Thrills aplenty in field hockey, soccer and volleyball playoffs

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(Ed. Note: For the complete Scarborough-Thornton Academy field hockey and Cape Elizabeth-Scarborough volleyball game story, with additional photos, see theforecaster.net)

The field hockey, soccer and volleyball postseasons have already produced great drama and the biggest games and matches of all are still to come.

Here’s a glimpse:

Field hockey

Scarborough’s field hockey team found itself two wins shy of a coveted Class A championship at press time. The Red Storm, following a 14-0 regular season, earned the top playoff seed and ousted No. 8 Biddeford, 3-1, in the quarterfinals last Wednesday. Maddy Dobecki, Lily Nygren and Abby Walker had the goals. Tuesday, Scarborough welcomed No. 4 Thornton Academy for the semifinals. The Red Storm had to go to overtime Sept. 26 to beat the visiting Golden Trojans, 1-0, but this time, Scarborough took care of business in regulation.

With 17:35 to play in the first half, Nygren scored her latest big goal, rebounding home a shot on a penalty corner to put top-ranked Scarborough ahead to stay.

“Tori (sophomore Victoria Timm) sent (the ball) across and I was on the post and I saw it coming to me,” Nygren said. “I saw the goalie turned the other way focused on Tori still and I just decided to take the open shot. I knew we wouldn’t have a lot of scoring opportunities, so why not get one early and get the ball rolling?”

The Red Storm would take a 1-0 lead to the half, thanks in large part to a big-time save from junior goalie Alyssa Souza on the only shot she faced in the first 30 minutes, a blast off the stick of Golden Trojans senior Carli Legere with under a minute to go.

Scarborough carried play most of the second half as well and when sophomore Kristen Levesque and senior Kristen Murray scored in a two-minute span, the lead was a healthy 3-0.

Levesque scored on a scrum off a penalty corner.

“We talked at halftime about getting an insurance goal,” Levesque said. “I saw the ball and just put it in the back of the cage.”

Murray redirected Dobecki’s drive to all but salt away the win.

“Maddy had a great drive,” Murray said. “When she’s outside the circle, it’s really important to get a stick on the ball and get it in the net.”

Thornton Academy got on the board with 18:33 to go, when freshman Taylor Ouellette scored, but the Red Storm went on to a 3-1 victory, their 16th without a loss this season.

We had to keep playing our game,” Murray said. “One lapse won’t define the game. We had to make sure we stayed strong and focused. It’s all about hard work and dedication and doing everything right. We showed we could do that tonight.”

“We played our game,” said Red Storm coach Kerry Mariello. “We took advantage of the opportunities we were given. We beat them to the ball. All the little things we were able to accomplish today.”

Scarborough battled dangerous No. 3 seed Marshwood (14-2) in Thursday’s regional final (see theforecaster.net for game story). The Red Storm beat the visiting Hawks in the season opener, 3-0, Sept. 4. The teams had met just once before in the postseason, a 1-0 Red Storm victory in last year’s semifinals.

“We want to win it all,” Dobecki said. “Losing two times in a state championship game, we really want that win..”

“We’ll be ready to play Marshwood,” Mariello said. “Hopefully, we come out as strong and as focused as we did today. We want to finish the entire season. Hopefully, with the ultimate title in the end.”

Speaking of which, the Class A state final is Saturday at Thomas College in Waterville. If the Red Storm advance, they’ll either meet Skowhegan (14-2) for the third year in a row, or Lawrence (14-2) for the first time.

Cape Elizabeth had to wait an extra three days to play its Western B quarterfinal at Kennebunk. The fifth-ranked Capers fell behind the fourth-seed Rams, 1-0, in the first half as they didn’t have a shot on goal. Erika Miller tied the game in the second half, but in overtime, Kennebunk scored to win, 2-1, ending Cape Elizabeth’s season at 6-8-1.

“Our playoff game at Kennebunk was similar to the regular season,” said Capers coach Darci Holland. “Kennebunk executed their plan effectively by consistently bringing the ball up the right side of the field. I’m happy that we were able to mentally stay in the game after getting down 1-0, but unfortunately overtime didn’t go our way.

“Overall, I think we had a fairly successful season. We struggled to create much offensively, but we had a strong defense with Mary DiPietro in goal, allowing 25 goals in 15 games.”

Cape Elizabeth will have some holes to fill next year, starting with DiPietro in goal, but should remain in the hunt in 2015.

“Next year will be a rebuilding year, as we’re losing eight seniors,” Holland said. “On top of a new goalie, we’ll be looking to put more goals on the board.”

Volleyball

Ultimately, Saturday’s Class A volleyball quarterfinal between host No. 4 seed Scarborough and No. 5 Cape Elizabeth will be remembered for occurring a week too early, as it was so good, it should have been on the big stage of the state final.

The Red Storm, coming off an 11-3 campaign, which included a 3-2 loss at the 12-2 Capers on Oct. 6, overcame a 25-13 first set loss to rally to win the second (26-24) and third (31-29), fighting off nine set points in the process. Cape Elizabeth almost let an eight-point lead slip away in game four, but held on for a 25-22 victory. Then, in the winner-take-all, first-team-to-15-points fifth set, the Capers went on to a 15-6 triumph to win the epic match, 3-2.

