Cape Elizabeth Capers Fall Sports Preview

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Cape Elizabeth’s volleyball team was a perfect Class B champion a year ago. The Capers have high aspirations again this season.

File photos.

More photos below.

FOOTBALL

Coach: Aaron Filieo (15th year, 101-43 overall record)

2017 record: 9-3 (Lost, 30-13, to MCI in Class C state final)

Top returning players: Matt Conley (Senior), Ethan Convey (Senior), Lou Daukas (Senior), Andrew Hartel (Senior), Bear Huffard (Senior), Sean O’Sullivan (Senior), Spencer Sprague (Senior), Zach Stewart (Senior), Matt Laughlin (Junior)

Pivotal games: Sept. 7 @ Wells, Sept. 14 LEAVITT, Oct. 5 @ Gardiner, Oct. 12 FRYEBURG

Coach’s comment: “We have a good group. They work hard. It can be an advantage to have so many seniors. Most played a role last year. It’s up for grabs in the South. Our guys feel good about their chances. They just have to finish the job.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth once again came oh-so-close to that elusive first Gold Ball last season, but the Capers lost to Maine Central Institute in Orono in the state final. While several key players departed, a solid senior class is primed to take that final step.

Hartel returns at quarterback. He was a Campbell Conference all-star a year ago. Hartel’s size, vision and touch allow him to dissect opposing defenses. Hartel will look to throw to Conley, Convey, Laughlin, O’Sullivan and Stewart. On the ground, senior Jack Tower replaces Ryan Weare and figures to get the majority of the carries. The line is led by reigning all-star Daukas, Huffard and Sprague. Junior Alex Morin is the place-kicker.

Defensively, Cape Elizabeth is always stingy. This year’s team will have Huffard and Sprague on the line. Conley, Daukas, O’Sullivan and Tower are linebackers to watch. The secondary features Convey, Laughlin and Stewart.

The Capers aren’t heavy favorites in a region with several good teams, but they do have tradition, athletes and hunger and they feel that the road to the regional title goes through Hannaford Field. Cape Elizabeth is eager to get another chance on the big stage, either against MCI or someone else. After so many close calls, this group appears to have what it takes to unleash a long-awaited title celebration.

BOYS’ SOCCER

Coach: Ben Raymond (13th year, 107-60-23 overall record)

2017 record: 10-5-1 (Lost, 0-0, 2-4 on PKs, to York in Class B South semifinal)

Top returning players: Nick Aceto (Senior), Sam Dresser (Senior), John O’Connor (Senior), Phil Tarling (Senior), Charlie Dall (Junior), Jack Dresser (Junior), Killian Lathrop (Junior), Nick Clifford (Sophomore), Archie McEvoy (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Aug. 31 GREELY, Sept. 4 @ Yarmouth, Sept. 17 FREEPORT, Sept. 20 WAYNFLETE, Sept. 25 @ Greely, Sept. 29 YARMOUTH, Oct. 12 @ Freeport 

Coach’s comment: “We lost some key players, but we return some key seniors. Our best players have played a lot of soccer, some since their freshman year. Experience can be a big factor on the field. Our seniors are good leaders. They’ve been on some good teams in different sports. The guys have great attitudes and are excited to play. Our goals are high. We look to do big things in the playoffs.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth nearly got to the regional final a year ago for the first time since 2002. This fall, the Capers look to get to that round and then the next as they perhaps have the squad best equipped to finally knock Yarmouth off its perch.

O’Connor returns as one of the region’s most highly touted players. An all-conference and all-region selection in 2017, O’Connor will wreak havoc in the midfield and figures to finish with regularity. Aceto, Clifford, Lathrop and Tarling are other midfielders to watch. McEvoy could have a breakout year up top. On defense, Dall, Jack Dresser and Sam Dresser will look to hold the fort in front of senior Harry Baker, who replaces Sean Agrodnia in goal.

Cape Elizabeth starts the season with a playoff rematch versus Greely, then gets the first of two (perhaps three) cracks at Yarmouth. This group can match the Clippers’ talent and if they can gain some confidence, the Capers might just get to the state final for the first time this century.

GIRLS’ SOCCER

Coach: Graham Forsyth (first year)

2017 record: 11-7 (Lost, 1-0, to eventual champion Yarmouth in Class B South Final)

Top returning players: Grace Gillian (Senior), Prezli Piscopo (Senior), Karli Chapin (Junior), Liv Cochran (Junior)

Pivotal games: Aug. 31 @ Greely, Sept. 4 YARMOUTH, Sept. 8 @ Wells, Sept. 25 GREELY, Sept. 27 YORK, Sept. 29 @ Yarmouth

Coach’s comment: “We have a solid team on paper. It’s finding the composure and killer instinct to capitalize on this during the games. Our aim is a state championship.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth came the closest to knocking off Yarmouth a year ago and this fall, the Capers are viewed as the team to beat in Class B. Cape Elizabeth welcomes a new coach this season in Forsyth, who played in Scotland and has coached with the GPC Maine travel program. There’s a lot to get excited about when considering this team’s chances.

