Time to think postseason

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(Ed. Note: For the complete Scarborough-Deering boys’ soccer, South Portland-Portland girls’ soccer, Cape Elizabeth-Falmouth and Cape Elizabeth-Greely field hockey and Cape Elizabeth-Scarborough volleyball game stories, see theforecaster.net)

The football season is hitting its stretch run (see story), but the postseason is either near or here in the other fall sports.

Golf’s state match will be contested Saturday. Field hockey’s regular season comes to a close next week, with soccer and volleyball scheduled to end the following week. The regional cross country championships are drawing near as well.

Here’s a glimpse at what happened last week and what’s to come:

Boys’ soccer

Scarborough’s boys’ soccer team, the two-time defending Class A state champion, faced two huge tests in a six-day span and managed to get through the stretch without a loss. Last Thursday, the Red Storm welcomed unbeaten Gorham and fell behind, 1-0, but a goal from Garrett King in the second half produced a 1-1 draw.

Tuesday, Scarborough hosted undefeated Deering and in the eighth minute, Jake Kacer headed sophomore Noah Stracqualursi’s serve into the net to break the ice. If that wasn’t enough, the Red Storm earned a free kick just outside the box in the 28th minute and King fired it home for a commanding 2-0 advantage, which held up.

“We expected a good game,” King said. “We played well. We’ve come together. There’s a lot of pride.”

“We played well as a team tonight,” said Kacer. “We did what we had to do. It was a good win.”

“This is the second toughest game we’ve played,” said defensive standout Ian Corey.

“Tonight was a big result for us,” added Scarborough coach Mark Diaz. “This is a big confidence boost for us. Deering’s a quality club. We’re not trying to live up to standards from years past, but up to our standards and what this group can do.”

The Red Storm (9-0-1 and third behind Gorham and Falmouth in the Western Class A Heal Points standings), went to Westbrook Thursday, welcomes Windham Saturday and visits dangerous Thornton Academy Thursday of next week.

South Portland is up to sixth in Western A with a 6-3-2 mark after downing host Portland, 1-0, and playing host Cheverus to a 2-2 tie. In the win, Khalid Suja’s goal was the difference. Ahmed Suja and Kervens Anthoine scored in the draw. The Red Riots were home with Massabesic Thursday, go to Sanford Tuesday and play at Bonny Eagle Thursday of next week.

In Western B, Cape Elizabeth enjoyed a 2-1 win at Kennebunk last Thursday (behind goals from Cole Caswell and Griffin Thoreck) then fell to 5-4-1 Tuesday with a 3-0 loss at Falmouth. The Capers (third in the region behind Greely and Yarmouth) host Greely Friday and welcome Fryeburg Academy Tuesday.

In Western D, Greater Portland Christian School handled visiting Temple Academy, 5-1, Saturday behind two goals from Matt Hammond and one apiece from Jeremiah Hammond, Killian Patterson and James Rudolph. Monday, the Lions improved to 9-0-1 with a 10-0 win over A.R. Gould. Ethan Spaulding score four times, while Hammond added a pair. GPCS (second to Richmond in the Heals) was home against Greenville Thursday, welcome Buckfield Saturday and Pine Tree Academy Monday and goes to Gould for the regular finale Thursday of next week.

Girls’ soccer

On the girls’ side, Scarborough is quietly putting together another terrific season. Last Friday, the Red Storm earned a hard-fought 2-1 victory at Gorham, as Katherine Kirk and Elise O’Reilly had the goals. Scarborough took an 8-1 record and the number four ranking in Western A into Wednesday’s battle at Deering (see theforecaster.net for game story). The Red Storm host Westbrook Saturday, then have a showdown at undefeated, defending Class A champion Windham Wednesday night.

South Portland fell to 1-7-1 and 16th in Western A (only 13 teams make the playoffs) after losses to visiting Biddeford (2-0) and at Portland (1-0). Emma Russell made eight saves against the Bulldogs, but the Red Riots still fell short.

“We were so close,” said South Portland first-year coach Jeff Selser. “Every game, we play really, really well. Right now, it’s just that final third of the field. We’re running out of time, but it’s hard to be unhappy with a performance like that.”

The Red Riots were home against Cheverus Wednesday, visit Massabesic Saturday and welcome Sanford Wednesday of next week.

