Soccer playoffs heat up as field hockey, volleyball teams finish

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(Ed. Note: For the complete Cheverus-Gorham boys’ soccer, Waynflete-Falmouth girls’ soccer and Cheverus-Marshwood field hockey game stories, with photos, please visit theforecaster.net)

The field hockey and volleyball playoffs were short lived in the city of Portland, but soccer will keep local fans busy for the next week or so.

Here’s what you might have missed and a glimpse at what’s to come.

Field hockey

Cheverus, the lone local field hockey team to make the playoffs, had a short stay.

“Hosting” Marshwood in a Western Class A quarterfinal on the Deering High turf last Wednesday, the fourth-ranked Stags were hoping to repeat one of their most inspirational regular season victories (a 2-1 home triumph Sept. 24) and a huge semifinal round playoff triumph from a year ago (1-0), but instead, found themselves down two goals to the fifth-seeded Hawks less than 13 minutes in.

“We lost our heads completely and they played great,” said Cheverus coach Amy McMullin. “Everything we talked about all week kind of didn’t happen. They were ready for us.”

Cheverus never was able to drum up much offense and even though it had four penalty corners in the second half, none of them resulted in a goal. Marshwood added an insurance tally with just over 21 minutes to play and went on to a 3-0 triumph, which ended the Stags’ season at 11-3-1.

“This season was way more than we expected and I’m extremely proud,” said senior captain MaryKate Slattery. “We believed and trusted in each other. We gave it all of our heart. We had nothing to lose. It’s been a fun ride. Playing with the other seniors has been like no other experience.”

“These kids completely re-energized me and the program,” said McMullin. “I wasn’t expecting this. They exceeded everything we wanted. This is almost more rewarding than going to the Western Maine Finals because of the journey we’ve had.”

Cheverus looks ahead to next year, but will have some huge holes to fill.

“It will be hard losing 14 seniors,” said McMullin. “The three captains will be tough to replace. MaryKate, (goalie) Libby (DesRuisseaux) and Elyse (Caiazzo) did everything. Laura (Bither) was another amazing player who got better in her four years. The sophomores did a great job this year. They’ll be ready for next year.”

Volleyball

Cheverus’ volleyball program, in just its second season, made the playoffs for the first time after a 6-8 regular season. Ranked 10th, the Stags went to No. 7 Biddeford for a Class A preliminary round match last Thursday and despite a strong effort, lost 3-0 (24-26, 21-25, 21-25), to finish 6-9.

“It was an awesome match,” said Stags first-year coach Kiah Begley. “We were moving well, passing well and really gave Biddeford a run for their money. It was good to see all their hard work throughout the season pay off in the end. Even though we didn’t win, I couldn’t be more proud for what we accomplished this season. Each person on the team has grown and improved in such a short time and I think they showed the league that Cheverus is not a ‘new team’ anymore, but a team that shows up to play.  

“As far as for next season, it will be hard to imagine the team without the seven seniors who carried our team this year. Fortunately, we have a strong set of juniors staying with us and there are a few key players from JV who will be coming up.”

Boys’ soccer

All four city boys’ soccer teams were looking forward to their respective playoff tests.

In Western A, Portland capped a strong 10-2-2 regular season with a 6-1 win at Biddeford last Tuesday. Yusef Yama had three goals.

“I couldn’t have asked for anything more from the boys than they gave this year,” said longtime Bulldogs coach Rocco Frenzilli. “They dug deep and got 10 wins which was very respectable with our schedule. I’m pleased for them.”

Portland wound up third in Western A, but faces the daunting task of hosting No. 6 Falmouth (the two-time defending Class B champion, which moved up in class for the playoffs this fall) Wednesday at 5 p.m. The teams have no history.

“We’ve earned this spot, but if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best,” said Frenzilli. “Falmouth plays a very tough regular season schedule. They’re very strong. They have kids who can play. They’re big and strong and they’re ready. We have to play a great game to beat them. I think we’re capable of it. I’m looking forward to it.”

If the Bulldogs advance, they’ll meet No. 2 Noble (11-2-1) or No. 7 Cheverus (10-4-1) in the semifinals Saturday. Portland lost at the Knights, 1-0, back on Sept. 17, and settled for a 1-1 home tie with the Stags nine days later.

Speaking of Cheverus, it closed with a 1-0 home loss to Gorham.

