Portland Bulldogs Fall Athletes of the Year

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FALL 2011 MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR:

TIM ROVNAK, Junior-Soccer

* Western A regional all-star

* SMAA All-Star, first-team

* All-State

* Captain

The Portland boys’ soccer team wasn’t able to get back to the Class A state final this fall, but the Bulldogs did produce their share of memories, many which came off the feet and head of Tim Rovnak.

Rovnak, who burst into the local soccer consciousness a year ago, was able to help Portland overcome the loss to graduation of Fazal Nabi, win 10 games and make the postseason.

For being a hard worker and a prolific scorer with a flair for the dramatic, Tim Rovnak gets The Forecaster’s nod as Portland’s Fall 2011 Male Athlete of the Year.

Rovnak grew up in Portland and started playing soccer at the age of five. He’s been a standout not just in soccer, but also in baseball.

Rovnak scored twice in last year’s state game loss to Bangor and helped replace the production of the graduated Nabi (Portland’s Fall Athlete of the year in 2008, 2009 and 2010).

Highlights were plentiful.

Rovnak had a goal in a season-opening loss to eventual Class A champion Windham, scored twice to help beat Noble, had two goals and an assist in a win over Gorham and scored twice in a victory over Westbrook.

Rovnak then stole the show at home against Cheverus. He scored two early goals to seemingly give the Bulldogs a commanding lead, but the Stags battled back with a pair of tallies and the game would go to overtime, then double-OT. With a tie looming, Rovnak took a long pass, beat a defender and finished to give Portland a 3-2 win.

Rovnak also had two goals against Massabesic and assisted on the game winner against Marshwood.

Portland was upset by Cheverus in the quarterfinal, but Rovnak scored his team’s lone goal late.

After the season, Rovnak was honored as an all-star at the conference, regional and state level.

Rovnak already has 38 goals and 13 assists for his career and figures to add many more as a senior.

He plays shortstop and centerfield on the baseball team, plays pond hockey in the winter and is a member of the school’s Executive Board. He hopes to play baseball in college, possibly soccer as a well, and is beginning to study his options.

Luckily for his school’s boys’ soccer program, it has the option of seeing him suit up one more season. Tim Rovnak, Portland’s Fall 2011 Male Athlete of the Year, has already created numerous memories and many more await.

Coach Rocky Frenzilli’s comment: “Tim leads by example and works as hard in practice as he does in the games. His teammates feed off his intensity. He’s a pleasure to coach. What makes him successful is his outstanding character. He’s totally committed to doing what’s in the best interest of the tam. He’s fiercely competitive and is always working to make himself a better player.”

2010 winner: Fazal Nabi (Soccer)

2009 winner: Fazal Nabi (Soccer)

2008 winner: Fazal Nabi (Soccer)

2007 winner: Matt Methot (Cross country)

2006 winner: Chris Treister (Football)

2005 winner: Josh Wang (Cross country)

2004 winner: Ayalew Taye (Cross country)

2011 FALL FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR:

RAECHEL ALLEN, Senior-Field hockey

* All-State

* SMAA All-Star, first-team

* Captain

For a player who considers field hockey her second sport, Raechel Allen sure can put on a show.

A natural talent, great scorer and leader, Allen didn’t experience much winning in the fall until this year when she and her teammates went on a magical run to do something no Bulldogs field hockey squad had ever done, reach the regional final.

For coming up big time and again, especially in clutch moments, for exuding confidence and enjoyment in equal measure and for demonstrating that patience can be rewarded in big ways, Raechel Allen is The Forecaster’s choice for Portland’s Fall 2011 Female Athlete of the Year.

Allen grew up in Portland and didn’t even start playing field hockey until the eighth grade. She became a fixture on the varsity team as a sophomore when the Bulldogs only won once. Last fall, they improved dramatically to six victories and Allen was in the middle of the action.

This autumn, Portland finally turned the corner thanks to a senior laden roster and some key additions. After starting 2-4, the Bulldogs went 7-0-1 down the stretch and Allen scored her share of clutch goals.

She had her team’s lone goals in season opening losses to Massabesic and Marshwood, then struck twice in Portland’s first win, over South Portland. Allen also had goals in wins over Thornton Academy, Deering and McAuley, had two goals versus Bonny Eagle, scored the winner at Westbrook and finished the regular season with a goal and an assist versus Biddeford.

The Bulldogs wound up with their first winning record since 2004 and soon embarked on a special playoff odyssey. In a penalty corners win over Thornton Academy in the preliminary round, Allen set up one goal and scored another. She added another goal and an assist in a quarterfinal round upset at Sanford, then scored the final goal of her career in the regional final loss to Marshwood.

Allen, who had a penchant for turning long breakways into scores, wound up scoring 15 times and adding six assists for the season, giving her 30 goals and 15 assists for her career. She was also honored as an all-star at the conference and state levels.

Allen, who was a captain, is now trying to lead the girls’ hockey team to greatness (she was named Portland’s Winter 2009-10 Female Athlete of the Year for her play on the ice). She also plays lacrosse, writes for the student paper and volunteers with the Hockey Trust. She will likely attend the University of Southern Maine next year, where she expects to play ice hockey and possibly field hockey as well. She has an interest in studying health or athletic training.

It’s fitting that such a standout on and off the field was a key part of the most memorable season in program annals. Raechel Allen, Portland’s Fall 2011 Female Athlete of the Year, has been a great contributor through thick and thin.

Coach Beth Arsenault’s comment: “Raechel has an incredible ability to split a defense and make good things happen. Over the course of the season, she showed the ability to grow from a pure shooter into a shooter who is just as dangerous when she passes. She plays with instinct and heart and of course is blessed with athleticism. I know from conversations that there are several coaches who are relieved she is graduating. No one was scarier to other coaches and their defenses. She made herself multi-dimensional and as a result, we became a far more effective offensive team.”

2010 winner: Effie Drew (Field hockey)

2009 winner: Sophia Nappi (Soccer)

2008 winner: Casey Monaghan (Soccer)

2007 winner: Nicole Place (Soccer)

2006 winner: Cilla Knox (Soccer)

2005 winner: Molly Radis (Soccer)

2004 winner: Brianna Shepard (Field hockey)

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