The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram » Sports Sun, 23 Oct 2016 01:57:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Saturday’s Maine college football roundup: Colby rolls past Hamilton Sun, 23 Oct 2016 01:00:49 +0000 WATERVILLE — Jack O’Brien threw for 297 yards and a pair of touchdowns as Colby beat Hamilton 27-7 in a New England Small College Athletic Conference football game Saturday.

John Baron added a pair of field goals for Colby (2-3, 2-3 NESCAC).

The Mules defense opened the scoring when Patrick Yale returned a fumble 37 yards for a touchdown with 1:37 left in the first quarter. Jack Muntu-Caron forced the fumble.

After a 22-yard field goal by Baron, the Mules stretched their lead to 17-0 on a 6-yard TD pass from O’Brien to Ryder Arsenault with 1:35 left in the first half.

Hamilton (1-4, 1-4) responded with a 44-yard touchdown pass by Kenny Gray with 13 seconds left in the half, but Baron added his second field goal in the third quarter and O’Brien threw a 19-yard TD pass to Alex Kramer to finish the scoring for Colby.

HUSSON 42, ANNA MARIA 0: Cory Brandon completed 14 of 20 passes for 305 yards and five touchdowns, and John Smith rushed for 231 yards and a touchdown as the Eagles (6-1, 4-0) cruised to a win over the Amcats (0-7, 0-4) in an ECFC game at Bangor.

Deon Wiggins caught five passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns, and Kadeem Edge added four catches for 70 yards and two touchdowns for the Eagles, who led 28-0 at halftime.

CURRY 42, MAINE MARITIME 41: Alex Corvese threw a 13-yard touchdown pass with 4:21 to play in regulation to give the Colonels (3-3, 1-3 New England Football Conference) the lead for good as they outlasted the Mariners (1-5, 0-4) in Milton, Massachusetts.

Corey Creegar rushed for 50 yards and four touchdowns for Maine Maritime.

TRINITY 38, BOWDOIN 7: Sonny Puzzo completed 10 passes for 181 yards and one touchdown, and also rushed for 22 yards and a pair of touchdowns as the Bantams (5-0, 5-0) downed the Polar Bears (0-5, 0-5) in a NESCAC game at Brunswick.

Liam Ford caught seven passes for 84 yards for the Polar Bears, who were outgained 456-216 by the Bantams.

MIDDLEBURY 28, BATES 9: Jared Lebowitz completed 35 of 56 passes for 394 yards and three touchdowns as the Panthers (5-0, 5-0) scored 28 unanswered points over the final three quarters to erase an early 9-0 deficit in a NESCAC win over the Bobcats (1-4, 1-4) at Middlebury, Vermont.

Bates opened the scoring 2:58 into the game when Mark Upton tackled running back Drew Jacobs in the end zone for a safety.

On the ensuing drive the Bobcats extended their lead to 9-0 on a 48-yard touchdown pass from Sandy Plashkes to Brian Daly with 8:49 left in the first quarter.

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College football: Syracuse sends BC to another league loss Sun, 23 Oct 2016 01:00:25 +0000 BOSTON — Eric Dungey threw for three touchdowns, Ervin Phillips had a pair of scores and Syracuse beat Boston College 28-20 on Saturday, sending the Eagles to their 12th straight Atlantic Coast Conference loss.

Dungey went 32 for 38 for 434 yards. He also ran 17 times for 54 yards for the Orange (4-4, 2-2).

Last week he became the first player in school history to throw for over 300 yards and rush for over 100 in an upset victory over then-No. 17 Virginia Tech.

Patrick Towles went 4 of 14 for 45 yards for Boston College (3-4, 0-4) but did run 75 yards for a touchdown. He was taken out of the game early in the fourth quarter and appeared to be favoring his right leg.

RICHMOND 35, ELON 7: Kyle Lauletta threw a pair of touchdown passes and visiting Richmond (7-1, 4-1 Colonial Athletic) cruised past Elon (2-5, 1-3).

COLUMBIA 9, DARTMOUTH 7: Oren Milstein kicked three field goals and Columbia (2-4, 1-2 Ivy) beat Dartmouth (3-3, 0-3) at New York.

CENTRAL FLORIDA 24, CONNECTICUT 16: McKenzie Milton threw for a season-high 317 yards and three touchdowns to lead Central Florida (4-3, 2-1 American Athletic) over UConn (3-5, 1-4) at East Hartford, Connecticut.

HARVARD 23. PRINCETON 20: Joe Viviano threw for two early touchdowns and scored on a 1-yard run in overtime to lift visiting Harvard (5-1, 3-0 Ivy) over Princeton (4-2, 2-1).

SOUTH CAROLINA 34, MASSACHUSETTS 28: Freshman Jake Bentley threw for two touchdowns and 201 yards in his first college game, and South Carolina (3-4) matched its victory total from last year by beating Massachusetts (1-7) at Columbia, South Carolina.

STONY BROOK 28, DELAWARE 3: Stacey Bedell ran for 120 yards and two touchdowns, and Stony Brook (5-2, 4-0 Colonial Athletic) outscored Delaware (2-5, 0-4) 21-0 in the second half at Newark, Delaware.

BROWN 28, CORNELL 21: Johnny Pena’s 1-yard touchdown plunge on the second overtime possession lifted Brown (2-4, 1-2 Ivy) over Cornell (3-3, 1-2) at Providence, Rhode Island.

LEHIGH 46, HOLY CROSS 14: Dominick Bragalone ran for 182 yards on 17 carries with two touchdowns, and Lehigh (6-2, 3-0 Patriot) pulled away in the second half for a comfortable win over Holy Cross (3-5, 1-2) at Worcester, Massachusetts.

NEW HAMPSHIRE 21, TOWSON 7: Visiting New Hampshire (5-3, 4-1 Colonial Athletic) registered two defensive touchdowns, one off a fumble recovery and the other an interception return, and handled Towson (1-6, 0-4).

VILLANOVA 24, ALBANY 13: Aaron Forbes ran for 151 yards to lead Villanova (6-2, 4-1 Colonial Athletic) past Albany (4-3, 1-3) at Philadelphia.

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Top 25 football: Alabama rolls past No. 6 Aggies Sun, 23 Oct 2016 00:56:54 +0000 TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Jonathan Allen returned a fumble 29 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter Saturday to help top-ranked Alabama beat sixth-ranked Texas A&M, 33-14.

The Crimson Tide (8-0, 5-0 Southeastern) moved on as the powerhouse league’s last unbeaten team, getting yet another in a long string of defensive scores. Allen, a lineman, scooped up the ball after Ryan Anderson knocked it loose from Keith Ford to finally build a cushion over the Aggies (6-1, 4-1), who led 14-13 well into the third.

It was 20-14 when Allen extended Alabama’s streak to 10 games with a score on defense or special teams, half the duration of a winning streak now at 20 going into an open date.

Alabama’s freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts then galloped 37 yards for another score, stepping out of a defender’s grasp and making a nifty move to get past another. The Tide was rolling again, a powerful encore to easy wins over ranked Tennessee and Arkansas teams.

(3) MICHIGAN 41, ILLINOIS 8: Wilton Speight threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns in three quarters before watching Michigan (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten) finish off Illinois (2-5, 1-3) at Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The Wolverines were leading 34-0 in the fourth quarter when Coach Jim Harbaugh put backup quarterback John O’Korn in the game and rested Speight.

(7) LOUISVILLE 54, NORTH CAROLINA STATE 13: Lamar Jackson broke a school single-season record with four first-half touchdowns, Louisville (6-1, 4-1 Atlantic Coast) had three interceptions and burst past visiting North Carolina State (4-3, 1-2).

Jackson passed for three touchdowns and ran for a 36-yard score on the opening drive, giving him 34 TDs with five games to play. He passed Dave Ragone and Brian Brohm, who each had 33.

(8) NEBRASKA 27, PURDUE 14: Tommy Armstrong Jr. accounted for 303 yards of total offense and two touchdowns, and Nebraska (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten) came back from a four-point halftime deficit to defeat Purdue (3-4, 1-3) at Lincoln, Nebraska.

The Cornhuskers will head to No. 10 Wisconsin next week with their best record since 2001.

(10) WISCONSIN 17, IOWA 9: Corey Clement ran for 134 yards and a touchdown, and Wisconsin (5-2, 2-2 Big Ten) used a stout defense to beat Iowa (5-3, 2-2) at Iowa City, Iowa, and snap a two-game skid.

(12) WEST VIRGINIA 34, TEXAS CHRISTIAN 10: Skyler Howard threw four touchdown passes and West Virginia (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) held TCU (4-3, 2-2) scoreless in the second half at Morgantown, West Virginia.

(19) UTAH 52, UCLA 45: Joe Williams rushed for a school-record 332 yards and four touchdowns, and Utah (7-1, 4-1 Pac-12)held off UCLA (3-5, 1-4) at Pasadena, California.

(20) WESTERN MICHIGAN 45, EASTERN MICHIGAN 31: Zach Terrell threw for 398 yards and three touchdowns, and Western Michigan (8-0, 4-0 Mid-American) had 569 yards of total offense against Eastern Michigan (5-3, 2-2) at Kalamazoo, Michigan.

(22) NORTH CAROLINA 35, VIRGINIA 14: Mitch Trubisky threw three touchdown passes and North Carolina (6-2, 4-1 Atlantic Coast) limited Virginia (2-5, 1-2) to one trick-play touchdown until the fourth quarter at Charlottesville, Virginia.

(24) NAVY 42, MEMPHIS 28: Will Worth rushed for a career-high 201 yards and three touchdowns, and Navy (5-1, 4-0 American Athletic) ran over Memphis (5-2, 2-1) at Annapolis, Maryland, for its 14th consecutive home victory.

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Saturday’s Maine college roundup: OT goal lifts Bates men’s soccer Sun, 23 Oct 2016 00:38:57 +0000 MIDDLEBURY, Vt. — Peabo Knoth knocked in a pass from Julien Williamson 9:15 into overtime as the Bates men’s soccer team beat Middlebury 3-2 in a New England Small College Athletic Conference game Saturday.

Bates (6-6-2, 2-6-1 NESCAC) pulled ahead 2-1 early in the second half when Matt DiVite scored his second goal of the game on a header off a pass from Luke McNabb.

The Panthers (9-2-3, 4-2-3), who are ranked 15th nationally, tied the game on a goal by Tom Bean with 18:47 left in regulation.

HAMILTON 4, COLBY 0: Matt Casadei scored a pair of goals as the Continentals (7-6-1, 5-4-1) scored three second-half goals to pull away from the Mules (4-8-2, 1-6-2) in a NESCAC win at Waterville.

Avery Gibson finished with seven saves for the Mules, who were outshot 16-9 by Hamilton.

CONNECTICUT COLLEGE 1, BOWDOIN 1: Chris Lockwood scored the equalizer for the Camels (9-4-1, 4-4-1) with 3:37 left in regulation as they tied the Polar Bears (7-3-4, 3-3-3) in a NESCAC game at Brunswick.

Matt McColl gave Bowdoin a 1-0 lead 26:17 into the game.

Noah Safian made three saves for the Polar Bears, who outshot the Camels 13-8.

EASTERN CONNECTICUT ST. 4, SOUTHERN MAINE 0: Xavier Doran had two goals and an assist as the Warriors (6-8-1, 4-2 Little East) scored three times in the final 25 minutes to pull away from the Huskies (1-11-3, 0-6) in Willimantic, Connecticut.

Simon Hulbert finished with five saves for the Huskies, who were outshot 19-2 by the Warriors.

ST. JOSEPH’S 5, LASELL 0: Kartikeya Swarup, Austin Bell and Cody Elliott each scored first-half goals to lead the Monks (13-1-4, 8-0-1) past the Lasers (1-16, 0-9) at Deering High School in Portland.

Rory Twomey and Trevor Lopes each added second-half goals for the Monks. JoJo Strobino finished with a pair of assists.

Blake Mullen and Zack Moody did not make a save while combining on the shutout for the Monks, who outshot the Lasers 25-2.


EASTERN CONNECTICUT ST. 8, SOUTHERN MAINE 0: Rachel Berkowsky scored three goals to lead the Warriors (10-3-2, 5-0-1) to a Little East victory over the Huskies (5-11, 0-6) in Gorham.

Taylor Canastra made five saves in the first half and Olivia Mull stopped 16 shots in the second half for the Huskies, who were outshot 35-2 in the game.

ROGER WILLIAMS 2, UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND 0: Ericca Broderick and Jenna Hart each scored goals to lift the Gulls (9-6-2, 6-0-2) to a Commonwealth Coast win over the Nor’easters (9-5-1, 5-2-1) in Bristol, Rhode Island.

Brielle Robinson finished with five saves for the Nor’easters, who were outshot 14-4 by the Gulls.

HAMILTON 1, COLBY 0: Amanda Becker scored off a rebound of Ali Clarke’s shot with 4:52 left in the second half to lift the Continentals (5-7-3, 3-7-1) to a NESCAC win over the Polar Bears (6-9, 1-9) in Waterville.

Samantha Rizzo finished with 12 saves for the Polar Bears, who were outshot 26-6 by Hamilton in the game.

LASELL 5, ST. JOSEPH’S 2: Megan Cullen scored twice in the opening 19 minutes and finished with four goals for the Lasers (13-2-1, 9-0-1) as they beat the Monks (9-5-3, 6-1-3) in a GNAC game at Deering High School in Portland.

Haley DaGraca scored for the Monks off an assist from Emily DeLuca to cut the deficit to 2-1 with 10:52 left in the first half.

DaGraca added another goal off an assist from Sarah Comtois to make it 4-2 with 21:16 left in the game.

CONNECTICUT COLLEGE 0, BOWDOIN 0: Rachel Stout made four saves for the Polar Bears (9-4-1, 5-3-1) and Bryanna Montalvo stopped seven shots for the Camels (9-4-1, 4-4-1) as the teams played to a scoreless tie in a NESCAC game at Brunswick.


BOWDOIN 2, CONNECTICUT COLLEGE 0: Kimmy Ganong and Kara Finnerty each scored goals for the Polar Bears (11-3, 6-3) in a NESCAC win over the Camels (4-10, 2-7) at Brunswick.

Ganong opened the scoring in the 20th minute with an assist from Finnerty, who added an insurance goal for the Polar Bears in the 42nd minute.

Clara Belitz made two saves to record the shutout for the Polar Bears, who have won six straight games.

UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND 7, SALVE REGINA 1: Nicole Matarozzo scored three goals and Vonde Saunders added two goals and two assists for the Nor’easters (15-2, 10-0) as they cruised to a Commonwealth Coast win over the Seahawks (8-8, 4-6) in Biddeford.

Kendra MacDonald and Brenna Sicard each scored one goal, and MacDonald also had one assist for the Nor’easters, who led 4-1 at halftime.

UNE, which outshot Salve Regina 32-7, also got a pair of assists from Hannah Buckley.

ST. JOSEPH’S 6, RIVIER 0: Kelsey Dumond scored a pair of goals and Libby Pomerleau had a goal and three assists as the Monks (11-5, 5-1) beat the Raiders (4-11, 1-5) in a GNAC game at Nashua, New Hampshire.

Elyse Caiazzo and Kara Kelly added one goal and one assist apiece, and Katie Hunter also scored a goal for the Monks, who led 4-0 at halftime.

MIDDLEBURY 3, BATES 0: Grace Jennings had a goal and two assists as the Panthers (11-3, 6-3 NESCAC) beat the Bobcats (8-6, 3-6) in Middlebury, Vermont.

Lauren Schweppe had two goals for Middlebury, which ended the Bobcats three-game winning streak.

Taylor Lough and Jessie Moriarty each had three shots on goal for the Bobcats.

FITCHBURG ST. 2, SOUTHERN MAINE 0: Erin Morrisey scored a pair of second-half goals to lead the Falcons (12-4, 7-4) past the Huskies (7-11, 6-5) in a Little East Conference game at Gorham.

USM keeper Amanda Kasbohm made three saves and Morgan Gray added a defensive save for the Huskies, who were outshot 10-4 by the Falcons.

Hamilton 4, Colby 1: Michaela Giuttari scored a goal in each half as the Continentals (10-4, 7-3 NESCAC) beat the Mules (6-8, 2-7) in Waterville.

Lizzie Clark added a first-half goal and Margaret Revera a second-half goal as Hamilton took a 4-0 lead. Clarke also had two assists and Giuttari added one assist.

Meredith Keenan scored an unassisted goal for Colby.

Julia Booth had six saves for Hamilton, while Riley Whitmyer had 18 saves for the Mules. Hamilton outshot Colby 22-7.


BOWDOIN 99, SACRED HEART 0: Mackenzie Philbrick had four tries to lead a dominating offensive performance as the Polar Bears (4-1) shut out the Pioneers (2-4) at Brunswick.

Paige Pfannenstiel and Georgia each had three tries as Bowdoin opened a 36-0 halftime lead.

Kendall Schutzer had six successful conversions, while Elizabeth D’Angelo added five conversion.

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Girls’ soccer: Erskine controls play, beats MCI to advance to quarters Sun, 23 Oct 2016 00:08:42 +0000 SOUTH CHINA — Peyton Houghton and Kayla Hubbard scored first-half goals, and No. 6 Erskine dominated possession the rest of the way to beat No. 11 Maine Central Institute 2-0 in a Class B North prelim game Saturday.

Erskine (11-2-2) advances to play No. 3 Oceanside in the regional quarterfinals on Wednesday. MCI finishes the season 5-9-1.

“We worked really hard for this,” Houghton said. “We knew that we had it in us and we got it. I’m really proud of our team.”

The game was played on a soggy field with varying degrees of rain throughout the match. Erskine was adept at playing short, quick passes, however, and its patience paid off with a 23-8 advantage in total shots.

