Cape Elizabeth’s winter sports teams are likely in for an abundance of triumph in the weeks to come. Boys’ basketball has advanced deep in the tournament for the past several seasons and this year could get back to the state game. After coming agonizingly close to making it to the Expo a year ago, the girls’ squad is starting over, but could surprise. Boys’ hockey welcomes a new coach and looks to get back to the playoffs. The girls’ team should be in the postseason hunt. Both track teams are promising. Swimming boasts plenty of talent. Both ski teams have potential.
COACH: Jim Ray (17th year)
2009-10 Record: 19-2 (Lost, 53-40, to Falmouth in Western B Final)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Theo Bowe (Senior), Cam Brown (Senior), Joey Doane (Senior)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 21 (H) YARMOUTH, Jan. 4 @ Greely, Jan. 11 @ Falmouth, Jan. 15 (H) YORK, Jan. 25 (H) GREELY, Feb. 1 (H) WELLS, Feb. 4 @ York, Feb. 8 @ Yarmouth, Feb. 11 (H) FALMOUTH
COACH’S COMMENT: “We’re trying to fill holes. We don’t have much size. We’ve used our press a lot in the preseason. We’d like to dictate tempo and not let other teams get comfortable. We have high expectations all the time. It won’t be easy. If it was easy, it wouldn’t be fun. The seniors are competitive and are used to a certain standard. The question will be how we develop a supporting cast and how well we mesh.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: This is truly a Golden Age for the Cape Elizabeth program. The past three seasons have seen the Capers play for the Class B title twice and reach the regional championship game, winning 55 games in the process. Graduation has taken its toll (seven players, including 2010 Winter Male Athlete of the Year, Conor Moloney, are gone from last year’s team), but Cape Elizabeth should be on the short list of title favorites again this season. The Capers made an immediate statement Friday with an emphatic 60-41 victory at Wells. This year’s squad will be led by its three stellar senior guards, Brown (who runs the point), Bowe (a sharpshooter) and Doane. Those are the only three players with varsity experience. Bowe (a second-team all-star last winter who was 10th in the league in steals) opened with 17 points. Brown (ninth in steals in 2009-10) had 10 points versus Wells. Doane scored six. There are some new players to watch. Sophomore Henry Babcock, an off-guard, scored 10 points Opening Night. Junior Rob West, a power forward, will give Cape Elizabeth some much needed muscle down low. The Capers, as always, will be tenacious on defense and will look to use it to create offensive opportunities. In the halfcourt, Cape Elizabeth has several players capable of knocking down shots. This will not be an easy team to contend with. Greely is the favorite heading into the season, but as the Capers mold their new players with the three returners, they’ll improve by the day. Once the tournament arrives, it’s quite likely Cape Elizabeth will once again be the team everyone’s talking about.
COACH: Chris Roberts (fourth year)
2009-10 Record: 9-10 (Lost, 46-41, in double OT, to Falmouth in Western B preliminary round)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Emily Donovan (Senior), Kayle Raftice (Junior)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 16 @ Lake Region, Jan. 4 @ Greely, Jan. 11 @ Falmouth, Jan. 15 @ York, Jan. 21 @ Waynflete, Jan. 22 (H) LAKE REGION, Jan. 25 (H) GREELY, Feb. 4 (H) YORK, Feb. 11 (H) FALMOUTH
COACH’S COMMENT: “I have a great group of kids. Very athletic, but very young and inexperienced. We’re playing against the learning curve. We hope to put it together. Three of our starters haven’t seen varsity time. I’m not sure on any given night who might score. We want to play up-tempo and to be consistent. That’s the theme for our season. We have so much room for improvement. Hopefully, Kayla and Em lay the groundwork for what’s to come this season, next year and the year after.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: After a long period of dormancy, the Cape Elizabeth girls’ program has returned to competitiveness the past two years and last season, the Capers fell agonizingly shy of a first trip to the quarterfinals this century. Graduation claimed four key contributors and this year’s squad is largely starting from scratch, but Roberts (our 2009 Coach of the Year) has proved she’s more than capable of making the most of what she has to work with. Cape Elizabeth got off to a promising start Friday with a 39-26 home victory over Wells. As expected, the effort was led by the returners. Donovan led the way with 13 points and Raftice added 10. They’ll be the players Roberts turns to not only to deliver on the floor, but also to bring this group along as the season progresses. Junior Caroline Kelly, a swing player her first two seasons, will play a key role as will sophomore Marlo Dell’Aquila (five points in the opener), Maddy Riker and sophomore Kisa Tabery. In all, the Capers have four freshmen and four sophomores on the varsity roster. That means some growing pains for sure, but this squad will be able to compete with most of the league. Expect Cape Elizabeth to show steady improvement and to win enough games to be in the playoff hunt. This year’s experience will benefit the Capers down the road.
