Cape Elizabeth Winter Sports Preview

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The sensational Olivia Tighe has one more season to dominate at the high school level before taking her talents to Duke University. Tighe hopes to lead the Capers girls’ swim team to another Class B title this winter.

File photos.

More photos below.

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Coach: Jim Ray (25th year, 328-164 overall record, one state championship)

2017-18 record: 13-8 (Lost, 40-35, to Wells in Class B South Final)

Top returning players: Tanner Carpenter (Senior), Matt Conley (Senior), Andrew Hartel (Senior), Nate Mullen (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Dec. 7 @ Greely, Dec. 18 @ Gray-NG, Dec. 20 WAYNFLETE, Dec. 22 KENNEBUNK, Dec. 27 FALMOUTH, Jan. 4 @ Brunswick, Jan. 8 @ Yarmouth, Jan. 15 @ Freeport, Jan. 21 YARMOUTH, Jan. 29 GREELY, Feb. 1 @ Wells, Feb. 5 GRAY-NG

Coach’s comment: “We have a lot of question marks. It will be interesting to see how we develop. This is a new group that needs to create an identity. We’re trying to figure out where to put guys where they can be successful. I like our competitive schedule. We’ll have to fight to get in the tournament. We’ll be in a dogfight and hope to play good basketball at tournament time.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth was just moments away from going to the state final a year ago, but fell just short against Wells. The Capers were then hit hard by graduation, as standout Finn Bowe, along with other key contributors, departed. This year’s team is still finding its way, but there’s reason to believe Ray will figure out a way to mold a contender.

Hartel projects to be one of the region’s top post players at both ends of the floor. Mullen is the point guard. Carpenter could be a top scorer from the wing. Conley has experience at forward. Sophomore Quinn Morse could emerge as a top player as he’s shown big improvement since last year. Junior Nolan Smith will make an impact on the wing and senior Nick Aceto will back up Mullen at point guard.

The Capers have a very daunting schedule that won’t allow them to develop as quickly as hoped. While Cape Elizabeth might not finish with its accustomed strong record, the Capers will likely show steady improvement and could be a force to be reckoned with come playoff time.

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Coach: Chris Casterella (12th year, 76-131 overall record)

2017-18 record: 6-12 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Brooke Harvey (Senior), Alison Ingalls (Senior), Saylor Wood (Senior), Isabel Berman (Junior), Karli Chapin (Junior), Alison Gerety (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Dec. 7 GREELY, Jan. 4 BRUNSWICK, Jan. 8 YARMOUTH, Jan. 10 @ Lake Region, Jan. 15 FREEPORT, Jan. 17 @ York, Jan. 21 @ Yarmouth, Jan. 23 @ NYA, Feb. 5 @ Gray-New Gloucester

Coach’s comment: “We only lost one from last year. We hope to have balanced scoring this season. It would be nice for us to make the playoffs. We just missed last year. Our experience should help.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth has a strong core returning and should be in contention throughout this winter. The Capers only graduated Erin O’Rourke and have several players back who have enjoyed success in multiple sports.

Harvey, a third-team league all-star a year ago, will be the point guard. Chapin, last seen scoring the state championship-winning goal for the girls’ soccer team, Berman and Wood will all see time at guard. Gerety and Ingalls will help out in the frontcourt.

Cape Elizabeth hopes for some early success and if some wins come, the Capers will be in the hunt for the long haul. A postseason trip is attainable and if so, this squad could be very difficult to beat come February.

BOYS’ HOCKEY

Coach: Jacob Rutt (first year)

2017-18 record: 15-3-2 (Lost, 3-2, to Greely in Class B South Final)

Top returning players: Brenden Goss (Senior), Stephen Murray (Senior), Jack Roy-Becker (Senior), Phil Tarling (Senior), Jackson Woods (Senior), Andrew Carroll (Junior), Matt Laughlin (Junior), Jonas Moon (Junior), Gavin Simopoulos (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Dec. 22 @ Greely, Dec. 29 @ Biddeford, Jan. 3 YARMOUTH, Jan. 10 YORK, Jan. 12 @ Cheverus, Jan. 17 SOUTH PORTLAND, Jan. 28 @ York, Feb. 2 @ Gorham, Feb. 7 PORTLAND/DEERING, Feb. 9 @ Gardiner, Feb. 16 GREELY, Feb. 18 @ Yarmouth

Coach’s comment: “We have a good group of guys who are coachable. We have high expectations this year because of our talent and leadership. We should be able to make a run. We hope to hit our stride when it counts. The guys are hungry after last year. We’ve talked about what it takes to get past the regional final.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth had a terrific season a year ago, but wound up one goal shy of playing on the big stage. After losing some key players to graduation and having longtime coach Matt Buotte step down, the Capers have some questions to answer as a new year begins, but there’s enough talent on this roster to suggest another strong campaign will be in store under Rutt, the one-time standout at Scarborough High, who went on to play at the University of Maine and professionally in Boise in the East Coast Hockey League. Rutt has previously served as an assistant coach with Biddeford and takes over a promising roster.