“Especially in these conditions, it was what we tried to do. Today it wasn’t about hitting the long ball into space,” Erskine Coach Ryan Nored said. “It was about nice, short, easy passes to our feet. The girls are tremendously good at it.”

The Eagles’ willingness to shoot whenever they had a sightline to the goal, from virtually anywhere within 25 yards, produced both goals.

In the 22nd minute, Houghton took a throw-in from Jordan Jowett, cut it back against the grain and ripped a low, skipping shot inside the near post.

Just before the half, at 38 minutes, Hubbard – known for her powerful right (and left) foot – uncorked a cannon that deflected off an MCI defender to beat Huskies goalkeeper Leah Bussell (11 saves).

“We have a lot of girls that can shoot really hard at really long distances,” Hubbard said.

“The girls that we have are really talented at that. Once we open things up, we’re able to take those shots. We’ve just got to work on opening that up more.”

The Eagles continued to take long shots in the second half but were unable to connect for a third goal despite keeping possession for more than 20 minutes.

“Welcome to our whole season,” Nored said.

“Our finishing is a big concern. We’ve got girls that can shoot but we’re making things too complicated sometimes. We’re looking for the perfect shot or the perfect through ball, when we’ve got girls with power who can hit that shot.”

The Eagles started slow and nearly fell behind to the Huskies. Ciera Hamlin worked with Alanha McCarron to get off a good shot that clanged off the crossbar.

The Huskies continued to play with Erskine for the next 10 minutes or so but eventually the Eagles started to take control. Over the final 37 minutes of the first half, MCI managed just one shot.

“I think they kind of identified what we were doing and they started switching a lot,” MCI Coach Autumn Pepin said.

“We had to track that and catch onto what was going on, and I think it took us a little bit to adjust.”

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Volleyball: NYA advances to semifinals Sat, 22 Oct 2016 23:38:34 +0000 YARMOUTH — After sixth-seeded Wells took the third set and seized momentum in its Class B volleyball quarterfinal Saturday, third-seeded North Yarmouth Academy recognized the need to start strong in the fourth set.

The Panthers did just that, racing out to a 10-1 lead as they beat the Warriors 25-17, 25-22, 26-28, 25-14.

“I tell my kids all the time that if we can get the lead going early, then they’ll have a harder time catching up,” said NYA Coach Nora Krainis. “Getting a lead like that is what we’re always trying to do.

“Obviously, it doesn’t always work out like that, but it was so important today. It’s all about momentum, and after the third set they had it. If you can’t get the momentum going your way, you have to fight, and you end up playing a little bit out of control.”

With the win – the first ever quarterfinal victory for NYA – the Panthers (12-3) advance to a semifinal Wednesday against Washington Academy or Bucksport.

Wells, which qualified for the playoffs for the first time in only its second season as a varsity program, finished with an 8-7 record.

Throughout the match, the Panthers relied on strong play from the service line and at the net to keep Wells from getting into a rhythm.

Leading the way at the net were senior Zelda Clegg (five aces, seven kills, five blocks, five digs) and sophomore Sydney Plummer (three blocks). The duo wreaked havoc on potential kill attempts despite a height disadvantage to their counterparts across the net.

“They were both great on the net,” said Krainis. “We’ve been working on it all week – explosive jumping, going up with both hands and reading the other team to make sure our timing was right.”

Senior Suzanna Butterfield (16-for-20 serving, six aces, eight kills), who served for seven straight points in a furious comeback attempt in the third set and twice served for four straight points during the final set, helped pace an efficient service line attack for NYA.

Junior libero Tessa Quatrucci (24-for-27 serving, seven aces, 15 digs) and senior Jordan Ackerman (16-for-20 serving, seven aces, 11 digs) also had standout serving days.

“We practiced a lot this week about where to serve,” said Krainis. “We worked hard to put balls where teams statistically miss the receives. We really did practice it a lot, and we know when we’re serving well, we play well.”

Sophomore Maggie Larson impressively handled her role as setter, handing out 16 assists while coming up with 10 digs on defense.

“She’s the leader on the court,” said Krainis. “She call the plays and has to read the other side really well. She has to know where there might be weaknesses, and (she) figures out quickly if we should attack the outside, or middle or back row, or if we should tip it.

“Maggie is just spectacular, and has awareness of so much at once.

Alyssa Loukola led Wells with nine kills and five blocks, while Halee Ramsdell chipped in seven blocks and 13 digs. Alicia Bridges added 15 digs and Kait Schott dished out 25 assists.

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Football: Winslow rolls past Waterville Sat, 22 Oct 2016 23:13:47 +0000 WINSLOW — The Winslow and Waterville high school football teams are at different levels of development. That was readily apparent Saturday.

Winslow won the annual Battle of the Bridge 61-7 and will enter the playoffs seeking a third consecutive Class C state title. Waterville finished an 0-8 season.

“It’s a whole new season and we’ll get ready for the playoffs,” Winslow Coach Mike Siviski said.

Winslow (7-1), the No. 3 seed in the Class C North playoffs, will be home against sixth-ranked Old Town (4-4) in the regional quarterfinals next Saturday, in a rematch of last season’s regional final.

Saturday’s win was Winslow’s fifth straight win over the Purple Panthers, who lead the all-time series, 51-34-4.

Winslow outgained Waterville 436 yards to 90. Nate St. Amand scored on runs of 5, 46, 10 and 20 yards. St. Amand had just eight carries, gaining 115 yards.

“It’s just incredible. We work so hard in practice all week, to come out here and have a big win, it’s really nice,” St. Amand said.

Ryan Fredette opened the scoring with a 50-yard run on Winslow’s first play, 29 seconds into the game. Patrick Hopkins scored on a 4-yard run early in the second quarter to make it 42-7. A 38-yard run by Dylan Hutchinson and a 24-yard fumble return by Keanu Earle gave the Black Raiders a 55-7 halftime lead.

Waterville’s touchdown came on a 9-yard run by quarterback Jack Thompson midway through the first quarter. Thompson is one of a handful of Waterville sophomores asked to play a lot this season. John Evans, a sophomore two-way lineman, showed versatility with a 48-yard kick return Saturday. Sophomore tight end Cooper Hart caught three passes for 27 yards.

“In a season like this, there’s a lot of things to consider. Although the record doesn’t show it, there’s a lot of bright spots,” Waterville Coach Matt Gilley said.

“There are a lot of football players that made some big plays that are in position that under normal circumstances, they’d probably be dominating a (junior varsity) schedule, getting ready to step up as juniors. That’s just not where we’re at.”

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Auto racing notebook: Elliott still chasing win, and now he needs one Sat, 22 Oct 2016 23:12:18 +0000 TALLADEGA, Ala. — Chase Elliott has been inching toward his first career Sprint Cup victory all year, only to come up short time and time again.

He needs it to come Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, where anything but a win will likely eliminate the rookie phenom from NASCAR’s playoffs.

There have been five times this year that Elliott has finished second or third. He’s been inside the top five a total of nine times. He might have even won at Charlotte Motor Speedway two weeks ago until he wrecked. Then a tire problem at Kansas dropped him to last in the Chase for the Sprint Cup standings and on the edge of elimination.

“We are obviously disappointed in the way the past two weeks have gone, having such strong cars,” Elliott said Friday. “But it puts us in a pretty simplistic situation for this weekend.”

The third and final race of this leg of the Chase will trim the title contenders from 12 to eight, and Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick already have spots locked down. There are no guarantees for the remaining six spots, as drivers have come to Talladega the last two years in good position only to be bounced out after a bad day at the superspeedway.

n Martin Truex Jr. overcame an issue in inspection to win the pole for the playoff elimination race.

Truex turned a lap of 193.423 mph to earn the top starting spot Sunday. The winner of two races in the first round of the Chase, Truex is winless in round two but above the cutoff point. Four drivers will be cut from the field Sunday.

Prior to qualifying, NASCAR confiscated bolts from Truex’s Toyota and series officials were unsure what, if any, penalty the Furniture Row Racing team will face.

NASCAR vice president of competition Scott Miller said a points penalty is unlikely.

Miller said Truex had no competitive advantage, but the bolts taken could have been considered a safety issue.

TRUCK SERIES: Grant Enfinger grabbed his first career NASCAR win by holding off the pack to win at Talladega Superspeedway.

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UMaine football notebook: Interceptions helped pick off a win Sat, 22 Oct 2016 22:50:01 +0000 KINGSTON, R.I. — For the last couple of weeks, the University of Maine’s defensive coaching staff put an emphasis on creating turnovers. Saturday, that work paid off.

The Black Bears intercepted five passes – two by defensive linemen – in a 28-21 victory over Rhode Island at Meade Stadium.

Jason Matovu secured the win with an end-zone interception on the game’s last play. Defensive end Connor Walsh returned another interception 48 yards for a touchdown in Maine’s fourth consecutive win.

Maine created only seven turnovers all season entering the game – three fumble recoveries and four interceptions.

“Obviously the five interceptions were huge,” said Coach Joe Harasymiak. “That sort of made up for the yardage we gave up. But we haven’t done that all year, in terms of turning the ball over like that, so it was nice to see.”

Rhode Island quarterback Jordan Vazzano threw for a career-high 347 yards – the first time a Rams quarterback has thrown for over 300 since 2009.

But Maine (4-3 overall, 3-1 in the Colonial Athletic Association) made big plays when needed.

The first interception was by safety Darrius Hart in the first quarter – Hart’s third of the season – on a ball tipped by Maine defensive back Tayvon Hall. Then cornerback Najee Goode intercepted a Vazzano pass at the Maine 4 late in the second quarter.

Walsh’s interception return gave Maine a 21-14 lead with 37 seconds left in the third quarter. Maine linebacker Kayshawn Wilson blitzed from the left and deflected the pass into the air. Defensive lineman Pat Ricard batted it – right to Walsh, who ran in untouched.

“Thank God I didn’t catch it because if I did, I probably would have been tackled,” said Ricard.

Defensive tackle Darius Greene later dropped back into coverage and made a diving interception at the Maine 24 with 12:51 left in the game.

And then Matovu, who joined the Black Bears as a walk-on and earned a full scholarship this year, secured the win with his pick, which was tipped to him by linebacker Sterling Sheffield.

“It’s big,” said Ricard. “We need to create turnovers, something that’s been lacking throughout the season. I think that’s one of the main reasons we won the game today, the five turnovers.”

Harasymiak said the Black Bears now need to do is turn turnovers into points. Only Walsh’s interception return led to any points.

“We’ve got to start making plays off them,” said Harasymiak. “If we can do that, that’s how we can start putting these games away.”

Still, said Rhode Island Coach Jim Fleming, those interceptions had an impact: “They stopped the drives. And those were point-worthy drives.”

The last time a Maine player returned an interception for a touchdown was Trevor Bates on Nov. 8, 2014, a 33-20 win over Richmond.

MAINE’S LAST four-game winning streak came in 2013, when it won seven straight from Sept. 28 to Nov. 16.

The Black Bears are at William & Mary next Saturday. The Tribe had a bye this week.

A win there would put the Black Bears in pretty good shape heading into a Nov. 5 home game with nationally ranked Villanova.

“We’re 3-1 in the league with four left and it’s all in our control,” said Harasymiak.

“It’s all conference games. We control our destiny and there’s no one else to blame but ourselves.”

SPENCER CAREY, the junior wide receiver from Fairfield and Lawrence High, was back after missing four games with a broken right hand. He was in on special teams.

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

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Saturday’s high school roundup: Portland overpowers South Portland Sat, 22 Oct 2016 22:49:40 +0000 SOUTH PORTLAND — Dylan Bolduc rushed for 249 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns as Portland cruised to a 47-0 win over South Portland in a Class A football game Saturday.

The Bulldogs finished the regular season with a 7-1 record and will be the No. 1 seed in the Class A North playoffs. South Portland, now 2-6, will be the No. 6 seed in the South and will face Scarborough in next weekend’s quarterfinals.

Bolduc opened the scoring with a 47-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Issiah Bachelder added a 30-yard touchdown run later in the quarter, then threw a 37-yard TD pass to Griffin Foley in the second quarter. Jake Knop’s 60-yard run made it 27-0 at halftime.

Bolduc, Bachelder and Knop each added a touchdown run in the third quarter.

Knop finished with 170 yards rushing.

FALMOUTH 14, GREELY 0: Garrett Aube’s 8-yard touchdown run capped a drive that lasted nearly eight minutes after the second-half kickoff, and the Yachtsmen (6-2) beat the visiting Rangers (5-3) to earn home-field advantage in the first round of the Class B South playoffs.

Brandon Martin dove in from the 1 with about five minutes remaining to complete the scoring.

Falmouth will be the No. 3 seed in the playoffs and will host No. 6 Greely again in the quarterfinals next weekend.

BRUNSWICK 64, NOKOMIS 12: Hunter Garrett and Ben Palizay each scored two touchdown in the first half, and the Dragons (8-0) finished the regular season undefeated by rolling past the Warriors (0-8) in Newport.

Palizay opened the scoring with a 40-yard run, then caught a 4-yard TD pass from Sullivan Boyd.

Garrett added touchdown runs of 32 and 60 yards as Brunswick built a 50-6 halftime lead.

Donald Bromley added a pair of second-half touchdown runs.

Tyler Pelletier connected with Isaac Thibodeau for a pair of long touchdown passes for Nokomis, a 63-yard pass just before halftime and a 69-yarder in the third quarter.

MORSE 20, MT. ARARAT 18: Raz Balthazar had three rushing touchdowns for the Shipbulders (3-5) as they held off the Eagles (2-6) at Topsham.

Balthazar had a 35-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter to give Morse an 8-0 lead, which stood into halftime.

Balthazar and Mt. Ararat’s Robert Hetherman exchanged two touchdowns apiece in the second half as the Shipbuilders held a 20-12 lead late in the fourth quarter.

The Eagles had a chance to tie it when Jacob O’Neil hit Ryan Mello in the back of the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown pass with 2:14 left, but conversion rush failed.

FRYEBURG ACADEMY 42, LAKE REGION 6: Cody Gullikson had a pair of touchdown catches and added a 6-yard scoring run for the Raiders (6-2) as they built a 42-0 halftime lead against the Lakers (1-7) in Naples.

Josh Frye contributed a 46-yard fumble recovery return for a score, and Ryan Hewes ran 78 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.

Derek Mondville had a 10-yard touchdown run for Lake Region in the fourth quarter.

OAK HILL 33, TRAIP ACADEMY 13: Cruz Poirier rushed for two touchdowns as the Raiders (5-2) beat the Rangers (2-5) in a preview of a first-round Class D South playoff matchup.

Austin Noble, Brian Thorpe and Matt Strout also had short touchdown runs for the three-time defending state champions, who will host Traip for a quarterfinal matchup next Saturday.

Evan Porter rushed for 110 yards and scored both touchdowns for Traip.

LISBON 36, MEDOMAK VALLEY 0: Tyler Halls threw a pair of touchdown passes to Kurtis Bolton as the Greyhounds (6-1) beat the Panthers (1-6) in Lisbon Falls.

Halls connected with Bolton for a 43-yard score in the first quarter to give Lisbon a 16-0 lead, then made it 24-0 with a 45-yard strike in the second quarter.

The Greyhounds also got touchdown runs from Jared Glover (49 yards), Noah Francis (1 yard) and Lucas Francis (2 yards).


FREEPORT 2, MARANACOOK 0: Tia Peterson and Jesse Driscoll scored goals to lift the seventh-seeded Falcons (8-5-2) over the 10th-seeded Black Bears (6-7-2) in a Class B South prelim in Yarmouth.

Peterson opened the scoring off a give-and-go from Catriona Gould with 11:18 left in the first half.

Driscoll added an insurance goal with 27:10 remaining.


SCARBOROUGH 3, BONNY EAGLE 0: The second-seeded Red Storm (15-1) scored 12 of the final 13 points to complete a 25-17, 25-9, 25-14 win over the seventh-seeded Scots (11-5) in a Class A quarterfinal at Scarborough.


MCI 6, BOOTHBAY 2: Vivian Ducombe scored a pair of goals in a span of 1:28 as the top-seeded Huskies (14-2) used a five-goal outburst in the second half to beat the fifth-seeded Seahawks (9-6-1) in a Class C North semifinal at Thomas College.

Addi Williams opened the scoring for MCI at 16:18 before Sydney Meader answered for Boothbay as the teams went into the break tied at 1-1.

Riley Sullivan gave Boothbay a 2-1 lead 1:41 into the second half, but Williams countered for the Huskies, putting in her own rebound, and Allison Hughes followed with the go-ahead goal for MCI.

Keely Manzo also scored for MCI, which will face third-seeded Winthrop in the regional final Wednesday at Hampden Academy.


MT. BLUE 3, HAMPDEN ACADEMY 0: William Salisbury had a goal and an assist to lead the ninth-seeded Cougars (3-9-3) over the eighth-seeded Witches (6-7-2) in a Class A North prelim at Hampden Academy.

Tristan McFarlane and Samuel Smith also scored for the Cougars (3-9-3), who will play at top-ranked Edward Little in the quarterfinals on Tuesday. Hunter Bolduc and Chris Marshall each had an assist and Tucker Carleton made three saves.

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Volleyball: Top-ranked Greely tops Gorham Sat, 22 Oct 2016 22:33:51 +0000 CUMBERLAND — Judging by Gorham’s celebration after the third set, or the way the Greely players dropped their heads, you wouldn’t know their volleyball match wasn’t over.

Or that Greely led two sets to one.

The emotions arose because Greely lost a set for the first time this year. But the Rangers recovered quickly end eliminated Gorham in the Class A quarterfinals with a 25-16, 25-17, 21-25, 25-9 victory Saturday.

The top-seeded Rangers (15-0) advanced to the semifinals Wednesday against No. 4 Falmouth (13-3). No. 9 Gorham is done at 10-6.