COACH: Bill LeBlond (first year)
2009-10 Record: 8-10 (no postseason)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Will Bollenbach (Senior), Vinny Dell’Aquila (Senior), Drew Grennon (Senior), Wilson Laprade (Senior), Austin Logan (Senior), Jake Rosenfield (Senior), Nick Breed (Junior), Donald Clark (Junior), Connor Logan (Junior), Matt Ross (Junior), Kirby Saari (Junior), Austin Shields (Junior), Brandon Negele (Sophomore)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 15 @ York, Dec. 21 (H) YARMOUTH, Jan. 13 (H) YORK, Jan. 27 (H) LEAVITT, Feb. 1 (H) GREELY, Feb. 19 @ Leavitt
COACH’S COMMENT: “We’re itching to get going. We have two good lines and a third one that’s not far behind. We have six seniors and a huge junior class. I look for the guys to have a good camaraderie and have a good season. We have talent. I don’t know what the other teams have. We should go pretty far.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Jason Tremblay’s successful tenure as Cape Elizabeth’s coach has come to a close and he’s been replaced by LeBlond, who played at Boston College. He coached Scarborough back in the 1990s and is assisted by former North Yarmouth Academy standout Steve Lawrence and former U. Maine player Barrett Heisten. They inherit a team that missed the playoffs last year for the first time since 1997, but it has the pieces in place to get back. The Capers will have plenty of offensive firepower. Bollenbach, Dell’Aquila and Grennon make up the top line. Breed, Ross and Shields come next and Clark, junior Will LeBlond and freshman Eli Breed make up the third wave. Defensively, Austin Logan, Connor Logan, Laprade (an honorable mention all-star last winter) and Negele (who was named to the All-Rookie squad a year ago) look to slow down the opposition in front of Rosenfield and Saari, who will both see time in goal. Cape Elizabeth got a brutal draw in its opener, facing preseason favorite Greely, and fell, 5-2, despite goals from Laprade and Shields. The Capers figure to hit their stride soon. They’ll score their share of goals and win enough games to be right in the thick of the Western B playoff hunt. By year’s end, Cape Elizabeth will be in position not only to get back to the playoffs, but to make a serious run at the top spot.
COACH: John Boucher (fourth year)
2009-10 Record: 4-11-3 (no postseason)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Emily Hollyday (Senior), Mary Kate Meagher (Senior), Lucy Crane (Junior), Kelsey Jackson (Junior), Madeline Ciraldo (Sophomore) , Hannah Dineen (Sophomore)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Jan. 6 (H) SCARBROUGH, Jan. 13 (H) YORK, Jan. 15 (H) FALMOUTH, Jan. 17 @ York, Jan. 26 (H) CHEVERUS, Jan. 27 @ Falmouth, Feb. 2 (H) PORTLAND
COACH’S COMMENT: “We’re very young, but we have some talent. Hannah is one of the top players in the state. We should be a playoff team.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Cape Elizabeth, which also features several players from Waynflete, has struggled in the early going this winter, but should be a factor by year’s end. So far, the Capers have lost to Scarborough (7-3), Winslow (8-0), Biddeford (6-3) and Portland (4-1). The offense has been keyed, as expected, by the dynamic Dineen (a second-team all-star last year), with help from Ciraldo and Jackson. Crane, Hollyday and Meagher bring experience. Junior Jamie Dell’Aquila and sophomore Jenna Walsh are seeing time in goal. Cape Elizabeth needs to win a few games before undergoing a brutal stretch of its schedule in January. The latter phase is easier. The Capers will compete all season and should be able to eclipse last year’s win total. With several key components returning next winter, this program has a very bright future.
