Southern: Playoff action at a fever pitch as state games near – Press Herald

Sign in or Subscribe See Offers

Multiple teams closing in on the ultimate prize
Share this Article
Give this Article
You can share 5 more gift articles this month.
Anyone can access the link you share with no account required. Learn more.
Subscribe to gift this article
With a Press Herald subscription, you can gift 5 articles each month.
SUBSCRIBE TODAY
It looks like you do not have any active subscriptions. To get one, go to the subscriptions page.
Subscribe to gift this article
With a Press Herald subscription, you can gift 5 articles each month.
SUBSCRIBE TODAY
Already a subscriber? .
What a week it was for postseason action in cross country, soccer, volleyball, field hockey and football.
And even more excitement awaits this week, as state champions will be crowned in a couple of sports.
Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough and South Portland still had teams chasing titles at press time.
Here’s a recap:
Cross country
South Portland’s Kyle Hartford runs in the Class A state cross country meet last weekend. Hartford placed 20th and led the Red Riots to a sixth-place team finish. John Jensenius / For The Forecaster
Cape Elizabeth’s girls’ team scored 180 points and came in sixth at the Class B state cross country meet in Cumberland last Saturday (York was first with 63 points). The Capers were paced by Emma Young, who finished the five-kilometer course with a time of 20 minutes, 26.34 seconds, good for sixth-place. Young qualified for New Englands as an individual. Also scoring were Ellie Mainville (34th, 23:00.42), Jane Curtis (42nd, 23:33.7), Ainsley Fremont (47th, 23:54.14) and Addie Mazzeo (51st, 24:13.25).

Advertisement

In the Class B boys’ meet, won by Freeport with 35 points, Cape Elizabeth (345) was 12th. The Capers were led by Thijs Gilda (41st, 19:18.91). Also scoring were Aidan Morris (73rd, 20:57.05), Simon Shyka-Brown (75th, 21:18.0), Andrew Perruzzi (77th, 21:34.99) and Alexander Emery (79th, 21:58.63).
In the Class A boys’ meet, won by Hampden Academy with 52 points, South Portland (164) finished sixth. The Red Riots featured Kyle Hartford (20th, 17:54.74) and Evan Small (23rd, 17:56.58). Also scoring were Jack Nickerson (31st, 18:23.03), Jack Smart (44th, 18:41.75) and Emmons Whited (46th, 18:44.94).
Scarborough also scored 164 points, but finished seventh as the Red Riots’ sixth-place finisher had a better time than the Red Storm’s. Scarborough was led by individual runner-up Adam Bendetson (16:44.9)  and Nate Driscoll (14th, 17:27.82), who both qualified for New Englands as individuals. Also scoring for the Red Storm were Ethan Keller (39th, 18:35.38), Benjamin Bouchard (50th, 18:49.93) and Joseph Cotta (59th, 19:07.57).
In the Class A girls’ meet, won by Bonny Eagle with 25 points, Scarborough didn’t compete as a team, but Kyleigh Record posted the 19th-best time (21:30.42) and Rowan Driscoll had the 51st-best showing (22:51.99).
Boys’ soccer
Scarborough’s Jack Moreau (9) celebrates with teammates after scoring in the first half of the Red Storm’s regional final victory over Windham Tuesday. Derek Davis / Portland Press Herald
Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough’s boys’ soccer teams were still very much alive at press time in their quest for a Gold Ball.

Advertisement

The Red Storm, ranked first in Class A South, had to scratch and claw to win their first regional title in seven seasons, but that’s exactly what they did.
First, Scarborough had to rally to beat No. 9 Falmouth, 2-1, in the quarterfinals last Thursday. The Red Storm conceded a goal in the third minute, but Will Fallona tied it up 10 minutes later, then set up Kilson Joao for what proved to be the game-winner late in the first half and Scarborough held on.
“We knew they’d give us everything they had tonight,” Fallona said. “What you can control is how hard you work and we work to the bone.”
“Falmouth’s a good team,” said senior captain and back Ashton Blanchette. “All the respect in the world to them.”
“Every game is going to be competitive,” added longtime Scarborough coach Mark Diaz. “Any team can beat anyone. That’s what’s great about our league.”
Saturday, the Red Storm hosted No. 4 Gorham in the semifinals and this time, struck early, on a goal from Fallona, set up by Joao. After withstanding several Rams’ near-misses, Scarborough scored again in the second half, as Joao did the honors and the Red Storm’s defense locked down from there and produced a 2-0 victory.
“I’d say we got a little lucky,” said Scarborough senior captain and back Parker Killiard. “They were really pressing us for a good 20, 25 minutes. They were outworking us, I’ll admit that, but we kicked it back into gear and pushed back.”