Greely beat Falmouth during the season 3-0 – but then the Rangers beat everyone 3-0 this year until Saturday. It’s a dominance Greely embraced. When the Rangers won the first two sets, a sweep seemed inevitable.

Except Gorham wasn’t folding. The first two games were hard-fought. Diana Kolb and Kristen Curley were powerful outside hitters for Gorham and, combined with Caralin Mills and Katherine O’Donnell, were effective blockers to the Rangers’ power game.

“Gorham is a very good team and we knew that coming in,” Molly Chapin of Greely said. “Very big blocks. We had to work on hitting around them.

“They picked up a lot of balls. They were very scrappy.”

Gorham was losing but Coach Nicole Rizzo was applauding.

“I’m so happy with our level of play,” she said. “We were able to get passes and set our offense.”

Still, Greely outplayed the Rams in those first games, with setter Morgan Selby finding her powerful hitters in Chapin, Kayley Cimino and Sara Agren.

“We want to hit the ball. We want to attack, attack, attack all the time,” Greely Coach Kelvin Hasch said. “That’s what we’re about. (But) we got away from that a little bit.”

In the third game the Rams jumped ahead 12-8 and Greely called a timeout. Gorham made it 17-10 with Maiya Carlson serving four straight points, and Greely called another timeout.

Greely rallied but the Rams held on, with setter Isabelle Kolb pacing the flow for a 25-21 win. The Rams were whooping and hugging.

“It literally meant the world to our team, and meant the world to me,” said Diana Kolb, “to finish our season by taking a set off of Greely.”

Hasch approached his upset players.

“I told them, ‘Hey, that meant nothing to me. They hadn’t won a thing. Let’s go out and spank them,’ ” Hasch said. “I think the score reflects that.”

With Agren serving 10 straight points on aces, winners and Gorham errors, the Rangers took a 14-1 lead.

“I think we got too excited and lost our focus a little bit,” Diana Kolb said.

When Gorham got back to its passing and setting up hits, Greely was there to block.

The Rangers finished off Gorham and were soon celebrating.

“It was hard to lose a set after such a great season, but they earned it. Good for them,” Chapin said. “Something we can work on and learn from this.

“It was an intense game all the way around. It’s fun to play in those. It’s what we needed.”

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Steelers matchup usually a feast for Brady Sat, 22 Oct 2016 22:29:00 +0000 Tom Brady must be licking his chops in anticipation of playing against the Steelers on Sunday.

It’s not because the Steelers will be missing Cam Heyward, their best defensive player and top pass rusher.

It’s not because the Steelers are 31st in the league in pass defense and give up almost 300 yards per game through the air, although that’s certainly a tantalizing thought for the 16-year veteran.

No, the reason Brady loves to play the Steelers is simple. He plays better against them than any other team in the NFL with the exception of one.

Brady’s career quarterback rating against the Steelers is 113.4. The only team he does better against is Atlanta (115.7), and he has only played the Falcons four times. He has played the Steelers eight times in the regular season, and 10 overall including two meetings in the AFC championship games after the 2001 and 2004 seasons. He has won eight and lost two.

Even when the Steelers had the best defense in the NFL, or close to it, Brady would tear through it like they were the 1976 expansion Buccaneers. He has thrown 24 touchdowns to just three interceptions in those 10 games. He averages a whopping 325 passing yards per game.

“I think that’s a product of a lot of things,” Brady said Wednesday afternoon during a teleconference. “There’s nothing you can do as a quarterback if the guys around you aren’t being productive. And I think the guys around me have been so productive for a long time.

“The Steelers are a lot to prepare for. They provide a lot of challenges. We’ve won our fair share, and we’ve lost some big ones. It’s going to be a big one for us, and we’re going to need to go play really well to beat them.”

The Patriots played really well against the Steelers three years ago. Brady was at the controls when the Steelers suffered perhaps their most humiliating defeat in franchise history.

On Nov. 3, 2013, Brady set the record for most yards and most points against the Steelers in a 55-31 victory in New England. The Patriots rolled up 610 yards, 432 of which came off the right arm of Brady, who tossed four touchdown passes that day.

“We have to get lined up and be on the details,” Steelers safety Robert Golden said. “It’s all about executing our defense and executing our game plan, and not about what they’re doing. If we do what we do, we’ll be able to come out with a victory.”

Ah yes, the details. Last season the Steelers played the Patriots in the opener at Gillette Stadium and lost, 28-21. Brady threw for 288 yards and four touchdowns, and the Steelers famously left All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski uncovered on more than one occasion by not getting in the proper defensive alignment.

Two of the starting four in the defensive backfield that faced the Patriots in Week 1 last season are no longer with the team. Will Allen has been replaced by Golden and Ross Cockrell has replaced Antwon Blake.

“The most important thing we can do is disrupt timing,” Cockrell said. “Tom Brady is a really good quarterback. He’s been around for a long time. We just have to knock him off his timing a little bit and knock him off his rhythm, and I think we’ll make some plays.

“On the back end, we have to jam up the receivers as much as we can. The defensive line will probably have to change up some things and work on different things to get to him quicker because the release is quick.”

Brady, who turned 39 in August, missed the first month of the season when he served a four-game suspension related to the NFL’s investigation into the deflated football controversy.

But there are no signs of his slowing down. In the two games he has played he has thrown six touchdown passes and no interceptions against the Browns and Bengals. He has more touchdowns in two games than four quarterbacks that have started every game.

The times the Steelers have beaten Brady there’s been one constant: pressure. When the Steelers beat the Patriots 34-20 in 2004, they sacked Brady four times and intercepted two passes. When they beat the Patriots 25-17 in 2011 they sacked him five times.

These Steelers know the formula, too. But getting pressure this season has been problematic. They have just eight sacks in six games and Heyward has three of them.

“We’re going to play mano-a-mano football and play for 60 minutes,” defensive end Stephon Tuitt said. “We have to rush the way we rush. We have to be physical, take advantage of their guards, get around the edge with our ends, and play technique and disrupt his rhythm.”

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Volleyball: Falmouth rallies past MDI Sat, 22 Oct 2016 22:28:25 +0000 FALMOUTH — In between a hesitant start and quizzical end, Falmouth managed to string together enough dinks and kills to dispatch Mt. Desert Island 3-1 in a Class A girls’ volleyball quarterfinal Saturday at Falmouth High.

Fourth-seeded Falmouth (13-3) advanced to Wednesday’s semifinal round at top-ranked Greely with a 23-25, 25-19, 25-13, 25-19 victory over No. 5 MDI (10-6).

“The first set, I think there were a lot of nerves going and a lot of anticipation, and that’s why we weren’t really playing as ourselves,” said Falmouth setter Alaine Birkel.

“I don’t think this was our best game. So we’re going to build from what we did today and take that into the rest of the tournament.”

Birkel served out the match’s final four points after MDI closed within 20-19.

The match ended with both squads standing around and looking with confusion at the referee after Falmouth middle hitter Alison Noyes sailed her spike attempt well beyond the end line. A delayed ruling that an MDI blocker had tipped the ball on its way over the net led to a hesitant handshake line.

“I don’t know who could have got it because my girls can’t jump that high,” said MDI Coach Corey Papadopoli. “I wish they could but they can’t.”

MDI had visited Falmouth in late September and lost in four sets, but returned Saturday brimming with confidence. Trailing 21-20, the Trojans won four straight points on kills by Julia Watras and Grace Higgins along with a Falmouth net violation to take control.

“In some ways we overlooked MDI a little bit,” Falmouth Coach Molly Northway said. “They always come out with super strong serves. They were very scrappy this year. And since we played them earlier in the season, they significantly improved.

“They had some hitters who were hitting deep cross shots that were throwing us off. But we were able to finally switch our defense to catch those.”

Falmouth jumped to a 7-1 lead in the second set, only to see MDI twice pull within a point, at 11-10 and 14-13. But Noyes and fellow middle hitter Alston Armstrong proved too much for the Trojans to handle. Even though MDI led 3-0 in each of the two remaining sets, Falmouth eventually assumed control.

“I thought our middles did really well blocking,” said Falmouth libero Amanda Watson, who served seven straight points to swing momentum her team’s way early in the third set. “And Alaina got really used to picking up the tough angle balls.”

MDI closed within 20-19 in the final set before Falmouth (13-3) won the final five points, culminating in a successful dink by Noyes to get to 24 that set up the winning kill that may or may not have brushed an MDI finger.

“I think we were all a little surprised,” Birkel said, “but once they made that call, I don’t think they were going to go back on it.”

Greely and Falmouth met once in the regular season with the Rangers winning 3-0 in Falmouth on Sept. 15.

“We can be our own worst enemy,” Birkel said.

“But once we start believing in what we do and who we’re next to, we’re ready to go.”

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Girls’ soccer: Kennebunk advances with 1-0 win Sat, 22 Oct 2016 21:15:40 +0000 KENNEBUNK — While the rain certainly didn’t hold off until the end of the Class A girls’ soccer prelim Saturday, eighth-seeded Kennebunk managed to keep ninth-ranked Bonny Eagle scoreless in the second half for a 1-0 victory.

“One-nothing is a dangerous score – they could have come back at any time,” Kennebunk Coach Shannon Cavanaugh said. “Bonny Eagle is a good team and they wanted it. It felt nice to hold it off.”

Hallie Schwartzman scored 29 minutes into the first half on a penalty kick for the Rams (8-6-1), who will play at top-ranked Gorham in the quarterfinals Wednesday.

The Scots ended their season at 7-7-1.

“We were trying to play to each other’s feet – we knew it was going to be slippery and wet,” Schwartzman said. “We have quick forwards so we were trying to hit them up top.”

The Rams controlled most of the first half, producing four shots on goal while allowing Bonny Eagle just one.

With 11 minutes left before halftime in a scoreless game, Elizabeth Cain of Kennebunk carried the ball downfield on a breakaway before getting tripped up in the box by a defender.

Schwartzman capitalized on the penalty kick, placing the ball in the upper corner beyond the reach of goalkeeper Sydney Gillingham for the 1-0 lead.

“You and the goalie pick your spot, and you place it,” Schwartzman said. “We practice those shots all the time but in practice, it’s only so exciting. Then you do it in the game and it ends up being the difference.”

Gillingham finished with seven saves. Adia Grogan recorded five for the shutout.

With their season on the line, the Scots stepped it up in the second half – matching Kennebunk’s five shots with five of their own.

“With us, you’re not sure who you’re going to get – it’s a little bit of Jekyll and Hyde,” Bonny Eagle Coach Ed Taylor said.

“In the first half we were flat. In the second half they pressed and did everything they were supposed to do.”

Meanwhile, the mist from the first half turned into a downpour for most of the second, which Schwartzman said made maintaining possession a challenge for the Rams.

“We tried to possess as much as we could but it was wet out there, and you can only control so much,” Schwartzman said. “The last 15 minutes were crazy. It’s always hard knowing that your season is coming to an end, so both teams were just trying to lock it in. It was an evenly matched game. Today it happened to go our way.”

Bonny Eagle didn’t threatened to score until late in the game. With two minutes left, freshman Emily Byrne took a shot from deep but Grogan made the save. It was the closest the Scots would get to extending their season.

“We’re young and inexperienced, and we had glimpses of that today,” Taylor said, noting Bonny Eagle is graduating just two seniors. “I know as a coach that experience comes with time. Once that catches up with this group, there’s a very bright future for them.”

As for Kennebunk, Cavanaugh said entering the matchup against Gorham as the underdogs “is a good position to be in.”

“We’ve just got to play our game,” Cavanaugh said. “If we prepare for Gorham, we’re just going to stress ourselves out. It’s just a game.”

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Football: Windham edges Cheverus, 13-12 Sat, 22 Oct 2016 21:07:49 +0000 After Windham drove down the field on its first possession Saturday, only to be thwarted on downs at the Cheverus 11, the Eagles sputtered for the rest of the first half.

Needing a spark, the Eagles got it in the form of two special teams plays that propelled Windham to a 13-12 victory at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

The win gave the Eagles (5-3) a first-round bye in the Class A North playoffs as the No. 2.

The Stags dropped to 4-4 and will host Lewiston in next weekend’s quarterfinal round.

After letting a 12-0 lead slip away, Cheverus had a chance to pull out a win in the final minute, but Chandler Hartigan’s 38-yard field-goal attempt with 30 seconds remaining came up short. The drive was slowed by a holding penalty that negated a run to the Windham 2.

Cheverus controlled the first half, but Nazari Henderson returned the second-half kickoff 62 yards to give Windham the ball at the Cheverus 9. A horse-collar tackle moved the ball closer to the end zone, and Kyle Houser punched it in untouched on a 5-yard TD run up the middle.

“We came out in the second half and really finished (our plays),” said Windham Coach Matt Perkins. “It was a great battle. It could have gone either way.”

Two drives later, Houser ran up to field a short punt and went straight ahead for a 37-yard return, setting up the Eagles at Cheverus 30. Houser scored four plays later to give his team’s its first lead of the game, with 1:47 left.

Houser said halftime adjustments helped turn the tables.

“We wanted to play more like a team (in the second half) and that’s what we did,” said the senior, who finished with 52 hard-fought yards on 15 carries. “We were struggling in the first half and people were getting down on themselves. We came back out and had a nice team win.”

Cheverus Coach Mike Vance felt it was an even game, except for the special teams plays by Windham.

“We had a couple special teams mistakes – we didn’t cover on a kickoff and we didn’t cover on a punt – and that was the difference in the game,” said Vance.

“We’re not the stoutest group, so sometimes we have trouble getting down the field and taking contact.”

The winning scoring drive was aided by a pass interference call on third-and-6. The penalty gave the Eagles the ball at the Cheverus 13, and Houser broke a tackle and scored on the next play.

“I give all the credit to my line. They’re working their tails off Monday through Friday, and then they come out here on Saturday and they make it easy for me,” said Houser.

The Windham defense clamped down in the second half. A sack by lineman Justin Labrecque ended the Stags’ first drive. Fellow lineman Braxton Cassidy got a second-down sack on the next drive.

In the fourth quarter, the defensive backfield chipped in with a goal-line interception with 7:58 left, as Desmond Leslie tipped the ball and Garrett Peeples hauled it in.

On the final Cheverus drive, Grant Jacobson and Labrecque disrupted plays with penetration in the backfield.

“I thought our guys did a good job of being aware of the situations and what (Cheverus) was going to do,” said Perkins.

The Stags grabbed a 6-0 lead in the first quarter when Jack Casale (8 for 15, 105 yards) found Dominic Casale in the corner of the end zone for a 13-yard scoring play. The PAT was blocked.

Jack Casale (12 rushes, 62 yards) scored from 7 yards out with 31.9

seconds left in the first half to make it 12-0.

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Football: UMaine holds off Rhode Island for fourth straight win Sat, 22 Oct 2016 19:09:54 +0000 KINGSTON, R.I. — Maybe there will come a time when the University of Maine football team wins an easy one.

For now the Black Bears will take victories any way they come.

Maine won its fourth consecutive game Saturday, turning back Rhode Island 28-21 at murky Meade Stadium when Jason Matovu intercepted a pass in the end zone on the game’s final play.

That was Maine’s fifth interception of the game, with defensive end Connor Walsh returning one 48 yards for a touchdown.

“The bottom line is that this team is finding ways to win these last four,” said Joe Harasymiak, the first-year head coach of the Black Bears. “We’ve done it in exciting fashion. Obviously we’d like to make it a little easier on us but that’s this league. There’s no easy games and we’re going to keep battling to the end.

“We’re finding ways to win. And that’s the bottom line.”

Maine is now 4-3 overall and 3-1 in the Colonial Athletic Association. Rhode Island lost for the third consecutive week to drop to 1-7 overall, 0-5 in the CAA.

Maine quarterback Dan Collins completed just 13 of 30 passes for 147 yards, but threw two touchdown passes to Micah Wright, including a 43-yard game-winner with 6:35 remaining.

Maine never trailed, taking the lead just 2:40 into the game when freshman Josh Mack (115 rushing yards to lead Maine) broke loose for a 65-yard touchdown run on the game’s sixth play. But the Rams, who got a career-high 347 passing yards from redshirt freshman quarterback Jordan Vazzano, kept coming back.

Rhode Island had one last chance, getting the ball with 2:02 remaining at its 24. Vazzano completed a 21-yard pass to Harold Buckner III on a fourth-and-9, then hit Marven Beauvais for 25 to the Maine 18.

After spiked the ball to stop the clock with 11 seconds left, Vazzano tried to find the 6-foot-4 Beauvais down the middle. But Maine linebacker Sterling Sheffield dove and tipped the ball. It deflected off Beauvais and into the hands of Matovu, who ran the ball out of the end zone to run the clock out.

“I saw the ball go in the air and it’s coming down where I know I need to make a play,” said Matovu. “(Sheffield) ended up hitting the ball at the last second and I saw the ball, and my eyes lit up.”

Vazzano said he thought Beauvais, who was lined up in the slot, had the advantage over Maine’s smaller defensive backs.

“He’s a big body and making plays all day for me,” he said. “I thought I’d give him a shot. If I could get it back I’d probably throw it to a different spot. But at the end of the day you’ve got to live with it.”

Vazzano’s 65-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Parker (and PAT kick by Justin Rohrwasser) made it 21-21 with 10:32 remaining.

Four minutes later, Maine was back in the lead.

After the defense forced a punt, the Black Bears took over on their 45. A 12-yard run by Zaire Williams put the ball on the Rams’ 43. Collins then faked a handoff to Williams and dropped back, with plenty of time to survey the secondary.

He locked onto Wright, who was streaking down the right, and placed a perfect ball that found Wright in stride in the end zone.

“I found him in a coverage that we liked and Micah ran a great route,” said Collins.

“He was playing off and I felt I was going to run by him,” said Wright. “I had done it earlier in the game and I told Dan, so I had a feeling he was going to throw it to me.”

Wright caught seven passes for 97 yards. The Black Bears also rushed for 201 yards, averaging 6.7 yards per carry.