“I don’t even know what to say,” said senior captain Monica Dell’Aquila, who had 11 kills and 19 service points. “I thought we were going to lose at one point and completely shut down, but my teammates picked me up and brought me back into it.”

“I don’t think there was a time we didn’t think it would be ours,” said junior captain Maddie Bowe. “We always thought we could do it. Getting that (fifth set) lead really helped.”

“We knew it would be a really tough match, but we had the confidence we could beat them,” said junior Tess Haller, who had a kill, her seventh, to clinch the match. “We found it in us. We really wanted it.”

“I’m so, so happy, but it’s hard to have anybody lose this match,” added Cape Elizabeth coach Sarah Boeckel. “I’m glad we’re the winner, but they don’t deserve to be the loser. To have this as a quarterfinal wasn’t fair. I feel for them. It could have easily been them winning and not us.”

The Capers advanced to meet top-ranked Greely (13-2) in Wednesday’s Class A semifinal (see theforecaster.net for story). Cape Elizabeth split two matches with Greely in the regular season, each being decided by a 3-0 margin with the home squad prevailing. The teams had no playoff history.

If the Capers advanced to their first-ever state final Saturday at 1 p.m., at Biddeford High School, they would square off against either No. 2 Mt. Desert Island (14-1) or No. 3 Falmouth (12-3). Cape Elizabeth didn’t meet MDI this fall. The Capers lost, 3-0, at Falmouth Sept. 26.

Scarborough’s season ended in heartbreak at 11-4.

“This was an exciting match,” Red Storm coach Jon Roberts said. “People got to see a good show. Cape played fantastic and they stayed aggressive and we got a little tentative at the end. I think that was the difference. I think we got nervous not to lose and we made some key mistakes.”

Despite a plethora of new faces in new positions, Scarborough managed to remain among the elite teams in the state.

“If you asked me at this time last year if I’d be happy with this record, I’d have probably said yeah, but as we went along, I saw the potential we had and to be honest, I thought this was a team worthy of going to the finals,” Roberts said.

Once again, the Red Storm will lose several top players to graduation, but this program will reload once more.

“It will be hard to regroup next year, but we’ll do it,” Roberts said. “We have kids who play hard in practice. Hopefully we’ll still be one of the teams that’s in it at the end.”

Boys’ soccer

The boys’ soccer playoffs featured a huge upset.

South Portland, ranked sixth in Western A, had no trouble with No. 11 Kennebunk in the preliminary round, winning, 4-0, behind goals from Kervens Anthoine, Joe Genesio, Ahmed Suja and Khalid Suja. Then, Tuesday, night, the Red Riots went to undefeated, third-ranked Gorham, a team which had eliminated South Portland from the playoffs in both the 2010 and 2011 quarterfinals and had beaten the visiting Red Riots, 2-1, back on Sept. 11. This time, South Portland had the answers, as a late Anthoine goal was the only tally and the Red Riots won a quarterfinal round game for the first time since 1989, 1-0.

“I’m obviously very excited for how we’ve been playing lately,” said South Portland coach Bryan Hoy. “We knew all along we were going to be a very tough team to beat, but we just weren’t sure we’d actually get to the point where we are now. We knew given how tight our game was the first time around that this was going to be a great game. We also were confident that we could get the job done. I don’t know how many people in the league thought we could win, but there was no doubt everyone in my locker room were believers.

“We had some really fantastic performances from last night out of guys who play thankless positions. Silas Zechman was outstanding defensively. He, and the rest of our defense, didn’t give Gorham an inch and when they did get a chance, Henry Curran was up to the task. He made a couple saves look easy that I’m not sure any other goalkeeper would have gotten to. Andrew Whipple was the other player that really elevated his game last night. He was all over the field making plays. I think his experience in hockey and winning a state championship this spring in lacrosse, along with a number of my other players who were on that team, really carried over to our success.

“We knew that with our speed up top, if we could get a quick counter, we’d be able to put one past their goalie. Ahmed was able to sneak a through ball past their defense and Kervens did a tremendous job on the finish. After the goal, we played very defensive and deflected their attack well. I’m very impressed with the passion that our team played with.”

Not only did South Portland advance, but combined with Cheverus’ upset of Falmouth, the Red Riots earned the right to host the seventh-ranked Stags in Saturday’s semifinals (1 p.m. start time). The teams played to a 2-2 draw Oct. 7 in Portland. The only prior playoff meeting resulted in a 4-0 Cheverus win in the 1999 quarterfinals.

“This matchup was actually what myself and my coaches predicted,” Hoy said. “Cheverus has a very strong team and Coach (Colin) Minte has them playing well at the right time. We know Saturday is going to be a tightly contested matchup. My players are very excited that they won, but I could sense they aren’t satisfied. Basically, they know this win was big, but the goal all along has been bigger and we aren’t finished yet.