Advertisement

“That’s what we do, score goals and win games,” Joao said.
“Gorham’s a good, organized team that you have to beat with good goals and that’s exactly what happened today,” Diaz added.
Tuesday, in the Class A South Final against No. 6 Windham in Sanford, the Red Storm got pushed to the brink but pushed back. Jack Moreau put Scarborough on top with a goal late in the first half, but the Eagles tied the game with 2:57 remaining in regulation and it went to overtime. There, after a huge save from Red Storm goalkeeper Nick Ouellette kept the season alive, Joao took advantage of a lucky bounce and buried the game winner with 2:12 left in the first OT to win it, 2-1.
“(The goalie) threw it and it bounced off his defender and I was there,” Joao said. “It was a gift. An easy goal. I had to finish it and I did.”
“It feels so good,” said Moreau. “We wanted to win it in regulation, but when it went into overtime, we put it in a different gear and just wanted it more in the end. It feels so great to go to states. In the past, we’ve had good squads and came close. This year, we were motivated to go the extra mile and get there.”
“We knew it would be a tough game,” Diaz added. “Give the kids credit for getting it done. I thought we played really well in the second half and we played well again in the overtime. I thought the kids worked hard enough to get this victory today. I’m really proud of their effort.”

Advertisement

Scarborough (16-1) will take on Brunswick (13-3-1) in the Class A state final Saturday at 3 p.m, at Deering High School in Portland. The Dragons and Red Storm didn’t meet during the regular season. Scarborough is 3-0 all-time versus Brunswick in the playoffs, with a 2-1 win in the 2009 Class A state final the most recent encounter.
“I’m really happy for the kids,” Diaz said. “It’s going to be a challenge. Brunswick’s a good team and they’ve been there and they know what it’s like.”
South Portland, seeded fifth in Class A South, handled No. 12 Cheverus, 3-2, in the preliminary round, but last Thursday, in the quarterfinals at No. 4 Gorham, the Red Riots suffered an agonizing 2-1 double-overtime defeat to wind up 11-5. Jayden Kim scored South Portland’s goal. The Rams’ winning tally came on a penalty kick.
Cape Elizabeth went undefeated during the regular season and finished first in Class B South. The Capers conceded an early goal to No. 8 Greely in the quarterfinals, then scored four straight to advance, 4-1. Sebastian Moon scored two goals, while Eddie Caldera and Sam Cochran added one apiece. In Saturday’s semifinal round, Cape Elizabeth blanked No. 5 Gardiner, 2-0, behind goals from Keegan Lathrop and Phil Coupe.
Wednesday, in the Class B South Final (played after this edition went to press), the Capers (15-0-1) took on third-ranked, two-time defending state champion Yarmouth (12-2-2) in Lewiston. The teams tied, 1-1, in the season opener Sept. 3, then Cape Elizabeth handled the visiting Clippers, 3-0, Oct. 4. Yarmouth had won three of four prior playoff encounters, with a 2-1 victory in last year’s regional final the most recent.
If Cape Elizabeth advanced to its first state final since winning its third of three straight titles in 1997, it will face either John Bapst (15-0-1) or Winslow (15-0-1) Saturday at a time to be announced in Hampden. The Capers have no playoff history with either potential foe.

