Senior Max Morrione isn’t just a standout goalie for Deering’s boys’ soccer team. He’ll also be the placekicker on the football team this fall. File photos. More photos below.

(Ed. Note: Deering is not fielding a varsity golf team this fall and field hockey is now a co-op team with Portland. See the Portland preview for more on that sport).

FOOTBALL

Coach: Rob Susi (second year)

2018 record: 3-6 (Lost, 42-21, to Sanford in Class A South quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Chauncey Alado (Senior), Bailey Eide (Senior), Jason Pichette (Senior), Mike Randall (Senior), Dominic Russo (Senior), Travis Soule (Senior), James Opio (Junior), Amani Peeples-Gorman (Junior)

Deering quarterback James Opio is elusive and will help pace the Rams’ offense this season.

Pivotal games: Sept. 6 @ South Portland, Sept. 13 GORHAM, Oct. 4 SCARBOROUGH, Oct. 11 MARSHWOOD, Oct. 26 @ Cheverus

Coach’s comment: “We’re still low in numbers, but the kids we do have are working hard. We have a lot of first year players and they’re coming along. We have a solid group of seniors. We have a lot of speed. We’ll spread teams out and have some fun on offense. We can also change the pace with our power game. We’re excited for the year to start. We believe we can be competitive and successful.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Deering got to the playoffs a year ago and moves to Class B South this fall (along with several traditional rivals), where it will be in arguably the toughest region in the state. The Rams believe that their athleticism and speed will keep them competitive and there is plenty of reason for optimism.

While all-star Ben Onek will be missed, Deering will turn to several talented players on the offensive end. Opio returns at quarterback and he’s dangerous throwing the ball, as well as taking off and running with it. Randall and Soule will see plenty of action at running back. Russo, along with seniors Josiah Cope and Tyler McAlister, will also have an opportunity to contribute. Senior Liz Drelich, who came over to football from field hockey, may see a few carries as well as the season progresses. Through the air, Opio will look for Peeples-Gorman and seniors Galen Carey and Will Vachon. The Rams have several linemen returning. That group includes Alado, Eide, Pichette and seniors Dom Dimillo and Angelo Legaspi. Senior Max Morrione, the soccer goalie, will do the placekicking. He made the all-star team a year ago.

Defensively, Randall, a second-team league all-star in 2018, leads the way from his linebacker position. He’s joined by Russo. Drelich could see some snaps at that position as well. Up front, Alado, Dimillo, Eide, Legaspi, Pichette and Vachon will all look to stymie the opposition. Deering should be strong in the secondary as well with Carey, McAlister, Peeples-Gorman and Soule looking to do damage.

The Rams have tough games every week, many against schools with bigger rosters, but you can’t quantify heart and that heart might put this squad over the top. Deering will be able to produce its share of big plays and points. If the defense can consistently step up, the wins will come and a playoff berth could be the reward.

BOYS’ SOCCER
 
Coach: Joel Costigan (ninth year, 71-38-13 overall record)

2018 record: 4-8-2 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Max Morrione (Senior), Calvin Benider (Junior), Ben Chatterjee (Junior), Carlo DeMucci (Junior), Mick Fennessey (Junior)

Pivotal games: Sept. 6 SCARBOROUGH, Sept. 19 FALMOUTH, Sept. 21 @ Gorham, Sept. 24 CHEVERUS, Oct. 15 SOUTH PORTLAND, Oct. 18 @ Thornton Academy

Coach’s comment: ”I’m very excited about this group. They have such a positive attitude and have been working hard throughout the summer. Max has been a tremendous leader. My expectations are always high, but I very much love the energy coming from this team. We’re solid and deep. I anticipate we’ll return to our usual selves and bounce back from last year’s performance. I hope we can maintain our positivity throughout the season and positively represent Deering High School and soccer in Maine.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Deering took a step back last fall and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2010, but that figures to be an aberration. Look for the 2019 Rams to once again be in the title hunt.

Morrione is a terrific starting point. He’s not only an all-star in goal (honorable mention in 2018), but he’s been a team leader and has gotten Deering to concentrate its energy in a positive manner heading into the campaign. DeMucci (another all-star honorable mention in 2018) is a top returner at the forward position. He’ll be a scoring threat, along with Fennessey, junior Rivaldo Sanchez and new senior Askar Houssein, a dynamic standout last seen helping Waynflete win the Class C championship a year ago. Benider and Chatterjee have experience and will anchor the midfield.

As usual, the Rams face a daunting schedule, but this group is up for the challenge. Some early success will go a long way as a confident Deering squad could be tough for the league to stop. Look for Morrione to keep the Rams in every game and if the offense comes along, Deering won’t just make the playoffs, but will likely stay awhile.

