Soccer playoffs underway; Deering, McAuley girls eliminated in prelims

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(Ed. Note: For the full Deering-Cape Elizabeth girls’ game story, please visit theforecaster.net)

The 2010 soccer playoffs began last weekend with a pair of gutwrenching losses for city teams.

In Western A girls’ action Friday afternoon, ninth-ranked Deering battled traditional power No. 8 Cape Elizabeth for 80 minutes, but couldn’t score.

The Rams, who finished the regular season at 8-6 after a 3-0 loss at Windham last Tuesday, met the Capers for the seventh time in the postseason. Thanks to solid defense and the strong play of senior goalkeeper Jen Lynch, Deering kept Cape Elizabeth off the board until just under 15 minutes remained when senior standout Karyn Barrett set up sophomore Maddy Riker for the game’s lone goal. The Rams couldn’t get the equalizer and saw their season end at 8-7 after the 1-0 loss.

Deering was disappointed with the result, but proud of its season.

“The girls played the best game we’ve played all season,” said Rams coach Kevin Olson. “My girls played with a lot of heart and passion and didn’t give up. They played the whole 80 minutes. I couldn’t ask for a better game. No regrets. It’s been a phenomenal season. I’m very happy. I’m very proud of my team.”

Deering loses nine seniors, but with some standout underclassmen returning, figures to be very strong again in 2011.

“The underclassmen learned a lot from the senior leaders,” Olson said.

Saturday, No. 10 McAuley went to No. 7 Windham. The Lions capped a 6-5-3 regular season last Tuesday with a 2-1 upset home win over Cheverus (junior Olivia Crozier and sophomore Emily Verhoeven had the goals) and earned a playoff berth for the first time since 2003. McAuley had never faced Windham in the playoffs until Saturday and couldn’t find a way to score (freshman Katherine Lake hit the post at one juncture). Despite 16 saves from sophomore Molly Miller, the Lions’ season ended at 6-6-3 with a 1-0 loss.

“Our playoff game was executed to perfection,” said McAuley coach Vince Aceto. “The gals knew what Windham was going to bring to the game and were prepared. They played a different formation to defend their 4-3-3. When Windham did not break it and went back to a 4-4-,we switched as well and our attack really took off. Katherine Lake was instrumental in the game. She is a just a freshman and made things happen by making runs off the ball. That would draw an extra defender to her which would free up our other strikers to receive a ball or split the defense with a pass. She displayed great confidence in her first playoff game and I look forward to see she will do in the years to come.

“We are losing three valuable seniors. Those seniors were with me my first year and have been a big reason for the school’s success. Our goal was to get in the playoffs and they helped achieve that goal. Paige Hickey will be missed for her strong center-midfield play and ability to split the defense as she did during the Cheverus game by setting up the game-winning goal that put us in the playoffs. Allison Bonner had her best year by providing speed and skill on the outside. Maura Esten was the ‘Secretary of Defense’ in the SMAA in my eyes. No other sweeper won as many balls out of the air, whether by volleying or heading ability.”

The Lions will look to build on this playoff appearance next fall.

“Next year looks very good for us,” said Aceto. “The core of the team is back in their positions and has a junior varsity squad that can fill the void. They need to come in with the mindset that they can win any game. Their theme this year was to be ‘play purpose driven.’ I am proud of what they accomplished. Catherine McAuley High School is very lucky to have such a great group of student-athletes that are committed to wanting to represent their school with class.”

Fifth-ranked Cheverus began its playoff run at No. 4 Sanford Tuesday. The Stags, playoff regulars since 2003, wound up 10-3-1 after a 2-1 loss at McAuley (freshman Sade Lyons had the lone goal). Cheverus didn’t face Sanford (11-2-1) in the regular season. The teams had no prior playoff history.

If the Stags were able to advance to Saturday’s semifinals, they would either visit top-ranked Scarborough (14-0) or host No. 8 Cape Elizabeth (8-5-2). On Sept. 23 at home, Cheverus lost, 2-0, to the Red Storm (who haven’t surrendered a goal all season). The teams have one prior playoff meeting (a 1-0 Scarborough win in double OT in the 2004 semifinals). The Stags don’t play the Capers in the regular season. They met in the 2005 semis (a 2-0 Cheverus triumph).