But in the end it came down to the defense making one more play to secure the win.

“We’re finding ways to win,” said Harasymiak. “The stats probably don’t look great, but the only stat that matters is wins. We hadn’t found a way to win these types of games the last couple of years. So we’re starting to do that.”

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Volleyball: Yarmouth upsets Biddeford to reach semifinals Sat, 22 Oct 2016 17:33:20 +0000 BIDDEFORD — There’s something freeing about losing expectations of success.

Just ask the Yarmouth volleyball team, which ended its regular season with a five-set loss to Biddeford and then saw senior outside hitter Rachel Chille sidelined because of a collision during a preliminary round victory over Windham.

“We literally had nothing to lose,” said Yarmouth senior Alison Clark.

Instead of an attack balanced between Clark and Chille, the sixth-seeded Clippers relied heavily on Clark, and she delivered 29 kills Saturday in a 3-1 Class A quarterfinal victory over No. 3 Biddeford.

The scores were 25-19, 25-21, 22-25, 25-21.

The Clippers (12-4) advance to a Wednesday semifinal at No. 2 Scarborough (15-1), which swept its quarterfinal against No. 7 Bonny Eagle.

With Chille sitting out in adherence to concussion protocol, junior Olivia Robichaud and sophomore Skylar Bennett were asked to play back and front row, respectively.

“Both of those kids (haven’t) seen a lot of playing time all year,” Yarmouth Coach Jim Senecal said. “This match, they had to.”

Robichaud passed and served well and Bennett did her best with Biddeford’s tips and short game, allowing Yarmouth to extend rallies and eventually find Clark for a booming spike, or occasionally and with great effect, sophomore middle hitter Ceanne Lyon. Normally relied upon for her blocking abilities, Lyon scored four critical points in the fourth set on softer spikes that caromed off the hands of Biddeford blockers.

“It’s the (slightly unorthodox) nature of her attack that really gets their block off balance,” Senecal said of Lyon, who is playing volleyball for the first time this season. “She’s not a powerful hitter.”

Eight points into the opening set, Biddeford junior middle hitter Mia Martel sprained her ankle and left the court with assistance. Suddenly, the Tigers were missing an important cog.

“It was a big adjustment,” said Biddeford senior setter Caitlin Rousselle. “We had no one to go up and block because the other middle hitter is not as tall. So the hits were coming at us harder.”

Yarmouth won five of the final six points in the first set, then fell behind 12-3 in the second set before storming back to tie it at 17 on a Clark spike from the back row. She ended the set with a sideline winner.

“Fortunately, we got out early in that first (set) and all of a sudden, these kids who probably thought they were going to lose had confidence that they could stay with Biddeford,” Senecal said. “We’ve had a lot of wins in our program, but this one is very special because we beat a great team on their floor.”

Biddeford pulled away in the third set with help from a scoring error that gave the Tigers an extra point. Yarmouth shrugged it off and jumped to a big lead in the fourth set before Biddeford pulled within 23-21. Two kills from Clark ended the match.

“If that had gone five, we’d be congratulating Biddeford, I think,” Senecal said, “because our kids were tanked. They really were.”

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Portland hosts competition with some kick: Professional bull riding Sat, 22 Oct 2016 04:24:09 +0000 About 40 competitors on the Professional Bull Riders Tour opened two nights of competition Friday night at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.

Each rider gets two rides, trying to stay on the bull for 8 seconds. The riders and the bulls are scored on a 1-50 system. The rider/bull pairing with the highest score moves on to the third and final round.

Riders are scored for how well they ride and stay on. The bulls  – which typically weigh 1,700 to 2,000 pounds – are scored on how much they buck and jump and twist.

About 70 tons of dirt were trucked into the arena for this weekend’s event.

Saturday’s competition is set to start at 7 p.m.

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NHL roundup: Nyquist propels Red Wings to win Sat, 22 Oct 2016 03:25:19 +0000 DETROIT — Gustav Nyquist had a goal and an assist to help the Detroit Red Wings beat the Nashville Predators 5-3 on Friday night.

Justin Abdelkader, Drew Miller, Tomas Tatar and Darren Helm also scored as Detroit won its third straight. Petr Mrazek stopped 30 shots.

P.K. Subban, Mike Ribeiro and Mike Fisher scored for Nashville, which has lost three straight. Pekka Rinne finished with 38 saves.

Fisher’s power-play goal with 4:46 left pulled the Predators to within 4-3 as he tipped in Roman Josi’s shot from the point. It was Fisher’s third goal, all on the power play.

But Helm got an empty-net power-play score with 22 seconds left for his fourth goal of the season to seal the win.

ISLANDERS 3, COYOTES 2: Johnny Boychuk’s short-handed goal early in the third period lifted New York to a win at home.

Dennis Seidenberg and Ryan Strome also scored for New York, and Jaroslav Halak stopped 23 shots for his first win of the season and the Islanders’ second in three home games after two road losses.

Brad Richardson and Radim Vrbata scored 13 seconds apart in the first period to tie the score for the Coyotes. Louis Domingue had 28 saves as Phoenix lost its third straight on the road after one home win.

The game marked the first NHL meeting between the Strome brothers. Dylan Strome, 19, was the third overall pick by the Coyotes in the 2015 draft and made his debut earlier this week. Ryan Strome, 23, was the fifth overall pick by the Islanders in the 2011 draft.

BLUE JACKETS 3, BLACKHAWKS 2: Rookie defenseman Zach Werenski had a goal and an assist, and teammates Nick Foligno and William Karlsson picked up their first goals of the season as Columbus won at home.


CAPITALS: Forward Daniel Winnik lost a part of his right ear when he was stuck in the head blocking a shot in the Capitals’ 4-2 victory Thursday night at Florida.

The only Washington skater who doesn’t wear a protective visor, Winnik was hit when he slid to block Reilly Smith’s shot in the third period.

Winnik returned to finish the game.

FLYERS: Forward Dale Weise was suspended for three games without pay by the NHL for an illegal check to Anaheim defenseman Korbinian Holzer’s head.

The hit came in the second period of the Flyers’ 3-2 home loss Thursday night. Weise wasn’t called for a penalty.

The suspension will cost Weise $39,167.

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Friday’s football roundup: Kennebunk completes unbeaten regular season Sat, 22 Oct 2016 03:21:11 +0000 NORTH BERWICK — Kennebunk got first-half touchdowns from Nolan Ragnarsson, Tripp Bush, Cam Lovejoy and Jake Littlefield as it clinched the No. 1 seed in the Class B South football playoffs with a 27-7 win Friday over Noble.

It was the 175th career win for Kennebunk Coach Joe Rafferty, whose team finished the regular season with an 8-0 record.

Noble is 1-7.

MARSHWOOD 19, YORK 11: Kyle Glidden scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 3-yard run just before halftime, and Cole McDaniel connected with Holden Jackman for a 77-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter as the Hawks (5-3) beat the Wildcats (3-5) in South Berwick.

York’s Trevor LaBonte kicked a 20-yard field goal in the first quarter to give the Wildcats an early lead and threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Tim McDonald with just over two minutes remaining.

SCARBOROUGH 39, DEERING 0: Owen Garrard rushed for 170 yards and four touchdowns on 16 carries to lead the Red Storm (6-2) past the Rams (3-5) in Portland.

Scarborough quarterback Zoltan Panyi completed all four of his pass attempts for 119 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown to Eric Quirk.

Drew Leclair added a 25-yard touchdown run for the Red Storm, who led 18-0 at halftime and extended their lead to 32-0 in the third quarter on runs of 35 and 15 yards by Garrard.

WESTBROOK 28, GORHAM 0: Miece Loureiro rushed for 350 yards and four touchdowns on 22 as the Blue Blazes (6-2) cruised to a win over the Rams (0-8) in Westbrook.

After Westbrook took a 2-0 lead in the first quarter on a safety, Loureiro scored three times in the second quarter – from 6, 2 and 68 yards – to give the Blue Blazes a 20-0 advantage at halftime.

His 86-yard run in the third quarter and Devin Rowe’s 2-point conversion run capped the scoring.

Adam McKenney rushed for 155 yards on 27 carries for Gorham.

SANFORD 54, MASSABESIC 14: Frankie Veino tossed a 12-yard scoring pass to Ethan Belanger and rushed 17 yards for another touchdown in the first quarter as Sanford (5-3) opened a 21-0 lead on its way to a win over the Mustangs (0-8) in Waterboro.

Keith Kerrigan opened the scoring with a 45-yard run, the first of his two touchdowns.

The Spartans increased their lead to 42-6 in the second quarter. Gage Cyr blocked a punt and returned it 56 yards for a touchdown.

Massabesic scored on a 36-yard pass from Nick Roberge to Tommaso Mobiglia in the second quarter and an 88-yard run by Isaac DesVergnes in the fourth.

DIRIGO 12, OLD ORCHARD BEACH 6: Cooper Chiasson’s 66-yard run late in the third quarter gave the Cougars (4-3) a 12-0 lead, and they held off the Seagulls (3-4) at Dixfield to earn home-field advantage for a playoff rematch.

Dirigo took the lead in the first quarter on a 3-yard run by Caulin Parker.

Dylan Creswell cut into the deficit with a 5-yard run early in the fourth quarter, but an interception by Luke Lueders ended OOB’s best threat for a tying or winning touchdown.

The teams will meet again in the Class D South quarterfinals next weekend.

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Friday’s Maine college roundup: Black Bears settle for tie with Miami Sat, 22 Oct 2016 03:15:43 +0000 OXFORD, Ohio — Anthony Louis scored his second goal of the game with 4:30 left in the third period as Miami University rallied to a 3-3 tie with the University of Maine in a nonconference men’s hockey game on Friday night.

The Black Bears (3-1-1) took a 3-2 lead when Cedric Lacroix scored with 6:26 left in the third period.

Maine led 1-0 at the end of the first period on a goal by Peter Housakos.

The RedHawks (1-1-2) tied the game on Grant Hutton’s goal 5:29 into the second, but Maine quickly regained the lead when Mitchell Fossier scored off assists from Mark Hamilton and Dane Gibson a minute and a half later.

Louis tied the game at 2 with 6:58 left in the second period.

Rob McGovern made 39 saves for the Black Bears.


ALBANY 2, MAINE 0: Molly Mariano broke a scoreless tie in the 32nd minute, and the Great Danes (11-5, 5-1 America East) went on to beat the Black Bears (11-6, 4-2) at Orono.

Dana Bozek added a goal early in the second half.

Emma Cochran and Emily Corbett each made a save for the Black Bears.


ROGER WILLIAMS 3, UNE 1: Dan Kelly and Sean Janson scored first-half goals, and the Hawks (5-11-2, 3-3-2 Commonwealth Coast) went on to beat the University of New England (3-10-4, 1-6-1) at Bristol, Rhode Island.

Charlie Mader added to Roger Williams’ lead in the 57th minute before Ryan Stephens put the Nor’easters on the board eight minutes later.

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Sports Digest: WNBA admits referees wrong on shot-clock call Sat, 22 Oct 2016 03:12:57 +0000 BASKETBALL

WNBA admits referees wrong on shot-clock call

The WNBA said its officials missed a shot-clock violation late in Game 5 of the finals on Thursday night.

The league released a statement Friday saying Nneka Ogwumike’s basket for Los Angeles with 1:14 remaining shouldn’t have counted because it came after the shot clock expired. The statement also says officials improperly failed to review the play.

Ogwumike later made the winning shot at the buzzer, giving the Sparks a 77-76 victory for their first championship since 2002.

After the game, Minnesota Coach Cheryl Reeve said the league needed to do more than just apologize and “send a memo.”

It’s the second time in a week officials missed a call. The WNBA acknowledged the referees missed an 8-second backcourt violation late in Game 4, which Minnesota won.


KREMLIN CUP: Top-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova beat fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 6-1, 6-7 (2), 6-4 in the semifinals at Moscow to remain on course to claim the eighth and last spot in the WTA Finals.

Kuznetsova will qualify for the finals in Singapore on Sunday only if she wins the tournament. Otherwise, the place will go to Britain’s Johanna Konta.


FORMULA ONE: Defending champion Lewis Hamilton posted the fastest lap at Austin, Texas, as he seeks to make a late charge at Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in the championship chase.

Hamilton’s fastest lap was in 1 minute, 37.428 seconds. Rosberg was second, 0.315 seconds behind.

Hamilton trails Rosberg by 33 points in the standings heading into the final four races. That almost puts Hamilton in a must-win situation if he wants to have a realistic chance of retaining his title.


FOOTBALL: Washington State Coach Mike Leach was fined $10,000 and reprimanded by the Pac-12 Conference for comments about the Arizona State football program.

During a press conference Monday, Leach again accused the Sun Devils of stealing signs.

MEN’S BASKETBALL: North Carolina junior swingman Theo Pinson is out indefinitely because of a broken bone in his right foot.

Pinson is a top defender, good passer and versatile wing for the Tar Heels, who won the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season and tournament titles before losing in the NCAA championship game.

 Florida freshman Dontay Bassett will miss the season because of a stress fracture in his right foot.

Bassett is a 6-foot-9 forward from Oakland, California.


EUROPEAN GAMES: The capital of Belarus was chosen to host the 2019 European Games, despite criticism of the country’s human rights record and concerns over the cost of the event.

The European Olympic Committees approved Minsk – the only candidate – by an overwhelming majority to host the second edition of the multi-sport games. The Netherlands withdrew as host last year, citing financial worries.


GIRLS’ SOCCER: Christine Gardella and Kate Marshall scored to give Berwick Academy (8-4-1) a 2-0 win over the Waring School at Beverly, Massachusetts. Annie Vatcher assisted on both goals.

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Maine vs. Rhode Island football preview Sat, 22 Oct 2016 02:21:44 +0000 WHERE: Meade Stadium, Kingston, Rhode Island

KICKOFF: Noon Saturday

ALL-TIME SERIES: Maine leads, 57-34-3

LAST MEETING: Sept. 26, 2015, won by Maine, 27-17

WHEN MAINE HAS THE BALL: With Rhode Island ranked last in the CAA in run defense – and second in sacks with 15 – it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a heavy dose of Josh Mack (253 yards), Darian Davis-Ray (202) and Zaire Williams (188). And look for freshman wide receiver Earnest Edwards to take a bigger role. He’s averaging 13.2 yards per rush and a team-high 19.6 yards per catch and has scored three touchdowns.

WHEN RHODE ISLAND HAS THE BALL: The Rams have struggled to get much going this year, averaging a CAA-worst 11.7 points per game. But the Rams have some quality players, led by junior running back Harold Cooper, who has gained 231 yards and scored two touchdowns. Wide receivers Khayri Denny, Harold Buckner III and Charlie McKeeman are all dangerous with the ball in their hands. They also have a steady kicker in sophomore Justin Rohrwasser, who has two field goals and has hit 10 of 11 PAT kicks.

KEY STAT: 6. That’s the number of missed field goals for Maine this year. They have hit 1.

OUTLOOK: Rhode Island is near the bottom of many statistical categories in the CAA but can present some problems, especially on special teams, where the Rams have blocked four kicks. They blocked two field goals in last week’s 14-3 loss to Stony Brook. Rhode Island will likely try to run against a Maine defense still looking to get its footing against the run. But Maine should have an advantage on offense with its talented group of receivers. The Black Bears average 15.2 yards per catch.

OF NOTE: Maine will be without leading wide receiver Jaleel Reed, who is expected to miss four games after surgery on his left thumb this week, and safety DeAndre Scott, who will miss his second game because of a sprained foot. … The Black Bears have won the last nine games between the schools. Rhode Island’s last victory was a 3-0 decision on Oct. 28, 2006.

THEY SAID IT: “We really haven’t had a game where we’ve got up on a team and iced them for the rest of the game. We’d love to have that for us. We want to get up on a team and finish it, have the defense stop them.” – Maine quarterback Dan Collins.

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St. Joseph’s golf team earns first GNAC title Sat, 22 Oct 2016 02:12:15 +0000 Jamie Smyth, head coach of the St. Joseph’s College golf team, knew the outcome of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference tournament would be close between his team, five-time defending champion Rhode Island College and the University of Southern Maine.

So when a cheer erupted from the Worcester State team as the final scores were posted, Smyth had a moment of panic. Had he overlooked the Lancers? Had they somehow pulled off an upset?

“I’m saying, ‘What’s going on here?’ ” Smyth said. “Then I realized it was because their guy was medalist for the tournament.”

Within moments last Sunday at Gorham Country Club, it was St. Joseph’s doing the celebrating. Four of Smyth’s five golfers had birdied the 18th hole, which wound up being the difference in a three-stroke victory over Rhode Island College and USM.

Not only was the GNAC title the first in school history, it earned the Monks a berth in the NCAA Division III tournament scheduled for next May 16-19 outside of Orlando, Florida.

“There was a lot of hand-shaking and some hugging,” Smyth said. “It was pretty mentally exhausting. We had never really been in that situation, with a national tournament berth on the line.”

Senior Michael Caron, whose Gorham High team won two Maine high school championships, led the Monks with a 73-75–148 score that tied for second place, two strokes behind medalist Mike Jezierski of Worcester State.

“You can tell in the faces of your teammates and coaches when it’s getting close, especially coming down the stretch,” said Caron, whose teammates gathered around the 18th green to see his last-of-the-day group finish. “But the celebration didn’t really come until all the scores were posted. We thought we had won it, but it was not finalized until we were sitting in the clubhouse with the scores posted. That was a feeling unlike any other.”

Sophomores Adam Hachey (Winthrop) and Cam Letourneau (Hebron) tied for fourth at 150 (74-76 for Hachey, 72-78 for Letourneau). With Caron, they were named to the all-conference team, the first time more than one Monk earned such honors.

Junior Brandon Labrecque of Gorham tied for 26th with an 82-79–161 score and sophomore Adam Batchelder of Portland was a stroke back in 28th with 85-77–162.

