Say goodbye to the regular season; Playoffs galore on the horizon-Portland edition

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Deering’s Alex McGonagle crushes a shot off the tee at Saturday’s golf individual state match. McGonagle wound up tying for seventh with an 18-hole score of 78.

Deering’s Ewka Varney plays the ball away from Cheverus’ Lauren Jordan as teammate Darrah Scott calls for a pass during the Stags’ 2-0 win Friday.

Portland’s Hayleigh Blanchard heads the ball during the Bulldogs’ 3-0 home win over Sanford Saturday. Blanchard scored a second half goal.

Waynflete’s John Veroneau competes in the Western Maine Conference championship meet last weekend. Veroneau came in 13th in Division II as the Flyers placed third as a team.

(Ed. Note: For the complete Deering-Cheverus and Waynflete-St. Dom’s boys’ soccer and Cheverus-Deering and Portland-Sanford girls’ soccer game stories, with photos, see

The high school golf season is over, but field hockey’s playoffs are underway (see story), football has a week to go (see story) and the cross country, soccer and volleyball postseasons are set to begin.

It truly feels like fall and there’s a lot going on as local teams hope to extend their seasons.

Here’s a glimpse:


Local golfers had strong showings at the individual state championships Saturday at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro.

In Class A, which was won by Cole Anderson of Camden Hills, who had an 18-hole score of 73, Portland’s Reed Foehl (77) placed sixth, Deering’s Alex McGonagle (78) tied for seventh, Cheverus’ Tom Higgins (80) tied for 10th, teammate Jeremy Baker (84) placed 17th, Cheverus’ Kyle Cholod (85) and Portland’s Jake Luce (85) finished in a four-way tie for 18th, Cheverus’ Ryan McSorley (88) tied for 26th and Cheverus’ Jordan Allen (92) and John Welch (92) tied for 31st.

In the girls’ competition, Cheverus’ Ana Saunders (106) tied for 31st (Bailey Plourde of Lincoln Academy and Erin Holmes of Greely tied for the title with a score of 73).

Boys’ soccer

The big news in boys’ soccer last week was the 250th career victory for longtime Waynflete coach Brandon Salway (see story). That was part of the defending Class C South champion Flyers’ late season surge which has them rounding into a title contender again.

Last week, Waynflete beat visiting Sacopee Valley, 3-1, and St. Dom’s, 4-0, to improve to 7-4-2 and seventh in the region. In the win over the Hawks, the Flyers surrendered the first goal, but rallied behind goals from Ian McClure-Chute on a free kick, Ilyas Abdi on a rebound and Askar Hussein. Against the Saints, which was Salway’s 250th win, Abdi had a goal 21 seconds in and scored twice more, while Hussein also tickled the twine.

“We’re a young team, but we think we can do something,” said Abdi. “Anything is possible in the playoffs.”

“It’s hard not to just focus on this group,” said Salway. “This team has tried to get things going in the right direction and we’re finally completely healthy and playing pretty well, I think.”

Waynflete closed at Kennebunk Tuesday.

In Class A South, Deering’s magical season continued last week with home shutouts of Thornton Academy (2-0) and Cheverus (3-0). Against the Golden Trojans, Chris Irakoze and Erick Pereira scored the goals. In the win over the Stags, Iessa Ramadan scored twice and Jonata Mbongo had the other goal.

“We were excited to play Cheverus,” said Ramadan. “We were hyped to start fast. We had to start strong in this game.”

“We needed to prove something in the first half and we talked about that in warmups and we were tremendous,” said Deering coach Joel Costigan. “It’s been a great season. I have a good group of senior leaders. I have five captains and they’ve all been tremendous. It’s been exciting to watch the guys play. They continue to play smart in space and they have tremendous skills.”

The Rams (11-1-1 and third behind Falmouth and Gorham in the Class A South Heal Points standings at press time) closed at home versus rival Portland Tuesday.

