Postseason drama at a fever pitch-Portland edition

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Cheverus sophomore Mary Jerome goes up for a kill during the Stags’ 3-0 loss to Gorham in last week’s Class A preliminary round playoff match.

Deering’s Orey Dutton heads the ball during last week’s 1-1 home draw against Portland in the regular season finale. The Rams hosted the Bulldogs again Tuesday in the Class A South quarterfinals.

Portland’s Gracie Lagrange shields the ball from a Deering defender during the teams’ 0-0 draw last week. The Rams missed the playoffs and the Bulldogs went on to lose to Sanford in the preliminary round.

(Ed. Note: For the complete Deering-Portland boys’ soccer and Deering-Portland girls’ soccer game stories, with photos, see theforecaster.net)

The postseason is now underway in all sports (except golf, which concluded earlier this month) and there will be no shortage of drama as local soccer, field hockey, volleyball and cross country teams chase championships.

Here’s an overview of all the playoff excitement:

Boys’ soccer

Deering, Portland and Waynflete’s boys’ soccer teams all qualified for the postseason.

The Rams had a superb season, going 11-1-2 after settling for a 1-1 home draw with Portland in the finale last Tuesday. Orey Dutton scored a second half goal, but the Bulldogs rallied to make it 1-1 and neither team could score the rest of the way.

“We had a lot to play for today,” Dutton said. “We had chances and should have scored more, but I’m not disappointed with how we played. Everybody played hard. I’m extremely proud of the team.”

“We played emotionally instead of playing smart,” said Deering coach Joel Costigan. “The soccer IQ stuff we work on in training, we forgot about. We’re always trying to be better. We’re always looking for an undefeated season.”

Deering earned the No. 3 seed for the playoffs and hosted No. 6 Portland in the quarterfinals Tuesday.

The Bulldogs got a goal from Quinn Clarke in their tie at Deering in the finale and they finished a strong season at 9-3-2.

“You always want to come away with a ‘W,’ but the bottom line is both teams played well,” said longtime Portland coach Rocco Frenzilli. “It’s a well deserved tie.”

As the sixth seed, the Bulldogs hosted No. 11 Bonny Eagle in the preliminary round Friday night and in the rain, Portland eked out a 1-0 victory on a goal from Alex Frank in the 55th minute.

Entering the quarterfinal, the Bulldogs and Rams had never met in the postseason.

The winner would meet either No. 2 Falmouth (11-2-1) or No. 7 Thornton Academy (9-4-2) in the semifinals this weekend.

Deering beat the visiting Golden Trojans, 2-0, Oct. 11 and beat them, 2-1, in double overtime, in the 2014 quarterfinals, the lone prior playoff meeting between the teams.

Deering and Falmouth don’t play in the regular season and have no playoff history.

Portland lost, 1-0, at the Golden Trojans Sept. 13, but beat them, 2-0, in the 2005 Western A preliminary round in the teams’ lone prior playoff meeting.

Portland doesn’t play Falmouth in the regular season. The teams split two previous postseason encounters, with the Bulldogs winning, 3-0, in the 2013 quarterfinals and the Yachtsmen returning the favor, 1-0, in overtime, in last fall’s quarterfinals.

Cheverus wound up 4-10 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 1993.

In Class C South, defending regional champion Waynflete wound up 7-5-2 after losing, 3-2, at Kennebunk in the finale last Tuesday.

The Flyers finished seventh in the region and went to No. 2 Wiscasset (9-4-1) for a quarterfinal round game Tuesday. The teams don’t play in the regular season. Waynflete won both prior playoff meetings, with a 3-0 victory in the 2011 quarterfinals the most recent.

If the Flyers advanced, they’d go to No. 3 Lisbon (8-3-3) or No. 6 Telstar (9-5) for the semifinals Friday. Waynflete doesn’t play either team in the regular season. The Flyers beat the Greyhounds, 7-2, in the 2013 preliminary round and downed the Rebels, 4-0, in the 2008 quarterfinals.

Looking ahead, the regional finals are Wednesday of next week on the fields of the higher seeds. The state finals are Saturday, Nov. 5.

Girls’ soccer

On the girls’ side, only Cheverus and Waynflete remained alive at press time.