COACH: Doug Worthley (15th year)
(BOYS) Tie-10th @ Class B state meet
(GIRLS) 4th @ Class B state meet
TOP RETURNING ATHLETES:
(BOYS) Ryan Ayers (Senior), Leo Ledman (Senior), Jack Queeney (Senior), Tom Bottomley (Junior), Forest Hewitt (Junior), Zach Hillman (Junior), Tom Janick (Junior), Brett Parker (Junior), Jake Wasserman (Junior)
(GIRLS) Karyn Barrett (Senior), Kelsey Barton (Senior), Ally Boyington (Senior), Anna Darling (Senior), Kelsey Maguire (Senior), Rachel Nichols (Senior), Jane Coffrin (Sophomore), Emma Inhorn (Sophomore), Talley Perkins (Sophomore)
TOP FOES: Falmouth, Greely, York
COACH’S COMMENT: “The boys have a slew of upperclass rookies and freshmen. Our focus will be to get as many athletes into state competition as possible. Obviously, we hope to improve on last year’s 9-16 record. We hope to be in the top 10 in the state. The girls have a large group of rookie upperclassmen and a very strong freshman team. The team focus this season will be to be competitive at states and place in the top six.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Both Cape Elizabeth indoor track teams return a solid core.
The boys don’t have a returning scorer from last year’s state meet, but there is a ton of potential with this group. Hewitt, Hillman, Parker, Fall Male Athlete of the Year Queeney and Wasserman all sprint. Bottomley is a middle distance threat. Ledman is the lead distance runner. Ayers, Janick and freshman Devon Roberts are jumpers to watch. This group will be very strong at USM and should be in position for a strong finish at the state meet.
On the girls’ side, the Capers will have no peer in the distance as Barton is the reigning Class B champion in the two-mile and Nichols is the defending champ in the mile and was also runner-up in the 800. They’re joined by Inhorn. Top sprinters include Fall Female Athlete of the Year Barrett, Darling and Maguire. Boyington, Coffrin and Perkins sprint and jump. Cape Elizabeth could be in the top five again when all is said and done.
COACH: Ben Raymond (fifth year)
(BOYS) 5th @ Class A state meet
(GIRLS) 7th @ Class A state meet
TOP RETURNING SWIMMERS:
(BOYS) Paul Wennberg (Senior), Noah Backer (Junior), Marcus Cloutier (Junior), Kevin Flathers (Junior), Tom Robinson (Junior), Jacob Brady (Sophomore), Evan Long (Sophomore)
(GIRLS) Abby Armstrong (Senior), Lindsay Rand (Senior), Julia Hintlian (Junior), Claire Muscat (Junior), Lindsey Stephen (Junior), Lindsey Tanabe (Junior), Catherine Tierney (Junior), Noelle Webster (Sophomore)
TOP FOES: Cheverus, Greely
COACH’S COMMENT: “The boys’ team has some good numbers this year. We have three very good top-line swimmers and just need to bring along some of the newer and younger swimmers to add depth. It will be an interesting season as we try to turn some really good athletes into swimmers. It’s already been a lot of fun and the boys are all working hard and know they have a chance to be good. The girls’ team has great leaders in Abby and Lindsay. We’re rather inexperienced, but so far, this has been one of the hardest working groups I’ve had. They all want to do well and seem to be having a great time in the pool. There’s a lot of potential with this group and the success will depend on the development of the sophomores and juniors.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Both Cape Elizabeth swim teams once again feature some of the best talent in the state.
The boys are led by Cloutier, who was third in both the 50 and 100 freestyle last year at states. He also swims the backstroke. Other returning scorers are Flathers (third in diving), Long (sixth in both the 200 free and 500 free), Wennberg (ninth in the 100 free, 11th in the 50 free) and Robinson (13th in the 500 free). Wennberg will also compete in the individual medley and breaststroke. He’s joined in the latter event by Backer. Brady swims the IM. Three members of the state champion boys’ lacrosse team join the squad. Seniors Brad Dickenson (50 free), Wes Richards (50 free, 100 free) and Timmy Takach (50 free) are working with former coach Kerry Kertes to get up to speed. Peter Doane is another diver to watch. There are a lot of potential points here. The Capers have a great shot at moving up and improving on last year’s results at the postseason meets and making a run at a first Class A title since 1997.
