Local softball, lacrosse and tennis teams scrambled to get games and matches in last week, and there was plenty of drama (and one huge surprise) in the mix.
The tennis postseason is now upon us, albeit with some alterations, while by press time, baseball (see story), softball and lacrosse will be putting the finishing touches on their regular years.
Here’s a glimpse:
The Maine Principals’ Association announced last week that it was adjusting the playoff schedule due to backups caused by the recent spate of bad weather. As a result, the preliminary round is Wednesday, the quarterfinals will be held Friday and the semifinals June 6. The regional finals will be June 8 and states June 11, as originally scheduled.
The singles tournament was also affected by the weather. The Round of 48 was held Monday. The Round of 16 was Tuesday and the semifinals and championships will be contested Saturday. All rounds will be held at Bates College in Lewiston.
Cheverus’ girls’ team has the most to get excited about entering the playoffs. The Stags finished 12-0 and wound up first in the Western Class A Heal Points standings for the first time.
“Our team is expecting to do very well,” said Stags coach Erin Ovalle. “Each match we improve our game and look forward to the next step. This is a team that was 8-5 last year. This year, we’re undefeated. We’re embracing hard work, enjoying victories and are ready to face some great competition in the playoffs. Our goal, of course, is to make it to the finals and I think we have a strong chance at doing that.”
While the Heal Points standings weren’t final as of Monday, it appears as if Cheverus will host dangerous No. 8 seed South Portland (5-7) in the quarterfinals. The Stags barely edged the Red Riots in Monday’s regular season finale, 3-2. Cheverus beat South Portland, 3-2, in the 2004 preliminary round in the teams’ lone prior postseason meeting.
McAuley lost only to Cheverus (3-2 at home, way back on April 27) and wound up 11-1, second in Western A. The Lions project to host No. 7 Deering (7-5) in the quarterfinals. In the regular season, McAuley beat the Rams, 4-1, at Deering, on May 11. The last playoff encounter between the Stevens Avenue rivals came in last year’s quarterfinals, a 4-1 Lions’ triumph. The Rams have won five of the previous eight postseason matches.
Then there’s Portland, which wasn’t expected to be a top contender this year after being decimated by graduation, but still wound up 8-4, good for the No. 5 seed.
“I am absolutely amazed and so proud of the attitude of all of my players,” said Bulldogs coach Bonnie Moran. “They certainly don’t look or act like a ‘building’ team. We don’t have much luck, but we sure have guts. The girls won’t go down without a fight.”
The Bulldogs will be at No. 4 Scarborough (9-3) in the quarterfinal round. Portland lost, 3-2, at home to the Red Storm on May 18. The Bulldogs beat the Red Storm, 4-1, in last year’s semis. Portland also beat Scarborough in the only other prior playoff meeting, 5-0, in the 2004 preliminary round.
In Western C, Waynflete finished 8-4 to earn the eighth and final playoff spot. The Flyers can’t be discounted, however, as the Western Maine Conference traditionally does very well in the tournament, regardless of seeding. Waynflete is at top-ranked Hall-Dale (12-0) in the quarterfinals. A year ago, in the same round, the Flyers downed the Bulldogs, 3-2.
On the boys’ side, Cheverus finished 11-1, which was good for third behind Kennebunk and Scarborough. The Stags lost their opener, but won their next 11 matches. Cheverus will likely face No. 6 Deering (7-5) in the quarterfinals. The Rams handed the Stags their lone loss, 4-1, at Cheverus, way back on April 27. Deering has won all sic previous postseason meetings. The last was a 3-2 semifinal decision in 2005.
Portland didn’t qualify for the postseason, winding up 2-10.
“Overall, I was pleased with our season,” said Bulldogs first-year coach Andrew Hopkins-Lisle. “We improved. We grew. Next year, I get everyone back and I hear there are a couple eighth graders on the horizon.”
Three-time defending Class C state champion Waynflete finished 7-5 this spring, good for the No. 5 seed. The Flyers will go to No. 4 St. Dom’s (10-2) in the quarterfinals. The teams last met in the playoffs in the 2009 quarterfinals (where Waynflete won, 4-1).
All four city boys’ lacrosse teams remained in the playoff hunt at the start of the week.
In Eastern Class A, Deering, with its best team ever, was 10-1 and second to Lewiston in the Heals following last Wednesday’s 10-3 home victory over Gorham. Senior Carleton Allen and junior Matt Flaherty both scored three goals in that one. The Rams close the regular year at Bonny Eagle Wednesday.
Portland will also qualify. The two-time defending regional champion Bulldogs improved to 9-2 last Wednesday with a 17-5 romp at Westbrook (sophomore Max Piertier had five goals and three assists, senior All-American Caleb Kenney three goals and two helpers). Portland (fourth in Eastern A) closed with a state final rematch at Scarborough Wednesday.
