Several of Cape Elizabeth’s fall sports teams appear destined for greatness. Girls’ soccer and boys’ cross country are defending state championships. The former returns an abundance of talent and has to be viewed as the favorite to repeat. On the trails, the Capers boys still have enough firepower to be in the hunt for a third successive crown. Football might just be the best of the bunch in Western Class C. Boys’ soccer is viewed by many to be the favorite in Western B. Field hockey enjoyed a run to the semifinals a season ago and is hoping for an even better finish in 2014. Girls’ cross country welcomes a new coach and has its sights set on doing well at states. Golf is always on the short list of Class B favorites. Volleyball is coming off the best season in program history and might just have the firepower to go all the way.
COACH: Aaron Filieo (11th year, 69-33 overall record)
2013 record: 6-4 (Lost, 21-9, to Leavitt in Western C semifinals)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Jack Drinan (Senior), Christian Lavallee (Senior), Ethan Murphy (Senior), Devon Stanford (Senior), Nate Weare (Senior), Noah Wolfinger (Senior), Justin Guerette (Junior), Ryan Harvey (Junior), Henry Shroder (Junior), Ben Ekedahl (Sophomore)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 5 @ Leavitt, Sept. 12 POLAND, Sept. 19 @ Wells, Sept. 26 SPRUCE MTN., Oct. 10 @ Yarmouth
COACH’S COMMENT: “We’ve got our skill guys back, but we have holes to fill on our offensive line. Our skill guys are only as good as the guys who block for them. We know what our seniors can do. If we can develop the younger players to fill key spots, that will put us in a good position to make a run. We’ll find out pretty quickly what we’re made of and our potential.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: The always-competitive Capers enjoyed a nice playoff run a year ago in their first season back in Class C and with a lot of talent returning, have to be considered a team capable of going all the way. It won’t be easy, however, as there are holes to fill and the schedule presents some potential pitfalls.
Wolfinger, last seen playing a key role as the boys’ lacrosse team repeated as state champion in June, is back under center. He has all the attributes to excel at the position: smarts, talent, poise. He’s also got an abundance of weapons at his disposal. The running game will be spearheaded by Drinan and the Last of the Lavallees, as Christian’s final season will mark the final time that storied Cape Elizabeth football family will be uniform. Both backs will be tough to stop, as Lavallee is a reigning league all-star and Drinan doesn’t shy away from contact. Through the air, Wolfinger can look to Murphy (an all-star in 2013), Ekedahl (who had a terrific freshman season), Guerette and Shroder. Developing the line is the point of emphasis early in the season and there are some very talented players primed to make their mark. Stanford, an all-star last season, Weare and Harvey all return. They’ll be joined by freshman Ryan Weare. The Capers will score their share of points. If the line can consistently open holes for the backs and give Wolfinger time to throw, they might be unstoppable.
Defense is always a calling card for this program and the 2014 edition promises to be very formidable. The line features Guerette, Harvey, Shroder, Stanford and Nate Weare. Lavallee and Ryan Weare are top linebackers. In the secondary, look for Drinan, Murphy and Wolfinger to all make their presence felt.
Cape Elizabeth will get a quick idea of how good it is when it travels to reigning state champion Leavitt Friday night. A big home test against preseason favorite Spruce Mountain, a trip to Wells and a home playoff rematch with Yarmouth also loom. There’s a good chance the Capers will better last year’s won-loss mark, extend their postseason streak to nine years and host at least one playoff game. They would love to avoid having to travel to Turner or Jay for the postseason and if they do wind up hosting, they might just get all the way to the big stage of Fitzpatrick Stadium. It’s been five years since Cape Elizabeth played for a crown. This team has the look of one that can get the job done.
