Cape Elizabeth Capers Fall Sports Preview

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Ryan Collins shared the Class B individual championship a year ago and led Cape Elizabeth to a team title. He’s back for more glory this autumn.

More photos below.

FOOTBALL

Coach: Aaron Filieo (13th year, 82-39 overall record)

2015 record: 7-3 (Lost, 20-14, to Wells in Class C South semifinal)

Top returning players: Jeb Boeschenstein (Senior), Ben Ekedahl (Senior), Jacob Jordan (Senior), Nat Jordan (Senior), Brett McAlister (Senior), Nat Spicer (Senior), Ryan Weare (Junior)

Pivotal games: Sept. 3 @ Fryeburg, Sept. 16 SPRUCE MTN, Oct. 14 YARMOUTH, Oct. 21 @ Wells

Coach’s comment: “I feel like we’re always in the hunt. We have very good numbers, over 60 this year. We have a big senior class. We have good balance on offense and we return  a lot on defense. Our special teams will be strong. We want to play sound football. We want to stay healthy and get into the tournament. If we play to our potential, it’ll probably come down to us and Wells.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth remained one of the state’s most consistent programs a year ago, posting its ninth winning record in 10 years and getting to the semifinals for the eighth time in that span. The Capers feel like they let one slip away, however, in their playoff loss to Wells. It’s possible those teams are on a regional final collision course this fall, but there are a lot of hurdles to clear first. Cape Elizabeth certainly has the pieces in place to be very successful.

After Jack O’Rourke came in and stole headlines as a one-year quarterback in 2015, earning Fall Male Athlete of the Year in the process, Boechenstein and sophomore Andrew Hartel project to both see time under center this season. Several players can handle the ball. Senior Peyton Weatherbie, who played for the Capers as a freshman and sophomore before attending prep school last year, will get his share of carries, as will McAlister and Weare (a Campbell Conference all-star a year ago). Whoever plays quarterback will have an opportunity to move the ball through the air as Cape Elizabeth has a solid receiving corps. Ekedahl leads the way. The reigning all-star has a penchant for the big play. Spicer will also see his share of pigskin, while seniors Marshall Peterson and Camden Turner (a transfer from Texas) are new to the program and will be heard from. The line features Nat Jordan (a Campbell Conference all-star in 2015) and Jacob Jordan. Peterson will do the placekicking.

Considering the Capers are coached by a former nose guard, it’s no surprise that they’re always stout on defense. That will be the case again this season. Up front, good luck getting past Nat Jordan at nose guard or Jacob Jordan or Peterson at defensive end. The linebackers are led by Weare. In the secondary, Ekedahl, McAlister, Spicer, Turner and Weatherbie all seek to wreak havoc.

Cape Elizabeth has been chomping at the bit for the new season to begin and at last it’s here. The Capers will be pushed by the likes of Fryeburg Academy, Spruce Mountain and last year’s regional champion Yarmouth, but Cape Elizabeth’s sights are set on Wells. The teams close the regular season against each other, then will likely square off again for the right to play on the big stage. Suffice it to say, the Capers will have no trouble getting up for the Warriors. If they find a way to avenge last year’s ouster, a first-ever state title could be the end result.

BOYS’ SOCCER

Coach: Ben Raymond (11th year, 86-52-21 overall record)

2015 record: 8-8 (Lost, 2-0, to eventual state champion Yarmouth in Class B South quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Elliot McGinn (Senior), Wes Parker (Senior), Nicolai Sabbatini (Senior), Connor Thoreck (Senior), Owen Thoreck (Senior), Matt Concannon (Junior), David Hare (Junior), Ollie Moon (Junior), Finn Raymond (Junior), Sam Dresser (Sophomore), John O’Connor (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Sept. 2 @ Yarmouth, Sept. 8 FALMOUTH, Sept. 15 @ Greely Sept. 20 YARMOUTH, Sept. 24 GREELY, Oct. 7 @ Falmouth

Coach’s comment: “The team this year should be very competitive. What was a young team last year combined with an addition of a senior with lots of experience playing soccer at a high level, we should have a chance in every game we play. The team is shaping up nicely and beginning to learn each other’s strenghts and weaknesses. They’re a hardworking group who have been focused on becoming one of the top teams in the league. I believe we will continue to improve as the season develops and we’ll become more experienced, hopefully playing our best when the playoffs arrive. I know we’ll get a quality effort out of our team day in and day out. They will support each other and play hard through the last whistle.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Raymond (now in his 27th year with the program as player and coach) and his charges have reason for optimism as a new season dawns. The Capers have been a postseason regular for 30 consecutive years and should be among the best teams in Class B South this autumn.