“When you have five guys on your team all break 80 on the second day,” Caron said, “that’s definitely a good day.”

St. Joseph’s finished with a two-day, five-golfer total of 607. Rhode Island and USM each finished at 610, with RIC winning the tiebreaker for runner-up. Worcester State was another 12 strokes back followed by five other colleges.

The only other conference title in St. Joseph’s history came in 1990, when Smyth played on a team that won the NAIA New England championship (after first-place Husson withdrew). A 1992 graduate, Smyth also coaches the St. Joseph’s softball team, twice guiding the Monks to national tournaments, as head coach in 1999 and as an assistant in 1994.

The 15-member golf team wraps up its fall season on Cape Cod with the New England Intercollegiate Golf Association championship Sunday and Monday in Brewster, Massachusetts.

“Anytime there’s a school that’s won multiple times, they always have that championship pedigree,” Smyth said. “It’s almost like the Yankees in the late ’90s. There’s the mystique. That was kind of how Rhode Island was viewed.”

Even so, St. Joseph’s ended the first day one stroke behind USM and four ahead of RIC. No matter that the Monks had never finished higher than fourth in previous GNAC championships. They had won five tournaments earlier this season and were well acquainted with the Gorham course.

“I thought we were one of the top three or four teams at the tournament,” Smyth said. “We had a legitimate chance. We just had to play well.”

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Golf roundup: Thomas looks for a repeat of 2015 Sat, 22 Oct 2016 02:10:31 +0000 KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Defending champion Justin Thomas shot a 6-under 66 on Friday to take a two-stroke lead halfway through the CIMB Classic, staying within striking distance of his own tournament record at TPC Kuala Lumpur.

Thomas shared the first-round lead with fellow Americans Keegan Bradley and Derek Fathauer at 64, and followed up with a bogey-free round to get to 14 under. Thomas finished at 26-under 262 last year for his first PGA Tour title.

“The thing about this course, you can go shoot 12- or 13-under in a day,” Thomas said, “so hopefully I can get it going a little bit this weekend … like I did last year.”

Asian Tour leader Anirban Lahiri of India was second after a 66. He closed with a double bogey for the second straight day.

Scotland’s Russell Knox (63) was 11 under along with American James Hahn (64) and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama. Fathauer (70) was tied for sixth at 10 under, and Bradley (71) was 8 under.

Ryan Moore, the 2013 and 2014 winner, and Brendan Steele, the winner last week at Silverado in California, also were 8 under. Moore had a 65 and Steele recorded a 69.

LPGA: Minjee Lee patiently navigated Jian Lake’s undulating greens again to stretch her lead to six strokes in the Blue Bay LPGA at Hainan, China.

Already a two-time winner on the LPGA Tour, the 20-year-old Australian followed her opening 7-under 65 with a bogey-free 67 in windier afternoon conditions off Hainan Clear Water Bay.

Three days after Typhoon Sarika roared through the South China Sea beach resort, the wind finally picked up as Lee played the back nine. The wind makes it more difficult to hit targets in valleys and on plateaus on the large, tiered greens.

Germany’s Caroline Masson was second at 6 under after her second straight 69. She birdied four of the last five holes – the lone par coming on a 3-foot birdie miss on the par-4 15th.

Spain’s Carlota Ciganda and American Jessica Korda were 5 under.

CHAMPIONS TOUR: Defending champion Andy Sullivan shot a 10-under 61 for a share of the Portugal Masters lead at Vilamoura, Portugal.

The Englishman won last year by a record nine shots. He matched Scotland’s Mark Warren (65) at 14-under 128 at Oceanico Victoria.

Ireland’s Padraig Harrington (63) and Sweden’s Jens Fahrbring (64) were a stroke back, and American David Lipsky, United States (66) was 12 under.

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Major league notebook: Indians’ unlikely hero receives unexpected gifts Sat, 22 Oct 2016 02:06:03 +0000 CLEVELAND — The guest list for Ryan Merritt’s upcoming wedding could be growing.

Cleveland’s rookie pitcher has made a lot of new friends.

A most improbable October hero for the Indians, Merritt has been overwhelmed by the generous outpouring from some Cleveland fans for sending wedding gifts to him and his fiancee, Sarah, after the 24-year-old pitched so well in the AL pennant-clinching victory over Toronto on Wednesday.

Not long after Merritt worked 41/3 scoreless innings and the Indians earned their first World Series trip since 1997, fans found the couple’s wedding registry online and flooded them with gifts.

Now Merritt is up to his neck in blenders, wine glasses, oven mitts and muffin tins.

“At first I thought it was all a joke,” the soft-spoken Texan said Friday as the Indians prepared for Game 1 on Tuesday night. “It’s the last thing I thought was going to come out of all of this. It’s pretty emotional. Awesome.”

As he met with reporters, Merritt, an unknown to most Cleveland fans days ago, nervously struggled to express his gratitude toward the strangers who have made him feel so welcomed even though he just joined the team.

Merritt was a late addition to the ALCS roster following setbacks to Cleveland’s rotation. Handed the ball to start Game 5, Merritt, who pitched just 11 innings for the Indians during the regular season, shook off butterflies and shut down the Blue Jays on two hits before Manager Terry Francona turned things over to his devastating bullpen.

 Indians starter Danny Salazar, who hasn’t pitched since Sept. 9 because of tightness in his right forearm, has thrown well in recent bullpen sessions and might be able to pitch for the first time in this postseason.

Manager Terry Francona said Friday that Salazar has “let it go” in recent workouts and has not been restricted to throwing only fastballs and changeups.

Salazar will throw a simulated game Saturday before the Indians decide whether to have him on the World Series roster. Salazar went 11-6 with a 3.87 ERA in 25 starts, but Francona said the hard-throwing right-hander may be used in relief.

TIGERS: Detroit hired Lloyd McClendon as hitting coach.

It will be McClendon’s second stint with the Tigers after serving as bullpen coach in 2006 and hitting coach in 2007-13 before managing the Mariners for two seasons. He managed the Tigers’ Triple-A affiliate in Toledo this season.

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NLCS: Cubs are so close again to the World Series Sat, 22 Oct 2016 01:53:52 +0000 CHICAGO — All that’s left for the Chicago Cubs is make history.

The Cubs came home to Wrigley Field with a 3-2 lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Championship Series and a chance Saturday night to end a more than seven-decade wait to return to the World Series.

“We’re not going to run away from anything,” Manager Joe Maddon said. “It’s within our reach right now. But I do want us to go after it as though it’s, again, hate to say it, but Saturday. Let’s just go play our Saturday game and see how it falls.”

For a franchise defined more by heartbreak and losing, this will be no ordinary Saturday. Then again, this has been no ordinary season.

The Cubs led the majors with 103 wins and ran away with the NL Central title. They won more games than any Cubs team since 1910, and if they beat Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers, they’ll face Cleveland in their first World Series since 1945.

That, of course, will put them on the verge of their first championship since 1908.

But before they can think about that, they have to get to the World Series, and their first opportunity comes against one of the game’s most dominant pitchers in Kershaw. The Cubs will go with the major league ERA leader, Kyle Hendricks, in Game 6.

Game 7 would be Sunday if necessary.

“We’ve won two games in a row before,” said Adrian Gonzalez of the Dodgers. “Nothing says we can’t do it Saturday and Sunday.”

The Cubs put themselves in this position by shaking off back-to-back shutout losses and combining to score 18 runs in the past two games.

Jon Lester threw seven solid innings, Addison Russell continued his resurgence at the plate with a tiebreaking home run and the Cubs beat the Dodgers 8-4 on Thursday night.

Russell has gone deep in back-to-back games and is 5 for 10 after going 1 for 24 to start the postseason. Anthony Rizzo is also connecting, with five hits and a homer over the past two games after going 2 for 26. Javier Baez continues to come through with big hits and making sensational plays at second base.

Now it’s up to Kershaw to cool off the Cubs.

The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner is 2-0 with a 3.72 ERA in three starts and one relief appearance this postseason, and has been erasing a reputation for struggling in the playoffs. He came through with two decent starts against Washington in the NLDS and closed out the series-clinching win.

He was nothing short of spectacular against Chicago in Game 2, pitching two-hit ball over seven innings before Kenley Jansen closed out a 1-0 victory. But it’s the Cubs in position to move on.

World War II had just ended the last time they won the pennant, and the World Series that year is remembered as much for a goat and a curse as it is for the Detroit Tigers winning in seven games.

The Cubs angered the Billy Goat Tavern owner, Billy Sianis, when they asked him to leave Game 4 because the odor of his pet goat Murphy was bothering fans. Sianis supposedly placed a curse on the franchise, and since then it’s been mostly losing with a few close calls for the franchise.

The Cubs had a 2-0 lead against San Diego in the 1984 NLCS, only to see the Padres win the final three games in that best-of-five series.

Thirteen years ago, the Cubs returned home up 3-2 over the Marlins in the NLCS. And, well, fans still have nightmares over that one.

Chicago was five outs from the World Series with Mark Prior on the mound only to see everything come apart.

A fan named Steve Bartman reached up for Luis Castillo’s foul as Moises Alou leaned into the stands.

The ball deflected off Bartman’s hands. Alou went wild. Shortstop Alex Gonzalez later booted a potential inning-ending double play. Prior melted down on the mound.

The Cubs lost that game, and they went on to drop the series finale even though they had Kerry Wood starting.

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Blount heads to Pittsburgh, this time as an opponent with Patriots Sat, 22 Oct 2016 01:43:05 +0000 PITTSBURGH — The phone calls and texts between LeGarrette Blount and Le’Veon Bell haven’t stopped.

Not after the embarrassing traffic stop in the summer of 2014 that ended with both running backs being charged with drug possession and – eventually – suspensions for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Not after the talented but enigmatic Blount walked off the field and ostensibly out of a job when he headed to the locker room with time still on the clock during a Monday night win in Tennessee later that year, a silent protest for a lack of touches on a night Bell ran for 204 yards.

Not even this week, with Blount prepping for his first visit to Pittsburgh since the Steelers (4-2) cut him for insubordination when New England (5-1) visits Heinz Field.

“He’s still one of my closest friends,” Bell said. “I still talk to him. He watches my game. I watch his. We still critique each other, tell each other what we do good, what we do bad. He’s definitely a good guy.”

Maybe, though the image of Blount already dressed and practically sprinting for the bus by the time his teammates walked into the visitor’s locker room in Nashville remains fresh.

“It’s nothing that you take personally, but football player to football player, that’s something you don’t do,” Steelers linebacker Arthur Moats said.

The Steelers cut Blount less than 48 hours later, though the ink on the transaction wasn’t even dry when the Patriots asked Blount to come back home.

In a way, Blount’s performance over the last two years with the Patriots has only validated Blount’s assertion that he deserved to be more involved in the game plan. He won a Super Bowl in New England two months after re-signing with New England and is currently seventh in the league in rushing (439 yards) and tied for second in touchdowns (six).

And his good friend has noticed.

“He’s a monster,” Bell said. “I think he’s one of the best running backs in this league. I think he’s an underrated guy. I think he’ll start getting the respect he deserves once he’s consistent and on the field a lot.”

That’s something that didn’t happen nearly enough in 2014. Brought in to serve as a veteran presence behind Bell, Blount saw his role diminish as Bell became one of the best all-around backs in the league, his potential on full display as he practically carried the Steelers on the back of his No. 26 jersey in a 27-24 escape against the Titans.

“Obviously he might have been a little frustrated because he didn’t play as much and being a competitor, you want to play,” Bell said. “But he understood that he kind of made the wrong decision. He wasn’t mad at me for the game I had. He just wanted to play and show the team he’s able to help contribute.”

Blount’s departure plays in stark contrast to Pittsburgh’s current backfield setup. Where Blount eventually chafed when left on the sideline, DeAngelo Williams has embraced his role as the 1B to Bell’s 1A. The all-time leading rusher in Carolina Panthers history has played remarkably well at times when filling in for Bell. Williams even led the NFL in yards rushing through the first two weeks of this season while Bell sat out a suspension.

Yet when Bell returned, there was no question about who should top the depth chart.

“L. Bell is so dynamic when he plays the game that I don’t want him to come off the field,” Williams said in September.

Bell likely won’t have much of a choice this week anyway. Williams is out with a knee issue, as is quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, meaning backup Landry Jones likely will rely heavily on Bell to help carry the load. He averaged 25 touches during Roethlisberger’s four-game absence in 2015 and earned an admirer eager to get a close-up look on Sunday.

When asked about Bell’s talent, New England Coach Bill Belichick uncharacteristically blurted out, “Oh, my god.”

“He can do it all,” Belichick said. “However he gets the ball he’s really dangerous.”

Blount remains plenty dangerous in his own right, though his carries have dipped slightly since Tom Brady’s return from his four-game Deflategate suspension. The typically reticent Blount has kept quiet this week, saying he’ll talk after the game. There may be boos Sunday the first time he takes a handoff from Brady. Just because the Steelers are over Blount’s exit doesn’t mean the city is, particularly one that doesn’t take rejection well.

“He may have more animosity about it than we do,” Moats said. “No matter who’s lining up there on Sunday, they’re going to have to pay.”

NOTES: In addition to Williams and Roethlisberger, wide receiver Markus Wheaton (shoulder), right tackle Marcus Gilbert (ankle) and defensive end Cam Heyward (hamstring) are also out.

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NFL notebook: Giants kicker placed on paid leave Sat, 22 Oct 2016 01:33:18 +0000 LONDON — The NFL placed Josh Brown on paid leave Friday, hours after Coach Ben McAdoo struggled to answer questions about how the New York Giants might discipline the kicker for abusing his wife.

In a letter to the 14-year veteran, NFL senior vice president of labor policy Adolpho Birch said Brown was being placed on the league’s “exempt list” while the NFL investigates whether he should be suspended as punishment for several alleged acts of spousal abuse. Birch said the move “does not represent a finding that you have violated the personal conduct policy,” but does pave the way toward potential further sanctions.

Being placed on Commissioner Roger Goodell’s “exempt” list means Brown cannot attend practices or Giants games but can go to Giants headquarters for meetings and workouts. It also means Brown continues to be paid and his presence won’t be counted on the Giants’ 53-man roster. Brown could appeal the decision.

The action on Brown came hours after McAdoo had trouble explaining the Giants’ intentions toward Brown, their kicker since 2013. The questions about how much the Giants knew about Brown’s off-field troubles have overshadowed preparations for Sunday’s game in London against the Los Angeles Rams.

When a reporter asked McAdoo about his comments in August suggesting he would show no tolerance for players abusive of their family members, McAdoo said his comments then were more nuanced.

“When did I say zero tolerance?” he said, adding: “I do not support domestic violence, if that’s what you’re asking. I do not condone it.”

McAdoo described Brown as a “man of faith” who was trying to improve his behavior and the organization was supporting him in this. When asked to explain how the Giants provided this or monitored his off-field behavior, McAdoo said he couldn’t detail any specific acts of support.

 Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was fined $24,309 by the NFL for taking off his helmet during a celebration last Sunday against Baltimore.

BILLS: Running back LeSean McCoy is questionable and will be a game-time decision for Sunday’s game against Miami.

McCoy returned to practice on a limited basis Friday after sitting out Thursday. He revealed he suffered the injury in Buffalo’s Wednesday practice session.

“We’re confident in the guys that we have behind him but not ruling Shady out at all,” Bills Coach Rex Ryan said. “He looked pretty good. So we’ll be smart with him, but he looked pretty good.”

JETS: Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson is questionable to play against the Ravens on Sunday because of an ailing right ankle.

Wilkerson didn’t practice Friday after being limited Thursday. Coach Todd Bowles said Wilkerson didn’t have a setback, but was “more sore than normal” and could be a game-time decision.

WASHINGTON: First-round draft pick Josh Doctson was put on injured reserve with an injured left Achilles tendon.

The wide receiver has missed the past four games after making just one catch in each of the team’s first two.

 Tight end Vernon Davis drew a $12,154 fine for taking a jump shot with the football at the crossbar as if it were a basketball after a touchdown.

49ERS: Running back Carlos Hyde will miss Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay because of a shoulder injury he sustained last week in Buffalo. Hyde leads the team with 429 rushing yards.

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Football: Cape Elizabeth stops Wells, 13-7 Sat, 22 Oct 2016 01:13:04 +0000 WELLS — A showdown of Class C unbeatens Friday night ended in a heavy downpour that turned Wells High’s natural-grass field into a sloppy swamp.

Before the rain started, Wells drowned itself in mistakes.

Cape Elizabeth capitalized on a series of miscues in the first seven minutes to score two touchdowns, and its top scoring defense took over from there in a 13-7 victory.

Cape Elizabeth (8-0), which forced five turnovers and blocked a punt, will be the top seed in the regional tournament. Wells (7-1) will be the second seed.

Both defenses were dominant. Wells was able to eke out 199 total yards while Cape had just 135 – only 37 in the second half – against the Warriors defense, which entered as the state’s second best in points allowed.

“What I was excited about and proud about was the heart and fortitude that both defenses played with tonight,” Cape Coach Aaron Filieo said.

Wells fumbled twice and had a punt blocked on its first three possessions – all deep in its own territory.

“We just kind of shot ourselves in the foot right there,” Wells quarterback Owen Berry said.

On the game’s opening kickoff Nick Hansen slipped and fell at his own 5 to put the Warriors in a hole. On first down Evan Whitten fumbled and Cape’s Brett McAlister recovered at the 15.

The Warriors stopped Cape at the goal line after the first fumble but the Capers converted six- and two-yard “drives” to score all their points.

Ryan Weare scored on fourth-and-goal from the 1 after Riley Dempsey’s fumble was recovered by Camden Turner at the 2.

Peyton Weatherbie slashed in from the 2 after Jack Glanville recorded the punt block.