COACH: Ben Raymond (ninth year, 70-39-19 overall record)
2013 record: 6-6-4 (Lost, 5-0, to Yarmouth in Western B semifinals)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Cole Caswell (Senior), Eddie Galvin (Senior), Noah Haversat (Senior), Griffin Thoreck (Senior), R.J. Sarka (Junior), Connor Thoreck (Sophomore), Owen Thoreck (Sophomore)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 12 @ Yarmouth, Sept. 20 FALMOUTH, Sept. 23 @ Greely, Sept. 30 YARMOUTH, Oct. 7 @ Falmouth, Oct. 11 GREELY
COACH’S COMMENT: “Numbers-wise we lost a bunch, but a lot of those guys didn’t play a ton. We have a good core back. The seniors have played a lot and have had important roles either in soccer or in other sports. They’ve been successful in big games. I think we’re as capable as any team in the league. It will come down to who improves the most and who has a cohesive group and who plays well in the big games. We could challenge for a state championship.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: While Cape Elizabeth is always competitive and always makes the playoffs (1985 was the last year the Capers fell short), it’s been a dozen years since it played in a regional final and 17 years since it brought home its last Gold Ball. Those droughts could come to an end this fall. The team is littered with players who just won a second straight boys’ lacrosse title in June (with Raymond coaching) and that experience will carry over into an expectation of success this season.
This roster is brimming with promise. On offense, you start with reigning all-region selection Galvin and Western Maine Conference second-teamers Haversat and Griffin Thoreck (who also made the Western B all-region team in 2013). Thoreck has the deadliest free kick around and has made a habit out of scoring highlight reel goals from impossible distances and angles. Caswell and Sarka will do their share of scoring as well. Sophomore Wes Parker, who is new to the team, is another player to watch and freshman Matt Concannon could soon become a household name. In the back, Connor Thoreck and Owen Thoreck, who have already played in many big games in various sports, hold down the fort in front of senior Andrew Kelly, who replaces Austin Andrews in goal.
While Cape Elizabeth faces its typically daunting schedule (with defending Class B champion Greely and perennial powerhouses Falmouth and Yarmouth making up almost half of it), this year’s team is a step above. Look for the Capers to improve on last year’s win total (probably by several victories), earn a high seed and make a deep playoff run. History is there to be made. This group just has to seize the moment.
COACH: Craig Fannan (second year)
2013 record: 15-2-1 (Beat Waterville, 2-1, 4-2 PKs, to win Class B state championship)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Kathryn Clark (Senior), Brette Lennon (Senior), Sierra Aceto (Junior), Montana Braxton (Junior), Kate Breed (Junior), Katherine Briggs (Junior),Mariah Deschino (Sophomore)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 9 @ York, Sept. 12 @ Yarmouth, Sept. 19 @ Falmouth, Sept. 23 GREELY, Sept. 30 YARMOUTH, Oct. 7 FALMOUTH, Oct. 10 @ Greely, Oct. 18 YORK
COACH’S COMMENT: “We graduated five starters, but we’re quite fortunate to have a solid junior class. It’s a very good group of girls. A lot of really good athletes. We haven’t mentioned last year. We’re just going about our business as usual. It’s a professional attitude. We want to get back to the state final and we have the talent to get there.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Cape Elizabeth’s 2013 season was a series of memorable moments. A dominant regular season saw a skilled display of soccer, as everyone on the pitch, experienced players and newcomers, played key roles and scored big goals. The Capers went into the playoffs as the favorite, seeking their first championship this century and while they were tested, they simply wouldn’t be denied. Cape Elizabeth regrouped, fended off rival Greely’s rally and won the regional crown, then, after 110 minutes settled nothing in the state final, calmly took care of business on penalty kicks, with Breed finishing it off to secure a coveted Gold Ball. Undeniably, graduation took its toll, as all-state player Phoebe Shields, clutch goalkeeper Mary Perkins and the invaluable Elise Flathers, Lizzy Raftice and Addie Wood all departed.
