Cheverus Stags 2010 Fall Sports Preview

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Cheverus’ fall sports teams excelled in 2009 and should be in the mix across the board this time around. Football fell one point short of a trip to the state game last autumn. With several key players returning, the Stags could go all the way. Boys’ soccer figures to be improved and will be one of the better teams in the league. The girls’ team is always in the hunt and is seeking to end its Gorham hex once and for all. Field hockey also came oh-so-close to a state game appearance in 2009. While the Stags were hard hit by graduation, they’ll be a factor in October. Both cross country teams are defending state championships and have a great shot to repeat. Golf is another team to keep a close eye on.

FOOTBALL

COACH: John Wolfgram (fifth year)

2009 Record: 8-3 (Lost 7-6 to eventual state champion Windham in Western Class A Final)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Jack Bushey (Senior), Zach Dulac (Senior), Peter Gwilym (Senior), Liam Hobbins (Senior), Evan Jendrasko (Senior), Spencer Cooke (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 10 @ Windham, Sept. 17 @ South Portland, Sept. 25 (H) PORTLAND, Oct. 16 (H) BONNY EAGLE, Oct. 23 (H) DEERING

COACH’S COMMENT: “This is a new team. We’re trying to find our own personality. We only have 11 starters returning. We’re young in the wide receiver position. We have holes to fill. Several teams could win it. It’s wide open. I’m optimistic we could be a very good team.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Coming off its first regional final appearance in 19 seasons, the Stags are primed and hungry to go all the way in 2010. In a season featuring perhaps unprecedented parity in Western Class A, Cheverus has reason for optimism. For starters, the Stags return 2009 Fall Male Athlete of the Year Gwilym, who was such a clutch, big-game leader and performer. As the signal caller, Gwilym is effective running or throwing the ball and as Thornton Academy painfully discovered in last year’s semifinals, he delivers a pretty solid hit from his safety position on defense. Gwilym will get his share of carries and will also distribute to Cooke, Hobbins and Jendrasko. New senior A.J. Bennett is another runner to watch. Through the air, Bushey will likely be the top downfield threat. Cheverus is solid on the line behind Dulac and a batch of new juniors, Mike Dedian, Cristian Doughty, Sam Sanders and Tom Sullivan. When clicking, the Stags will grind out drives and score their share of points, leaving the opposition desperate for the ball. When it goes on defense, Cheverus stands to be effective as well. On the line, Jendrasko, from his nose tackle spot, will make life miserable for opposing runners. Bennett, Bushey, Dedian, Doughty, Sanders and Sullivan will also be factors. The linebacking corps features Dulac and new junior Cam Olson. Gwilym and Hobbins will hold down the fort in the secondary. Last year, the Stags were able to impose their will on both sides of the ball. The confidence stemming from last year’s run, combined with returning talent, new promise and of course, the wizardry of Wolfgram, our Coach of the Year in 2009, hints at another memorable season to come. This could be the year Cheverus steals the headlines all the way through.

BOYS SOCCER

COACH: Bill LeBlanc (fourth year)

2009 Record: 8-6-1 (Lost 1-0 to Portland in Western Class A quarterfinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Derek DeLuca (Senior), Andrew Nickless (Senior), Peter Pothoff (Senior), Ryan Ward (Senior), Alexander Hoglund (Junior), Nick Melville (Junior), Parker Doyon (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 4 @ Gorham, Sept. 16 @ Bonny Eagle, Sept. 23 @ Scarborough, Sept. 28 (H) WINDHAM, Oct. 5 (H) PORTLAND, Oct. 7 @ Westbrook, Oct. 14 (H) DEERING, Oct. 18 @ South Portland

COACH’S COMMENT: “I think the league is pretty balanced. I like our team. We’re fast and athletic. We have a good group of seniors, especially on defense. It will be up to the junior class to get it done on offense. We have a good mix and nucleus. I’m excited. We’ll look to do some damage in the playoffs.”

FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Cheverus’ boys’ soccer program could be one of the best in Western A this fall. While the team lacks a big-name star like last year’s Southern Maine Activities Association first-team all-star Thomas Mourmouras, on balance, the 2010 Stags appear stronger. Starting in the back, they return their goalie, Pothoff, which gives them an advantage over many teams. He’ll get help defensively from DeLuca and Nickless. In the midfield, Hoglund, Melville and Ward will be forces to deal with. Melville projects to be one of the team’s top scorers, along with Doyon and highly touted incoming junior Elliot Maker, a transfer from Lake Region. Cheverus will use its athleticism and speed to its advantage. If the Stags can get some consistent scoring they can match up with virtually anyone in the league. It’s imperative that Cheverus racks up early wins against the easier part of its schedule. By late-September, the Stags will go head-to-head with several elite teams. Ideally, they’ll be clicking on all cylinders at that point and be able to win some of those games to get an optimal playoff seed. This is a team that will be capable of doing plenty of damage by late-October. No one will savor a date with Cheverus come playoff time.