On the girls’ side, Armstrong is the top returner. She placed eighth in the 100 free and 12th in the 50 free a year ago. She’ll also swim the breaststroke. Tierney (11th in the 500 free) and Rand (15th in the 200 free) are also back. Hintlian (butterfly, IM), Muscat (fly and IM), Stephen (backstroke), Tanabe (freestyle) and Webster (distance freestyle) provide depth. Jane Vaughn (distance freestyle, IM) is a top newcomer. Cape Elizabeth will work hard to improve this winter and by season’s end, will be one of the top teams at Southwesterns and at states.
(BOYS) 5th @ Class B meet
(GIRLS) No score @ Class B meet
COACH: Chris Cantara (first year)
(BOYS) 4th @ Class B state meet
(GIRLS) No score @ Class B state meet
TOP RETURNING SKIERS:
(BOYS) Jack Barber (Senior), Sam Barber (Junior), Derek Roberts (Junior)
TOP FOES: Falmouth, Greely, Yarmouth
COACH’S COMMENT: “We have a very impressive group. It’s still a very young program. Our new kids are coming on. We only have one girl this year and she’s new. The boys will have a competitive team. They did a tremendous job last year. I’d like to see us by in the top three this year. I think it’s possible.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Cape Elizabeth’s young Alpine program is ready for another season under a new coach in Cantara, a Cape Elizabeth native who raced at NYA and New England College. He was an assistant last year.
The boys return Sam Barber (eighth in last year’s slalom, 41st in the giant slalom), Jack Barber (ninth GS, 15th slalom) and Roberts (24th in the slalom). That solid core will help the Capers be competitive in the regular season and make some noise in the postseason.
There is only one girl this year and she’s a new skier so expectations are tempered. Cape Elizabeth looks to grow that squad and be more competitive in future seasons.
COACH: Deven Morrill (sixth year)
(BOYS) 5th @ Class B state meet
(GIRLS) 4th @ Class B state meet
TOP RETURNING SKIERS:
(BOYS) Matt Barksdale (Junior), James Yokabaskas (Sophomore)
(GIRLS) Skyler Dunfey (Senior), Lexi Weatherbie (Senior), Francesca Governali (Sophomore), Katie Page (Sophomore)
TOP FOES: Falmouth, Fryeburg, Yarmouth
COACH’S COMMENT: “The kids are excited. Last year was a learning year for our younger skiers. The boys are young with no seniors. The team’s comprised of freshmen and sophomores. We hope to be as competitive as possible. We have a bunch of new girls who are good athletes. I hope to turn them into good skiers. We should do well.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Morrill returns to coach the Capers this season and has some good skiers to work with.
The boys saw Yokabaskas come in 13th in the freestyle and 17th in the classic at last year’s state meet. Barksdale placed 38th in the classic and 39th in the freestyle. They’ll lead the way this winter and hope to get some help as Cape Elizabeth looks to remain a top team in the conference and a top five contender at states.
On the girls’ side, the loss of standout multiple state champion Emily Attwood will be difficult to overcome, but Dunfey (11th in last year’s classic and 29th in the freestyle), Weatherbie (17th in both races a year ago) and Governali (23rd freestyle, 34th classic) all return and could move up the standings. Paige will also be a factor for a team that could be one of the best around by February.
Senior Cam Brown remains a top scoring threat for the Capers.
Senior Emily Donovan leads a relatively young girls’ basketball squad this winter.
Senior Vinny Dell’Aquila will make life miserable for the opposition this winter.
Senior Wilson Laprade hopes to celebrate many goals in 2010-11.
Junior Noah Backer will look to score points in the breaststroke this winter.
Sophomore Evan Long is a top freestyle swimmer for the Capers.
Senior Rachel Nichols is the defending Class B state champion in the mile.
Senior Kelsey Barton won the two-mile last winter. She teams with Nichols and sophomore Emma Inhorn to make up perhaps the best distance crew in the Western Maine Conference.
Senior Theo Bowe and the Cape Elizabeth boys’ basketball team are entertaining championship dreams once again.
More photos below.