Despite those losses, however, the Capers remain a potential juggernaut, with a ton of offense returning. The “Killer Ks” have made a name for themselves since their freshmen year and now, as team leaders, they figure to continue to fill the net. Clark (who was named to the Western B all-region team a year ago) displays an unrivaled tenacity and finishes like no one else. Breed has shown how much she embraces the limelight (she was named Cape Elizabeth’s Fall Female Athlete of the Year in 2013 for her heroics). Briggs has a penchant for scoring huge goals. Then there’s the player who so often sets up the goals, Braxton. A reigning league all-star, Braxton has tremendous athleticism and an innate understanding of where to put the ball. She’s a matchup nightmare who is capable of finishing. Throw into the mix Deschino, who not only had a strong freshman soccer season, but also played a key role as the Capers girls’ lacrosse team made a stunning run to the state final in June, and you can see that opposing coaches are going to have nightmares. Defensively, Aceto and Lennon will help hold the opposition at bay. Junior Tessa Goldstein will look to fill Perkins’ big shoes in goal and by all accounts she’s up for the challenge.
Yes, some faces are different and yes, the schedule is very tough (Falmouth, Greely, Yarmouth and York all stand in the way), but the pieces are in place for another title run. If Cape Elizabeth can stay healthy and hungry, there’s every reason to believe that November will bring another coronation and a first repeat title in 17 seasons.
COACH: Darci Holland (eighth year, 46-54-6 overall record)
2013 record: 11-5 (Lost, 4-0, to Spruce Mountain in Western B semifinals)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Mary DiPietro (Senior), Caroline Garfield (Senior), Julia Ginder (Senior), Mikayla Pinette (Senior)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 6 @ Falmouth, Sept. 13 LAKE REGION, Sept. 15 GREELY, Sept. 19 KENNEBUNK, Sept. 23 @ Yarmouth, Sept. 29 @ Kennebunk, Oct. 1 FALMOUTH, Oct. 3 FRYEBURG, Oct. 7 @ Greely, Oct. 9 @ York
COACH’S COMMENT: “I’m very hopeful for this season and we’re looking to build off last season’s success. We have experience in goal and have eight seniors who will likely start for us. Defensively, I’m hoping we’ll be strong. I look for my forwards to be more of an offensive threat.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Cape Elizabeth is coming off its best season since the 2000 team made it to the state final. The Capers put it all together against a tough schedule last fall and look to continue the momentum this season, despite losing several key contributors to graduation.
Garfield and Pinette figure to pace the offense. Some newcomers, like junior Kelsey Allan, sophomores Hannah Bosworth and Taylor Young and freshman Charlotte Emerson look to score their share of goals as well. The midfield and defense will be in good hands thanks to Ginder and Pinette. DiPietro returns in goal.
Cape Elizabeth won’t be able to sneak up on anyone this year. The Capers’ prowess is now well known. They’ll be tested regularly in a balanced league, but another winning season and trip to the playoffs is likely. This is a squad that if everything comes together, could go on another run.
BOYS COACH: Derek Veilleux (fifth year, two state championships)
GIRLS COACH: Andrew Lupien (first year)
(BOYS) Class B state champions
(GIRLS) 5th @ Class B state meet
TOP RETURNING RUNNERS
BOYS: Kyle Kennedy (Senior), Mitch Morris (Senior), Jared DuPerre (Junior), Alex Depke (Sophomore), Mac Huffard (Sophomore)
GIRLS: Eva Brydson (Senior), Hayley Doss (Senior), Emily Faria (Senior), Rhoen Fiutak (Senior), Sam Feenstra (Junior), Emma Shedd (Sophomore)
TOP FOES: Falmouth, Greely, York
COACH VEILLEUX’S COMMENT: “We graduated several runners from one of the most successful Cape teams in history. We have two top returners in Mitch and Kyle, who should contend for a top five finish in Class B. After that, we have just two more varsity runners back from last fall. Barring injury, our top five will be very good and the team once again put in a strong summer of training to prepare for the season. We’re young, so the room for growth is large. Our goal will be ready to run our best in the championship meets. We may not look like one of the best teams early in the season, but when it matters most, I feel this squad is good enough to run with anyone in Class B.”