GIRLS’ SOCCER

COACH: Dan LaVallee (ninth year)

2009 Record: 8-3-4 (Lost 2-1, in two OTs, to Gorham in Western Class A quarterfinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Kaitlin Doherty (Senior), Leann Morrison (Junior), Allison Thomas (Junior), Hannah Noonan (Sophomore), Darby Rawcliffe (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 3 @ Gorham, Sept. 23 (H) SCARBOROUGH, Sept. 25 @ Thornton Academy, Sept. 29 @ Windham, Oct. 6 @ Portland

COACH’S COMMENT: “I think once we get our goalie situation ironed out and if we can avoid the injury bug, we’ll be pretty strong. We need to jell with our new offensive players. Our defense looks good. Hopefully, this is the year we can beat Gorham.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Ah yes, Gorham. Pardon the Stags if they’re a little obsessed/revenge minded toward the Rams, they’ve only ruined Cheverus’ season four of the past five years with playoff losses which have ranged from demoralizing to downright cruel. Last year trended toward the latter. But now it’s 2010 and the Stags are ready to move on confidently, which they should. This year’s team promises to be very strong once again and should be one of the last ones standing. Last year’s leading scorer, Rawcliffe, returns to the lead the offense. Noonan figures to score her share of goals and freshmen strikers Sade Lyons and Abby Maker will also be heard from. Thomas will be a force at midfield. Defensively, Doherty and Morrison will provide protection for the goalie, who will be either senior Jessica Krause or new sophomore Mikayla Mayberry, best known for her basketball acumen. This program has been competitive almost from the get-go, but it wants to take the final step. While Gorham, once again, and Scarborough appear to be the early favorites, Cheverus likes its chances. It can make an immediate statement at Gorham Friday, but win, lose or tie, history suggests the Stags and Rams will meet again in the playoffs, with higher stakes. If Cheverus can stay healthy, they’ll boast another strong record and be in position to make a postseason run. Perhaps this is the year that everything will bounce the Stags’ way.

FIELD HOCKEY

COACH: Amy McMullin (third year)

2009 Record: 15-2 (Lost 3-2 to eventual state champion Scarborough in Western Class A Final)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Lexi Hilton (Senior), Anna McDonough (Senior), Emily Sawchuck (Senior), Taylor Witham (Senior), Sarah LaQuerre (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 16 @ Sanford, Sept. 20 @ Westbrook, Sept. 30 @ Gorham, Oct. 8 @ Scarborough, Oct. 12 (H) THORNTON ACADEMY

COACH’S COMMENT: “I’m excited to see how the league’s going to be this year. We have a very different look, but still have some very strong returning players. For the most part, we’re young and quick, but do have less experience than previous years. The girls are motivated and have been working extremely hard so far and want nothing more than to be successful. As long as we can come together as a team, we should do fine. I’m looking forward to this year with these girls because of their enthusiasm and dedication.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Cheverus enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2009, winning every regular season game but one, creating multiple thrills and advancing to a first-ever regional final. There, the Stags almost derailed Scarborough’s title quest, taking an early lead behind the powerful shot of Sawchuck, before going down to a one-goal defeat. While graduation took its toll, Cheverus has established itself as an annual contender and must be taken seriously. Sawchuck (16 goals and an SMAA first-team all-star selection last autumn) and LaQuerre (13 goals and an honorable mention last season) pace the offense. They’re joined on the front line by McDonough and new sophomore Gabi Cardona. New sophomores Brooke Flaherty and Staci Swallow figure to make an immediate impact at midfield. The Stags have great athleticism and speed and will use that to their advantage from start to finish. On defense, Hilton and Witham are top returners. They’re complemented by new sophomore Annie DeLisio, a transfer from Greely. Senior Katie Semo and sophomore Cindy Clark are vying for the goalie spot. Cheverus’ returning players are hungry to finish the job they started in 2009. If the new players can make the hoped-for impact, the Stags should be near the top of the league again. Without a clear favorite this fall, Cheverus has a chance to do well. Don’t be surprised if McMullin, our Coach of the Year in 2009, leads the Stags farther than expected.

