(Ed. Note: For the complete Cheverus-Portland and Waynflete-Wiscasset boys’ and Waynflete-Old Orchard Beach girls’ soccer game stories, please visit theforecaster.net)
Both Waynflete soccer teams entered the week on the verge of overcoming recent postseason heartaches.
The other city teams saw their seasons come to an end last week.
Waynflete’s boys’ soccer team lost in the Class C state final in 2008, was upset at home by Georges Valley despite being a high seed the following year and suffered an agonizing home loss to rival North Yarmouth Academy in the 2010 regional final.
This fall, the Flyers went 10-1-3 and earned the No. 2 seed in the region. Last Wednesday, in a game that featured some testy moments, Waynflete advanced with a 3-0 home win over No. 7 Wiscasset.
First half goals from seniors Mitch Newlin and Max McKendry set the tone.
“Scoring isn’t really my thing,” McKendry said. “It was my first varsity goal ever. I felt like I hit well. I didn’t really believe it at first.”
A rebound goal from freshman Clancy Mitchell in the second half helped ice a 3-0 victory. Sophomore Joey Schnier was a last second replacement for junior Zander Majercik in goal and kept the Wolverines off the board.
“I’m not really concerned about past years,” said longtime Flyers coach Brandon Salway. “This year’s team has shown a lot of resiliency. They feed off each other. It comes down to doing the little things. We did it today.”
Friday night, in a game which was moved to the turf field at Deering High School, Waynflete welcomed No. 3 Hall-Dale and had a very difficult time advancing. Neither team could score in 80 minutes of regulation or 30 minutes of overtime (although Flyers junior Peabo Knoth just missed ending the game in OT), so the game was decided on penalty kicks.
Waynflete made four of its kicks, while Majercik stopped two Hall-Dale shots to help the Flyers prevail, 1-0 (4-2 on PKs). Sophomore Henry Cleaves, juniors Kevin Kanakan and Paul Runyambo and senior captain Daniel Wiener made their penalty kick attempts.
“Hall-Dale was a quality opponent,” Salway said. “They were well-organized in the back. I was impressed with their team. We had good chances to score in regulation but weren’t able to capitalize. We had a little bit of a slow start but I thought after the first ten minutes of the match we really played well the rest of the way. Zander was solid in goal and our backs were excellent. (Senior sweeper) Addison St. Onge-May and Daniel had outstanding games back there as did Joey and Mitch. Our midfielders and strikers showed great work ethic throughout the game.
“I was pretty confident when it was sent to PKs that we’d have a great chance to advance. We have spent a good amount of practice time working on penalty shots and talking about our approach if it came to that. All the players really stepped up and performed well under extreme pressure.”
Waynflete will get another crack at ninth-ranked NYA Wednesday at 3 p.m. in the regional final. The Flyers and Panthers played to a 1-1 tie Sept. 14 in Portland. Sixteen days later, in Yarmouth, Waynflete eked out a 2-1 decision. After last year’s 1-0 setback in this round, the Flyers are seeking revenge and hope to move one step closer to winning their first-ever Class C state championship.
“We know we can’t look by anybody on any given day,” Newlin said. “That’s what we took from Georges Valley two years ago. Last year was really tough. Last year we had mental toughness as well, but were unlucky.”
“I really don’t think there is much separating NYA and us,” Salway added. “We have played two close matches this year. They are a very talented and well-coached group, so you can’t look at the seeds. It will come down to who takes advantage of a chance or two and the team that is willing to make the extra-effort play. Hopefully it’s us.”
If Waynflete makes it to the state final, it will face either Houlton (13-2-1) or Orono (11-4-1) Saturday, at a time to be announced, at Hampden Academy.
The Waynflete girls, who, after winning Class C in 2008, were ousted in the regional finals two years ago and the semis in 2010, also had a great regular season, going 12-2 to finish third in the region. The Flyers opened with a 3-0 home win over No. 6 Hall-Dale in the quarterfinals last week as senior Becky Smith, junior Sadie Cole and sophomore Ella Millard all scored goals.
Friday afternoon, Waynflete welcomed No. 7 Old Orchard Beach for the semifinals and in the 12th minute, Smith scored from 30-yards out on a left-footed blast, her 50th career goal, and the Flyers held on for a 1-0 victory.
“It was an exciting day,” Smith said. “I expected a battle. (Old Orchard Beach has) come a long way and so have we. The level’s gone up for both teams. It was very intense. Both teams brought all they had. It was an exciting game for sure.”
“We had other opportunities we couldn’t put away today, but give Old Orchard credit, they scrapped and played hard,” Waynflete coach Todd Dominski added.
The Flyers hosted No. 4 St. Dom’s in the regional final Tuesday, a team they don’t play in the regular season. The schools had met twice previously in the playoffs with Waynflete winning both, 1-0 in the 2006 semifinals and 3-0 in the 2007 quarterfinals.
The Flyers went into the game full of confidence.
“I think this group has it,” said Smith, who was a freshman on the 2008 championship team. “We’ll see how it goes, but this team has a lot of heart and I think we’re going to come through. We wanted to play into November.”
“Obviously, every team’s goal from the onset of the season is to go out and win a state title,” Dominski added. “We’ve worked as hard as we can to put ourselves in this position.”
If victorious, Waynflete will play either Central (15-0-1) or Orono (12-3-1) in the Class C state final Saturday, at a time to be announced, at Hampden Academy.
In Western A boys’ action, after eliminating No. 11 Deering in the preliminary round, 2-0, No. 6 Cheverus traveled to No. 3 Portland, the reigning regional champion, in the quarterfinal round last Wednesday.