GIRLS’ SOCCER

Coach: Kevin Olson (14th year, 82-93-19 overall record)

2018 record: 2-12 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Gianna Charest (Senior), Kiaya Gatchell (Senior), Sahar Habibzai (Senior), Avi Kim (Senior), Darcy Lally (Senior), Mia Sargent (Senior), Riley Forrest (Junior), Jonna Rosenthal (Junior), Fran Freeman (Sophomore), Ella McGowan (Sophomore), Zuzia Varney (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Sept. 7 @ Scarborough, Sept. 19 @ Falmouth, Sept. 21 GORHAM, Sept. 24 @ Cheverus, Oct. 3 BONNY EAGLE, Oct. 10 @ Windham

Coach’s comment: “The expectation for this season is to put in the hard work so we’re a competitive team every time we step on the field.  We hope to have a successful regular season and get into the playoffs.”

Senior Gianna Charest is back in goal for Deering’s girls’ soccer team.

The Forecaster’s forecast: Deering has an experienced squad this fall and the Rams are hungry to get the program back to contender’s status.

Sargent was an SMAA all-star honorable mention in 2018. She’ll direct the offense from her midfield position. Forrest, McGowan, Rosenthal and Varney are other key players at the position. Up top, look for Habibzai and Lally to put pressure on the opposition. Defensively, Deering features Freeman, Gatchell and Kim. Charest returns in goal. Junior Grayson Soldati will also see time between the pipes.

The Rams have a very difficult schedule, facing all of the squads deemed as favorites in the preseason, but this squad is equipped to hold its own. Look for Deering to improve on its record, gain confidence as the season progresses and be in position to make it to the postseason for the first time since 2015, where it could be a very difficult out.

VOLLEYBALL

Coach: Nika Francois (second year)

2018 record: 9-6 (Lost, 3-0, to Biddeford in Class A state quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Nearie Im (Senior), Rachel Pardi (Senior), Janella Marie Ridge (Senior)

Pivotal matches: Sept. 12 THORNTON ACADEMY, Sept. 26 KENNEBUNK, Oct. 1 @ Windham, Oct. 3 @ South Portland, Oct. 8 PORTLAND, Oct. 19 CHEVERUS, Oct. 22 @ Scarborough

Coach’s comment: “We have a new team this year. They’re a great group of girls with the willingness to learn and they give their best effort on the court. My goals are to foster the development of a positive and strong mental attitude and for us to continue working together as a team to improve our skills. I expect this season to be a great one, as always.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Deering had another strong season a year ago, but the Rams are essentially starting from scratch this fall. While this team might take awhile to hit its stride, the future is bright.

Im will be the setter. Pardi will be a top hitter. Ridge (a second-team league all-star in 2018) can specialize in defense and produce kills. Senior Taja Wilkins (middle hitter) and junior Aalliyah Ferreira (outside hitter) are top newcomers. Several others will look to step in and play a role.

Deering will have its growing pains against elite programs like defending champion Falmouth, Biddeford, Cape Elizabeth, Gorham and Scarborough, but there are several matches are the slate that should see the Rams be able to hold their own. Look for Deering to steadily improve and if all goes well, make it to the postseason yet again.

CROSS COUNTRY

Coaches:
(Boys) Frank Myatt (eighth year)
(Girls) Gerry Myatt (17th year)

2018 results:
(Boys) DNQ for Class A state meet (10th @ regionals)
(Girls) 9th @ Class A state meet

Top returners:
(Boys) Chris Harmon (Senior), Joey Lancia (Senior), Isaac Tabb (Senior), Abdifatah Abdirahman (Junior), Owen Pfaff (Jnior), Owen Richards (Junior), Alexey Seredin (Sophomore)
(Girls) Sierra Aponte-Clarke (Junior), Hadley Poirier (Junior), Megan Cunningham (Sophomore)

Coach Frank Myatt’s comment: “We’ll have to learn how to be a pack team this year. My seniors are doing a terrific job leading the younger guys. They weren’t pleased to miss states last year and that’s on their minds every day.”

Coach Gerry Myatt’s comment: “We have a very small team. Not enough girls to score as a team. The three girls I do have are very good and could do well as individuals. They’re self-motivated and have a lot of pride.”

Junior Sierra Aponte-Clarke will be one of the top girls’ cross country runners in the SMAA this fall.

The Forecaster’s forecast: Deering has some uncertainty as a new cross country season begins, but both teams feature some strong runners.

The boys’ squad missed the state meet last year for the first time since 2010, but don’t expect that to happen again. Even after the graduation of individual standout Alec Troxell, the Rams have the pieces in place to contend. Returning are Harmon (65th at last year’s regional meet), Lancia (68th) and Pfaff (71st). Tabb is a senior leader and Abdirahman, Richards and Seredin all look to move up. New junior Mus’ab Shueib could step right in and make an impact. If Deering’s runners can improve on their times from last year, it will likely be like old times by the end of this year, with a trip to states as the reward.

On the girls’ side, at press time, the Rams had just three runners and you need four to score as a team. Coach Gerry Myatt was hopeful he could add a girl or two after school starts, but for now, it’s Aponte-Clarke (16th at last year’s state meet), Cunningham (38th) and Poirier (41st) representing the school. All three girls should be very strong again and Deering will make the most of the season, whether or not it winds up a complete squad.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.


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