CROSS COUNTRY

COACH:

(BOYS) Kristin Barry (first year)

(GIRLS) Valerie Guillet (seventh year)

2009 Results:

(BOYS) Class A state champion

(GIRLS) Class A state champion

TOP RETURNING RUNNERS:

(BOYS) Stephen Ambrose (Senior), Pat Jerome (Senior), Jack Terwilliger (Senior), Lukas Temple (Junior), David Woodbury (Junior), Adam Zeiba (Junior), Chandler Dundas (Sophomore), Brady Foshay (Sophomore)

(GIRLS) Emily Durgin (Junior), Fiona Hendry (Junior), Maddie Woods (Junior)

TOP FOES: Massabesic, Scarborough

COACH BARRY’S COMMENT: “We lost four of our top five runners from last year’s championship team to graduation. However, Jack Terwilliger returns as the highest finisher and leads a contingent of talented, motivated individuals. The beginning of the season will be a time of transition with new coaches, new teammates and a new philosophy, but the potential is there for a very strong team by the end of the season.”

COACH GUILLET’S COMMENT: “We lost Amelia Lundkvist and Liana Rubinoff, two of our top five from last year’s state champion team, but we are joined by two of last spring’s middle distance runners and our freshman class looks really strong. It’s a small team once again so anything can happen between now and October 30, but we will certainly do everything we can try to repeat. If these girls work as a team they can certainly contend for the title and be as good as anyone out there. I have a lot of trust in their ability to come together as a team. That’s what we will strive for all season.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Cheverus’ cross country program enjoyed a dream season in 2009, sweeping the Class A championships. This year, the Stags will once again be near or at the top of the heap.

The boys’ team lost three all-stars and four state meet scorers to graduation, but should once again be strong. Cheverus welcomes a new coach in Barry, who is well known locally as a top distance runner. She’s joined as coach by Sheri Piers. Both women are two-time Olympic Marathon Trials qualifiers and at this summer’s Beach to Beacon, crossed the finish line hand-in-hand as the top two Maine females. Terwilliger figures to be one of the best runners in the state, regardless of class. In 2009, he came in sixth at states and was a league all-star. Terwilliger is the lone scorer from last year’s state meet, but both Temple (45th) and Foshay (69th) took part and ran well. Ambrose and Jerome bring experience. Woodbury and Zeiba look to move up the ladder and Dundas hopes to make his presence felt. While Cheverus isn’t a heavy favorite this year, the pieces are in place for the Stags to be very formidable by late October.

On the girls’ side, Guillet, last year’s league Coach of the Year, and her talented girls seek to repeat. Last fall, the team made history, becoming the first Cheverus girls’ squad to win a state title. This year’s team has a solid junior nucleus in Durgin (individual runner-up at last year’s state meet, a first-team league all-star and the school’s 2009 Fall Female Athlete of the Year), Hendry (seventh at states and a first-team league all-star) and Woods (26th at states). Five new runners will look to keep the Stags near the top. That group includes juniors Lizzie Gwilym and Taylor Spang and freshmen Shannon Conley, Kiera Murray and Rachel Simonds. Needless to say, Cheverus figures to be very strong not just this year, but well into the future. Repeating won’t come easily. Teams like Massabesic and Scarborough stand in the way and that’s just in Western A, but if the newcomers produce as expected and if the returning standouts stay healthy, the Stags have a very good shot at going back-to-back.

GOLF

COACH: James Ouellette (seventh year)

2009 Results: 7-3 (6th @ Class A state match)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Kyle Bourassa (Senior), Nick Burns (Senior)

TOP FOES: Deering, Portland, South Portland

COACH’S COMMENT: “I think we’ll have a pretty good team this year. A lot of the kids really worked hard this summer and improved. We’ll try to win the division and get back to states.”

FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Cheverus enjoyed a strong season in 2009 and could be even better this autumn. Overshadowed by Deering much of last year, the Stags made it to states and posted a solid score. The team returns Bourassa (who shot an 80 at the state team match, 84 at the state individual match and was a first-team league all-star) and Burns (85). They will be relied upon to shoot low scores and help groom their teammates for the crucible of the qualifying match. Junior Mike Haas-Zanghi and sophomore Andrew Cloutier stand to become recognizable names in no time. The Stags will have a battle virtually every time out in the regular season as Deering is once again the favorite, Portland is improved and Scarborough, South Portland and Westbrook are all formidable foes. Regardless of what happens in the regular season, Cheverus hopes to be at its best at the qualifier and would love to get back to the state match where anything can happen. Don’t be surprised if the Stags once again make some noise in October.

Junior Spencer Cooke figures to gain his share of yards in 2010.

Junior Sarah LaQuerre is a top offensive force in the SMAA.

Senior Taylor Witham’s defense will help the Stags in their quest to get back to the postseason.

Junior Jack Terwilliger will be one of the finest runners in the state this fall, regardless of class.

Sophomore Emily Durgin is one of the finest runners in the state and will look to help the Stags repeat as Class A state champions.

Sidebar Elements


Cheverus senior quarterback Peter Gwilym will follow the lead of classmate Zach Dulac in the quest for great things this fall.

More photos below.

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