Advertisement

Greater Portland Christian earned the No. 6 seed in Class D South and was ousted, 1-0, by No. 3 Chop Point in the quarterfinals to finish the year 6-7.
Girls’ soccer
Scarborough’s Ali Mokriski fights for the ball during Tuesday’s regional final win over Gorham. Mokriski scored two goals in the victory. Brianna Soukup / Portland Press Herald
On the girls’ side, Scarborough is heading back to the state final for the first time since 2019.
The Red Storm, ranked first in Class A South after a perfect regular season, blanked ninth-ranked Portland, 4-0, in the quarterfinals, then held off No. 5 Cheverus, 2-1, in Friday’s semifinals. Junior standout Lana Djuranovic scored twice in the first half to give Scarborough some breathing room and while the Stags scored just before halftime, the Red Storm shut them down the rest of the way to advance.
“It was really good to have a game like this,” said Djuranovic, who is the Red Storm’s all-time single-season record holder for goals scored (27 and counting heading into the state final). “It was definitely a challenge for us, but it showed us what we can do and how much effort we can put in when we really have to.”
“I knew we’d get pushed,” Scarborough coach Mike Farley said. “They’re really well-coached. I knew they’d show up and play organized.”
Tuesday, in the Class A South Final at Sanford, the Red Storm took on their mirror image, 16-0 Gorham, a team they didn’t face in the regular season. Scarborough wasted no time proving it was the squad without peer, getting a goal from Djuranovic in the third minute, then riding back-to-back gorgeous strikes from senior standout Ali Mokriski to take a 3-0 advantage to the half. The Red Storm then ended any lingering doubt when senior captain Julia Black buried a free kick in the second half, producing an impressive 4-0 victory.
“It feels so good,” said Djuranovic. “I’m so proud of our team. When you keep the shots going, they just keep going in.”
“It’s really awesome,” said Black. “All season, this is what we’ve been going for. We came out strong and played hard for 80 minutes.”
“We just really wanted it,” Mokriski said. “We knew it would be a tough game, so we knew we had to come out with the most intensity we’ve had all year and I think it paid off.”
“Gorham’s a great team, so for us to get on top of them like that just shows that we played well,” Farley added. “I don’t think they played poorly. We were just ultra-aggressive attacking them and getting balls to the back post area. To shut them out just shows how good we can be defensively.”
The Red Storm will take their 17-0 mark into Saturday’s Class A state final versus Brunswick (15-0-2). That game will be played at Deering High School in Portland at 5:30 p.m.
Scarborough and Brunswick didn’t play this season and have no playoff history.
“This year is our year,” Black said. “I think we’ll be ready. We just have to do our thing.”
“We just have to do what we did today, score early and keep it going,” said Djuranovic.
“I’m so excited,” Mokriski said. “The high intensity games are so exciting. Our team is really close. We’ll be in it together and we’ll help each other out during pressure times. I think we just need to give it our all and walk off the field with no regrets.”
“We have a motivation,” Farley added. “Hopefully we have one more in us.”
Three-time reigning Class B champion Cape Elizabeth wasn’t as fortunate. The Capers were perfect during the regular season and handled No. 9 Wells (5-0) in the quarterfinals, but an illness epidemic that swept the school decimated the team and by Saturday, when they hosted No. 5 York in the semifinals, Cape Elizabeth was a shell of its normal self and it showed on the pitch. The Capers fell behind early, tied it early in the second half on a goal from Noelle Mallory, but conceded a late goal to fall, 2-1, end up 15-1 and see their title reign and 23-game win streak come to a screeching and painful halt.

Advertisement

“It had to happen at some point,” said Cape Elizabeth coach Graham Forsyth, who lost for just the third time in 77 career games with the program. “Things just didn’t bounce our way. Sometimes you have those games and we’ve had those games in the past but we managed to grind it out when we were fully fit. Today, we gave everything we had but we fell short.
“Seven of the starting 11 were sick and probably shouldn’t have been on the field. That’s a testament to them. They should be proud for even stepping foot on the field today. If they were fully healthy, I think we’d win and it would have been fairly comfortable. I’m disappointed we lost and the girls are heartbroken. It’s the toughest team talk I’ve ever had to give because it’s the first one where the seniors aren’t going to get to move on and win it.
As always, graduation will take its toll, as captains Piper Duryee and Juliet Moore, along with Caroline Concannon, Maya Nelson, Rayback and Ashley Ryer all depart, after leaving an indelible mark on the program.
“The seniors can look back on their high school career with fondness,” Forsyth said. “They only lost three games. It stings right now, but they should be happy and proud.”
Cape Elizabeth has plenty of firepower returning in 2023 and that group will look to return the program to the pinnacle.
“We told the girls coming back to remember this feeling so they don’t have to feel it in the future, “Forsyth said. “That’s their motivation. This stings, but we’ll get over it and we’ll be back next year.”

