Bennett Berg. Contributed photo.

MALE: 

BENNETT BERG, Senior-Golf

Berg parlayed his strong summer play into a solid high school season, battling through a wrist injury in the process, and he will graduate as one of the best golfers in his age group in the state.

Berg played for Deering as a freshman and sophomore, but his junior year, the Rams no longer fielded a team, so Berg transferred to Portland. At the 2019 state match, Berg was the individual runner-up after shooting an 18-hole score of 71.

This summer, Berg placed third in the state men’s amateur and tied for third at the junior amateur championship. He wasn’t quite as prolific this fall, but still posted a nine-hole average of 39.8 during league play  and went 2-2-1 in league matches while playing in the No. 1 and No. 2 spots. After shooting an 81 at the Southwestern Maine Activities Association state qualifier, Berg shot a 79 at the Class A state match, which tied Scarborough’s Peter Malia for second place, two strokes behind Greely’s Andrew Klein.

“My final high school golf season was one to remember,” Berg said. “My season had some ups-and-downs with an injury I suffered playing at Sugarloaf in an AJGA (American Junior Golf Association) tournament where I finished in the top 10. The fall session was a lot of fun, playing with my team made up of almost all seniors. I played all of my matches with one of my best friends, Cooper Bay, for the second year in a row and we had an absolute blast. One of my final matches was against my great golf friend and neighbor since childhood and prior Deering teammate, Nick McGonagle. We tied and it was a match to remember. I was thrilled to finish second overall at states. It was not my best round of the season, but with my wrist injury, I was happy with the results.”

Berg is weighing his college options, but don’t be surprised if Portland’s Fall Male Athlete of the Year makes some noise at the next level.

Coach John LaFond’s comment: “After a very successful summer, Bennett unfortunately went into a slump during the pandemic-shortened high school season. He is a talented golfer who will undoubtedly be successful as he takes his talents to the next level of competition.”

Bennett Berg. File photo.

Prior winners:

2019 Alex Millones (soccer)

2018 Zack Elowitch (football)

2017 Quinn Clarke (soccer/football)

2016 Dylan Bolduc (football)

2015 Joe Esposito (football)

2014 Jeremiah Copeland (football)

2013 Justin Zukowski (football)

2012 Tate Gale (football)

2011 Tim Rovnak (soccer)

2010 Fazal Nabi (soccer)

2009 Fazal Nabi (soccer)

2008 Fazal Nabi (soccer)

2007 Matt Methot (cross country)

2006 Chris Treister (football)

2005 Josh Wang (cross country)

2004 Ayalew Taye (cross country)

Lydia Stein. Contributed photo.

FEMALE:

LYDIA STEIN, Senior-Soccer

  • Captain

Stein was a veritable coach on the field for the Bulldogs, who enjoyed another successful campaign despite its limitations.

Stein has loved soccer since a young age and she joined the Portland varsity as a freshman. She was an anchor in the midfield early in her high school career. This fall, she stepped in at center-back, helping shut down the opposition. Stein also helped transition to offense and even scored a three goals, including a memorable tally in the second-overtime to beat Deering in the season-opener. The other goals came in a win over Westbrook and in an season-ending win over South Portland. Stein also dished out three assists.

“This season was definitely strange, but getting to play soccer was the the bright spot of this year,” Stein said. “The pandemic and all remote school is so isolating and being together with our team was everything to me. I  grew up playing PAYSA (youth) soccer with many of the seniors on the team. We know each other so well and support each other. Playing soccer for the last two years with my sister, Eliza, has been my favorite part. It is what I will miss most.

“This whole season felt like a gift and I was grateful for every game and practice. I think our season went really well. We had some large gaps to fill from seniors who graduated last year. One of the those big holes was center-back, where I stepped in, even though center-mid is my preferred position. It was definitely a learning curve for me. We didn’t have any summer soccer or a preseason this year and our practices were only an hour long, but we made the most of it. With a little more practice time and a full season, I think  our record could have been just as good or even better than our 2019 season.

“Soccer has taught me so much over the years. It has increased my confidence and my leadership skills. It has taught me to communicate better and to support my teammates. I will be forever grateful for these years.”

Stein, who also plays lacrosse, belongs to the Portland High School math and civil rights teams and is a member of two social justice-oriented internships. She is weighing her college options.

Lydia Stein, Portland’s Fall Female Athlete of the Year, didn’t get to enjoy the senior season she envisioned, but as she does so well, she made the most of her opportunities and leaves behind an admirable legacy of success and support.

Coach Curtis Chapin’s comment: “Lydia has been an integral part in everything we have accomplished as a team. She has been selfless in playing anywhere we needed her. She was a force in the midfield, but when both of our center-backs graduated, she stepped up and played center-back and helped solidify our back line. She always steps up, as evident with our first goal of the season in the double-overtime win against Deering. We didn’t give up as a team and that goal really set the tone for our season. Lydia brings more to the team than just her ability to change a game with her left foot. She is one of the best communicators I’ve ever had. Always checking in with players and coaches to make sure everyone is on the same page. She even got involved in making the team masks for this season and saw to it that everyone got one. Lydia is a program changer and one that is irreplaceable for all that she does. The team will certainly miss her.”

Lydia Stein. File photo.

Prior winners:

2019 Lucy Medd (cross country)

2018 Grace Stacey (soccer)

2017 Sophia Silva (volleyball)

2016 Taylor Crosby (soccer)

2015 Chessa Hoekstra (soccer)

2014 Madison Bolduc (soccer)

2013 Emma Stehli (soccer)

2012 Leanne Reichert (field hockey)

2011 Raechel Allen (field hockey)

2010 Effie Drew (field hockey)

2009 Sophia Nappi (soccer)

2008 Casey Monaghan (soccer)

2007 Nicole Place (soccer)

2006 Cilla Knox (soccer)

2005 Molly Radis (soccer)

2004 Brianna Shepard (field hockey)

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

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