Defending Class B champion Cape Elizabeth settled for a 1-1 home tie with Kennebunk last Thursday (Kathryn Clark had the goal), then downed visiting rival Falmouth Tuesday, 2-1, behind goals from Montana Braxton and Mariah Deschino. The Capers (6-3-1 and third behind Greely and York in the Heals) have a showdown at rival Greely Friday and go to Fryeburg Academy Tuesday.

In Western D, GPCS fell to 0-9 and ninth in the standings (only six teams make the playoffs) after losing at home to Highview Christian, 3-2, last week. The Lions were home with Greenville Thursday, host Buckfield Saturday and close the season Monday against visiting Pine Tree Academy.

Field hockey

Scarborough’s field hockey team is now 56-0-2 in its last 58 regular season games dating to 2010 after recent wins over visiting Biddeford (8-0) and at Bonny Eagle (10-0). Ashley Levesque and Kristen Murray both rattled the cage twice against the Tigers, while Emma Crovo, Maddy Dobecki, Lily Nygren and Abby Walker each had one goal. The Red Storm (11-0 and first in the Western A Heals) were home against winless McAuley Wednesday, have a test at Cheverus Friday (see theforecaster.net for game story) and close the regular season at home versus Deering Tuesday.

South Portland was 2-9 and clung to the 13th and final playoff spot in Western A at press time after a 3-1 home loss to Westbrook and a 2-1 victory at Biddeford. Amelia Papi and Kelby Doyle had the goals in the victory, while Grace Chitam made 23 saves in goal. After hosting Bonny Eagle Wednesday, the Red Riots visit McAuley Saturday and close with a pivotal home game versus Cheverus Tuesday.

In Western B, Cape Elizabeth enjoyed a key 2-0 home win over Falmouth last Wednesday on Senior Night, then lost at home to Fryeburg Academy, 2-1, in overtime, Friday, and settled for a 1-1 tie at Greely Tuesday.

In the victory, Michaela Pinette and Megan Nicholson had the goals, while goalie Mary DiPietro made eight saves.

“We really wanted to beat Falmouth,” said Pinette, who scored her first career goal. “They’re a big rival.”

“We all had a ton of energy tonight,” said DiPietro. “We were blasting music in the locker room, trying to get everyone amped up. To the seniors, this game really meant a lot.”

“The girls are pretty pumped and I’m super-pumped as well,” added Capers coach Darci Holland. “We’ve had a hard time scoring. The girls made it happen tonight on every front.”

In the loss, Taylor Young had the goal.

At Greely, Cape Elizabeth was behind, 1-0, at halftime, but Pinette tied it early in the second half. The Capers then had to hold on to earn the tie, as a DiPietro save as overtime came to a close secured a split of Heal Points.

“We really came back strong,” said DiPietro. “We’re always hoping for win, but this is better than a loss. I think we’re all pretty proud of ourselves. We worked our hardest tonight.”

“I lit into (the girls) at halftime because I wasn’t happy with how they were playing,” Holland said. “They dug deep in the second half and dug even deeper in overtime. I’m happy we played so well on grass. I’m OK with the tie.”

The Capers (6-6-1 and seventh in Western B) had the daunting task of closing the regular season at defending regional champion York Thursday, then will prepare for the playoffs.

“It’s definitely been a roller-coaster ride,” DiPietro said. “We’ve won huge games, then we’ve had some downs. I’d love to see us make a run. I hope we can do it.”

Volleyball

Cape Elizabeth’s volleyball team got a landmark win Monday night. The Capers, coming off a 3-0 (25-11, 25-20, 25-13) home win over Thornton Academy (behind 10 digs from Lydia Brenneman, 10 assists from Rose Punsky and 11 kills, six digs and five aces from Katie Connelly), hosted a Scarborough squad they had never beaten in seven prior meetings (Cape Elizabeth won a grand total of one set in those encounters). This time, however, not only did the Capers hang tough, they won.

They started strong, winning the first set, 25-14, but the Red Storm came back and took the second with ease, 25-11. When the serving of Tess Haller led to a 25-13 win in the third game, Cape Elizabeth was close to closing out the match, but Scarborough rolled in the fourth set, 25-11.

Suddenly, the Capers were on the ropes, without momentum and had the weight of history holding them down. They opened up a lead in the decisive fifth set, but the Red Storm came back to tie, 13-13. With 15 points needed to win the set and the match, the next point would be crucial and captain Monica Dell’Aquila produced the kill of her life, which barely landed inbounds. Haller, fittingly, then closed it out with a kill and Cape Elizabeth had the biggest regular season win in program history, 3-2.