Speaking of the Bulldogs, they went into their finale at Deering with a record of 9-3-1 and a standing of sixth in the region after a 6-0 home win over Biddeford and a 4-1 victory at Sanford. In the win over the Tigers, Zekariya Shaib scored twice, while Alex Frank, Pedro Fonseca (on a one-time volley that longtime Portland coach Rocco Frenzilli called “one of the best goals I’ve ever seen), El-Shadai Ngandu and Luca Serio all had one. Against the Spartans, Frank, Fonseca, Ngandu and Alex Millones each scored one goal.

Cheverus will miss the playoffs for the first time since 1993 after finishing 4-10 with losses to visiting Sanford (2-1) and host Deering (3-0). Luc Dionne had the goal against the Spartans. The Stags were 15th in the region at press time, but only 12 teams make the postseason.

“The future is bright for this team,” first-year Cheverus coach Matt Andreasen said. “It’s been a process, but it’s been fun watching the guys get better and grow. Hopefully they’ll take the next step. I challenged them to be better soccer players in June than they are tonight. If this season is an indication, they will be.”

The boys’ soccer playoffs begin Friday with the preliminary round. The quarterfinals are Tuesday of next week. Those rounds will be contested on the fields of the higher seeds.

Girls’ soccer

On the girls’ side, Cheverus and Portland are both surging as the playoffs near.

The Stags eked out a 3-2 overtime win at Sanford and blanked visiting Deering, 2-0, last week to improve to 9-3-1 and third behind Gorham and Marshwood in the Class A South Heal Points standings at press time. Freshman Lauren Jordan scored twice in the first half and classmate Emma Gallant produced the winner in OT against the Spartans. In the win over the Rams, Mackenzie Johnston opened the in the scoring in the 53rd minute and Jordan added a goal late.

“Throughout the summer, I knew we’d be strong this year with our incoming players,” Johnston said. “This has been an amazing, successful season for us. It’s been a lot of fun.”

“We had to figure things out,” said Cheverus coach Craig Roberts. “(Deering was) organized in the back and played off the ball, so we couldn’t play over the top. We talked about that at halftime, playing in front of them and drawing the defense in so we could get behind.”

The Stags have already produced their best record since 2012 and if they won in their finale at Maine Girls’ Academy Tuesday, they would match the 2004, 2007 and 2010 squads for victories in a regular season.

“We’re excited for playoffs,” Johnston said. “We want to get a bye and go as far as we can. I feel like all the teams are pretty even, but I think we have a really good chance.”

Portland blanked host Biddeford (8-0) and visiting Sanford (3-0) last week to improve to 7-3-3 and seventh in Class A South. Against the Tigers, Kate Johnson, Gracie Lagrange and Isabella More all had two goals and Inez Braceras and Annika More both added one. On Senior Day, the Bulldogs and Spartans were scoreless until 18:36 remained when Lagrange scored on a gorgeous 35-yard shot.

“I was just trying to put it on net,” Lagrange said. “You never know, you can get a rebound on a shot like that. I saw it going in and I was pleasantly surprised.”

Hayleigh Blanchard added a similar goal four minutes later and Isabella More finished it off late.

“We wanted to get a good result on Senior Day,” Blanchard said. “It’s a good memory to have.”

“You couldn’t script a better Senior Day for sure, from the result to how we played,” said Portland coach Curtis Chapin, “I was proud of each and every single senior to get the recognition they did.”

Portland closed the regular season at Deering Tuesday (see for game story).

The Rams needed to win that finale to avoid missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Last week, Deering lost in overtime at Thornton Academy (2-1) and in regulation at Cheverus (2-0). Ewka Varney scored against the Golden Trojans.

The Rams were 5-8 and 13th in Class A South (only 12 teams qualify) heading into their home finale versus Portland Tuesday.

“We need to win Tuesday,” Deering coach Kevin Olson said. “We’ll focus on the Bulldogs.”

Maine Girls’ Academy closed at home versus Cheverus Tuesday. Last week, the Lions won at Westbrook, 3-2, and lost at home to Thornton Academy, 3-0. Maddy Beaulieu, Serena Mower and Catherine Reid had goals in the victory. McAuley was 3-9-1 and 15th in the Class A going into the finale.