Portland ended 1-13 after a 4-0 home loss to Kennebunk last Tuesday and failed to qualify for the playoffs. As reported last week, longtime Bulldogs coach Dave Levasseur stepped down after season concluded and will be hard to replace, according to Portland High athletic director Mike McCullum.

“Dave’s been great for the school,” said McCullum. “He is certainly going to be missed. He was an all-around class act.”

Also Tuesday, in Western C, Waynflete, the No. 6 seed, traveled to No. 3 Georges Valley, the team which eliminated the Flyers from last year’s playoffs. Waynflete lost its last three regular season contests (including the finale, 3-0, at Falmouth last Tuesday) to finish 6-6-1. The Flyers don’t face Georges Valley (12-1-1) in the regular season. In the 2009 Western C Final, the Buccaneers edged Waynflete, 2-1.

If Waynflete could spring the upset, it would go to No. 2 Sacopee (12-1-1) or host No. 7 Jay (6-6-2) in Friday’s semifinal round. The Flyers lost twice to the Hawks this autumn, 2-1, at home Sept. 22 and 2-0, at Sacopee, on Oct. 16. In last year’s semifinals, Waynflete blanked the Hawks, 5-0. Waynflete doesn’t face Jay in the regular season and has never played the Tigers in the postseason.

Bulldogs surging

On the boys’ side, Portland enters the playoffs with its best record in 13 years. The Bulldogs completed their stellar regular season last Tuesday with a 5-0 win at Bonny Eagle (senior standout Fazal Nabi scored three times), their 11th in a row, to wind up 12-1-1. Portland earned the No. 2 seed in Western A and will face No. 7 Cheverus in the quarterfinals Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

The Stags struggled down the stretch, losing four of their final five contests, including a 3-0 setback at South Portland in the finale, to end up 7-6-1.

Back on Oct. 5, at Cheverus, Portland earned a 1-0 victory. The teams met last year in the quarterfinals, a 1-0 win for the Bulldogs.

Wednesday’s winner faces No. 3 Cape Elizabeth (9-3-2) or No. 6 Marshwood (8-4-2) in Saturday’s semifinals (the Bulldogs would host, while the Stags would travel). Neither Cheverus or Portland plays the Capers in the regular season. The Stags lost, 3-1, at home to the Hawks back on Sept. 7. The Bulldogs were 3-1 winners at Marshwood on Oct. 12.

Portland is 4-2 all-time against Cape Elizabeth in the playoffs. The most recent meeting was a 3-0 Bulldogs’ win in the 2003 quarterfinals. Portland last faced (and beat) the Hawks in the postseason in the 2004 preliminary round (3-1).

Cheverus has beaten Cape Elizabeth just once in six playoff meetings. The most recent was a 2-0 Capers’ triumph in the 2002 semis. The Stags last met Marshwood in the 2000 quarterfinals (a 2-1 Cheverus triumph).

Deering started the year 1-6-1, but finished on a 4-2 surge, which included upset victories over Scarborough, Cheverus and Marshwood. The Rams beat the visiting Hawks in the finale, 5-4, last Tuesday. Senior Charlie Dupee capped his standout high school career with three goals. The Rams wound up 5-8-1, good for 10th in Western A, but only nine teams made the playoff cut.

In Western C, despite losing, 3-0, at home to defending Class B champion Falmouth in the finale, Waynflete finished 10-1-2 and earned the No. 3 seed. The Flyers hosted No. 6 Mt. Abram (5-3-6) in Tuesday’s quarterfinals. The teams didn’t play in the regular season. Waynflete beat Mt. Abram, 1-0, in the 2008 regional final.

If, as expected, the Flyers pass their first test, they’ll either go to former Western Maine Conference rival St. Dom’s (the No. 2 seed at 12-1-1) or host No. 7 Telstar (8-4-2) in Friday’s semifinals. Waynflete didn’t meet either team this year. Two years ago en route to the Class C Final, the Flyers eliminated Telstar (4-0, in the quarterfinals) and St. Dom’s (2-1, 8-6 on penalty kicks, in the semis).

Schedule

The regional final round (played on the field of teams with the best record) is Wednesday of next week. The state championship games are Saturday, Nov. 7. Class A and B are expected to be contested at Falmouth High School. Class C and D will likely be at Hampden Academy.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net

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