Tarling was a second-team all-star last year. He’ll anchor Cape Elizabeth’s top line this winter and is joined by Simpoulos (an All-Rookie team pick in 2017-18) and Carroll to make up a potent unit. Moon is the center on a second line which includes Laughlin and Roy-Becker. The Capers should have no trouble putting the puck in the net. Defensively, Goss, Murray and Woods all have experience in front of senior Garrett Mello, who saw limited minutes last season behind Peter Haber.

Class B South has many strong teams and Cape Elizabeth has reason to believe it can compete with all of them. The Capers have a very tough schedule and might falter at times early, but this will be a very dangerous foe by February. If a few bounces go Cape Elizabeth’s way, it might just be able to finish what last year’s squad started.

GIRLS’ HOCKEY

Coach: Bob Mills (seventh year, 49-63-5 overall record)

2017-18 record: 10-9-1 (Lost, 3-2, to Portland/Deering in South Region semifinals)

Top returning players: Sophia Venditti (Senior), Nicoletta Coupe (Sophomore), Koto Yomada (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Dec. 8 GREELY, Dec. 22 CHEVERUS, Jan. 2 PORTLAND/DEERING, Jan. 9 @ St. Dom’s, Jan. 12 @ Cheverus, Jan. 15 @ Scarborough, Jan. 26 @ Portland/Deering, Jan. 30 @ Falmouth, Feb. 2 @ Lewiston

Coach’s comment: “With an experienced core group of returning players, we are excited for this season. We face a tough schedule this year, but anticipate being able to compete with the top teams in the state.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: The Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland co-op team had a strong season a year ago and nearly got to the regional final. This year’s squad is hopeful of a similar finish after starting with a 4-3 loss to Scarborough and a 5-0 victory over York.

Venditti made the all-state team a year ago after scoring 25 goals and adding 22 assists. She has five goals and two assists in early action this season. Coupe (27 goals, 10 assists) and Yomada (9 goals, 21 assists) both made the All-Conference team as freshmen and figure to be formidable again. Defensively, look for sophomores Abbey Agrodnia (two goals already this winter) and Annie Guimond, along with freshman Sofia Cook, to help make the transition as easy as possible for new freshman goalie Katherine Blackburn.

Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland is among a group of teams chasing Cheverus for the top spot. With Venditti leading the offensive charge, the squad will score its share of goals and should finish with one of the best records in the South Region.

INDOOR TRACK

Coach: Doug Worthley (23rd year)

2017-18 results:

(Boys) tie-9th @ Class B state meet

(Girls) 7th @ Class B state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Aidan Hubbs (Senior), Peter DiNinno (Senior)

(Girls) Darcy Cochran (Junior)

Coach’s comment: “The girls’ team looks to be competitive this season with several veterans and a few top newcomers. We should score in the top 10 at states and look to be spoilers for some other teams in the hunt. The boys’ team is quite young, with 80 percent of the athletes in grades nine and 10. The boys should have several state competitors and hope to score in multiple events. The young team is developing quickly, so one never knows. We hope to be in the top 10 teams competing at the state meet.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth graduated some top scorers, but has reason for optimism as a new season dawns.

The boys feature DiNinno and sophomore Ricky Perruzzi in the distance races, sophomores Jack Fibich and Tyler Rodenberger in the sprints and shot putters Hubbs and junior Joe Clancy. Newcomers Cater Abrahamsen, Jack Gorman, Keegan O’Grady and Jake Tinsman add depth. The Capers have what it takes to place in the top 10 again.

On the girls’ side, Cochran returns after winning the 55 hurdles and placing third in the 200 a year ago. She’ll be a top sprinter along with juniors Kaitlin Norrad, Dylan Palmore and Mae Rayner. Sophomores Isabelle O’Grady, Sami Olsen and Cammie Wood and freshmen Faye Adrian and Marcella Hesser are sprinters and jumpers to watch. Sara Isfeld competes in the shot put. The Capers will be strong during the regular season and have a few girls who will score at states.