Cheverus was seventh in the region at the start of the week, but only six teams qualify. The Stags extended their win streak to three last Monday after an 11-5 victory at Bonny Eagle. Freshman Jimmy Talbott had four goals. Cheverus closed at Gorham Wednesday, hoping to extend its postseason streak to 12 seasons.
In Western B, Waynflete appears locked into the No. 3 spot. The Flyers won their fifth straight, 11-7, over visiting NYA, last Wednesday, to improve to 9-2. Senior Tucker Geoffroy and sophomore Zander Majercik both scored three times and senior goalie Will Hallett made 17 saves. Waynflete closed at Cape Elizabeth Tuesday in a likely playoff preview.
On the girls’ side, Cheverus wasn’t even in the playoff picture last week, but after going 2-1, the Stags are very much alive. Cheverus fell, 14-3, at Thornton Academy last Monday, then upset visiting Windham, 12-10, Wednesday (junior Sarah LaQuerre scored five times).
Twenty-four hours later, the Stags showed that one game can make all the difference as they shocked the local girls’ lacrosse world with a come-from-behind 15-14 win over visiting Gorham.
In that one, the Stags were down 9-4 at the half, trailed 13-9 with nine minutes to play, then went on a 6-0 run behind three goals from LaQuerre, including the tying goal with four minutes left and the winner with 1:43 remaining. LaQuerre also had two assists and a team-high nine ground balls. Freshman Meredith Willard also scored four times and had two assists. Senior Anna McDonough scored twice and set up two other goals. Freshman Elyse Caiazzo scored two goals. Junior Paige Lucas did yeoman’s work on Gorham senior University of Massachusetts-bound standout Mia Rapolla (five goals). Junior goalie Ali Saxton made 10 crucial saves as Cheverus improved to 3-9 and found itself in the sixth and final playoff spot in the Eastern A Heals at the start of the week.
Portland is battling to qualify. The Bulldogs were fifth at the start of the week at 6-5 after a 10-7 win at Westbrook and a heartbreaking 15-14 (triple overtime) loss at South Portland. Juniors Raechel Allen and Catherine Flaherty had three goals each against the Blue Blazes. In the loss, Allen scored late in regulation and the second overtime to extend the game. Allen, Flaherty and sophomore standout Drew Barry all finished with three goals. Portland needed a victory at home versus Marshwood in the regular season finale Tuesday.
McAuley enjoyed its best season in six years, finishing 6-6, but the Lions won’t take part in the playoffs. Last week, McAuley sandwiched losses at Westbrook (12-9) and at home to Bonny Eagle (12-10) around an 11-6 home win over Sanford. Clare McLaughlin scored four times in all three games.
Deering will also fall short, despite doubling last year’s win total. The Rams fell, 12-9, at home to South Portland last Monday (despite three goals each from Zahra Abu and Veronica Mitchell), then improved to 4-7 with a 14-7 home win over Lewiston Thursday. Abu erupted for seven goals in that one. Deering (eighth in Eastern A at the start of the week) closed at home versus Massabesic Monday.
In Western B, perennial powerhouse Waynflete has the top seed wrapped up. The Flyers enjoyed easy wins last week at depleted North Yarmouth Academy (17-4) and York (16-7) to improve to 10-1. Against the Panthers, sophomore standouts Sadie Cole (six goals) and Martha Veroneau (four goals) led the way. Cole scored four times and added three assists, while senior Liv Chap added four goals at the Wildcats. Veroneau and freshman Walker Foehl had three goals apiece and sophomore goalie Katherine Torrey stopped 20 shots. Waynflete finished at Yarmouth Wednesday in what might have been a state championship game preview (see theforecaster.net for game story).
McAuley will be the city’s lone softball representative in the postseason.
The Lions’ losing streak extended to three after they fell at Scarborough (7-1) and at home to Biddeford (7-1) last week, but Friday night’s 14-2 (five inning) win at Portland was win No. 12 on the season, a new program record.
Senior Kayla Daigle hit a home run for the lone run against the Red Storm. In the loss to the Tigers, junior standout Shelby Bryant had four hits. In the victory, Bryant and sophomore catcher Sam Schildroth homered, senior Sara Mercier had three hits and freshman Sam Libby tripled, drove in two and earned the win on the hill. McAuley was fourth in the latest Western A Heals heading into Tuesday’s home finale versus defending state champion South Portland (see theforecaster.net for game story). The Lions were playing for a home playoff game.
Deering finished 3-13. Cheverus took a 2-13 mark into its finale at Bonny Eagle Tuesday. Portland (0-15) had its last shot at a victory when it went to Sanford Tuesday.
Waynflete’s girls’ lacrosse team is soaring going into the playoffs. Last week, during a 17-4 win at rival North Yarmouth Academy, in a state championship game rematch, senior Jaime Reagan (5) and junior Maggie Agnew (14) held Panthers sophomore Molly Strabley in check.