Wells Coach Tim Roche agreed the game boiled down to his team’s early mistakes but quickly added, “that takes a little away from Cape, too. They were physical. They played us tough.”

The rain began to fall steadily in the third quarter and probably played a role when Cape punter Marshall Peterson dropped a snap and was forced to throw a pass that gained no yards. Three plays later Whitten churned in from the 11, as he and a group of Cape defenders were pushed forward by Wells’ linemen. Keegan Reidy’s PAT cut the lead to 13-7 with 40 seconds left in the third quarter.

In last year’s playoffs, Wells trailed 14-6 entering the fourth quarter and won in the final minute, 20-14.

This time the Warriors’ three fourth-quarter possessions each ended in a turnover. Whitten fumbled after a solid drive had gotten the ball inside the Cape 30. Berry was intercepted twice, first by Nat Spicer and then by Ben Ekedahl for the clincher on a ball tipped by Cape linebacker Max Woods with 1:19 to play.

Before Ekedahl’s interception, Berry had completed consecutive passes to Jordan Cluff (who caught the winner in the 2015 playoffs), including a 28-yarder up the sideline after a pump fake.

For both teams it was the first close game of the season.

“It was a lot tougher. We knew we had to come out here and battle and it would be a grind between the tackles,” said Weare, who teamed with fellow inside backer Woods and hard-hitting safety Ekedahl to lead the Cape defense. “We made some mistakes. It wasn’t perfect but we got the job done and it feels great.”

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NBA notebook: Silver: ‘Tremendous progress’ in labor talks Sat, 22 Oct 2016 00:45:24 +0000 NEW YORK — NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Friday the league and players have made “tremendous progress” toward an extension of the collective bargaining agreement, saying he hoped a deal would be completed soon.

Silver said the process was far different than the contentious negotiations of 2011, which led to a lockout and a 2011-12 season that was shorted to 66 games.

This time, the sides have been meeting for a few months and seem eager to make a deal long before Dec. 15, when either side can notify the other of its intention to opt out of the 10-year pact.

“We are not done, done as we say as bargainers in terms of ultimately having a completed collective bargaining agreement, but we’re on our way towards getting an extension done of this collective bargaining agreement,” Silver said. “I’m very pleased to report that.”

The sides met Wednesday, the day before owners began their two-day preseason meetings and received an encouraging report on the status of the talks.

76ERS: Forward Nerlens Noel will need surgery on his left knee, the latest in a long line of injuries for a team that is trying to turn things around.

The Sixers said Friday that Noel elected to have surgery after consulting with several specialists. Noel missed his entire rookie season while recovering from surgery on his left knee, but this latest procedure is arthroscopic and considered to be minor. The Sixers have not announced a timetable for his return.

SPURS: Guard Danny Green will miss three weeks after straining his left quadriceps.

Green initially suffered the injury during training camp and aggravated it Tuesday during an intra-squad scrimmage.

Green averaged 3.5 points in four preseason games while shooting 20 percent from 3-point range. The eight-year veteran averaged 7.2 points and 3.8 rebounds last season.

NETS: Brooklyn waived guard Yogi Ferrell to reduce their roster to the limit of 15.

The former Indiana University guard averaged 4.3 points and 1.7 assists in three preseason games. Coach Kenny Atkinson raved about the 6-foot Ferrell’s energy after one contest, but the Nets already have Jeremy Lin, Greivis Vasquez and others who can play point guard.

KNICKS: New York waived forwards Lou Amundson and Cleanthony Early and injured guard Chasson Randle, trimming its roster to 15 players.

OFFICALS IN the NBA’s Replay Center will make the ruling this season on all reviews except player altercations and flagrant fouls.

Referees on the court will still make the determinations after watching replay of those situations. The expanded role for the Replay Center was unanimously approved by NBA owners Friday.

With replays involving plays such as clear-path fouls and shot-clock violations now being handled by referees staffing the Replay Center in Secaucus, New Jersey, the league hopes to shorten reviews and speed up games.

The average review time last season was 31.9 seconds.

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Football: Bonny Eagle edges Thornton Academy, 15-14, in battle of unbeatens Sat, 22 Oct 2016 00:12:16 +0000 STANDISH — In this game of unbeatens, Bonny Eagle scored a touchdown to trail Thornton Academy 14-13 with 5:12 remaining Friday night. An extra-point kick would tie it.

But the Scots weren’t in a kick formation. They spread out with backup quarterback Connor Sirois ready for a shotgun hike and Alex Sprague in motion.

“It’s something we practice,” Coach Kevin Cooper said. “We thought we could get it so we said, ‘what the heck.’ ”

And what the heck, Sirois handed the ball to Sprague, who raced to the left sideline and crossed the goal line to give Bonny Eagle the lead and an eventual 15-14 victory.

The Scots finished the regular season at 8-0, grabbing the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage in the Class A South playoffs. Thornton (7-1) will be seeded No. 2.

“A great high school game,” Trojans Coach Kevin Kezal said. “They just made a few more plays than we did.”

Thornton made five turnovers (two fumbles, three interceptions), to the Scots’ one. Bonny Eagle also recovered four of its own fumbles.

“The ball bounced … they had some fumbles but they were able to recover them and we weren’t,” Kezal said.

The quarterbacks carried their teams. Michael Laverriere of Thornton ran for 151 yards and two touchdowns, throwing for 78 yards. Cam Day of Bonny Eagle rushed for 149 yards and a score, passing for 83 yards.

Bonny Eagle began with two mishandled snaps, pushing the Scots back to their 1. Thornton set up its first possession in Bonny Eagle territory. But from the 26, Cam Theberge made a leaping interception in the end zone.

The teams traded punts and Bonny Eagle made its only turnover. Sprague, the return man, seemed ready to let the ball bounce but touched it. Thornton recovered at the Bonny Eagle 16. Laverriere scored from the 4 for a 7-0 lead with 10:50 left in the first half,

“I was a mess,” Sprague said of the miscue. “I had to get my head straight and help my team.”

Thornton was driving for a second score when it fumbled and Arlo Pike recovered for Bonny Eagle at its 11.

Bonny Eagle drove 89 yards – keyed by a 34-yard Day pass to Theberge – and Sprague scored from the 3, tying the game with 27 seconds left in the half.

On the first play of the second half, Laverriere bolted through a wide hole for a 58-yard score.

“Except for one play, our defense played well,” Cooper said.

Thornton fumbled on its next drive (recovered by Aaron Hodgman at the Scots’ 44) Bonny Eagle’s drive stalled at the 5. The Scots got another shot and drove 80 yards. On third-and-inches from the 6, Day darted through the line and scored closing to 14-13. Then Sprague learned he would get the ball on a 2-point try.

“It meant a lot,” Sprague said. In motion, he took the handoff in stride and outraced the Trojans.

But Thornton had time. The Trojans reached their 39 when Laverriere looked for a quick slant pass to Johnny Rosario. Christian Napolitano stepped in for the interception with 3:56 left.

“As soon as I see him go for a pass, I’ve got to get there,” Napolitano said. “I turned around right in time.”

The Trojans got the ball back at their 25 with 23 seconds left. On the second play, Laverriere had to throw a desperation pass and Kordell Menard intercepted.

“Quite a game,” Napolitano said.

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Brown on the hot seat in Philadelphia Fri, 21 Oct 2016 23:59:51 +0000 This time of year, as we brace for the start of another NBA season to begin, it’s not uncommon to discuss job security for respective NBA coaches.

This is more than ever appropriate for those who follow the 76ers. After going 10-72 last season and a combined 47-199 in the last three seasons, Brett Brown finds himself on the figurative hot seat.

Everyone from bloggers to reporters to opposing NBA personnel has been speculating on Brown’s job security. Some have stated that the 55-year-old is embarking on a bona fide make-or-break season.

“I love my job and the spirit of this city,” Brown, a South Portland High graduate, said Thursday. “I have no further comment.”

Sixers President Bryan Colangelo, however, did have something to say.

He said, at this stage, any “outward discussion” or “ridiculous speculation” about this being a make-or-break season for Brown is unfounded and unfair.

Record alone, it’s easy to see why someone with a winning percentage of 19.1 would be the subject of job-security speculation. That’s especially true when his new boss, Colangelo, wasn’t the person who hired him.

But this is far from a normal situation.

Brown was hired on Aug. 14, 2013, to rebuild the Sixers.

The Sixers tanked for three seasons en route to becoming the laughingstock of the NBA. Things were in disarray, on and off the court, which led to the NBA’s urging the Sixers’ ownership to hire Jerry Colangelo as a consultant. Former president and general manager Sam Hinkie even resigned in April after learning he would be demoted to make room for Bryan Colangelo.

Bryan Colangelo said he was impressed with how Brown, to the best of his ability, kept the team headed in the right direction amid all the turmoil that dragged people down. From the outside, Colangelo saw a team that played hard. It just couldn’t win.

“This is a chance for us to get together,” Colangelo said of working with Brown. “We had a great summer of communication and roster building. Everything that we do has been in tandem.

“I’ve always said that’s the way I operate, I’m a consensus builder and want to move forward to things that make sense to the group and not just me the individual. Coaches make or break personnel decisions.”

However, there was speculation about Brown’s job security as soon as Jerry Colangelo was hired in December. One of his first moves was hiring Mike D’Antoni to be Brown’s associate head coach.

The Colangelos and D’Antoni have a relationship dating to their days with Phoenix in the early 2000s. Jerry Colangelo is the former Suns owner and was a longtime cornerstone of the franchise. Bryan was the general manager, while D’Antoni was the team’s successful coach.

D’Antoni accepted Houston’s vacated coaching job in May. But before then, there were some rumblings around the league that D’Antoni was in line to replace Brown early this season if he struggled.

Might Colangelo want the coach to be someone that he hired? The team president isn’t afraid to part ways with a coach during the season if things aren’t going well.

In Phoenix, he fired Frank Johnson 21 games into the 2003-04 season. And that came after Johnson led the Suns to the first round of the 2002-03 playoffs. The Arizona Republic reported that Johnson’s personal behavior caused a minor scandal in the organization.

Then as Toronto’s president/general manager, Colangelo fired Sam Mitchell 17 games into 2008-09 season. The Raptors were 8-9. Mitchell had also led the Raptors to back-to-back postseason appearances in the previous two seasons.

“The league turns over every year,” said a league executive, who doesn’t believe Brown is as safe as Colangelo said. “Every year, there are 10 new coaches in the league. Unless you are (Gregg) Popovich, Doc Rivers, (Tom) Thibodeau or Stan Van Gundy, I think all these coaches are being scrutinized every year.”

But Brown has been more focused on player development than winning basketball games. He had hoped to focus more on winning this season. That has changed, however, with several key players injured and/or having to deal with restricted minutes on the court.

The Sixers were expected to win around 25 games before first overall pick Ben Simmons fractured his right foot on the final day of training camp. Now, they may be lucky to win more than 18.

As a result, it might be hard to gauge Brown’s coaching ability in wins and losses.

One Northwest Division coach said there are very few coaches – if any – that could have put up with the job Brown had to endure the past three seasons. The coach pointed out that Brown hasn’t had one regular starter from the time he took the job until now.

However, Brown has been criticized for his coaching decisions late in several of last season’s heartbreaking losses.

“Philadelphia fans are smart enough to understand that we are completely still in a growth mode,” said Brown, who has been invested in the city. “There are things to be excited about because there are pieces that will be with us for a long time.”

Colangelo has said that this season’s success can’t be judged by wins and losses. The Sixers realize that victories will be hard to come by without Simmons and Jerryd Bayless (wrist injury).

They’ll tell you their roster is made up of 20-year-olds in a grown man’s league. They talk about how several of their go-to players haven’t played a second of basketball.

“So from my perspective, it’s still about holding the team together,” Brown said. “It’s about moving it forward in relation to trying to grow our guys and ultimately get a team that can come together just with the experience of playing with each other and playing NBA basketball.”

Not just the Sixers, Brown is fully invested in the region. He conducted 50 free clinics for junior basketball players in each of the past two years. During that time, Brown also has held an annual coaches clinic.

This year’s clinic was Tuesday, with a turnout of a little over 500 coaches. And he’s actively involved in his son Sam’s Philly Triple Threat AAU team.

It’s obvious that Brown is going about things like he expects to be here for a while.

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Wrigley scoreboard operator hopes for historic send off Fri, 21 Oct 2016 23:51:38 +0000 CHICAGO — Fred Washington has been surrounded by numbers and cities for decades. Seasons full of ones, twos and zeroes. Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Milwaukee.

When his beloved Chicago Cubs scored three in the first, Washington put the crooked number in the right spot. When the Cardinals jumped all over the Pirates, Washington told the story, column by column on the hand-operated scoreboard at Wrigley Field.

Springs turned into summers and mostly empty Octobers, and Washington’s most important numbers changed. And he realized it’s time to go home.

“I think as you get older your body speaks to you and tells you the things that you’re able to do,” he said. “Also, there’s certain things around here that you can’t do, and one of those is, you spend an awful lot of time here and at 66, I think I want to spend some time with my family because I don’t have very much time to spend with my family here.”

So when the Cubs play their last home game of the year, that’ll be it for Washington, too. He’ll climb down the ladder at the bottom of the classic green scoreboard and stroll off to retirement.

No one will notice, probably. There likely won’t be any fuss. The Cubs honored Washington before a September game, and that was more than enough for the easygoing Chicago native.

It was all a gift, anyway. More than Washington ever expected.

“You never realize that you’re going to meet so many good people,” Washington said. “So many people that had such a bearing on your life. It’s very rewarding.”

Washington had jobs with the Chicago Police Department, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and in railroads before he was hired by the Cubs in 1984 for a security position.

He moved to the grounds crew two years later, then joined the scoreboard crew in 1990.

“This particular job, it’s kind of next man up,” he said. “People retire, they move on, and somebody has to replace them, and you can’t just walk up like you’ve lived here all your life. It’s like anything else. It’s a learning process.”

Washington’s home away from home these past 26 years was built in 1937. There are three levels in the scoreboard, and as many as four people fill in the numbers for a full slate of games in the summer.

Washington and his partner work on the first floor for the Cubs’ linescore and National and American League games on the bottom level.

Darryl Wilson, another longtime scoreboard operator, takes care of the second and third floors along with another colleague. Wilson calls down updates that he gets from a computer.

“We spend an awful lot of time together, and the camaraderie is such that, we’re almost related,” Washington said. “I mean we get along, we get along very well. It’s kind of like we’re brothers up here.”

“It’s a lot of laughter. It’s a lot of joy up here,” he continued, “except when the Cubs lose.”

Washington also has a rapport with the fans who sit in Wrigley’s famed bleachers. He sees it all from his perch above the stands, and he hears it from the crowd if someone feels there is a miscue with the scoreboard.

“There’s a human element up here,” Washington said, sitting in a chair in the scoreboard while the Cubs were in Los Angeles this week for the NL Championship Series. “I mean nobody’s perfect, and they’ll scream up here and try to point out something to me if they believe it’s a mistake.”

Washington has seen a lot of bad teams over the years. But his final season has been a lot of fun.

The Cubs rolled to a major league-best 103 wins and the NL Central title this year. Game 6 against the Dodgers is Saturday night at Wrigley.

It has been 71 years since Chicago’s last NL pennant, and 108 years since the franchise last won the World Series in 1908.

A title would be quite a send-off for the soft-spoken Washington.

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Girls’ soccer: Sanford shuts out Portland Fri, 21 Oct 2016 23:40:47 +0000 When it rained, it poured Friday night for the Sanford High girls’ soccer team in a soggy Class A prelim against Portland at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

After 53 scoreless minutes, Julia Allen ended the drought with a goal for the 10th-seeded Spartans, and Megan O’Connell added another a minute later to give Sanford a 2-0 win over the seventh-ranked Bulldogs.

Sanford (9-5-1) will play at No. 2 Scarborough in the quarterfinals Wednesday. Portland ended its season at 7-4-4.

The Spartans not only won on the road but rectified a 3-0 loss to Portland a week ago.

“We certainly stepped it up in this game,” Coach Chris Coleman said. “We didn’t perform well in that game and they punished us. They walked away with a deserved win on their end.”

But it was Sanford that deserved to move on Friday, outshooting the Bulldogs, 15-9.

Portland goalkeeper Taylor Crosby finished with nine saves.Nikki Perez of Sanford recorded the shutout with seven.

“Today we played the best game that we’ve played all season for the entire 80 minutes,” Coleman said. “We were ready for tonight.”

While the halftime score didn’t reflect it, Sanford remained in control for most of the game. The Spartans created especially dangerous opportunities off their seven corner kicks, where – in the first half – they nearly converted two into header goals. Fortunately for the Bulldogs, one hit the goalpost while the other sailed over the crossbar.

Portland finished the half with four shots on goal – all of which were from deep.

Sanford defender Emma Graves attributed the Spartans’ success on defense to their communication.

“We just had really good practices – we stayed focused and set our minds on beating this team,” said Graves, a senior. “This could have been our last game.

“We knew we had to come out as the better team, and I think we did tonight.”

Sanford didn’t let up in the second half, nearly scoring on three corner kicks in the first three minutes.

The Bulldogs didn’t fire off a shot until 121/2 minutes in, when Kate Johnson launched a hard shot into Perez’s arms.

But Sanford snatched back momentum 20 seconds later, when Allen converted a Kristen O’Connell through ball into a goal with 27:06 left.

Crosby tried to make the sliding save, but Allen took advantage of the open net, tucking the ball into the right corner for a 1-0 lead.

With 24:48 remaining, Megan O’Connell finally converted on one of Sanford’s corner kicks with a header off Sydney Littlefield’s cross.

The Bulldogs nearly scored with 10 minutes remaining when Isabella More barely overshot a cross from Johnson. With seven minutes left, Annika More took another deep shot for Portland, but Perez made the save to keep the Bulldogs from closing the gap.