COACH LUPIEN’S COMMENT: “I think we have the talent to do extremely well this season. The girls worked really hard this summer and if they can stay focused and motivated for the next 10 weeks then I think we have a real shot to bring home some hardware this season.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Cape Elizabeth is primed to continue its legacy as one of the state’s finest programs.
The boys’ team was an absolute juggernaut in 2013, repeating as Class B champion, but only two scorers return from last year’s state meet. Luckily for the Capers, Morris (eighth last year at states) and Kennedy (12th) are among the finest runners around and are a great place to start. Depke, DuPerre and Huffard will look to step in and make their mark, while sophomore Zoeth Chalat is a newcomer to keep an eye on. This is a team that will be much better by late October and November, when it matters most. While Cape Elizabeth will hold its own in league competition, look for it to really shine at the biggest meets, regionals and states. Another championship might be a stretch, but never count this program out.
On the girls’ side, the team welcomes a new coach in Lupien, who has helped coach the school’s indoor and outdoor track programs. He served as South Portland’s boys’ cross country coach from 2007-11, replacing the legendary Paul Brogan. Lupien has some real talent to work with and it’s possible the Capers will be moving up the ladder at the big meets later in the season. The top returner is Shedd, who placed 18th at last year’s state meet. Also back are Feenstra (31st), Fiutak (38th) and Faria (45th). Brydson and Doss bring experience and depth. Sophomore Liv Palma will soon make a name for herself. Look for a strong season from this team. If Cape Elizabeth can stay healthy, it will be right there competing for top honors on the big stage.
COACH: Tim Desmarais (fourth year)
2013 results: 11-0 (2nd @ Class B state match)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Michael Best (Senior), Nate Ingalls (Senior), Reese McFarlane (Senior), Bryce Hewitt (Junior), Lauren Schonewolf (Sophomore)
TOP FOE: Yarmouth
COACH’S COMMENT: “We’re looking for a repeat undefeated regular season, a conference championship and hopefully finish it off with a state title. We’re very excited about this year and the vast talents of 16 players who can all compete for the top six.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Only Camden Hills prevented Cape Elizabeth from a flawless 2013 season, but the Capers did accomplish a lot. This year’s team could be even better and might just take that final step.
There is a plethora of talent on the roster. Leading the way will be McFarlane, who had the top score (75) at last year’s conference qualifier, then shot the same score at the team state meet and at the individual Class B meet to tie for third. He’s just the beginning. Also returning are Ingalls (82 at team states, 83 at individual states, good for ninth), Hewitt (90 at team states and 92 at individual team states) and Best (92 at team states, 89 at individual states, good for 14th). Cape Elizabeth also boasts one of the best female players around in Schonewolf, who shot an 87 at the girls’ qualifier, then tied for ninth at the girls’ state meet with a round of 96. She was an all-star a year ago. Add to that impressive lineup three new freshmen: Max Altznauer, Ryan Collins and Peter Haber and you can see why Cape Elizabeth has a great chance to go all the way for the first time since 2007.
Another undefeated regular season is quite possible, but this group will be measured on how it plays on the big stage. There’s a very good chance it will finish what last year’s squad started.
