South Portland Red Riots Fall Athletes of the Year

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Lydia Grant

Aleks Kaurin

MALE:

ALEKS KAURIN, Senior-Soccer

  • All-state

  • Class A South regional all-star

  • SMAA all-star, first-team

  • Captain

Kaurin turned heads on the field and his leadership earned the respect of everyone involved with the program.

Kaurin has long been an aficionado of the sport, following in the footsteps of his older brother, Nem, South Portland’s 2010 Fall Male Athlete of the Year.

“I’ve played soccer my whole life,” said Aleks Kaurin. “It’s always been my top sport. Scoring a goal is the best feeling in the world.”

Kaurin enjoyed four strong seasons with the Red Riots, who boasted a winning record and made the playoffs in each of those years. As a junior, Kaurin made the SMAA all-star team after helping South Portland go undefeated during the regular season and earn the top seed in the region. This fall, as a captain, Kaurin was again named an all-star after scoring five goals, adding three assists and doing countless unquantifiable things to make the Red Riots successful.

Kaurin set the tone in the opener, scoring twice to help South Portland beat Thornton Academy and avenge last year’s agonizing playoff upset. Kaurin also scored in a key win over Cheverus and in a victory at Sanford. The Red Riots beat Westbrook in the preliminary round of the playoffs, then lost in penalty kicks to Cheverus in the quarterfinals.

“The team came together well this year,” Kaurin said. “Our chemistry was very good. I liked helping the team improve. I have a great sense of pride playing with my friends and for the city. I love seeing the program get better.”

Kaurin has also played for the Global Premier Soccer travel program for many years and is a member of National Honor Society and South Portland’s Latin Club and Table Tennis Club. He plans to attend the University of Maine next year and play club soccer.

Much success awaits, but he will be missed by the Red Riots. There haven’t been many players over the years who combined skill and leadership quite like Aleks Kaurin, South Portland’s Fall Male Athlete of the Year.

Coach Bryan Hoy’s comment: “Stats don’t really measure up to what Aleks meant to our team. He was a leader on and off the field. He was a coach on the field and was a mentor for the younger players. He played hard and with great intensity. At halftime, he would often speak to the team and make adjustments based on what he saw on the field. I’d love to have him come back on our staff in the future. He’d be a wonderful coach. This year, we gave him a lot of freedom to move around in our formation. He’s the first player I’ve given that type of freedom. I never worried about him making the wrong decision. He was that smart a player. With him at the point of defense, we allowed just 15 goals in his 31 games as a junior and senior and in three playoff games, in 300 minutes of action, we didn’t allow a goal. Aleks was a huge part of that. You don’t replace guys like Aleks, but you hope a little bit of him rubs off on everyone else in the program and I think it has.”

Prior winners:

2017 Charlie Cronin (soccer)

2016 Khalid Suja (soccer)

2015 Gary Maietta (soccer)

2014 Henry Curran (soccer)

2013 Duncan Preston (football)

2012 Damjan Draskovic (soccer)

2011 Logan Gaddar (football)

2010 Nem Kaurin (soccer)

2009 Ryan Curit (football)

2008 Ryan Chapin (soccer)

2007 Nick Gaddar (football)

2006 David Knowland (cross country)

2005 Endy Carrera (soccer)

2004 Nolan Moon (cross country)

2003 Eric Giddings (cross country)

2002 Eric Giddings (cross country)

2001 Devin Shaw (cross country)

FEMALE:

LYDIA GRANT, Junior—Field hockey

  • SMAA all-star, second-team 

  • Heart, Hustle, Hungry Award winner

  • Captain

Grant’s desire to succeed helped South Portland be competitive all year and earned her some postseason recognition as one of the better players in Class A South.

Grant started playing field hockey in middle school and quickly grew to love it.

“I hadn’t heard of (field hockey), but I tried it,” Grant said. “A few friends and I were put on an eighth grade team to get experience and I really liked it. Nothing can describe the feeling of scoring a goal. It’s so different from other sports.”

Grant, who also plays tennis at South Portland, joined the Red Riots varsity as a freshman and as a sophomore, was a second-team league all-star.

This season, Grant led South Portland with four goals and four assists. Highlights included scoring a goal against eventual state champion Biddeford and goals against playoff teams Sanford and Scarborough. The Red Riots went 2-12 and missed the playoffs, but eight of their losses came by a goal, including two in overtime.

“We had a lot of unlucky losses, but we learned a lot.” Grant said.

Grant also belongs to SoPoUnite and Interact. She hopes to play field hockey in college, but first, is looking forward to her senior season.

“I’ll miss our seniors, but I think we’ll be better next year,” Grant said.

With Lydia Grant, South Portland’s Fall Female Athlete of the Year, leading the way, it wouldn’t be wise to overlook the Red Riots in 2019, who could be in line for a major leap up the standings.

Coach Olivia Madore’s comment: “Lydia is a huge asset to our team. She led by example every day at practice and in games. She always gave her all and stayed focused on our goals. She is very modest and always puts her team first. She improved so much from the start of the season and I’m so glad I have her again for one more year.”

Prior winners:

2017 Molly Mawhinney (volleyball)

2016 Lydia Henderson (field hockey)

2015 Serena McKenzie (cross country)

2014 Casey Loring (cross country)

2013 Shannon Conley (cross country)

2012 Nyajock Pan (cross country)

2011 Nyajock Pan (cross country)

2010 Rebecca Roberts (field hockey)

2009 Karleigh Bradbury (soccer)

2008 Annelise Donahue (cross country)

2007 Annelise Donahue (cross country)

2006 Kristina Aceto (field hockey)

2005 Emily Haeuser (cross country)

2004 Courtney Albin (soccer)

2003 Christina Aceto (soccer)

2002 Andrea Giddings (cross country)

2001 Andrea Giddings (cross country)

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

Kaurin

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