Advertisement

Field hockey
Cape Elizabeth’s Kaitlyn McIntyre fires a shot during the Capers’ loss to Freeport in Saturday’s Class B South semifinals. Ben McCanna / Portland Press Herald
Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough’s field hockey teams were both knocked out of the playoffs last week.
The Capers, seeded second in Class B South, defeated No. 7 Fryeburg Academy, 6-0, in the quarterfinal round, but Saturday, at home versus No. 3 Freeport, they had no answers in a 6-2 setback. Grace Gray and Sophia Chung scored for Cape Elizabeth, but its season ended at 13-3.
“The girls came in trying to do their best,” said Cape Elizabeth coach Maura Bisogni. “They knew they did everything they could, but it wasn’t our day and it wasn’t enough.”
The Capers have to say goodbye to Gray, one of the finest players in program history, along with Meghan Conley, Abbie Homicz, Kaitlyn McIntyre and Ella Membrino.
“The seniors have been great,” Bisogni said. “We’ll miss them.”

Advertisement

Don’t expect much of a dip from the 2023 squad, which should be on the short list of title hopefuls again.
“We have younger kids and this will help us in the offseason and get us ready for next year,” said Bisogni.
Scarborough, ranked third in Class A South, was supposed to host No. 6 Windham in the quarterfinals last Tuesday, but on their way to game, the Eagles’ bus was involved in an accident and the game was rescheduled to last Thursday. There, Ayden Harris scored twice for the Red Storm, producing leads of 1-0 and 2-1, but Windham scored twice in the fourth quarter and held on for a 3-2 victory, ending Scarborough’s season at 12-3.
“It’s absolutely devastating,” said longtime Red Storm coach Kerry Mariello. “It always stings to lose in the playoffs. We had our chances. It felt like we controlled the tempo and possession a lot of the time. We just couldn’t hold it.
“This league was extremely strong this year. I’m happy with how we played this season. We had a great group. We had great moments.”
Graduation will hit the Red Storm hard, but expect Scarborough to be a top contender again in 2023.
“We lose 10 seniors and it’s going to be hard to fill those spots,” Mariello said. “I’m excited for the girls knowing they’ll do great things in their future.”
Volleyball
Scarborough’s volleyball team, the reigning Class A state champion, wasn’t able to repeat. The Red Storm, seeded second for the state tournament, swept No. 10 Bonny Eagle, 3-0, in the quarterfinal round, but last Wednesday, in the semifinals, Scarborough lost in three-sets to visiting No. 3 Gorham (29-31, 18-25, 22-25) to finish the year 13-3.

Advertisement

“Kudos to Gorham,” Red Storm coach Kim Stoddard said. “They learned a lot and came so far over the course of the season. Every aspect of their game is relentless, from passing, serving, hitting. We were on our heels most of the time.
“We had some very high highs and we never really had any lows this season. I wouldn’t even count this as a low. We hadn’t played together much before this season. To see how far we’ve come individually and together makes me so proud of this team. I just don’t want to not see them tomorrow at practice.”
Scarborough parts with senior Agathe Laine, but returns everyone else next year, so look out, Class A.
“Our libero stepped up huge this season as a leader and got our defense in shape,” Stoddard said. “I couldn’t ask for a better senior leader. We’ll miss her, but we have a good core group coming back. I suspect everybody that was here tonight will remember this and it won’t happen again.”
Football
On the gridiron, reigning state champion Cape Elizabeth moved on to the Class C South semifinals, but not without having to overcome some unexpected adversity. The Capers, seeded third in the region, were nearly dealt a knockout blow last week when illness reduced the roster to just a handful of healthy bodies, leaving too few players to practice on multiple days and by the time the regularly scheduled kickoff Friday rolled around, Cape Elizabeth didn’t have enough able players to field a team. Quarterfinal round foe Fryeburg Academy, the No. 6 seed, agreed to move the game to Monday night, where the Capers, far from 100 percent, were able to play and play well.