The Stags matched a program record for wins in a season when they closed with a 4-0 victory at Maine Girls’ Academy last Tuesday to finish 10-3-1. Emma Gallant, Katie Gordon, Mackenzie Johnston and Lauren Jordan all scored goals.

Cheverus earned the No. 3 seed in Class A South and will host either No. 6 Windham (9-2-3) or No. 11 Thornton Academy (8-6) in the quarterfinals Wednesday. The Stags settled for a 3-3 home tie with the perennially strong Eagles Sept. 21 and blanked the visiting Golden Trojans, 2-0, two days later.

Cheverus has never played Thornton Academy in the playoffs and is 2-1 all-time against Windham, even though the Eagles took the last meeting, 1-1 (3-2 on PKs) in the 2012 quarterfinals.

If the Stags moved on to the semifinals, they would meet either No. 2 Scarborough (10-2-2) or No. 10 Sanford (9-5-1) Friday or Saturday. Cheverus lost, 3-1, at the Red Storm Sept. 28 and eked out a 3-2 overtime win at Sanford Oct. 12. The Stags beat Sanford in the lone prior playoff meeting between the teams, 1-0, in the 2010 quarterfinals. Cheverus is 0-3 all-time against Scarborough in the playoffs, with a 2-0 setback in the 2011 quarterfinals the most recent.

Portland made the playoffs with a 7-3-4 mark. The Bulldogs closed with a 0-0 tie at Deering in their finale last Tuesday.

“It was a classic Deering-Portland rivalry game,” said Portland coach Curtis Chapin. “Throw everything out the window and two teams went at it. I didn’t have to say anything because it was Deering. The girls were up for it.”

The Bulldogs went into the playoffs with the No. 7 seed and hosted No. 10 Sanford in the preliminary round Friday. Portland beat the visiting Spartans, 3-0, Oct. 15, but Sanford turned the tables and prevailed, 2-0, ending the Bulldogs’ season at 7-4-4.

“The loss was disappointing due to the result, but not due to the effort,” said Chapin. “Sanford tweaked their game plan and countered well. We created a few opportunities, but couldn’t quite break their defense down. I’m disappointed for my seniors who have all had an amazing career and wish we could’ve given them a better send-off. Well played to Sanford though, they played well and deserved the win.

“Our season was largely successful. We had eight shutouts, came together and got some great results. There were some letdowns as well but overall, I’m proud of how we played.”

Portland will have some big holes to fill in 2017, but should remain competitive.

“With three Freshmen in the starting lineup already and a fourth who got major minutes this season, we should be very solid next year,” Chapin said. “With Ella Altidor, Gracie LaGrange and others, our core is one I feel very good about for 2017.”

Deering played Portland to a 0-0 tie in its finale, but that left the Rams 5-8-1 and 13th in Class A South, where only 12 teams qualified for the playoffs.

“At the end of the day, the girls played hard and dug deep,” said Deering coach Kevin Olson. “It has been a tough season, but the way they came out tonight, to put it all out on the line, the girls did a great job.”

The Rams missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

Maine Girla’ Academy finished 3-10-1 and 15th in Class A South after closing with a 4-0 home loss to Cheverus.

Defending Class C South champion Waynflete wound up 8-4-2 after a 2-0 home loss to Kennebunk in its finale last Tuesday. The Flyers earned the No. 5 seed and go to No. 4 Lisbon (6-4-4) for the quarterfinals Wednesday. The teams don’t play in the regular season. Waynflete took the lone prior playoff game, 4-0, in the 2012 semifinals.

If the Flyers advanced, they’d either visit top-ranked Monmouth (13-1) or host No. 8 Wiscasset (6-6-2) or No. 9 Hall-Dale (6-7-1) in the semifinals Friday. Waynflete plays none of those teams in the regular season. The Flyers are 3-0 all-time in the postseason against Hall-Dale, 3-1 versus Monmouth (including a 3-2 overtime win in last year’s regional final) and 2-0 versus Wiscasset.

Looking ahead, the regional finals are Wednesday of next week on the fields of the higher seeds. The state finals are Saturday, Nov. 5.

Field hockey

Just one local field hockey team, Cheverus, qualified for the postseason.