“It means a lot,” Haller said. “We’ve worked so hard. We kept our heads in it. We really wanted it.”

“We fought really hard,” Dell’Aquila said. “We started off this year really unsure, but we realized we are a team to beat. We just want to show it.”

“Last year, we lost two tough five set matches and we were two points from the state final,” said Cape Elizabeth coach Sarah Boeckel. “It’s such a mental game and that’s something we’ve struggled with this season, finishing matches. We did it today. The girls left it all on the court.”

Tuesday, Cape Elizabeth improved to 8-2 and fifth in the Class A Heal Points standings after a 3-0 (25-16, 25-12, 25-17) victory at NYA. Haller had eight kills, while Hannah Sawyer added eight digs and three kills and Maddie Bowe had six kills. The Capers went to Gorham Thursday, host Kennebunk Tuesday and welcome undefeated powerhouse Greely Thursday of next week.

Prior to losing to Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough enjoyed a 3-0 (25-9, 25-12, 25-14) win at home over South Portland. Against the Capers, the Red Storm had their chances, but just fell short.

“When we’re on, we’re great,” Scarborough coach Jon Roberts said. “When we’re frazzled, we make mistakes. We had a chance, but Cape played great.”

Tuesday, the Red Storm bounced back from their loss to the Capers with a five-set triumph over visiting Biddeford (25-17, 22-25, 25-12, 28-30, 15-4) to improve to 9-3 and third in Class A. Scarborough goes to Thornton Academy Tuesday and hosts Falmouth in the regular season finale Thursday.

South Portland was 2-7 and 12th in Class A (only 10 teams make the playoffs) after Friday’s 3-0 (9-25, 12-25, 14-25) loss at Scarborough. The Red Riots went to Kennebunk Thursday, host Lake Region Saturday and Greely Tuesday and go to Gorham Thursday of next week.

Cross country

Local cross country teams joined plenty of others in descending upon Belfast Saturday for the Festival of Champions.

In the boys’ race, 65 teams took part with Cumberland, Rhode Island coming in first and Scarborough placing second. Cape Elizabeth finished 14th and South Portland was 32nd.

Individually, the Red Storm were led by Jacob Terry, who came in third in 16 minutes, 0.32 seconds. Capers standout Mitch Morris was right behind in fourth (16:06.11). The Red Riots were paced by Christopher Mitchell (90th, 17:50.94).

On the girls’ side, 58 teams took part with Cape Elizabeth winning the race. Rhoen Fiutak led the way with an 11th-place showing (19:28.90). Liv Palma also had a top 15 performance (coming in 14th in 19:34.68). Scarborough was eighth (Bethany Sholl, 31st, 20:09.77, led the way) and South Portland placed 15th behind a seventh-place finish from Casey Loring (19:16.63).

This week, Cape Elizabeth hosts Gray-New Gloucester, Merriconeag and Poland, while Scarborough and South Portland join Noble at McAuley.

Golf

On the links, state qualifying matches for the Southwestern Maine Activities Association and Western Maine Conference were contested Monday.

In the SMAA, Scarborough shot a 315 to finish second, six strokes behind Gorham, and qualify for states. South Portland’s 353 left it 10th and only six teams made the cut. The Red Storm sent Drew Kane, Chandler Langlois and Nate Roberts to the individual state meet.

In the WMC, Cape Elizabeth had the best day among Class B schools, qualifying with a score of 317. Standout Reese McFarland shot a 71 to easily be the best individual. He qualified for the individual state match, along with teammates Ryan Collins, Nat Ingalls, Ross LeBlond and George Mackenzie.

The team state matches are Saturday at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro. The individual championships are Saturday, Oct. 18 in Vassalboro.

Cape Elizabeth finished the regular season 10-0 after closing with a 6-1 win over Wells. Scarborough went a perfect 10-0 after beating defending Class A champion Falmouth in the finale, 11-2. South Portland finished 2-8 after a 7.5-5.5 win over Deering in the final match.

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

Sidebar Elements


Cape Elizabeth junior Katie Connelly exults after the Capers win a key point during Monday’s first-ever victory over Scarborough.

Scarborough junior Sam Jacob soars for a header during the Red Storm’s 2-0 home win over Deering in a battle of undefeated teams Tuesday night.

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