SWIMMING

Coach: Ben Raymond (13th year, five state championships)

2017-18 results:

(Boys) 3rd @ Class B state meet

(Girls) Class B state champions

Top returners:

(Boys) Ryan Connelly (Senior), Rohan Freedman (Senior), Jacob Membrino (Senior), Matt Yim (Senior), Sam Whitney (Junior), Caden Gilbert (Sophomore), Finn Snyder (Sophomore), Rishi Yadav (Sophomore)

(Girls) Hope Campbell (Senior), Casey Concannon (Senior), Alicia Lawrence (Senior), Jade Lideneau (Senior), Maddie McCormick (Senior), Daphne te Bokhorst (Senior), Olivia Tighe (Senior), Corinne Wight (Senior), Milo Cook-Sharp (Junior), Isabella Eremita (Junior), Caroline Mahoney (Junior), Christiana Pinette (Junior), Zoe Evans (Sophomore), Emma Frothingham (Sophomore), Hannah Leiss (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “The girls should be very good. We didn’t lose any points from last year’s team to graduation and we picked up two more swimmers who will score. The seniors have been outstanding for four years. They’ve been the heart of the team since they came in as freshmen. They hope to contend for their third straight state title and fourth straight Southwestern championship. The boys should have an exciting season. We have over 30 boys swimming this year which is very exciting. Many are in their first season, but they should make huge improvements. With the frontline swimmers we have, we should be able to compete with the top teams.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth remains one of the state’s elite programs and will be heard from all winter.

The girls’ squad has captured the past two Class B titles and they’re heavy favorites to capture a third. The Capers will be led by Tighe, who is the state record-holder in the 100 freestyle and is the reigning champion in that event, as well as the 500 free. Before she takes her talents to Duke University, Tighe will look to add more hardware in the freestyle and 100 butterfly. Campbell, Lawrence and Mahoney are part of a state-record holding 200 free relay team (which also includes Tighe). They’ll be dominant again. Campbell and Lawrence also compete in the backstroke. Pinette will be a top diver. Lindeneau competes in the freestyle and individual medley. McCormick (IM, fly, breaststroke), Concannon (IM, fly, backstroke, freestyle), te Boekhorst (backstroke, sprint freestyle), Wight (fly, IM, breaststroke), Cook-Sharp (freestyle), Eremita (freestyle and backstroke), Evans (IM, fly, free), Frothingham (IM, fly, free) and Leiss (back and freestyle) are other veterans. The Capers’ depth is without peer and they boast a promising newcomer as well in freshman Ali Bragg, who will swim the fly, breasstroke, IM and freestyle. It all adds up to a juggernaut that will be tough to dethrone.

The boys’ squad isn’t too shabby either and will look to finish atop the heap as well. Freedman is the defending Class B champion in the 200 free. He’ll also be heard from in the IM and breaststroke. Yim (fifth in the 500 free and seventh in the 200 free last winter) is another distance standout. Connolly (distance freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke), Membrino (IM, backstroke, fly), Whitney (freestyle), Gilbert (freestyle and fly), Snyder (free) and Yadav (IM, fly, breaststroke and freestyle) are other top returners. Freshmen Keegan McKenney (IM, backstroke, fly and freestyle) and Ethan Smith (fly, IM and freestyle) are potential stars of the future. A lot of points are there for the taking and the Capers believe they’ll grab them throughout the regular season and into February.

ALPINE SKIING

Coach: Jeff Davis (sixth year)

2017-18 results:

(Boys) Class A state champions

(Girls) 8th @ Class A state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Duncan Geikie (Senior), Killian Lathrop (Junior), Gannon Stewart (Sophomore)

(Girls) Morgan Stewart (Senior), Piper Strunk (Junior), Adeline McGrath (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “Our boys’ team is very deep. As defending state champs, we’re a target, but I think our depth with make us very tough to beat. Our girls’ team is similar to last year.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth is excited about a new season on the slopes.

The boys return Killian Lathrop, the reigning state champion in slalom (he was also fourth in the giant slalom). Devon Lathrop, who missed last year with a knee injury after winning a GS title as a sophomore, is back and looks to return to championship form. Geikie (seventh in the GS, 16th in the slalom) and Stewart (15th in the slalom)  also have experience. Freshmen Cody Labonty and Tiernan Lathrop will make this powerhouse even stronger. Another title wouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

On the girls’ side, McGrath (ninth in the GS, 26th in the slalom), Stewart (32nd in the GS, 45th in the slalom) and Strunk (38th in the GS, 47th in the slalom) all return. Freshman Dana Schwartz will step right in and make an impact as well. The Capers are hopeful of moving up the standings in February.

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

Senior Andrew Hartel is a top returner for a Cape Elizabeth boys’ basketball team which should be in the hunt for a Class B South crown again this season.

Senior Tanner Carpenter will look to knock down some key shots in the weeks to come.

Look for sophomore point guard Nate Mullen to build on his strong freshman season.

Senior Phil Tarling is a top returner for a Cape Elizabeth boys’ hockey team that is eyeing a Class B title.

Look for junior Jonas Moon to score some big goals this winter.

Sophomore Gavin Simopoulos is a top up-and-coming player for the Capers.

Nicoletta Coupe scored 27 goals as a freshman for the Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland girls’ hockey team. She’ll look to lead the squad to big things this season.

Koto Yamada had a strong freshman season and will be another player to watch on the ice this winter.

Caroline Mahoney is another returning standout for the Cape Elizabeth girls’ swim team

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