Connor Thoreck was a regional all-star in 2015 and is a top offensive threat. Other players looking to tickle the twine include Parker (an all-conference selection in 2015), Concannon, Moon, O’Connor, Sabbatini and new senior Quinn Hewitt. That’s a lot for opponents to try and neutralize. The defense is formidable as well, featuring some top-notch athletes. That unit will be paced by Dresser, Hare, McGinn, Finn Raymond and Owen Thoreck. At press time, junior Sean Agrodnia and sophomore Harry Baker were vying for the goalie position.

Cape Elizabeth hasn’t been able to leapfrog Greely or two-time defending state champion Yarmouth in recent years, but will get their chance in the weeks to come. While the Capers’ schedule is daunting, look for this group to improve upon last year’s record and be a force to be reckoned with when the postseason commences.

GIRLS’ SOCCER

Coach: Craig Fannan (fourth year, 38-12-2 overall record, one state championship)

2015 record: 11-5 (Lost, 3-2, in double overtime, to York in Class B South semifinals)

Top returning players: Caroline Coburn (Senior), Mariah Deschino (Senior), Caroline Paclat (Senior), Emma Schoonover (Senior), Erin Thibeault (Senior), Bridget Brett (Junior), Sarah Knupp (Junior), Catherine Morrisey (Junior), Riley Dall (Sophomore), Grace Gillian (Sophomore), Tori McGrath (Sophomore), Prezli Piscopo (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Sept. 2 YARMOUTH, Sept. 6 @ Falmouth, Sept. 15 GREELY, Sept. 20 @ Yarmouth, Sept. 22 @ Greely, Oct. 4 @ York, Oct. 8 FALMOUTH, Oct. 13 YORK

Coach’s comment: “We graduated a lot. but we’ve known that would be the case so we’ve worked hard to bring through the younger classes the last couple of seasons. They have all trained at varsity and been involved in varsity games so we hope they are mentally prepared for what is a tough season. Our main goal is to stick to our philosophy, which is to work hard and play soccer in the right manner. We want to possess the ball, we want to play through the thirds of the field and play an exciting, attacking brand of soccer. Clearly we would like to win a state championship and hope to be competing come the end of the season. I think we will take a little time to adjust and figure out our best lineup, but I am excited for the season ahead.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: After back-to-back trips to the Class B state final, the Capers fell short a year ago (in controversial fashion). The final class that made up the core of the 2013 championship team has graduated, but many promising players remain, suggesting Cape Elizabeth will again be very much in the hunt for the title.

The offense will be paced by Deschino, who, despite playing with a cast on her arm, managed all-conference and all-region recognition in 2015. She’s speedy, can handle the ball and finish. She also shines in big-game situations. Piscopo will be a big offensive factor as well. Other potential scorers include Brett (a captain as a junior), Coburn and freshman Darci Cochran. The midfield is bursting with promise as well, as Knupp, McGrath and freshman Karli Chapin and Liv Cochran look to make their mark. Dall and Morrissey also have experience. Defensively, the Capers will rely on Gillian, Paclat, Schoonover and Thibeault. Junior Grace Roberts and sophomore Allison Ingalls were vying at press time to replace Tessa Goldstein in goal.

While this year’s squad doesn’t have quite the name recognition of recent vintage, look for the Capers to only get better and be in a position to make noise when the playoffs begin. Defending champion Greely, along with potential powerhouses Yarmouth and York stand in the way, but Cape Elizabeth will be battle tested by late-October and if all goes well, could become the best of the bunch.