“It’s a really exciting time for South Portland soccer. I’m certain this is the first time November soccer will be played at Martin Memorial Stadium in a very long time. That’s not really something we are too focused on though, we have bigger aspirations. There will be time to celebrate all that later.”

If the Red Riots were able to keep the good times rolling, they’d go to No. 1 Scarborough (13-0-1), the two-time defending champion, or No. 4 Deering (13-1-1) or host No. 8 Marshwood (8-6-1) in Wednesday’s regional final. South Portland lost at home to the Red Storm, 4-1, at home to the Rams, 1-0, in overtime and at home to the Hawks, 1-0, in double overtime, during the regular season.

Scarborough once again earned the top seed and hosted eighth-ranked Marshwood in a quarterfinal Wednesday. The Red Storm won the regular season matchup, 2-0, at home back on Sept. 15. The teams had no playoff history. If Scarborough advanced, it would host No. 4 Deering (13-1-1) in Saturday’s semifinal round. The Red Storm beat the Rams, 2-0, on Oct. 7. Scarborough won all four prior playoff meetings.

The Class A state final is Saturday, Nov. 8, at Hampden Academy.

In Western B, Cape Elizabeth earned the No. 3 seed and dispatched No. 6 York in Tuesday’s quarterfinals, 2-1. The Capers, who beat the visiting Wildcats (4-1) and tied them in York (1-1) in the regular season, won the first ever playoff encounter between the schools thanks to goals from Eddie Galvin and Owen Thoreck.

Cape Elizabeth advanced to meet second-ranked Greely (10-3-2), the defending state champion, in Saturday’s semifinals. During the regular season, the teams split, each winning, 2-1, at home. The rivals squared off a dozen previous times in the postseason, all in Class A and all coming in a three decade span from 1978 through 2007, with the Capers taking seven of the games.

A Cape Elizabeth victory either sends the Capers to top-ranked Yarmouth (11-2-2) or home to host No. 4 Gray-New Gloucester (8-5-2) in Wednesday’s regional final. Cape Elizabeth lost twice to the Clippers this fall: 5-3 at Yarmouth and 2-1 at home and didn’t face the Patriots. The Capers have no playoff history with Gray-New Gloucester and lost the only prior meeting with the Clippers, 5-0, in last year’s semifinals.

The Class B state game is Saturday, Nov. 8 at Deering High School in Portland.

In Western D, Greater Portland Christian School continued its stellar season Tuesday with a 5-0 home win over Chop Point in a quarterfinal. Ethan Spaulding had three goals, while Matt Hammond and Ryan Waugh each registered one. The fourth-ranked Lions (12-2-1) go to No. 1 Richmond (15-0) for a semifinal Friday. The teams didn’t meet this season. A GPCS upset Friday would sent it to No. 2 Buckfield (12-3) or home to face No. 6 Searsport (13-2) in Wednesday’s regional final. The Lions didn’t face Searsport this year. They lost at home to Buckfield, 2-1, Oct. 11.

The Class D state final is Saturday, Nov. 8 at Hampden Academy.

Girls’ soccer

On the girls’ side, defending Class B state champion Cape Elizabeth took the No. 3 seed in the region into Wednesday’s quarterfinal versus No. 6 Morse (9-3-2). The teams had no history. If the Capers advanced, they’d either go to No. 2 Yarmouth (8-3-3) or host No. 10 Gray-New Gloucester (8-6-1) in Saturday’s semifinals. Cape Elizabeth split with the Clippers this fall, losing in Yarmouth (2-1) and winning at home (1-0). The teams have no playoff history. The Capers and Patriots did not play this year and have no postseason history.

In Western A, Scarborough took the No. 2 seed into Wednesday night’s showdown with No. 7 Falmouth (7-6-2) in the first-ever playoff meeting between two of the state’s most storied girls’ powers. If the Red Storm were able to advance, they’d host No. 3 Marshwood (11-2-1) or No. 6 Kennebunk (8-4-3) in Saturday’s semifinal round. Scarborough lost at the Hawks in the regular season, 3-2, and didn’t face the Rams this year. The Red Storm is 1-1 all-time in the playoffs versus Marshwood, which includes a 4-2 victory in last year’s quarterfinals. Scarborough has never faced Kennebunk in the postseason.

Looking ahead, the regional finals are Wednesday of next week on the fields of the higher remaining seeds. The Class A state match is Saturday, Nov. 8, at Hampden Academy. The Class B Final is the same day at Deering High School in Portland.

South Portland finished 2-11-1 and 16th in Western A, but only 12 teams made the playoffs.

In Western D, GPCS went 0-13 and placed ninth, but only six teams made the cut.

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

Sidebar Elements


Cape Elizabeth’s Tess Haller pounds the ball as Scarborough’s Kayla Savage defends at the net during the teams’ scintillating Class A quarterfinal Saturday. The Capers rallied to win a five-set epic, 3-2.

Scarborough’s field hockey team celebrates one of its three goals in Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Thornton Academy in a Western Class A semifinal. The Red Storm hoped to punch their ticket to a third consecutive state final when they faced Marshwood in Thursday’s Western A Final.

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