“It’s been an up and down season – one of highs and lows and close games as well,” Coleman said.

“We’ll be ready for Scarborough.”

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Boys’ soccer: Westbrook ousts Kennebunk Fri, 21 Oct 2016 23:39:24 +0000 KENNEBUNK — Caleb Barlow scored two goals and Jacob Brackett recorded a shutout as ninth-seeded Westbrook beat No. 8 Kennebunk 4-0 in a Class A South boys’ soccer prelim Friday evening.

Just over 21 minutes into the game, Barlow took a pass from his left from Marcus Lawson and fired a left-footed shot that found its way into the lower right corner of the net.

“Caleb is a special player. He loves to score goals and he’s worked hard,” said Kennebunk Coach Greg Cavanaugh, who coached Westbrook the previous two seasons. “He worked so hard off the ball tonight.”

It stayed a one-goal game until Westbrook struck three times in the last 15 minutes.

Barlow put the Blue Blazes up 2-0 with 14:01 remaining.

“Both (goals) were one touch, lower corner,” said Barlow. “It’s just when we all work together like that and play possession, play our game, (it) creates these wide open shots that are deep, but you have to take them.”

The second goal from Barlow seemed to open the floodgates, as Westbrook added two more goals in the next four minutes.

“Getting that second (goal) was good, and it did just open everything up. I think (our) confidence just raised (after the goal),” said Westbrook Coach Vincent Aceto.

Junior midfielder Austin Pierce put the Blue Blazes up 3-0. Then, with 10:04 left, Noor Abdulabas took a pass from Shammah Gahomera and scored to make it 4-0.

“We really needed that second goal to give us confidence,” said junior forward Jean Marc Lohomboli. “We had more control of the game after that goal.”

Lohomboli chipped in with a pair of assists.

Brackett made four saves in the shutout.

“I think we did very well (defensively). The field conditions weren’t the best, everybody was slipping,” said Brackett. “On one of the saves I had, I was slipping but I got (my) fingertips (on it), so I thought that was a great save.”

That came midway through the second half, with Westbrook clinging to its 1-0 lead. Simon Butterfield launched a shot toward the top of the net, but Brackett leaped and deflected it over the crossbar.

“We had opportunities, that’s for sure. Playoff soccer, and soccer in general, it’s who is going to capitalize on those opportunities,” said Cavanaugh.

Cavanaugh was coaching against his former team for the first time.

“I love the guy,” said Lohomboli. “He taught me pretty much all I know. I’m just glad I met that guy.

“It was interesting,” said Cavanaugh. “Right now it still stings, but once the dust settles a little bit I’ll be able to sit back and be proud of what those boys in Westbrook did.”

Westbrook (8-6-1) will travel to top-seeded Gorham (13-0-1) for a quarterfinal on Tuesday. Gorham won 7-0 in their regular-season meeting.

“Gorham handled us during our regular-season meeting,” said Aceto. “We probably won’t change anything that we’ve done all year, just probably tighten marking up. That’s where we lost it with Gorham.”

“It’s going to be a big game. We’re going to go out there and try to cause an upset, see what we can do,” said Brackett.

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Friday’s high school roundup: Greely advances in boys’ soccer Fri, 21 Oct 2016 22:58:59 +0000 YARMOUTH — Hunter Graham’s goal after 27:40 lifted sixth-seeded Greely to a 1-0 victory against 11th-ranked Leavitt in a Class B South boys’ soccer prelim Friday.

Greely (8-7) advanced to a quarterfinal Tuesday at third-seeded Cape Elizabeth (11-2-1).

Lucca Pfruender set up the goal, one-timing a pass from Owen McIntyre to Graham.

A.J. Eisenhart made three saves for the shutout. Lucas Perry had eight saves for the Hornets (4-8-3).

SOUTH PORTLAND 5, SANFORD 0: Charlie Cronin scored the final three goals as the fifth-seeded Red Riots (12-3) pulled away from 12th-ranked Sanford (5-9-1) in a Class A South prelim at South Portland.

South Portland will play at fourth-seeded Scarborough (11-3) in the quarterfinals Tuesday.

Liam Coyne opened the scoring after 15 minutes, running onto Cooper Mehlhorn’s cross from the left. Mehlhorn followed with a goal 10 minutes later, and Cronin made it 3-0 before adding a pair of second-half goals.

CARRABEC/MADISON 3, MORSE 0: The fifth-seeded Cobras (9-3-3) got second-half goals from Dustin Crawford, Dylan Willette and Mitchell Cates to beat the 12th-ranked Shipbuilders (7-8) in a Class B South prelim at North Anson.

Carrabec/Madison will be at fourth-seeded York (7-6-1) in the quarterfinals Tuesday.

PORTLAND 1, BONNY EAGLE 0: Alex Frank headed in a cross from El-Shadai Ngandu with 25:20 left to lift the sixth-seeded Bulldogs (10-3-2) over the 11th-ranked Scots (5-8-2) in a Class A South prelim at Portland.

Portland will be at third-seeded Deering (11-1-2) in the quarterfinals Tuesday.

Rowan Daligan made three saves to record the shutout. Brady Grass finished with five saves for the Scots.

GRAY-NEW GLOUCESTER 2, FRYEBURG ACADEMY 0: First-half goals by Nick McCann and Jake Kackmeister lifted the seventh-seeded Patriots (8-6-1) to a Class B South preliminary win over the 10th-ranked Raiders (6-9) at Gray.

Nathan Brindley assisted on McCann’s goal after about 15 minutes and Kackmeister scored from Nick Chandler.

The Patriots will visit second-seeded Yarmouth (11-2-1) for a quarterfinal Tuesday.

SEARSPORT 6, A.R. GOULD 4: Connor Kneeland scored from the top of the box to give ninth-seeded Searsport (10-5) a 5-4 lead against eighth-ranked A.R. Gould (7-7) in a Class D South prelim at South Portland.

Barrett Grant’s goal with eight minutes to play completed the scoring. Searsport will be at top-ranked Richmond (13-1) in the quarterfinals Tuesday.


ST. DOMINIC 6, TRAIP ACADEMY 0: Hannah Trottier-Braun scored three goals in the first half as the second-seeded Saints (13-2-1) beat the third-ranked Rangers (12-3-1) in a Class C South semifinal at Auburn.

Caroline Johnson opened the scoring and Kylie Leavitt added a goal in each half to help the Saints advance to the regional final Wednesday at Massabesic High against Oak Hill or Lisbon.

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Finalists named for Miss Maine Field Hockey Fri, 21 Oct 2016 22:25:28 +0000 Lily Posternak of York, Chase Collier of Lisbon and Kylie Nelson of Belfast are the finalists for the Miss Maine Field Hockey award, presented to the state’s top high school senior.

Posternak, a two-time Maine Sunday Telegram Player of the Year, has led her team to consecutive Class B state championship and a 51-game winning streak. She holds school career records with 77 goals and 50 assists.

Nelson, the 2015 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B Player of the Year, has 90 career goals, including 31 this season.

Collier, this year’s Mountain Valley Conference Player of the Year, has 36 goals and 20 assists in her career.

]]> 0 Fri, 21 Oct 2016 18:38:14 +0000
Boys’ soccer: Thornton edges Marshwood in OT Fri, 21 Oct 2016 22:25:02 +0000 SACO — Soccer can be a very simple game sometimes, often decided simply by which team capitalizes on its chances.

In Friday night’s Class A South boys’ preliminary-round playoff game, that was Thornton Academy and Noah Niles.

Niles scored his second goal of the game 4:35 into overtime to lift the seventh-seeded Trojans to a 2-1 victory over No. 10 Marshwood at Hill Stadium. Niles combined with fellow senior Ben Steva on a nifty play to end the game, then went sliding on his knees into the right corner as his teammates swarmed him.

“I don’t think Noah was going to walk off this field, in his last game as a senior, with a loss,” said Thornton Coach Andrew Carlson.

The Trojans (9-4-2) will play at No. 2 Falmouth in the Class A South quarterfinals on Tuesday. Marshwood, which lost 4-1 to the Trojans back on Sept. 8, finished 7-7-1.

“I thought it was the type of game where whoever made the shot, whoever scored the goals … I know it sounds simple but it is,” said Marshwood Coach Ben Deschene. “We had chances, they had chances and they just scored on them. It was a game that could have gone either way.

“It was one of the most competitive games I’ve ever been a part of.”

It was only the second playoff win in Thornton’s history and Carlson is hoping his players can carry the momentum over to the quarterfinals. The Trojans had lost four of their last five games, all to teams ranked in the top five in Class A South.

Each team scored a goal in the first half – Marshwood with 24:41 remaining when Riley Dinsmore-Patch scored from a near-impossible angle on the left end line and Thornton with 11:23 left on a nice play started by Zachary Ahmida that Niles finished – and had chances in the second.

In overtime, the Trojans came out fast. Eventually, Steva came up the left side and sent a pass through to Niles, who cut in on one defender and then beat Hawks keeper Sam Leathe with a shot from about 10 yards out to the right corner.

“Steva played a great pass to me,” said Niles. “I saw an opening with one defender in front of me, I just cut it and the kid fell and I just put it in the corner.”

Niles was quick to credit his teammates with the victory. “It was a team effort more than anything,” he said. “It just happened to be me who scored.”

Both teams played strong defensively. Liam Keating and Max Berman stood out for the Hawks, continually breaking up plays before they could be completed.

Thornton’s Brandon Lebel kicked the ball away as it got past Trojan keeper Colin Daly and rolled toward an open corner. He was part of a steady back line that included Daniel Roch, Noah Edborg, Noah Goren and Jacob Nason.

“We rely a lot on those guys,” said Carlson.

Niles also praised the team’s mental toughness after giving up an early goal.

“One thing about this team all year is that we’ve shown great resilience,” he said. “No matter how early the other team scores we always keep our heads up and know we’re in any game.”

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Live Coverage: High School Football Oct. 21 Fri, 21 Oct 2016 16:24:52 +0000 Live High School Football

Live Blog Friday football Oct. 21

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More high school sports postponements Fri, 21 Oct 2016 14:43:06 +0000 For the second day in a row, several high school playoff games have been postponed because of rain.

As of 1 p.m., the following games have been moved to Monday (new game times are in parentheses).

Class A South: Massabesic at Falmouth, 5:30 p.m.

Hampden Academy at Brunswick, 5 p.m.

Thornton Academy at Windham, 6:30 p.m.
Gray-New Gloucester at Mountain Valley, 4 p.m.
Lincoln Academy at Morse girls’ soccer, 4 p.m.

Also, the girls’ soccer game between Maranacook and Freeport at 2 p.m. Saturday was moved to the artificial turf field at North Yarmouth Academy.

Check back at for the latest updates.

Here are other schedule changes from Friday:


Windham at Cheverus, now 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium

Morse at Mt. Ararat, now 6 p.m. Saturday

Skowhegan at Mt. Blue – now 7 p.m. Saturday

Greely at Falmouth – now 7:30 p.m. Saturday


Class A South: Scarborough at Marshwood, 3:15 p.m. Monday

Class A North: Skowhegan at Mt. Blue, 3 p.m. Monday

Class B South: Leavitt at York, 3:15 p.m. Monday

Class B South: Yarmouth at Kennebunk, 3:15 p.m. Monday

Class B North: Lawrence at Foxcroft Academy, 3 p.m. Monday

Class C South: Lisbon at Oak Hill, 3:30 p.m. Monday


The regionals in Cumberland (South) and Belfast (North) have been moved to Saturday, Oct. 29.

The state championships have been rescheduled for Saturday, Nov. 5.


Mt. Abram at Sacopee Valley has been moved to 5:30 p.m. Monday.

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Athletes of the Week, Oct. 21 Fri, 21 Oct 2016 08:00:00 +0000 GIRLS

1097666_839472 Pasch.jpgMalaika Pasch, Falmouth cross country: A sophomore, Pasch won the Western Maine Conference title meet Friday at St. Joseph’s College by 23 seconds in 19 minutes, 11 seconds over a challenging 5K course. Her time was two seconds off the course record set by Abbey Leonardi of Kennebunk in 2009.

Honorable mention

Jordyn Cowan, Scarborough volleyball: The senior middle hitter led the Red Storm in their 3-0 win over Biddeford to help them notch their 12th straight win and improve to 12-1. Cowan served the winning point in the first set, provided a timely kill on the last point of the third set to put the match away, and led Scarborough with 12 kills.

Bailey Plourde, Lincoln Academy golf: The senior won a share of her third girls’ individual title by rolling in a birdie on the final hole Saturday at Natanis to tie Erin Holmes of Greely at 1-over 73.

Lily Posternak, York field hockey: The senior midfielder scored four goals and assisted on three in an 8-0 Class B South quarterfinal win Tuesday against Freeport. Posternak has 29 goals for top-rated York, which has won 51 straight games.


1097666_839472 Spaulding2.jpgEthan Spaulding, Greater Portland Christian soccer: The senior forward scored 11 goals over the Lions’ past two games to finish his career with 102 goals, fifth most in Maine boys’ soccer history, according to the Maine Soccer Coaches Association. Spaulding scored seven goals Tuesday in a 10-1 win against Pine Tree Academy after scoring four in Thursday’s 10-0 win over Chop Point.

Honorable mention

Cole Anderson, Camden Hills golf: A sophomore, Anderson defended his Class A boys’ individual championship with a 1-over 73 at Natanis to edge his playing partner, Lucas Roop of Gorham, by a stroke. Anderson finished at 5 under on the four par-5 holes.

Ryan Walsh, Deering football: Walsh rushed for two touchdowns in the first half, and added a TD catch and a 65-yard interception return for a score in the third quarter as Deering earned a 41-28 win over Edward Little on Friday.

Jeremiah Sands, Falmouth cross country: A senior, Sands won the Western Maine Conference championship meet Friday by seven seconds in 16:37 over a tough 5K course in Standish.

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High school football notebook: Heavyweights meet in final week of regular season Fri, 21 Oct 2016 08:00:00 +0000 Before the season, four teams jumped out as clear favorites in their leagues.

All four have met expectations, creating a pair of heavyweight matchups Friday night between 7-0 teams: Thornton Academy at Bonny Eagle in Class A South, and Cape Elizabeth at Wells in Class C South.

Both games have been moved up to 6 p.m. because of forecasts of heavy rain later in the evening.

No team will win any hardware Friday, but the top playoff seed is on the line.

“Basically the winner will have home field throughout,” said Thornton Coach Kevin Kezal. “It’s nice to know the next three weeks you’re home, the first week with a bye and the next two weeks playing on your home field.”

Opposing coaches who faced both teams were asked for their scouting reports and predictions. The consensus? Both games are too close to call and definitely are worth the price of admission.

“I wish our game was on Saturday so I could go watch that game myself,” Freeport Coach Paul St. Pierre said of the Cape Elizabeth-Wells game.


Physical. That’s the word both Scarborough Coach Lance Johnson and Windham Coach Matt Perkins kept coming back to when describing this game.

“Thornton might be a little bigger,” Johnson said. “Physicality-wise they play a similar game. They both have experienced players. I think they’re pretty evenly matched.”

Thornton has outscored opponents, 345-86. Bonny Eagle has a 320-79 scoring advantage.

“I think it’s going to be a great matchup,” Perkins said. “I think Thornton will do a real good job on the defensive line but I’m interested because I think Bonny Eagle has one of the best offensive lines we’ve seen.”

Perkins’ Windham team pushed Thornton to the limit in a 17-13 loss in Saco, the only game Thornton or Bonny Eagle played decided by less than 14 points. Windham lost at home to Bonny Eagle, 38-10.

Like Johnson, Perkins pointed to Thornton quarterback Mike Laverriere as the X-factor.

“He just has a knack of finding a way to get first downs when they need it,” Perkins said.

Scarborough (5-2) played Bonny Eagle tough in a 21-7 defensive-oriented loss and later in the year struggled to contain Laverriere in a 34-19 loss. Laverriere accounted for 246 of Thornton’s 266 yards in that game.

“Bonny Eagle is a little more diverse in terms of the way they spread the ball around in big games,” Johnson said.

Over the past three seasons, the Scots and Golden Trojans have played six times and met in three straight regional finals. Thornton is 5-1 in that span. Bonny Eagle’s win came in the 2013 regional final at Standish.


The Class C powers give up fewer points than anyone else in the state.

Cape has outscored opponents 326-33. Wells’ edge is 335-37.

Yarmouth Coach Jason Veilleux and Freeport’s St. Pierre both saw first-hand how dominant Wells and Cape can be.

“It’s hard for me to give a good report because both teams are so much stronger than my team,” St. Pierre joked.

Both pointed to one key matchup: Wells’ defense against Cape Elizabeth’s passing game led by quarterback Jeb Boeschenstein.

“Ben Ekedahl is a very good receiver and they have a couple other receivers,” Veilleux said. “I think that will be where Cape has an edge. Of course, weather might change things and they are playing down at Wells.”

Veilleux notes the Warriors are a “prideful” bunch that executes its Wing-T offense with deadly efficiency. Plus, having lost the last two regional championship games on the road (at Leavitt in 2014 and Yarmouth in 2015), Wells will be seeking to secure home-field advantage.

“Wells and Cape are probably two of the most evenly matched teams I’ve seen in this conference in a long time,” Veilleux said.

Freeport at Yarmouth, known as the Battle of the Bay, is another interesting matchup. Both teams are in the Class C South playoffs. The winner avoids playing the Cape-Wells loser in the regional quarterfinal.

“The best part is this year we’re looking forward to Friday night,” St. Pierre said. “Last year Yarmouth was 7-0 and we were 0-7, and you knew what was going to happen. This year we’re both 3-4, we can go in and give everything we have and know it’s not our last game.”

Windham and Cheverus will be competing for a quarterfinal bye when they meet at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Cheverus. Both teams are 4-3, behind Class A North leader Portland at 6-1.