FIELD HOCKEY

Coach: Maura Bisogni (second year)

2015 record: 0-14 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Katie Bozek (Senior), Ellie Garfield (Senior), CJ Logue (Senior), Taylor Young (Senior), Emi Logue (Junior), Erika Miller (Junior)

Pivotal games: Sept. 6 FREEPORT ,Sept. 14 GREELY, Sept. 26 YARMOUTH, Sept. 30 YORK, Oct. 4 @ Freeport, Oct. 6 @ Falmouth, Oct. 10 @ Greely

Coach’s comment: “We’re hoping to keep growing and competing like we did last year. Our program’s numbers are better than ever. Many of our underclassmen had to step up and play varsity last year and they rose to the challenge and have continued to train and work to get better in the offseason. We had a great summer league and have a huge freshmen class. We expect to be in some close games and have a great time getting better at our sport.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth had a challenging season in 2015, to say the least, but the Capers always played hard and gained valuable experience. Experience that should pay off in the weeks to come.

Cape Elizabeth scored just two goals in 14 games in 2015 and Young produced both of them. She’ll pace what should be a much more potent offense this time around. CJ Logue, Emi Logue and Miller, who is moving up to the midfield from defense, will also look to rattle the cage with help from from a couple promising newcomers: sophomore Sophie Miller (who saw some minutes last fall) and freshman Lauren Cutter. Bozek and Garfield anchor the defense in front of a pair of talented goalie prospects: senior Kinnon McGrath (who plays goalie in lacrosse) and freshman Christiana Pinette.

The Capers have nowhere to go but up. The question is high can they climb? This is a program used to contending and being in the playoff picture. A lot will have to go right for this team to go from no wins to a postseason berth, but don’t bet against them. The raw talent is in place. Watching this squad improve over the course of the season will be one of the more enjoyable stories of the autumn.

VOLLEYBALL

Coach: Sarah Boeckel (fourth year, 41-8 overall record, one state championship)

2015 record: 13-3 (Lost, 3-1, to eventual champion Scarborough in Class A semifinals)

Top returning players: Rose Punsky (Senior), Maggie Dadmun (Junior)

Pivotal matches: Sept. 2 @ Falmouth, Sept. 22 GREELY, Oct. 4 SCARBOROUGH, Oct. 6 YARMOUTH

Coach’s comment: “We lost a majority of our starting lineup from last year. It’s going to be a year of growth and rebuilding. I’m excited for this year. We’re young and inexperienced, but we’re here to give our best efforts every day. I think we’ll experience a bit of growing pains early on the season, but we have great athletes and a common goal. I think we’ll be peaking at the right time”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth was a better regular season team a year ago than it was during its championship season of 2014, but the Capers weren’t able to recreate the postseason magic and fell short of a repeat crown. Graduation then took a serious toll on the program, as a dozen players, including several who played key roles, departed. That means the Capers have some holes to fill, but they still have athletes in place to be competitive.

Dadmun has been a first-rate setter since her freshmen season and will help create offense. Punsky will get an opportunity to be a top hitter. Other players to watch include juniors Madison Sarka (middle hitter) and Anna Torre (outside hitter) and sophomores Megan Connelly (outside hitter) and Tess Dolan (libero). Junior Madeline Baumen could be in a specialist’s role.

Cape Elizabeth will be fine in time, but the Capers face a daunting schedule, starting with a showdown against Falmouth on Opening Night. Look for this group to steadily improve and be a squad that no one will want to face in the playoffs. The Capers will be back at a championship level in no time.

CROSS COUNTRY

Coach: Andrew Lupien (first year w/boys’ team, third year w/girls’ team)

2015 results:
(Boys) 6th @ Class B state meet
(Girls) 5th @ Class B state meet

Top returners:
(Boys): Mac Huffard (Senior), Tony Inhorn (Junior), Arsen Scheindel (Junior), Aidan Willitts (Sophomore)
(Girls): Liv Palma (Senior), Emma Shedd (Senior), Kelsey Kennedy (Sophomore), Alicia Lawrence (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “The boys’ team is very young and exciting. With a season of hard work and commitment to training, this team could show marked improvement and could be a top 10 team in the state meet. The girls’ team is deep and experienced and is led by 13 seniors, many of whom have run all four years. The success of the team will depend of the development of solid five through seven runners. With a team of over 30 runners, we are feeling optimistic. Our goal is to improve upon our finish at the state meet last season.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth is coming off another solid season and should remain a top contender in the conference and state. Lupien, who has led the girls’ team the past two seasons, has assumed the boys’ coaching role as well, replacing Derek Veilleux.

