2016 fall season review: Red Riots

Amelia Papi capped her SoPo field hockey career in solid fashion.

The fall seasons are freshly over, making now an opportune moment to look back at South Portland’s various performances – on the trails, the fields, the links and the court.

Cross Country
Dave Kahill’s boys XC contingent ran a solid autumn, if not their best. The Gentlemen Riots finished ninth at Regionals to just sneak into States, where they took 15th of 15 teams. Xander Keiter posted the team’s best times at both meets.

Meanwhile, Karen Reardon’s girls faced a few struggles, finishing 14th of 17 teams at Regionals and missing out on a States berth. That, however, has something to do with shoddy luck.

“The girls cross country team at SPHS had a bit of a snake-bit season,” Reardon said. “We struggled with injuries, mono and other illnesses, so we never were able to put our top seven together in one race this season. That being said, we had some bright spots by a number of people. Thaovy Duong was our top runner over the course of the season, and we had huge improvements by Taylor Nappi and Erica Magnuson. Toia Francis worked hard (but) unfortunately ran sick at the Regional Meet, and Serena McKenzie had an injury-plagued year. Abby Richardson was a pleasant addition to the team.”

Keiter, James Ellis, Bradley Mileson, Steve Smith, Layton Steele and Daniel Woodhouse leave behind their careers as Riots in June, as do Abby Donahue, Duong, Francis, Ella Jocher, Phoebe Letourneau, Magnuson, McKenzie, Nappi and Evelyne Yende. The latter group comprises an overwhelming portion of Reardon’s girls, who are undoubtedly looking forward to whatever influx of talent next year’s crop of freshman brings with it.

Field Hockey 
Leslie Dyer’s girls improved substantially in 2016, going 6-8 through the regular season and earning the 10th playoffs slot – this in contrast to their 2015 season, which they finished at 3-11 and well outside the bracketing. Their biggest win came, perhaps, against a solid Windham outfit. In the tournament, however, they  bumped up against No. 7 Cheverus in the first round, falling 3-0.

The Riots say goodbye in June to seniors Amelia Papi, Phonsavahn Senesombath, Lydia Henderson, Sophia Cummings, Jessica Angelova and Molly Skeffington.

Steve Stinson’s club struggled this autumn, picking up just two wins – 47-6 over Massabesic and 42-21 over Bangor. Because of the way the Conferences are arranged, the Riots nevertheless made the playoffs (the Mustangs were the only team to miss the cut, this time around). Despite managing to extend their season by a game, however, South Portland ran up against neighbors Scarborough – hot in 2016 – in the quarterfinals. The Storm took that bout 42-6.

Dwayne Roberts, Devin Dupuis, Gage Turkewitz, Finn Zechman, Matt Crockett, Gordon Whittemore, Moses Oreste and Hunter Clukey comprise the comparatively short list of seniors leaving the Riots behind, come June. The takeaway from the bit of information – at least as regards the program’s future – is that South Portland was young this year. An added layer of experience will no doubt serve them well in 2017.

 Tom Hyland’s squad finished 2-8 – a record that, for Hyland, belies his kids’ effort and skill: “Despite our record in a very tough division, we played well in some very close matches,” Hyland said. “We improved steadily over the season.”

Seniors Jake Angell, Jordan Bell and Tim Small leave the team behind this year. Angell was among the Riots’ top scorers this autumn; luckily, Hyland’s other major point-getters were all juniors and can all be expected to return in 2017. 

“The future looks bright for South Portland golf,” Hyland said.

Boys Soccer
Bryan Hoy’s team assembled an outstanding 2016, improving their 2015 record (7-3-4) by a huge margin to 11-3. That performance, which featured important wins over Portland and Thornton, was good enough to secure the five-seed in A South. The team offed No. 12 Sanford 5-0 in the prelims, but ran aground on No. 4 Scarborough in the quarters, falling 1-0.

The Riots bid farewell to a number of key contributors in June. Khalid Suja, Sadiki Stewart, Patrick Graff, Princiel Kuniecki, Brandon Gagne and Anthony Salafia are all seniors. Thankfully, other central figures will return to the lineup next fall.

Girls Soccer
Jeff Selser’s squad – in the midst of a long-term rebuilding effort – narrowly missed the playoffs this year, going 4-9-1 through the regular season and finishing 14th. (The top 12 teams advanced into the tournament.) The Lady Riots took down Bonny Eagle, Biddeford, Westbrook and Massabesic, and came close – but couldn’t finish – against Maine Girls’ Academy. They fell by a mere one goal to a number of other opponents: Portland, Thornton, Cheverus and Noble.

Zoe Brown, Sophia Romano, Emma Jones, Callie O’Brien, Amber McKenzie, Stephanie Aceto, Logan McCarthy and Victoria Nixon graduate in June.

Nicole Kane’s girls went 5-9 through the regular season and reached the playoffs ranked 14th. The Lady Riots kicked off their autumn with a huge, 3-2 win over Cheverus, who eventually entered the tournament at eighth. Unfortunately, South Portland’s draw in the bracketing prelims was No. 3 Biddeford, who triumphed over the Riots in straight sets.

”The volleyball team made playoffs for the first time,” said Kane, “which is a huge accomplishment in our 4-year-old program. All varsity players saw considerable playing time, making a huge impact on the season. We had a few injuries that happened as our schedule got stronger, but our underclassmen stepped up in huge ways to help overcome these obstacles.”

Four seniors – Paige Leary, Kayla Brown, Kaitlyn Bouchard and Amanda Bouchard – say goodbye to the team after this season. The South Portland program is still in its infancy, so fans should cross their fingers and hold high hopes for next year’s returners and newbies.

“We are losing one starter (Kayla Brown, setter), so we are lucky to have most of our lineup coming back,” Kane said. “We have a decent number of girls playing club volleyball in the off season as well as a few tough basketball players to keep our team working hard and improving for next season.”

Amelia Papi capped her SoPo field hockey career in solid fashion.

Matt Crockett has helmed the South Portland offense for two years now. He graduaetes in June.