The Bulldogs had beaten the Stags six straight times, including a thrilling 3-2 double-overtime triumph Sept. 27.
This time around, Cheverus had the last laugh as senior standout Elliot Maker had two goals in the first half and classmate Alexander Hoglund added another in the second. Portland junior standout Tim Rovnak (who had a hat trick in the regular season encounter) got a goal back, but that was it and the Stags advanced, 3-1.
“It’s awesome,” said Maker. “We’ve been through so much against Portland the last two years. We were confident. There was no doubt in my mind. I knew it would happen. There was something about today. We were ready.”
“We played well,” Cheverus coach Bill LeBlanc added. “We really did. After the last two years, my seniors, especially Hoglund, Maker and (Nick) Melville, really wanted this game and they rose to the occasion and played well. Our big-time goal scorer showed up and Melville and Hoglund played well in the middle.”
Portland, which had won three of the previous four playoff meetings, including a 6-0 romp in last year’s quarterfials, saw its season end at 10-3-2.
“It was a weird game,” said longtime Bulldogs coach Rocky Frenzilli. “Cheverus took advantage of what they needed to take advantage of. They played hard and were deserving of the win in every aspect. You always feel bad for the players when your season ends, especially when you’re a higher seed. At this point, there are no easy matchups. When you get in the tournament, anything can happen. Credit to the kids for not giving up. I’m proud of them. They worked hard, but unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be tonight. I’m very proud. I’ll always be proud of them. We didn’t have a bad season at all. We had some wins against very good teams.”
Portland loses 13 seniors, but as always, returns promising youngsters and should once again be one of the top Western A contenders in 2012.
“We have some kids coming back,” Frenzilli said. “We’ll probably have to retool the back line. We lose all our guys in the back. It makes me sad that the season’s over, but I’m excited about putting it back together next year and seeing how it goes.”
The Stags moved on to Saturday’s semifinals, but the road ended there at under-appreciated No. 2 seed Windham. Cheverus had beaten the host Eagles, 2-0, Sept. 20 and had won all four prior playoff meetings, but this time, Windham got the jump with two first half goals and although Melville answered in the second half, the Stags fell short, 2-1, and saw their season end at 12-4-1, their best record since 2004 (12-2-1).
On the girls’ side in Western A, both Cheverus and Deering won preliminary round contests, but were ousted in the quarterfinals.
The Stags, seeded sixth, edged No. 11 Marshwood, 2-1, in their first playoff test, but last Tuesday, at defending state champion Scarborough, ranked third, Cheverus had no answers. The teams tied, 1-1, in the regular season, Sept. 17, but the Red Storm, who also eliminated the Stags in the 2004 and 2010 semifinals, jumped out 2-0 this time behind a pair of first half goals and held on to win by that score to end Cheverus’ season at 10-3-3.
The Rams, ranked 10th, upset No. 7 Sanford, 2-1, in their prelim and got within 66 seconds of doing the same to No. 2 Cape Elizabeth in the quarterfinals. Deering took a 1-0 lead behind sophomore Alexis Elowitch’s second half goal, but Capers sophomore standout Melanie Vangel pulled her team even with 1:06 left. After two scoreless overtimes, the game was decided on penalty kicks and freshman Meaghan Wells was the only Ram who converted, while two Cape Elizabeth players made their kicks to give the Capers a 2-1 win.
“It was a very windy day,” said Deering coach Kevin Olson. “Cape was a very different team then they were last year. They had a new coach, new system and I told my team we had to be patient. The first half we were able to move the ball quite well and had a couple opportunities. In the second half, we had a corner kick eight minutes in. (Junior) Samantha Sivovlos took the kick and found Alexis’ head.
“With around 20 minutes to go, the wind really picked up and Cape was able to put some offensive pressure on us. We didn’t allow anything inside the 18-yard box until a minute and six seconds left in the game when Cape served the ball in, the wind took the service, pushed it towards the goal. It went off the crossbar and came down at an angle to (Vangel) who collected it, turned and poked it in. It was a very strange play. I felt my girls had the edge offensively in overtime. (Sophomore goalkeeper) Lee Ann Downs made two great saves that kept the game going. It then came down to penalty kicks and we hit the post twice, scored once, their keeper made one save and one shot went wide. My team came into this game ready to compete. They understood the game plan and executed it well. I can’t say enough about this team. They played an intelligent game and it was a heartbreaking loss.”
Deering’s season ended with a misleading record of 7-7-2.
“This was a season where it took a while to see what worked for us,” Olson said. “We went through a couple formations and played around with personnel. We played our best against the top teams. We played Gorham to 1-0 loss, Scarborough to a 3-2 loss and Cheverus to a 0-0 tie. Those teams had impressive records and my team played to our potential against them. The improvement and growth that this team went through this season was impressive. I was very happy with the season as a whole.”
The Rams should build on this postseason run in 2012.
“We have a great core of players who will be back next year,” Olson said. “I feel that this season has given the underclassmen some confidence. They will be very motivated and determined to get back into the playoffs. The key, as always, is to remain healthy.”
Waynflete senior William Cleaves tries to fight past a Hall-Dale defender during the teams’ Western Class C semifinal Friday night. The Flyers ultimately survived, 1-0, on penalty kicks.
Waynflete sophomore Ella Millard (left) and junior Sadie Cole (center) join senior Becky Smith in celebration after a goal during the Flyers’ 3-0 victory over Hall-Dale in last week’s Western C quarterfinal.