The boys will be led by Huffard, who placed 27th at last year’s state meet. Willittis (41st a year ago) and Scheindel (42nd) are primed to move up. Inhorn will also be heard from, as will new senior Kyle Long and freshmen Jack Bassett and Noah Long. There is plenty of potential here and don’t be surprised if Cape Elizabeth develops into a formidable squad by season’s end.

On the girls’ side, returning state meet scorers include Palma (13th in 2015), Shedd (18th), Lawrence (40th) and Kennedy (43rd). Junior Addie Hayes and freshmen Chloe Butzel, Genevieve Depke and Meredith Hetrick are new to the team and provide depth. If one or two of those girls can step up and produce solid times, the Capers should be even stronger than a year ago.

GOLF

Coach: Chris Whitney (second year)

2015 results: 10-0 (Class B state champions)

Top returners: Pat MacDonald (Senior), Lauren Schonewolf (Senior), Max Altznauer (Junior), Ryan Collins (Junior), Peter Haber (Junior), Austin Legge (Sophomore), Mia Spencer (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “We know there is going to be a huge target on our back from the success of last season and we return 10 of our top 11 average scores from varsity matches, so we’ll get everyone trying to knock us off. I think now that they have had the taste of the championship, (the kids’) drive and focus has been incredible knowing that nobody is going to just hand us one. Expectations are very high for this year’s team and depth will be our best friend. There are a few teams that have a solid one-two punch, so we need to be able to follow our top two with two to three more solid rounds every time we play in an event. Of course, everything will come down to that one day in early October at Natanis and if everyone does their job, we should be right there competing for a championship.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Last year’s Cape Elizabeth golf team wasn’t just the best in the state, it was arguably one of the best in recent memory, winning a third straight conference title and an elusive Class B state championship, earning Whitney Coach of the Year honors in his first season. The scary thing for the competition is that these Capers could be just as powerful, if not even better. While graduation took Bryce Hewitt (eighth in Class B at last year’s individual state match, now playing at the Division III level at Hobart William Smith College), the cupboard is far from bare. In fact, it’s bursting at the seams.

All four of last year’s state match scorers return. Leading the way is Collins, who tied for the Class B individual title with a round of 74 (he shot an 81 at team states). Legge (78 at team states, 81 at individual states), Altznauer (81 at team states, 83 at individual states) and Schonewolf (82 at team states, 89 at girls’ individual states and fifth at the recent Maine Women’s Amateur Championship) were all league all-stars in 2015 and make up a powerhouse foursome, but they’re just the beginning. MacDonald and Spencer (90 at the girls’ state match) were also league all-stars in 2015. Haber is another player with experience who is looking to make his mark. Most teams would give anything to boast half this much talent, but Cape Elizabeth has it all and there are other players in reserve, hoping to get their chance to make a mark.

While there are other teams in the league and state that can give the Capers a run, a lot will have to go their way to dethrone this juggernaut. Look for this collection of talent to hone its skills in the weeks to come and be at its best in October, when headlines are made. Expect Cape Elizabeth to once again steal its share, as a team and individually.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached atmhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Senior Ben Ekedahl will do whatever it takes to ensure Cape Elizabeth’s football team is once again a top contender this fall.

Senior Connor Thoreck was a regional all-star in 2015. This fall, he hopes to lead Cape Elizabeth’s boys’ soccer team deep into the playoffs.

Wes Parker is another key returner for the Capers.

Senior Mariah Deschino looks to cap her stellar high school career with another state championship.

Sophomore Tori McGrath will be a key midfielder for the Capers.

Junior Maggie Dadmun is a top returner for a Cape Elizabeth volleyball team expected to be in the title hunt again.

Mac Huffard should be one of the top male cross country runners in the Western Maine Conference this fall.

Arsen Scheindel is another returning state meet scorer for the Capers.

Aidan Willitts was 41st at the Class B state meet as a freshman. He looks to move up this season.

Liv Palma was 13th at last year’s Class B state meet and hopes to move into the top 10 this season.

Emma Shedd had the 18th-best time at last year’s Class B girls’ meet. She’s another top returner for the Capers.

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.