Piscopo, an all-region all-star a year ago, who has demonstrated a penchant for scoring clutch goals from any distance, will anchor the offense again. Junior Laura Ryer is a key returner on offense. Chapin, fresh off leading the Capers girls’ lacrosse team to the state title last spring, is another scorer to watch from her midfield position. Cochran and freshmen Maggie Cochran and Emily Supple are other midfielders to watch. Gillian, a regional all-star in 2017, leads the defense. Sophomore Sami Olsen provides depth on that side of the ball. Junior Lilia Membrino and freshman Elise Branch will see time in goal.

Cape Elizabeth will wear the bulls-eye in the weeks to come, but the Capers figure to wear it well. Nothing will come easily against a tough schedule, but that will make this team battle tested. The program’s first championship celebration since 2013 could be the end result.

FIELD HOCKEY

Coach: Maura Bisogni (third year, 5-24 overall record)

2017 record: 5-9 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Katie Beth Dunham (Senior), Sophia Miller (Senior), Isabel Berman (Junior), Kaitlin Norrad (Junior), Christiana Pinette (Junior)

Pivotal games: Sept. 6 @ Greely, Sept. 8 FREEPORT, Sept. 15 YORK, Sept. 18 YARMOUTH, Sept. 20 @ Poland, Sept. 24 Greely, Sept. 26 @ Freeport, Oct. 4 @ Yarmouth

Coach’s comment: “We want to make the playoffs and score in every game. It’s exciting to return to a 11-person junior class. As upperclassmen, they are now leaders and influencers in our program.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: The Capers fell short of the playoffs a year ago, but could be right back in the postseason hunt this fall, as Bisogni, who took last year off, returns to the program.

This fall, the offense figures to be paced by Berman, Miller and Norrad. Dunham is a veteran presence on the field and Pinette will play goalie (junior Charlie Urbanek will also see time in the cage). Junior defender Josie Boeschenstein, sophomore midfielder Emily Goulding and freshman defender Carmen Erickson will all step in and play key roles as well.

Cape Elizabeth has the pieces in place to be successful. If it can score goals consistently and pick up some wins against the many talented teams in a balanced Class B South, a trip to the playoffs could be the end result.

VOLLEYBALL

Coach: Sarah Boeckel (sixth year, 66-15 overall record, two state championships)

2017 record: 17-0 (Beat Falmouth, 3-0, to win Class B state title)

Top returning players: Megan Connelly (Senior), Tess Dolan (Senior), Brooke Harvey (Senior), Julia Torre (Sophomore)

Pivotal matches: Sept. 12 @ Biddeford, Sept. 14 @ Yarmouth, Sept. 18 FALMOUTH, Sept. 20 GREELY, Sept. 27 @ Scarborough, Oct. 2 @ Greely, Oct. 4 @ Falmouth

Coach’s comment: “We’re coming off an incredible 2017 season and we’re hoping to build off that and remain a disciplined, mentally tough team. We’ve got a lot of seniors and leadership and a lot of newcomers playing important roles. Regardless of wins and losses, we want to make sure we walk off the court knowing we did everything we could.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth certainly did everything it could a year ago, winning every single match and capping its storybook run by sweeping Falmouth to win the Class B state title, on the Capers’ home floor no less. Graduation took away standout setter and reigning Fall Female Athlete of the Year Maggie Dadmun and all-stars Madison Sarka and Anna Torre, among others, but the cupboard is far from bare.

Connelly is coming off a stellar campaign. She’ll be one of the best (if not the best) hitters in the state this fall. The reigning conference all-star saves her best for the biggest matches and biggest points. Harvey is another hitter to watch. Dolan, a libero, was also an all-star in 2017 and will keep the ball off the floor on defense. Julia Torre is another defensive standout.

While replacing Dadmun’s pinpoint passing ability will be the biggest challenge, Cape Elizabeth will also have to again deal with wearing the bulls-eye as one of the favorites in Class B. While the Capers schedule likely precludes another perfect record, tests against the best of Classes A and B will only make this squad tougher when the matches matter the most. For the past five years, Cape Elizabeth’s program has been as strong as any. Look for that theme to continue this autumn, with another deep playoff run illustrating that point.