COACH: Sarah Boeckel (second year)
2013 record: 13-3 (Lost, 3-2, to Falmouth in Class A semifinals)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Monica Dell’Aquila (Senior), Tess Haller (Senior), Madeleine Bowe (Junior), Lydia Brenneman (Junior)
PIVOTAL MATCHES: Sept. 11 @ Greely, Sept. 18 SCARBOROUGH, Sept. 26 @ Falmouth, Sept. 29 BIDDEFORD, Oct. 9 @ Gorham, Oct. 16 GREELY
COACH’S COMMENT: “I’m very excited for this year, coming off the best year our program has had. We lost some key players, but we have a good core returning and we have some new players who will contribute a lot. We’re young and a lot of girls are new to varsity, but we’re working really hard to keep the level of play as high as the previous year. I’m sure we’ll have some growing pains, but I’m really happy with the drive, excitement and leadership the girls have. We all share the same goals and want to do as well, if not better than last year.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Cape Elizabeth enjoyed a storybook ride a season ago, serving notice to the favorites early on that it was a team to be reckoned with and backing it up by getting to the semifinals for the first time. There, the Capers came oh-so-close (two points from winning the match in the fourth set) to knocking off eventual champion Falmouth, but they couldn’t win the key points and lost in five. After that heartbreak, Cape Elizabeth looks forward to another shot in what promises to be another exciting year.
While graduation took away several key players, the cupboard is not bare. Brenneman is coming off a stellar season which saw her named to the all-state team as an honorable mention. The defensive specialist is one of the best around and consistently frustrates opposing hitters. Sophomore Rose Punsky is new to the team and is a setter to watch. Bowe, Dell’Aquila and Haller are all experienced and all three are multiple sport athletes. Junior Katie Connelly is a player who could make a big impact as well.
Just getting to the playoffs is no longer the goal. The Capers view themselves as one of the premier programs in the state and hopes to extend their season one more match over last year. There are several good teams in Class A this fall. With a little luck, Cape Elizabeth will be right there at the top when all is said and done.
Senior quarterback Noah Wolfinger hopes to pass, run and lead Cape Elizabeth’s football team to the top of Class C this fall.
Good luck slowing senior Jack Drinan when the ball’s in his hands.
The last of the Lavallees. Bruising senior Christian Lavallee ends his family’s long reign of excellence in a Cape Elizabeth uniform.
Senior Ethan Murphy will be a top receiving threat for the Capers.
One of the state’s premier talents and a free kick specialist without peer, senior Griffin Thoreck hopes to lead the Cape Elizabeth boys’ soccer team to its first championship this century.
Owen Thoreck saw plenty of key minutes as a freshman and will be an even bigger threat this fall.
The third member of his family on the team and the other Thoreck twin, sophomore Connor Thoreck, will also be in the middle of the action all season.
Senior Cole Caswell will be a top scoring threat for the Capers.
Senior Eddie Galvin is coming off an all-star season.
The state game hero, junior Kate Breed, whose decisive penalty kick allowed the Capers to ascend to the pinnacle a year ago.
The playmaker, junior Montana Braxton, who is almost unstoppable when she gets the ball in space.
The deadliest of the “Killer K’s,” senior Kathryn Clark, hopes to cap her stellar high school career with another state title.
Junior Katherine Briggs has a penchant for the big goal.
After impressing as a freshman, Mariah Deschino could be in for a breakout season this fall.
Senior Julia Ginder is a key returner in the midfield for a Cape Elizabeth field hockey team which reached the semifinals a year ago.
Senior Mikayla Pinette can get the ball up the field in a hurry.
Senior Mitch Morris helped the Cape Elizabeth boys’ cross country team to a repeat Class B championship last fall, finishing eighth individually.
Senior Kyle Kennedy is another top returning runner. Kennedy placed 12th at last year’s state meet.
Emma Shedd was 18th at the Class B state girls’ cross country meet as a freshman.
Senior Rhoen Fiutak is a veteran leader for the Capers.
Junior Lydia Brenneman is coming off an all-state honorable mention campaign and looks to lead Cape Elizabeth’s volleyball team deep into the playoffs once more.
Senior Monica Dell’Aquila is another key returner for the Capers.
Last fall, after 14 long years, the Cape Elizabeth girls’ soccer team got to celebrate a state championship. The Capers are loaded again and look to repeat.
More photos below.