Defending Class C South champion Waynflete took an 8-3-2 mark and the No. 5 ranking into Tuesday’s finale at home versus Kennebunk. After a 3-0 loss at Sacopee Valley last Monday, the Flyers downed host Lake Region Saturday, 4-2. Amelia Bertaska had a game to remember against the Lakers, scoring all four goals.

The girls’ soccer playoffs begin Saturday with the preliminary round. The quarterfinals are Wednesday. Those rounds will be contested on the fields of the higher seeds.


Two city volleyball teams appear playoff-bound and a third still has a chance to make it.

Cheverus finished the regular season 9-5 after beating sweeping host Thornton Academy (25-17, 25-22, 25-16) and holding off visiting North Yarmouth Academy in four sets (25-16, 20-25, 25-19, 27-25). The Stags were eighth in the Class A Heal Points standings at press time and if they remained there, they will host a preliminary round match Thursday against a yet-to-be-determine foe.

Deering, in just its second year as a varsity program, also wound up 9-5 after sandwiching three set losses at Windham (12-25, 23-25, 20-25) and Cape Elizabeth (20-25, 19-25, 21-25) around a 3-0 (25-5, 25-9, 25-14) home win over Massabesic. Maddy Broda had 14 assists against the Eagles and added 21 assists with 17 aces in the victory and Kaylee Helmick had 12 kills versus the Mustangs.

“Timing is probably everything,” said Rams coach Larry Nichols. “We lost our libero and a middle blocker in week one and had to change things up rather quickly. The team then worked really hard making the adjustments and yet we had three matches where we did not play to our potential, so instead of questioning, and doubting the system, each other and the program, which is often what can happen, the team was able to turn if up and start playing more to their potential.”

The Rams were ranked 10th in Class A at press time and will be on the road for the preliminary round Thursday.

“Making the playoffs became that outside validation, if you will, that the program is starting to produce a level of volleyball that we are proud of,” Nichols said. “We are not an upper echelon team, but the team and the program are certainly aware of what they look like and what it takes to get there.”

Portland was 5-8 and 16th in Class A at press time, but only 15 teams qualify. Last week, the Bulldogs extended their streak to three with 3-0 wins at Wells (25-19, 25-23, 25-17) and at home versus Thornton Academy (25-13, 25-14, 25-17). Annie Twombly had 12 digs in the win over the Golden Trojans. Portland closed at undefeated, top-ranked, powerhouse Greely Tuesday. The Rangers haven’t lost a set all season, so it’s likely that the Bulldogs will have to wait another season to make the playoffs.

The postseason continues Saturday with the quarterfinals on the courts of the higher seeds. The semifinals are Wednesday of next week on the courts of the higher seeds and the Class A state match will be Friday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m, at Gorham High School.

Cross country

Deering’s boys’ cross country team completed a perfect regular season last week by beating Cheverus and Portland in a home meet. The Rams had the top five runners, as Yahya Nure was first (16 minutes, 34.8 seconds), Alec Troxell second (16:37.1), Jerry Mixangelo third (17:02.5), Musa Abdi fourth (17:15.5) and Masho Gebremikael fifth (17:16.0). The Bulldogs finished second in the meet and were led by Matice Maino (sixth, 17:45.2). The Stags placed third and produced the seventh-place individual (Steve Larkin, 17:48).

In the girls’ meet, which also included the Maine Girls’ Academy, Cheverus placed first, Deering second, Portland third and the Lions didn’t score as a team. The Rams had the top two individuals in Nicole Whipkey (20:05.1) and Lucy Tumavicus (20:34.9). The Stags were paced by third-place individual Rosie Train (21:04.5). Raven Bradenday (seventh, 22:00.0) was the top Bulldog. MGA’s Sanni Hackett (24:39.9) was 14th individually.

Waynflete took part in the Western Maine Conference championship meet in Standish.

The Flyers boys were third in Division II (Wells placed first) and were led by Willson Moore (fourth, 17:44). The girls came in fifth (St. Dom’s was first) and were paced by Ellie Chidsey (10th, 22:16).

The regional championships will be held Saturday at Twin Brook Recreation Center in Cumberland. 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 meet will be held in Belfast Saturday, Oct. 29.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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