The Stags were ranked seventh in Class A South after a 10-4 campaign and after blanking No. 10 South Portland, 3-0, in the preliminary round, Cheverus made the trip south for the quarterfinals last Tuesday to meet No. 2 Marshwood. The Hawks won the regular season meeting, 4-0, at home Sept. 24 and did it again, although the Stags made it a little more difficult.

An early goal from Caroline Ford put Cheverus ahead, 1-0, but Marshwood got the next four and won, 4-1, to end the Stags’ season at 11-5.

“We had a great season,” said Cheverus first-year coach Sally Cloutier. “The players worked hard, we had just two seniors and our ‘rebuilding’ year ended up 11-5, better than expected. Young sophomores took leadership on attack and strong juniors filled goal and defense. We hit our rhythm toward the end of season as we wanted.”

The Stags bid adieu to captains Carrie Hight and Charlotte Noyes, but should be in the hunt again next fall.

“We’re excited and motivated to work hard in the offseason and we want to get deeper into the playoffs in 2017,” Cloutier said.

Volleyball

Cheverus’ volleyball team went 9-5 during the regular season and finished eighth in Class A. Last Thursday, the Stags hosted a playoff match for the first time, but lost in straight sets to No. 9 Gorham (17-25, 11-25, 19-25) in the preliminary round.

“I think the girls were really nervous because this is the first time Cheverus has ever hosted a playoff game,” said Stags coach Amanda Ruel. “So they took that first set to kind of figure out, ‘Okay, where do we need to be, who do we need to be covering?’ We got a little burned on a couple spots, that first set. We tried to pick it up, the second set and we just couldn’t pull it out. That third set, we rocked it. I was so hoping for a win, but it didn’t pan out that way.”

Cheverus wound up 9-6, its best record to date.

“This was a fantastic season,” Ruel said. “The girls worked super-hard in the offseason, during the summer to come back strong and be a competitor this season. It was nice to play against some of those competitive teams. Some of these girls have never played volleyball until they got here. So to see where they’ve come this season, from the start to the finish and never giving up on each other and the game, just leaving it all out on the court was amazing.”

Deering was a playoff team as well, going 9-5 in the regular season and earning the No. 10 seed. The Rams went to No. 7 Bonny Eagle for the preliminary round and the teams produced a five-set classic. Deering took the first set, 25-23, dropped the second (24-26), won the third (25-22), won the fourth, 25-20, then lost the fifth, 2-15, to wind up 9-6.

“Except for the ending, the prelim was a great and needed experience for the program,” said Rams coach Larry Nichols. “The match went back and forth and both teams answered each other’s best moments with their own and in the end Bonny Eagle came out on top. The playoffs really do expose participants to the special energy that comes with single elimination, so for our young group, taking  a match to five sets against a quality team is certainly a positive.

“The program had three major goals, which were to make the playoffs, have participants self- identify their weaknesses and work on them, and finally, produce a team that did not perform like a typical second-year varsity program. In general, it was a good season for the team when you look at individual skill improvement and game awareness. There were several matches where the team did not perform well, but what is great from a coach’s perspective is that the players knew that they didn’t execute as well as they could have and started working harder to correct and improve those areas.  They have been a special group to work with. For example, I sometimes had to remind myself that my two captains, Kaylee Helmick and Cindy Hoang, first touched a volleyball in August of 2014 as sophomores. That type of effort and development can only make a coach, fortunate enough to witness it first-hand, smile, so I did a lot smiling this season.”

Portland went into its finale last Tuesday hoping to make the playoffs, but a 3-0 (16-25, 9-25, 5-25) loss at undefeated Greely ended its season at 5-9. The Bulldogs were 16th in Class A South, but only 15 teams qualified.

Cross country

The cross country regional championship meet was scheduled for this past Saturday at Twin Brook Recreation Center in Cumberland, but poor weather pushed it back to this coming Saturday.

Times remain the same.

Waynflete’s boys will run in the Class C boys’ race at 12:30 p.m. The Flyers girls and MGA compete in the Class C girls’ meet at 1:05. Cheverus, Deering and Portland run in the Class A boys’ race at 2 p.m. The Class A girls start at 2:35 p.m.

The state championship meet will now be Saturday, Nov. 5 in Belfast.

Current staff writer Adam Birt contributed to this story.

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.