“We just wanted to get out injury-free,” said Stags coach Bill LeBlanc. “I’m sure the boys will circle the wagons and we’ll be fine. There’s no tomorrow.”

Sure enough, the Stags dispatched No. 10 Westbrook in a Western A preliminary round game Saturday afternoon, 1-0, in a game played on the turf field at Deering. Cheverus had just lost at home to the Blue Blazes, 2-1, in double OT, Oct. 17, but this time turned the tables. Andrei Vile had the goal. Cheverus earned a trip to Noble Wednesday, where the Stags won, 5-0, Oct. 15. The teams last met in the 2001 semifinals, a 4-0 Cheverus win en route to its lone state championship.

If the Stags and Bulldogs both win, they’ll meet in the playoffs for the sixth time overall (Portland leads, 3-2) and the fifth time since 2007. Cheverus won the last meeting, 3-1, in the 2011 quarterfinals.

Deering enjoyed its best season in six years, finishing 11-2-1 and fourth after a 1-0 home win over Sanford last Tuesday. Despite the impressive record, Rams coach Joel Costigan wasn’t satisfied.

“It hasn’t been as convincing as we’d like it,” Costigan said. “A lot of narrow wins. We need to get more fluid on the field and get more scoring. We need to play together, stay positive on the field, keep up our effort 100 percent all the times, choose our moments to attack and play smarter soccer.”

Deering has a difficult quarterfinal Wednesday at 4 p.m., when it welcomes always-dangerous No. 5 Gorham (11-3-1). Deering eked out a 1-0 win at Gorham, Sept. 17. The teams last met in the playoffs six years ago, a 4-2 Gorham victory in the semifinals.

“The opportunity is there to make a run,” Costigan said. “I’d say the top five or six teams have great records. I couldn’t tell you who is better than the other.”

In Western C, Waynflete finished the regular season 8-4-2 with a 2-0 loss at Falmouth last Monday.

“There were some missed opportunities where we would have liked to play better, but eight wins in this conference is pretty good,” said Flyers coach Brandon Salway. “We lost four games. Three to teams who didn’t lose a game and one to Falmouth.”

Saturday, sixth-ranked Waynflete welcomed No. 11 Lisbon in the preliminary round and rolled, 7-2, outshooting the Greyhounds, 26-5. Henry Cleaves had two goals, while Abel Alemayo, Aaron Lee, Serge Nyirikamba, Isaac Scher and Joey Schnier also tickled the twine.

The Flyers punched their ticket to Wednesday’s quarterfinal round, where they visit No. 3 North Yarmouth Academy (14-0) at 3 p.m. The Panthers won both regular season games: 1-0 at Waynflete and 3-0 in Yarmouth. The teams have met each of the past three postseasons, with the Flyers taking two of those meetings, including last year’s surprisingly one-sided 7-1 romp in the quarterfinals.

“We know we can beat just about any team in it,” said Salway. “A bunch of these kids know what it takes to win. Goals against, goals scored and assist numbers put up by (NYA’s Austin Kidder, D.J. Nicholas and Jackson Cohan-Smith) in our league speak to the talent they have. We are going to try to play with intensity and stay focused for the entire game. We need to finish plays and play together. If we achieve those goals we can be successful. Hopefully the third time’s a charm.”

If Waynflete springs the upset, it will either go to No. 2 Maranacook (12-0-2) or host No. 7 Carrabec (8-5-2) in Friday’s semifinals. The Flyers didn’t play either team this fall.

Looking ahead to next week, the regional finals are Wednesday, on the fields of the higher remaining seeds. The Class A state final is Saturday in Bath, while the Class C state game is at Hampden Academy.

Girls’ soccer

On the girls’ side, defending Class C champion Waynflete wound up the regular season a solid 10-2-2 after a 1-0 home loss to three-time defending Class B champion Falmouth.

It was a good finish,” said Flyers coach Todd Dominski. “It would have been nice to get a result because the girls worked so hard, but we’re definitely moving in the right direction. We had a great regular season.”

Waynflete earned the No. 5 seed and handled visiting No. 12 Mt. Abram in the preliminary round Friday, 5-0, behind two goals from Ella Millard and one each from Leigh Fernandez, Helen Gray-Bauer and Beata Vest. The Flyers advanced to visit No. 4 Wiscasset (11-2-1) in Tuesday’s quarterfinals. The teams didn’t play this year. Last year, Waynflete survived Wiscasset in the quarterfinals, 2-1.

