no such things as seeds, that everyone is even,” said Mariello. “The score doesn’t matter, as long as we come out on top.”

Scarborough will host No. 4 Biddeford (13-2) in the semifinals Friday at 6 p.m.  The Red Storm and Tigers didn’t meet in the regular season. Scarborough has played Biddeford four previous times in the playoffs, winning all four, including a 4-1 decision in last year’s quarterfinals.

“The biggest thing for our team is playing with heart and being united,” Malia said. “That’s hard for other teams to beat.”

Looking ahead, the Class A South Final is Tuesday evening at Thornton Academy in Saco. The Class A state final is Saturday, Oct. 28 at Falmouth High School.

South Portland finished 4-10 and 14th in Class A South, but only 12 teams made the playoffs. The Red Riots closed with a 2-0 home loss to Westbrook.

Cape Elizabeth finished 5-9 and ninth in Class B South, but only eight teams qualified for the postseason.

Football

Cape Elizabeth’s football team bounced back from a tough loss at Leavitt with an impressive 23-7 home win over resurgent Fryeburg Academy Friday night. 

Cape Elizabeth got off to a quick start when, after quarterback Andrew Hartel hit Ethan Convey for 42 yards, workhorse running back Ryan Weare scored on a 5-yard run for a 7-0 lead just over three minutes into the contest. Early in the second period, the Capers doubled their advantage, when Hartel threw a short pass to Jack Glanville and Glanville did the rest, breaking tackles and racing 73 yards to paydirt.

The Raiders pulled within 14-7 at the break, but late in the third period, Weare scored his second TD, a 2-yard dive, to give Cape Elizabeth some breathing room. The Capers’ defense then made their presence felt as they forced a safety and that was more than enough to lead the way to a 23-7 victory.

Cape Elizabeth got 220 passing yards from Hartel and improved to 5-2.

“We knew we had to step up our intensity from the first snap to the last,” said Weare, who had 125 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 35 carries. “We have to make sure that when we have tough losses, we make it a learning experience and figure out what we need to do to come out on top.”

“Defensively, we played incredible and rose to the challenge,” said Capers coach Aaron Filieo. “We stepped up offensively and did enough. It was a good win.” 

Cape Elizabeth (currently third behind Leavitt and Fryeburg Academy in the Class B South Heal Points standings) closes the regular season at 4-3 York Friday night. The teams didn’t meet a year ago.

In Class A South, Scarborough improved to 6-1 last Friday with its fourth straight win, 49-0, over visiting Oxford Hills. The Red Storm (third in the region) close at undefeated, defending state champion Bonny Eagle in a highly-anticipated showdown Friday night. Last year, the Scots beat Scarborough twice, 21-7, in Scarborough in the regular season and 40-20 at home in the Class A South Final.

South Portland fell to 3-4 and remains fourth in Class A South following a 49-7 loss at Thornton Academy. Spencer Houlette’s 85-yard kickoff return for a score in the third period produced the Red Riots’ lone points. South Portland hosts 2-5 Portland in the “Battle of the Bridge” finale Saturday afternoon. Last year, the Bulldogs won at the Red Riots, 47-0.

The football postseason starts the weekend of Oct. 27-28 on the fields of the higher seeds.

Boys’ soccer

Forecaster Country boys’ soccer teams like their chances heading into the playoffs.

South Portland is coming off the best regular season in program history and its first undefeated campaign, which ended 13-0-1 after a 2-1 home win over Sanford and a 2-0 victory at Westbrook. Charlie Cronin and Kyle Patterson both scored against the Spartans. In the win over the Blue Blazes, Patterson twice set up Cronin for the goals.

“It’s such a great feeling to be the first South Portland team to have this record and go undefeated,” Cronin said. “Honestly, I didn’t expect this, but as the season progressed, we improved and got to this point.”

“It’s indicative of the group of guys we’ve got,” said Red Riots coach Bryan Hoy. “It’s such a good team and the guys play together and for each other. It’s been really special.”

South Portland earned the top seed in Class A South for the first time since 1988 and will host either No. 8 Thornton Academy (8-5-1) or No. 9 Marshwood (8-6) in a quarterfinal round game Wednesday. The Red Riots opened with a 3-0 win at the Golden Trojans Sept. 5 and blanked the visiting Hawks, 2-0, Sept. 9. South Portland beat Thornton Academy in both prior playoff meetings: 2-0 in the 2011 Western A preliminary round and 3-2 (4-2 on penalty kicks) in the 2015 Class A South quarterfinals. The Red Riots lost their only prior playoff encounter with Marshwood, 1-0, in the 2000 Western A second round.

Scarborough finished 10-4 and fifth in Class A South after shutting out visiting Portland (1-0) and host Sanford (5-0). Against the Bulldogs, Marco Manfra had the goal and keeper Morgan Pratt stopped seven shots.