CROSS COUNTRY

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

2017 results:
(Boys) 6th @ Class B state meet
(Girls) 4th @ Class B state meet

Top returners:
(Boys): Peter DiNinno (Senior), Aidan Willitts (Senior), Jack Bassett (Junior), Kyle Anderson (Sophomore), Ricky Perruzzi (Sophomore)
(Girls): Camilla Grosso (Senior), Mary Cate Hayes (Senior), Kelsey Kennedy (Senior), Genevieve Depke (Junior), Zoe Evans (Sophomore), Lila Gaudrault (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “The girls return six from last year. Lila anchors the team as one of the top runners in Class B. Our seniors add talent and experience. Genevieve and Zoe are looking to build on a strong varsity campaign last season. A talented and deep freshman group add to this experienced group. The boys look to improve on last year’s sixth-place finish. Jack and Peter have a chance to be top 10 finishers in the state. Aidan and Ricky have looked great in the preseason and should be much improved. How much we’ll improve from last year will depend on finding solid 5-7 runners.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth’s boys and girls expect to be top contenders in Class B this fall.

The girls are led by Gaudrault, who was third in Class B a year ago. She looks to capture the top spot this fall. Grosso (12th in 2017), Hayes (34th) and Kennedy (38th) also scored at states a year ago. Depke and Evans also have experience. Freshmen Marcella Hesser and Eva Morris are new players to watch. The Capers project to be a top team in the conference and have another top five state meet finish in their sights.

On the boys’ side, Bassett is the top returner. He was third at the state meet a year ago and will be one of the best in the state again. DiNinno (41st), Perruzzi (46th), Willitts (59th) and Pearson (61st) also scored a year ago. Anderson is ready to move up the standings and freshmen Vaughn Lindeneau, Owen Patry and Ethan Smith are ready to step right in and make an impact. Cape Elizabeth has several teams standing in its way, but should be one of the finest squads in the conference and could move into the top five at states.

GOLF

Coach: Adam Trottier (first year)

2017 results: 10-0 (Class B state champions)

Top returners: Austin Legge (Senior), Mia Spencer (Senior)

Coach’s comment: “Our considerable advantage over most other teams is our depth. My goal is continual improvement and gaining the knowledge and tools necessary to improve even when not in a team setting. We have a very strong team with many players who could continue playing after high school if they choose, so many of our goals are internal. I expect the team to do very well and when we play well, I think we are the best team in our division.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth remained the Class B gold standard last fall, taking the team title and producing the Class B individual champion as well. The Capers welcome a new coach this autumn in Trottier, a longtime golf pro, who is coaching for the first time. He inherits a team capable of bringing home more hardware.

Legge shot an 18-hole round of 70 to win the Class B individual crown a year ago. He also shot a round of 83 at the team state match. Legge, Cape Elizabeth’s reigning Fall Male Athlete of the Year and the 2017 Western Maine Conference Player of the Year, hopes to repeat and it wouldn’t be wise to bet against him. Spencer will be one of the state’s best female players. She shot a 91 at the team state match a year ago and had a round of 88 at the girls’ individual state match, to tie for seventh. She’ll hope to move up even further this time around. Several other players will have their opportunity to move into the other spots.

The Capers project to be a top team in the regular season, but they know they’ll be measured by how they do in the postseason. If everything comes together, more individual glory, and an eighth team championship could be the end result.

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

Senior quarterback Andrew Hartel looks to pass and lead Cape Elizabeth’s football team back to the Class C state final and this time, to a championship.

Senior Ethan Convey will see his share of carries in the weeks to come.

Senior Bear Huffard is a defensive stalwart.

Senior John O’Connor is one of the top boys’ soccer players in the state. He looks to lead Cape Elizabeth deep into the playoffs.

Senior Prezli Piscopo always has a nose for the ball and a penchant for scoring key goals. She’ll look to lead the highly-touted Cape Elizabeth girls’ soccer team to a state title this fall.

Junior Karli Chapin makes good things happen in the midfield or near the goal.

Senior Grace Gillian is a veteran leader.

Junior Lilia Membrino returns in goal for the Capers.

Senior Megan Connelly is a force at the net and is an emotional spark plug for the defending champion Capers.

Senior Tess Dolan is a defensive standout and reigning all-star.

Senior Brooke Harvey is another key returner for the Capers.

Junior Jack Bassett is one of the top boys’ cross country runners in Class B. Bassett placed third individually at last year’s state meet.

Senior Peter DiNinno is another returning scorer for the Capers.

Lila Gaudrault was the third-fastest girls’ cross country individual at the Class B state meet as a freshman. She’ll make a run at the top spot this fall.

Senior Camilla Grosso, 12th at states a year ago, is another top returning runner 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.