“Oh yeah, this is huge,” Windham’s Perkins said. “You definitely want to get that bye week. We’ve been fortunate enough to have it the last two years.”

Cheverus Athletic Director Gary Hoyt said Thursday he has a plan in case Saturday’s weather forecast is ominous, and would make a decision Friday afternoon on a new time and location.

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On Football: UMaine has to keep rolling to stay in playoff race Fri, 21 Oct 2016 08:00:00 +0000 We are entering the must-win phase of the University of Maine’s football season.

The Black Bears cannot afford to falter, especially in the next two weeks. They are riding a three-game winning streak that has thrust them into the Colonial Athletic Association playoff race.

Maine (3-3, 2-1 in the CAA) plays at Rhode Island (1-6, 0-4) on Saturday and then travels to Virginia the following week to play William & Mary (3-4, 1-3).

Those are two winnable games, though first-year coach Joe Harasymiak is making sure his Black Bears don’t get caught up in comparing statistics and records.

“I know the kids can go on the Internet or social media, they can look at the stats,” Harasymiak said. “They know Rhode Island is 1-6. There’s nothing I can do to block that out.

“But we continue to send the same message, that we have to play well every week. This is the CAA. Nothing comes easy.”

Nothing has come easy for Maine this year – and that trend continued with the news Thursday that leading receiver Jaleel Reed will miss the next four weeks after having surgery on his left thumb.

The Black Bears started the season with a difficult schedule. They opened on the road against two Football Bowl Subdivision teams – Connecticut and Toledo – and played James Madison, clearly the best team in the CAA right now, in the home opener.

An 0-3 start was not unexpected. Yes, Toledo (which is 5-1 and averaging 43 points a game) blew out the Black Bears. But Maine was tied with Connecticut until the Huskies kicked a field goal with 11 seconds to go. And the Black Bears led James Madison going into the fourth quarter.

“I think the lessons that we went through early in the season, in the tough spots we faced, have really helped us,” Harasymiak said. “We struggled early on simply because we weren’t winning.”

Now the Black Bears are confident. The offense is dangerous, relying on a strong running game to set up an explosive passing game. The defense is showing signs of becoming the unmovable force that it has traditionally been.

“We’re just executing way better,” said senior linebacker Christophe Mulumba Tshimanga, Maine’s leading tackler with 57. “We’re playing with a lot of energy for four quarters. And we’re making plays when we need to make plays.”

The danger when things are going so well and you’re playing a struggling opponent – especially one that you’ve beaten nine consecutive times, as Maine has done with Rhode Island – is that you will let up.

Senior quarterback Dan Collins said that won’t happen against the Rams.

“A lot of our guys, we got recruited by Rhode Island, we could have gone there,” said Collins. “It’s homecoming. They’ll be amped up. And it’s always a battle with them.

“I’ve learned that you can never take an opponent lightly in this league. And their record doesn’t show how good they really are.”

Opponents were saying that about the Black Bears a month ago.

Now, as Rhode Island Coach Jim Fleming said, “I’m concerned that they’re on a roll. Joe has done a good job there. They’ve been able to show some resilience.”

The Black Bears have to show they can handle the role of being favored. They need to come out Saturday – and the following week against William & Mary – and establish an early lead.

“They’re always a team that hangs around,” Mulumba Tshimanga said of Rhode Island. “We’ve got to make sure we come out strong and don’t give them any hope.”

Maine returns home on Nov. 5 to play Villanova (5-2, 3-1) – ranked 16th and 17th in the two national FCS polls. But if the Black Bears are going to play any meaningful games in November, they have to take care of business on the road first.

Winning on the road – as Maine did two weeks ago at Delaware on a 62-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Austin Brown in the final minute – can be empowering.

“Going into that game, I told the guys it was 74 against 15,000,” said Harasymiak. “We like that. You can see how powerful you have to become as a team to overcome that. We like the feeling of it just being us.”

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Cubs top Dodgers, head home with 3-2 lead in NLCS Fri, 21 Oct 2016 04:30:11 +0000 LOS ANGELES — Jon Lester pitched seven sharp innings, Addison Russell hit a tie-breaking homer and the Chicago Cubs moved one win from their first World Series trip in 71 years by beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-4 on Thursday.

The Cubs grabbed a 3-2 lead in the NL Championship Series and will have two chances to wrap up that elusive pennant back home at Wrigley Field.

The first comes Saturday night in Game 6, when Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw faces major league ERA leader Kyle Hendricks.

Emerging star Javier Baez was in the middle of everything for the Cubs, a common theme this October. The second baseman made a sensational defensive play when the game was still close in the seventh, and his three-run double capped a five-run eighth that made it 8-1.

After busting out of his postseason slump Wednesday, Russell hit a two-run homer for the second straight game. This one was a sixth-inning drive off losing pitcher Joe Blanton that gave Chicago a 3-1 lead.

By winning consecutive games in Los Angeles, the Cubs took control of the best-of-seven series after getting shut out in Games 2 and 3.

Of course, there’s no need to remind longtime fans that the Cubs were in the same favorable position 13 years ago – heading home to Wrigley Field with a 3-2 lead in the NLCS.

But even with ace pitchers Mark Prior and Kerry Wood starting the final two games, Chicago collapsed against the Marlins in one of its most excruciating failures.

More than a decade later, the franchise is still chasing its first World Series championship since 1908.

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NFL roundup: Rodgers, Packers outlast Bears Fri, 21 Oct 2016 04:02:02 +0000 GREEN BAY, Wis. — Aaron Rodgers threw for 326 yards and three touchdowns, Davante Adams and Ty Montgomery emerged as playmakers in the second half and the Green Bay Packers beat the offensively challenged Chicago Bears 26-10 on Thursday night.

Rodgers was 39 of 56, setting a franchise record for completions in a game in the Packers’ first contest without injured running back Eddie Lacy.

The Packers (4-2) moved effectively on short gains most of the night, but couldn’t break into the end zone until Adams caught the first of his two touchdown receptions with 9:11 left in the third quarter for a 13-10 lead.

Rodgers and Adams combined again for a 4-yard score on the first play of the fourth quarter for a 10-point lead.

It was effectively over from there for the Bears (1-6), who lost quarterback Brian Hoyer to a broken left arm in the second quarter.

With Jay Cutler already out with a right thumb injury, Chicago turned to third-stringer Matt Barkley.

An offense that was already 31st in the league in scoring got worse. Barkley was 6 of 15 for 81 yards and two interceptions.

Coach John Fox tried to lean on the rush against the NFL’s third-best run defense. It didn’t work either.

It got so bad for the Bears that Rodgers had more completions (37) than the Bears had offensive plays (36) by 5:31 of the fourth quarter.

That 37th completion for Rodgers was a 2-yard scoring pass to Randall Cobb for a 16-point lead.

The Packers put Lacy on injured reserve before the game.The team traded a conditional draft pick to Kansas City this week for Knile Davis and also signed Don Jackson to the active roster from the practice squad.

BILLS: A person with knowledge of LeSean McCoy’s hamstring injury told The Associated Press that the running back will be “a game-time decision” on Sunday, when Buffalo plays at Miami.

McCoy left practice Wednesday after experiencing tightness in one of his hamstrings.

Coach Rex Ryan is “hopeful” McCoy can play, and declined to reveal the extent of the injury.

JETS: The team will honor the late Dennis Byrd in a pregame ceremony Sunday after he was killed last weekend in a car accident in Oklahoma.

Byrd was an inspiration to many after he overcame brief paralysis and walked again just a few months after injuring his neck during a play in 1992. The defensive lineman, who played for the Jets for four seasons, died in a two-vehicle collision on Oklahoma 88 north of Claremore last Saturday. He was 50.

 Rookie linebacker Darron Lee will not play against the Ravens on Sunday because of a sprained ankle. Lee, the team’s first-round draft pick in April, is the Jets’ leading tackler with 34.

WASHINGTON: Wide receiver DeSean Jackson and tight end Jordan Reed missed practice, putting their availability for Sunday’s game at the Detroit Lions into question.

Jackson has a sore left shoulder. Reed still is dealing with a concussion that forced him to miss last week’s game.

GIANTS: Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. returned to practice on a limited basis and hopes to play against the Los Angeles Rams this weekend in London.

The 23-year-old Beckham missed Wednesday’s workout because of a hip pointer sustained in Sunday’s 27-23 win over the Ravens.

COLTS: Terricka Cromartie believes Indianapolis cut her husband, Antonio, because of his national anthem protest.

On Thursday, she took her claims public on Instagram and noted earlier comments from team owner Jim Irsay as confirming it. Irsay called the protests not “a positive thing.”

Cromartie’s wife wrote, in part: “one things for sure I know my husband was told Not to take a knee and he went with his heart and took one. And that cost him his job.” He was the only Colts player to protest by taking a knee and raising his fist during the anthem.

Team spokesman Avis Roper responded by citing Coach Chuck Pagano’s previous answer about making the best decision for the team.

The Colts signed Cromartie on Aug. 22 to solidify a secondary decimated by injuries. He started each of Indy’s first four games but was benched in the second half against Jacksonville after being called for two penalties on the Jaguars’ final first-half drive.

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NHL roundup: Penguins top Sharks in rematch of final Fri, 21 Oct 2016 03:49:23 +0000 PITTSBURGH — Evgeni Malkin, Scott Wilson and Patric Hornqvist scored during a furious third-period rally to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night.

The Penguins trailed by two goals after two largely lifeless periods in a rematch of last June’s Stanley Cup Final before catching fire late. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 32 shots and bought the Penguins time until the offense finally got going.

Tomas Hertl and Patrick Marleau scored for the Sharks.

CAPITALS 4, PANTHERS 2: Alex Ovechkin scored the winning goal midway through the third period to lift Washington to a win at Sunrise, Florida.

Marcus Johansson, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Justin Williams also scored for the Capitals.

Florida’s Jaromir Jagr became the third player to score 750 goals. He is third all-time in the NHL, behind Wayne Gretzky (894) and Gordie Howe (801).

CANADIENS 5, COYOTES 2: Carey Price made 27 saves in his season debut to help the host Montreal beat Arizona.

Price made his first NHL start since injuring his right knee on Nov. 25, 2015. He also missed the first three games of this season because of the flu.

DUCKS 3, FLYERS 2: Ryan Garbutt’s goal broke a tie in the third period and sent Anaheim to its first win of the season.

Chris Wagner and Corey Perry also scored to help Anaheim spoil Philadelphia’s home opener. The Ducks opened 0-3-1 and had yet to score more than two goals in a game.

AVALANCHE 4, LIGHTNING 0: Matt Duchene had two goals and an assist, Semyon Varlamov made 27 saves for his 21st career shutout and Colorado won at Tampa, Florida.

WILD 3, LEAFS 2: Eric Staal scored twice and the Minnesota Wild recovered from another deficit to win at home.

Staal has three goals in four games with his new team. His winner with 8 minutes left kept Minnesota unbeaten in its three-game homestand despite allowing the first goal in each game.

KINGS 4, STARS 3: Alec Martinez scored on a wrist shot 1:20 into overtime, and visiting Los Angeles got its first win of the season.


PENGUINS: The team rewarded goaltender Matt Murray for his work in the Stanley Cup playoffs with a new contract.

Murray agreed to a three-year extension, through the 2019-2020 season, that carries an average annual value of $3.75 million.

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Sports Digest: MVP’s late basket lifts Sparks to WNBA title Fri, 21 Oct 2016 03:19:08 +0000 BASKETBALL

MVP’s late basket sends Sparks to WNBA title

Nneka Ogwumike’s short jumper with 3.1 seconds left gave the Los Angeles Sparks a 77-76 victory over the defending champion Minnesota Lynx in the deciding game of the WNBA Finals on Thursday night in Minneapolis, delivering the Sparks their first title in 14 years.

Ogwumike, the league MVP, finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Candace Parker had 28 points and 12 rebounds for the Sparks.

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers forward Elton Brand announced his retirement.

Brand, the first overall pick in the 1999 draft by Chicago, averaged 15.9 points and 8.5 rebounds in 17 seasons.

 The Pistons exercised their option on forward Stanley Johnson through the 2017-18 season. Johnson averaged 8.1 points and 4.2 rebounds as a rookie last season.


FIELD HOCKEY: Libby Riedl scored two second-half goals to help the University of Maine (11-5, 4-1 America East) to a 3-0 victory over UMass-Lowell (7-8, 2-3) at Orono.

Ella Mosky scored in the 41st minute, and Riedl added goals in the 56th and 65th minutes.

Emma Cochran made three saves for the shutout.

WOMEN’S SOCCER: Meghan Cavanaugh scored with 6:42 to play to give Albany (8-7-1, 5-1-1 America East) a 2-1 win over Maine (7-8, 3-5) at Orono in the Black Bears’ season finale.

Maine’s Vivien Beil and Albany’s Meghan Malone traded goals earlier in the second half.

The Black Bears must wait for the conference schedule to conclude to find out if they will reach the tournament.

BASKETBALL: The University of Maine women’s team was ranked third in the America East preseason coaches’ poll, garnering two first-place votes and 51 points.

Albany topped the poll with 60 points (five first-place votes). UMBC was next with 53 points (two first-place votes).

Maine won the regular-season title last year, but fell to Albany in the tournament final.

 Maine was last in the men’s coaches’ poll, receiving just eight points. Vermont was first with 62 points.


NADAL OUT: Rafael Nadal said he is cutting short his 2016 season to fully recover from a left wrist injury that kept him out of action for more than two months this season.


PGA: Justin Thomas opened his CIMB Classic title defense with an 8-under 64 for a share of the lead with fellow Americans Keegan Bradley and Derek Fathauer at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

LPGA: Minjee Lee birdied the final three holes for a 7-under 65 and a two-stroke lead in the Blue Bay LPGA at Hainan, China.

EUROPEAN TOUR: Scotland’s Marc Warren birdied the first six holes and finished with an 8-under 63 to take a one-stroke first-round lead in the Portugal Masters at Vilamoura.

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Thursday’s high school roundup: Yarmouth sweeps to volleyball win Fri, 21 Oct 2016 02:49:53 +0000 YARMOUTH — Andrea St. Pierre served 10 consecutive service points in the second set Thursday night as sixth-seeded Yarmouth swept into the Class A volleyball quarterfinals with a straight-set victory against 11th-ranked Windham.

The Clippers (11-4) will be at third-seeded Biddeford in the quarterfinals Saturday.

Alison Clark had 22 kills for Yarmouth, St. Pierre added four aces and Marie LeBlanc had four kills in a 25-22, 25-14, 25-18 victory.

Sammie Gosselin had 12 digs and Cassie Fleck added seven kills for Windham (7-8).

MOUNT DESERT ISLAND 3, CAPE ELIZABETH 2: The fifth-seeded Trojans (10-5) won the deciding fifth set 15-7 to defeat the 12th-seeded Capers (8-7) in a Class A prelim at Bar Harbor.

Barbara Dolan had five consecutive service points in the third set for Cape Elizabeth, which dropped the first two sets, 19-25, 25-27, and recovered to take the next two sets, 25-18, 25-14.

The Trojans will next meet fourth-seeded Falmouth on Saturday in a quarterfinal.

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Late goal gives Bruins win in home opener Fri, 21 Oct 2016 02:04:05 +0000 BOSTON — Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron watched his teammates start the season without him, and he watched his would-be linemates shoot to the top of the NHL’s scoring list.

“I thought, ‘Maybe I’m going to be the anchor tonight,'” he joked after scoring the tie-breaking goal with 75 seconds left in his season debut to give Boston a 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night. “They were amazing the first three games.”

After sitting out the season-opening trip with an unspecified injury, Bergeron returned to practice on Wednesday and took regular shifts in the home opener against New Jersey. He was on the ice when linemate Brad Marchand tied it 1-all with just under 10 minutes left in regulation, and he was there again to one-time the winner in at the end.

“He scored a clutch goal for us,” Coach Claude Julien said. “That’s what he’s always been: a clutch player.”

Tuukka Rask had 28 saves for the Bruins, who fought off a power play for the last 49 seconds without allowing a shot.

Kyle Palmieri scored for the Devils, and Cory Schneider stopped 34 shots.

The game remained scoreless until Palmieri scored a power-play goal about four minutes into the third period. But Marchand tied it with just under 10 minutes left in regulation – his third goal and eighth point in four games this season.

“(When) you’re lucky enough to have a lead in the third period, it’s a tough pill to swallow, not getting any points out of it,” Palmieri said.

After finishing below .500 at home last season, Julien said he was glad to put on a better show for the Boston fans. “We were all disappointed in our performance here last year,” he said.

Without Bergeron, the Bruins moved David Backes from right wing to center between Marchand and David Pastrnak. They combined for 16 points in the Bruins’ first three games; Marchand ended his night as the NHL’s leading point-scorer, with three goals and six assists for nine points, and Pastrnak had seven.

“You want to start the season, go on the first road trip with the team. It wasn’t easy at all,” Bergeron said. “There was a lot of pulling, on my side, to be back. But we looked at the big picture and this was more reasonable.”

The ceremonial first puck was dropped by 98-year-old former Bruins captain Milt Schmidt, with help from Bobby Orr. It was the 80th and 50th anniversaries, respectively, of their rookie seasons. They each went on to win the Stanley Cup twice, have their numbers retired in Boston and earn induction in the Hall of Fame.

Orr, wearing treads on his shoes, pushed Schmidt out in a wheelchair. He helped his former coach raise his hand to acknowledge the cheering crowd. Several players, including Bergeron and Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, came over to say high to the former stars.

“They’re two Bruins legends and hockey legends,” Marchand said. “Any time you’re around them, it’s exciting. You kind of catch yourself watching them, and admiring them.”

Taylor Hall missed an open net early in the third after drawing a penalty that led to the Devils goal. Palmieri delivered early in the power play, shooting it under the bent knee of defender Brandon Carlo and through the legs of the screened goaltender.

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