“We focused on marking, playing great D and if we did, we knew the offense would come,” Pratt said. 

“We were on defense a lot,” Manfra said. “It was really stressful, but those boys did a great job keeping (the ball) out.”

“The guys earned it tonight,” added Scarborough coach Mark Diaz. “It’s a very nice win.”

Liam Bridgham and Wyatt Keller had two goals apiece in the win over the Spartans and Alex Dobecki added the other.

The Red Storm will host No. 12 Kennebunk (5-9) in a preliminary round contest this weekend. On Sept. 26, Scarborough won, 3-1, at the Rams. The teams have only met once previously in the playoffs and it resulted in a Kennebunk upset in the 2010 Western A quarterfinals (1-0, 5-4 on penalty kicks).

If, as expected, the Red Storm advance, they’ll visit No. 4 Portland (10-3-1) in the quarterfinals Wednesday. In addition to Scarborough’s win last week, the Red Storm are 4-1 all-time versus the Bulldogs in the playoffs, with a 4-0 victory in the 2013 Western A Final the most recent.

In Class B South, Cape Elizabeth finished 9-4-1 and third after sandwiching wins at Gray-New Gloucester (2-0) and Poland (7-1) around a 2-1 home loss to three-time defending state champion Yarmouth. Alec Riggle and John O’Connor scored against the Patriots. Against the Clippers, the Capers fell behind early, but tied things up on a penalty kick by O’Connor. Yarmouth then converted a late corner kick to prevail.

“I think we played really well in the second half tonight,” Cape Elizabeth coach Ben Raymond said. “We attacked well. The kids worked hard.”

The Capers rolled in their finale behind two goals from Riggle and one apiece from O’Connor, Nick Aceto, Matt Concannon, Archie McEvoy and Killian Lathrop. Cape Elizabeth will host longtime rival, sixth-ranked Greely (8-5-1), or No. 11 Wells (5-8-1) in the quarterfinals Wednesday. In the regular season, the Capers blanked the visiting Warriors, 4-0, Sept. 12, played the visiting Rangers to a scoreless tie Sept. 19 and won at Greely, 2-1, Oct. 5. Cape Elizabeth and Wells have no playoff history. The Capers have split 14 previous playoff meetings with the Rangers, with Greely’s 2-1 quarterfinal round upset last fall the most recent.

In Class D South, Greater Portland Christian School finished 5-8-1 and eighth after a 2-0 loss at Rangeley, a 3-1 home win over Highview Christian, an 8-0 loss at Seacoast Christian and a 9-1 loss at Pine Tree Academy. The Lions host No. Rangeley (5-7-2) in a prelim this weekend. In addition to last week’s Rangeley win, the teams played to a 2-2 draw earlier this fall.

If GPCS advances to the quarterfinals, it will go to No. 1 Richmond (13-1) Wednesday. The teams didn’t play this year.

The semifinals for boys’ soccer will be played Friday and Saturday of next week on the fields of the higher remaining seeds.

Girls’ soccer

Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough and South Portland girls’ teams are headed to the postseason.

The Red Storm earned the top seed in Class A South with a 13-0-1 record following a 1-0 home win over Marshwood, a 0-0 tie at Gorham and a 4-1 win at Windham. Against the Hawks, Gaby Panagkos scored in the 61st minute and goalkeeper Emily Royce made five key saves, including a couple early in the game.

“We persisted and I knew we had it in us,” Royce said. 

“Emily saved us big-time,” said Panagakos. “She’s such a big part of our team. It’s great to have her.”

“They came out strong and put us under the most amount of pressure we’ve been under all year,” Scarborough coach Mike Farley added. “We weathered that storm, luckily, then we turned it around.”

Royce made eight saves against the Rams, but the Red Storm couldn’t finish. Against the Eagles, Molly Murnane scored twice and Ashley Sabatino and Lauren Sabatino added one goal apiece.

Scarborough will welcome either No. 8 Windham (7-5-2) or No. 9 Falmouth (6-7-1) in the quarterfinals Tuesday. The Red Storm opened with a 2-1 home victory over the Yachtsmen. Scarborough beat Falmouth, 6-0, in the 2014 Western A quarterfinals in the only prior postseason meeting. The Red Storm have split four previous playoff encounters against the Eagles, with a 2-0 victory in last year’s semifinals the most recent.

South Portland produced its best season since 2006, a 7-4-3 campaign, which was good for the No. 7 seed in Class A South. The Red Riots closed by edging visiting Noble in double-overtime (2-1), falling at Bonny Eagle (1-0) and holding off visiting Deering (3-2). Against the Knights, Sophie Chase scored early and Evelyn Selser had the OT winner. Maria Buck made 17 saves against the Scots, but South Portland couldn’t score. In the win over the Rams, Chase, Juliana Selser (who has returned from a serious shoulder injury) and Hattie Tetzlaff had the goals. 