“The girls are fired up,” Dominski said. “We’ll see what we can make of it.”

In Western A, three of four local teams qualified.

Deering earned the No. 6 seed after a 10-3-1 regular season. The Rams closed with a 2-1 win at Sanford, behind goals from Simone Lauture and Ewa Varney. Deering then hosted No. 11 Kennebunk in a preliminary round playoff game Saturday afternoon. The teams didn’t play in the regular season. Meghana Clere gave the Rams a 1-0 lead in the first half and Lauture scored twice in the second half to give Deering a 3-0 victory.

“It’s a nice step for us,” said Rams coach Kevin Olson. “I just wanted us to play our game. We capitalized in the second half on through balls. It was a solid performance. A good win.”

Deering will visit No. 3 Thornton Academy (12-1-1) Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the quarterfinals. The teams tied, 1-1, Oct. 11 at Deering. The schools have no playoff history.

“We know we can play with TA,” Olson said. “We have confidence going in. We’ll come up with a game plan.”

Portland was the No. 10 seed after a 5-7-2 regular season, which ended with a 2-1 loss at Biddeford last Tuesday (Kate Johnson had the goal). The Bulldogs had to go back to Biddeford for a prelim Friday (their first playoff game in four seasons) and lost again, 2-0, to finish the year 5-8-2.

“The season goes so fast, I don’t think we realize yet how big of an accomplishment making the playoffs was for us this season,” said Portland coach Art Mosen. “To go from winning two games last year to earning a postseason spot was a huge step forward. The girls have so much to be proud of because they really earned it through hard work and keeping the right attitude all the way to the end. It was important that we gave our seniors a season to remember after a few tough ones. Their presence in the team has been huge. They have left the team in the best shape possible and now it will be up to everybody else to make sure we continue to move in the right direction.”

Cheverus was 1-7-2 at one point this year, but a three-game win streak gave the Stags their 11th straight playoff berth. After closing with a 3-0 loss at Gorham, Cheverus earned the 12th and final postseason spot and went to No. 5 Marshwood for a prelim Friday. The Stags lost, 5-3, at the Hawks Sept. 14. Marshwood had taken two the three prior playoff encounters, but Cheverus won the last one, 2-1, in the 2011 preliminary round. This time around, the Hawks prevailed, 4-1. Katie Gordon had the Stags’ goal as they finished the year 4-9-2.

“Going into preseason, we had about 35-40 girls who we assumed would be in the program, but by the last week of the season, we had 21 able-bodied players on varsity and junior varsity combined,” said first-year Cheverus coach Craig Roberts. “This is after graduating nine seniors last year and knowing that Abby Maker and Sadie Lyons were most likely not going to be available. Making the playoffs though was always a team goal and remained a team goal. 

“The Marshwood game was frustrating because we sort of reverted to our old ways. Two pairs of goals scored less than five minutes apart each. Again, Marshwood deserved to score and win, but I felt like we made the goal scoring chances to easy for them. In a game that easily could have been 8-0 if we didn’t play better in the second half, we responded to an extent and even knocked in a goal. We were involved in meaningful games at the end of the season and we played our best soccer.”

Cheverus should be competitive again in 2014.

“The girls are enthusiastic about next year,” Roberts said. ” We only graduate three seniors, but they all played big roles for us this year. One of our goals will definitely be to build on this year and not go backward.  Getting in and winning a playoff game as well I think are reasonable goals. In addition, we’re crossing our fingers for another freshman class like this one. Not only as possible contributors to varsity but so that we can build the JV program back to a level where we’re not scraping together seven or eight players just to play a short-sided game.”

Looking ahead to next week, the regional finals are Wednesday, on the fields of the higher remaining seeds. The Class A state final is Saturday in Bath, while the Class C state game is at Hampden Academy.

McAuley closed with a 2-2 home tie against Westbrook (standouts Katherine Lake and Ayla Tartre had the goals) to finish 4-9-1, but that left the Lions 13th and only 12 teams made the playoffs.

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

Sidebar Elements


Cheverus sophomore Emily Michaud fights for a ball during the Stags’ 3-0 loss to Marshwood in the Western A quarterfinals last week.

Deering junior Meaghan Wells beams as she congratulates sophomore Simone Lauture after one of Lauture’s two second half goals Saturday. The Rams downed visiting Kennebunk in a Western A preliminary round playoff game, 3-0.

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