South Portland’s Joey Perron battles for the ball during last week’s 3-1 loss to Portland in the City Cup championship game. Brianna Soukup / Portland Press Herald.

With news Monday from the Maine Principals’ Association that the cross country state championship meets, scheduled for later this week, have been cancelled (see below), the fall sports season has come to a close.

Soccer was able to wrap up its season and what a week it was.

Here’s a glimpse:

Cross country

Several Forecaster Country teams hoped for glory at the state championship meets later this week in Bangor (boys on Wednesday, girls on Saturday), but that won’t happen.

Monday afternoon, the Maine Principals’ Association sent out an email with the following announcement:aa

“It is with regret that the Maine Principals’ Association announces the cancellation of the 2020 State Cross Country Championships.  Please know that this was not a decision that was taken lightly, but one that the leadership at the MPA felt necessary to take based on a couple of major of concerns.

* The concern of bringing students together from all parts of Maine through state-wide travel as we are experiencing a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Maine.

* The new mask mandate for student-athletes to wear masks throughout the competition. Many cross country runners have not been acclimatized to wearing the mask while competing in a high stakes race since the mandate took place last Friday. This is a concern for the health and safety of the student-athletes.

We received a great deal of feedback from school administrators and coaches regarding this meet and all concerns were heard. We also know that there will be a great deal of disappointment from those scheduled to compete in this race.”

Local coaches were disappointed, but not necessarily caught off guard.

“We came about as close to a full season as any of the fall sports,” Cape Elizabeth coach Andrew Lupien said. “But when you get less than 48 hours away (for the boys) to a state title meet, it’s tough. They were super close. We were almost there.”

Boys’ soccer

Scarborough’s Nick Connolly attempts a bicycle kick during the Red Storm’s 1-0 win at Windham last week. Brianna Soukup / Portland Press Herald.

The news was happier from the pitch.

Scarborough’s boys’ soccer team closed the season on a five-game win streak and wound up 8-1-1. Last Friday, the Red Storm went to Windham and prevailed, 1-0, on Zach Chaisson’s goal.

“We needed a goal and had to push through,” Chaisson said. “I knew we needed a goal and it was late in the game, so I really wanted to get that goal. I was working hard up top. I got the ball and when you get those opportunities, you have to finish.”

“Windham’s athletic and they have a nice team,” said Scarborough coach Mark Diaz. “I was happy how we held them off. I was really proud of the way we stayed connected defensively and we did better communicating in the back.”

Tuesday, Scarborough finished at home versus Kennebunk and won, 2-0, to wind up with a record of 8-1-1. Nate Needle scored early in the second half and Trevor Sandler set up Zander Haskell for the second goal with just 9.9 seconds remaining.

“Credit to the boys,” Sandler said. “We played well. It was an emotional season, but we fought as hard as we could every game and the results came. We had great leadership. We played every game like it was going to be our last game and it worked out. We wanted to win every game and we almost did that.”

“Tonight was a good night in terms of moving the ball, possessing and being unselfish,” Diaz said. “I have guys on this team who really love playing soccer and working together.”

Graduation will hit hard, but the Red Storm should be a top contender in 2021.

“I have nine seniors and it’s tough to say goodbye,” Diaz said. “We have to replace some great players in the middle. A couple guys in the back will be tough to replace too. We have to get stronger and we’ll do that hopefully this summer as a group. We feel like we have some depth and we’ll be solid next year too.”

South Portland made it to the final of the “City Cup,” a four-team tournament which also included Cheverus, Deering and Portland, but lost to the Bulldogs, 3-1, last Thursday. The Red Riots fell behind early, 2-0, got a goal back from Divin Mpinga, but surrendered one more and finished the year with a misleading record of 2-8.

“We had some chances,” said South Portland coach Bryan Hoy. “(Portland’s) a really good team. It’s the third time we’ve played them. They got us all three times, but I felt comfortable coming in that we had a chance because we were competitive with them. I think we did have a chance. We had a bunch of opportunities we couldn’t quite convert. My guys don’t give up. They play to the whistle and play hard and when they play hard with intensity, we’re a really good team. Sometimes we don’t get to that peak intensity level quickly enough.”

Look for the Red Riots to return to their winning ways in 2021 and to be a force throughout.

“I’m happy my seniors got something this year,” Hoy said. “The spring guys didn’t get anything and it doesn’t sound good for winter, so the fact that we’re here in our uniforms playing against Portland in November is pretty awesome. My guys handled the adversity this year really well. No one on our team got sick. Whatever we did seemed to work.

“It looks really good going forward. We’re losing some key pieces, but we get 15 guys back who got experience this year, then we had a solid JV team and a very good freshmen team. We should be set for the next three, four years being really competitive.”

Cape Elizabeth finished its year with a record of 2-5-1.

Girls’ soccer

On the girls’ side, Scarborough saved its best for last, winning its final five games to wind up 6-3-1. The Red Storm knocked off visiting Thornton Academy, 3-1, last Thursday, then blanked host Falmouth, 3-0, Monday. In the win over the Golden Trojans, Ali Mokriski scored twice and Grace Pettingill added a goal. Against the Yachtsmen, Mokriski set up Abby Drapeau for an early goal, then scored twice herself, from Pettingill.

“I was putting way too much pressure on myself earlier this year,” Mokriski said. “I just told myself to focus and play my game and keep a positive attitude. It wasn’t me, honestly. It was the midfielders. They always get me the right ball. They had the hard job, I just had to make the right run.”

“The way we attacked the first 20 minutes, we haven’t done that all year,” said Red Storm coach Mike Farley. “It was pretty. We played the ball one-two touch, opening up space and attacking that space. That’s what we were capable of doing. It was nice to have that at the end of the year.

“Having this be our last our memory, I’m really proud. It’s been a tough season, but to finish on a performance like that, it speaks well of the kids and how well and how hard they played together.”

Scarborough will be well-positioned to make a run again in 2021.

“I think we’ll be good next year,” said Mokriski. “We had a lot of younger girls play this year. We just have to get back at it in summer soccer and hope we have a normal year next year.”

“We lose some key players, but our freshman class was very good this year,” Farley said. “Those kids will step in next year. We have other players who have another year. We always have really good players and hopefully we’ll get a full summer together and build that into a season.”

South Portland fell at home last week to Cheverus (3-1) and at Portland (4-2) to finish the season 2-8. Against the Stags, Evelyn Selser scored early, but it wasn’t enough.

“As a program, we took a big step forward tonight and I’m happy with that,” said Red Riots first-year coach Adam Perron. “We didn’t finish and they did. That’s the next step for us. As we get better as a program, we’ll put those shots away and put pressure on the team. We competed and had an opportunity.”

In the loss to the Bulldogs, Bella Schifano and Julianne Coyne each scored once.

Two-time Class B champion Cape Elizabeth had its final game, at Yarmouth, cancelled, so the Capers wound up 7-0, outscoring the opposition, 33-1.

Press Herald staff writer Steve Craig contributed to this story.

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

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