The Red Riots will host No. 10 Noble (6-6-2) in the preliminary round, the first time the program is hosting a playoff game since 2006. That game will be Saturday at 5 p.m. The teams have no playoff history.

If South Portland advances to the quarterfinals for the first time in nine years, it will go to second-ranked Kennebunk (10-3-1) in the quarterfinals Tuesday. The Red Riots played the visiting Rams to a 2-2 draw Sept. 19. The teams have no playoff history.

In Class B South, Cape Elizabeth wound up 8-6 and seventh following a 1-0 home loss to defending state champion Yarmouth and a 4-0 home win over Poland. The Capers hung tough with the Clippers, who beat them, 7-0, in the teams’ first meeting this year, but couldn’t put the ball in the net.

This is a lot better than the last one,” Cape Elizabeth coach Craig Fannan said. “We said to the girls at the start that our goal tonight was to show them we could compete.”

Karli Chapin and Prezli Piscopo both scored twice against the Knights. The Capers will host No. 10 Gray-New Gloucester (6-7-1) in the preliminary round Friday. Cape Elizabeth blanked the visiting Patriots, 4-0, back on Sept. 5 and lost, 1-0, at Gray Sept. 26. The teams met in the quarterfinals two years ago, a 1-0 Capers’ victory, in the only other playoff encounter.

If Cape Elizabeth advances to Tuesday’s quarterfinals, it will go to second-ranked Oak Hill (13-1). The teams don’t play in the regular season and have no playoff history.

In Class D South, GPCS finished 0-13 and 11th (eight teams made the playoffs) following losses at Rangeley (11-0), at home to Highview Christian (1-0) and at Pine Tree Academy (2-0).

The semifinals for girls’ soccer will be played Friday and Saturday of next week on the fields of the higher remaining seeds.

Volleyball

All three local volleyball teams are playoff-bound.

Cape Elizabeth earned the top seed in Class B after finishing a perfect 14-0. The Capers closed with a four-set (25-17, 20-25, 25-8, 25-9) home win over Cony Tuesday. The Capers host No. 8 Kennebunk (7-7) in the quarterfinals Saturday. Cape Elizabeth opened the season with a 3-0 home win over the Rams Sept. 1. The teams have no playoff history.

In Class A, Scarborough wound up 12-2 and second to Deering following a critical four-set (17-25, 25-20, 25-20, 25-16) win at Biddeford and a straight set (25-8, 25-11, 25-16) victory at South Portland. The win over the Red Riots gave coach Jon Roberts his 100th victory with the program (see story). The Red Storm host No. 7 Thornton Academy (8-6) in Saturday’s quarterfinal round. Scarborough beat the Golden Trojans, 3-1, at home Oct. 5. The Red Storm won, 3-1, at Thornton Academy in the 2015 Class A quarterfinals, the lone prior playoff meeting between the schools.

South Portland earned the No. 5 seed in Class A after an 8-6 campaign, its first winning season, capped by a straight set (8-25, 11-25, 16-25) home loss to Scarborough. The Red Riots go to No. 4 Gorham (9-5) for a quarterfinal round match Saturday. South Portland opened with a 3-1 win at the Rams Sept. 5. The teams have no playoff history.

The state semifinals are Wednesday of next week on the courts of the higher seeds. The Class A state match is Friday, Oct. 27 at Deering High School. Cape Elizabeth hosts the Class B state match Saturday, Oct. 28.

Cross country

Cape Elizabeth went to Standish Friday for the Western Maine Conference cross country championship meet. The girls came in first in Division I, as Lila Gaudrault was second individually in 20 minutes, 3 seconds. The boys placed second to Freeport, as Jack Bassett was first individually in 17:30.

Scarborough closed its regular season by joining Bonny Eagle, Gorham and Westbrook at Windham. The boys were first as a team, as Harrison Osborn (17:40) and Connor Coffin (17:42) finished 1-2 individually. The girls placed second to Westbrook, as Ryanne Cox came in fifth individually (22:57).

South Portland finished the season by hosting Cheverus, Deering, Falmouth, Maine Girls’ Academy and Portland. In the boys’ race, won by the Rams, the Red Riots placed fifth. Cliff Robbins-Senewald placed 20th individually in 16:13. In the girls’ meet, also won by Deering, South Portland came in fifth. Grace Caselden was 19th (20:14).

The regional championships are this Saturday at Twin Brook Recreation Center in Cumberland. The state meet will also be at Twin Brook, Saturday, Oct. 28.

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

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.