Advertisement

After Ceroi Mello intercepted a Fryeburg Academy pass on the game’s third play, the Capers went ahead to stay on a 2-yard touchdown run from quarterback Mike Foley. Standout Nick Laughlin then added a 28-yard TD scamper to make it 12-0 after one quarter. The Raiders then got back in the game in the second period with a touchdown run and a two-point conversion pass, but just before the half, Cape Elizabeth answered, taking a 19-8 lead on a 5-yard Foley run.
The Capers then put it away in the third quarter, as Laughlin scored from a yard out, Tucker Clark fell on Foley’s fumble in the end zone for another score, then Laughlin broke away for a 60-yard touchdown, making the score 39-8. A 1-yard run from Foley in the fourth period finished it off and Cape Elizabeth prevailed, 46-8.
The Capers got 100-yard rushing efforts and three touchdowns apiece from both Foley and Laughlin and improved to 7-2.
“We kept a positive attitude,” Foley said. “We play power, we play counter and it was working. We had a few throws too.”
“We’ve been battling every day with as many kids as we could get on the field,” Laughlin said. “We might have had 25 today, but I’m proud of the guys for coming out here without two senior captains. We did it for them.”
“I’m really proud of the guys,” added Cape Elizabeth coach Sean Green. “We just have a strong culture in our program. It starts with our senior leaders. The message was clear that it’s about next-man-up. The guys out here got after it. Some guys were dragging tonight, so I’m glad to get through this one.”

Advertisement

The Capers have to bounce right back Friday night and play at second-seeded Wells (6-2), which had a bye last week. Cape Elizabeth dropped a tough 28-21 decision at Wells Sept. 9, way back in week two. The Capers are just 1-4 all-time versus the Warriors in the playoffs, with a 27-14 setback in the 2016 Class C South Final the most recent.
Wells denied Cape Elizabeth’s request to move the game back a day to Saturday, so even though they’ll be coming off a short week, the Capers won’t lack for incentive.
“We just like to play football,” Green said. “We’ll turn around and get ready on Friday. Wells is a great program. They’re a great team. They’re well-coached. They have a great tradition. We have a great rivalry with them. Our loss to them in the regular season stings and we remember it. We’ll do our job and practice and focus on us. The fact they won’t move the game from Friday to Saturday is absolutely ridiculous, but we’ll have motivation. We’ll be ready.”
South Portland, the No. 3 seed in Class B South, opened the playoffs last Friday with a 29-8 home win over No. 6 Marshwood, as the Red Riots improved to 6-3 and ended the Hawks’ four-year reign as state champion. Quarterback Jaelen Jackson gave South Portland the lead for good with a 3-yard touchdown run. In the second period, Jackson hit Josh Sparacio with a 15-yard TD pass, then Jackson returned a fumble for a score to make it 21-0 at the half. A 19-yard Jackson-to-Nolan Hobbs touchdown pass in the fourth quarter and a two-point conversion pass accounted for the Red Riots’ final points before Marshwood scored its lone points late.
South Portland goes to No. 2 Massabesic (7-2) for the semifinals Friday. The Red Riots suffered a 14-13 loss at the Mustangs on Sept. 16. Massabesic won the lone prior playoff encounter, 15-6, in the 2000 Western A Final, which was John Wolfgram’s final game as South Portland coach. The Red Riots hope to advance to the regional final for the first time since that 2000 season with a victory.
In Class A, Scarborough finished the regular season 5-4 after a 55-14 setback at undefeated Oxford Hills last Friday. De’Angelo Alston threw two touchdown passes, but it wasn’t enough.
The Red Storm finished fourth and will host No. 5 Bonny Eagle (5-4) in the quarterfinals Friday. Back on Sept. 9, Scarborough beat the host Scots, 33-21. The teams have met four previous times in the playoffs with Bonny Eagle holding a 3-1 advantage. The Scots prevailed in the most recent encounter, 14-7, in overtime, in the 2019 Class A state semifinals.
Comments are not available on this story.
Send questions/comments to the editors.
« Previous
Next »

source

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.