Cheverus Stags 2011 Fall Sports Preview

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Cheverus will be hard-pressed to match its spectacular accomplishments from the 2010-11 school year. That excellence began last fall, when football reached the pinnacle for the first time in 25 years, girls’ cross country repeated as champion and field hockey made a stirring and stunning run to a first-ever state final. This time around, John Wolfgram’s football team has the pieces in place to once again be a November force. Field hockey was hurt by graduation, but should continue to contend. Both soccer teams are on the short list of top Western A contenders. Both cross country squads will be very strong. Golf looks to build on its stellar finish from a year ago.

FOOTBALL

COACH: John Wolfgram (sixth year)

2010 Record: 12-0 (Beat Bangor 46-8 to win Class A state championship)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Spencer Cooke (Senior), Christian Deschenes (Senior), Mike Dedian (Senior), Louie DiStasio (Senior), Cam Olson (Senior), Charlie Rainville (Senior), Tom Sullivan (Senior), Colie Walsh (Senior), Ryan Casale (Junior), Liam Fitzpatrick (Junior), Brent Green (Junior), Jackson McMann (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 3 (H) SOUTH PORTLAND, Sept. 16 @ Bonny Eagle, Oct. 1 (H) SCARBOROUGH, Oct. 21 @ Deering

COACH’S COMMENT: “We have some good character kids who are working hard. We’re athletic, but very young and inexperienced. It’s a step by step process. There are a lot of good teams this year. We’ll have the same approach as always. We want to utilize our assets the best way we can.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: The 2010 Cheverus football team will live forever in school lore. Not only did the Stags win their first Class A championship in a quarter-century, but they did it with flair and in the most dramatic way possible. All three regional playoff games were heartstoppers, with Cheverus finding a way to hold off upset bids from Windham, Scarborough and Deering (in a game for the ages). Then, the state final proved anticlimactic as the Stags punished Bangor with a second half surge. While the program will certainly be affected by the loss of standouts and leaders Peter Gwilym (Cheverus’ Fall 2010 Athlete of the Year and winner of the Fitzpatrick Trophy), Evan Jendrasko and Zach Dulac, anyone underestimating this year’s team will come to regret it. Olson steps in under center and brings a passing dimension to the team that the opposition will have to take seriously. He’ll look to throw to the likes of DiStasio and Fitzpatrick. The Stags will be able to stretch the field if they so desire, but at the end of the day, a Wolfgram-coached team will always be about running the ball down the other team’s throat. Cooke (who was the star of the state final, gaining 239 yards and rushing for four TDs) is the lead back and is a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball. Green, McMann, Walsh and junior Donald Goodrich could also get in on the fun. Cheverus appears loaded on the line behind Deschenes, Dedian, Rainville and Sullivan. Defensively, the Stags remain strong. Up front, Deschenes, Dedian, Goodrich, Rainville and Walsh won’t be pushed around. The linebacking corps features last year’s fast riser, Casale, along with Green. In the secondary, Cooke, Fitzpatrick, McMann and Olson will cause opposing quarterbacks to think twice about throwing their way. The Stags even have an edge on special teams where DiStasio (a Cumberland County Offense all-star in 2010) has a powerful and accurate right foot and great range. Last year’s team had the hunger and met every challenge. This fall, Cheverus isn’t quite as highly touted, but the Stags figure to be in the hunt from start to finish. If this group can recreate the passion and the intangibles that the departing stars channeled into victory, the 2011 campaign could have another happy ending at Fitzpatrick Stadium in November.

BOYS SOCCER

COACH: Bill LeBlanc (fifth year)

2010 Record: 7-7-1 (Lost 6-0 to Portland in Western Class A quarterfinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Alexander Hoglund (Senior), Jotham Illuminati (Senior), Elliot Maker (Senior), Nick Melville (Senior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 15 (H) SCARBOROUGH, Sept. 23 (H) KENNEBUNK, Sept. 27 @ Portland, Oct. 6 (H) SOUTH PORTLAND, Oct. 18 (H) GORHAM

COACH’S COMMENT: “This is my best team in the five years I’ve coached. We have great senior talent and leadership, led by Hoglund, Maker and Melville. We need to sort out our goalie situation but our team goal is to be in the top four in the Heal Points. Our entire offense is back, so scoring goals should be our strength.”

FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Cheverus suffered a disappointing end to its season last fall, when playing shorthanded, it was pounded by state final-bound Portland. This time around, the Stags should be one of the better teams in the region, one that’s capable of a deep postseason run. Maker and Melville both had double-digit goals in 2010, made the SMAA all-star team and figure to tickle the twine with regularity. Hoglund brings myriad skills to the midfield position. Illuminati anchors the defense. LeBlanc hinted at a couple promising freshmen and if those players can contribute, Cheverus will be that much tougher to counter. There are several good teams in Western A this autumn, but none that are head and shoulders above the crowd. That means the Stags will be in contention all the way and while playoffs are always the goal, Cheverus can shoot for more than qualifying. The Stags hope to host a postseason game or two. A breakout season could be in store.

GIRLS’ SOCCER

COACH: Dan LaVallee (10th year)

2010 Record: 11-4-1 (Lost 2-1 to Scarborough in Western Class A semifinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Leeann Morrison (Senior), Alli Thomas (Senior), Jamie Dulac (Junior), Kelsey Dulac (Junior), Danielle Kane (Junior), Mikayla Mayberry (Junior), Darby Rawcliffe (Junior), Sade Lyons (Sophomore), Abby Maker (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 17 @ Scarborough, Sept. 20 (H) WINDHAM, Sept. 24 @ Sanford, Oct. 5 @ Thornton Academy, Oct. 14 @ Deering, Oct. 18 @ Gorham

COACH’S COMMENT: “My captains have looked very good this preseason. We have a couple freshmen who will help. I think we will be in the top four again. The defense looks strong and we will get our share of goals. If we get a few bounces, a game in November is not a long shot..”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Cheverus is always knocking on the postseason door and last year was no exception. While the Stags ultimately fell to eventual champion Scarborough, they were the only team to score a goal against the Red Storm all season. With a lot of talent returning, perhaps this is the year that Cheverus is able to get past the likes of nemeses Gorham and Scarborough. Offensively, Lyons (a second-team all-star a year ago, who’s recovering from ACL surgery), Maker and Rawcliffe (an honorable mention all-star in 2010) will be tough to contain. Defense should be a strength. Not only are captains Morrison and Thomas (another second-team league all-star, as well as a regional all-star last season) on that side of the ball, but they’ll get assistance from Jamie Dulac and Kelsey Dulac, along with Kane (the sweeper). Freshmen Nicole Pineau and Hannah Robbins will also be heard from. Mayberry projects to be the top goalie. The Stags’ defense will keep them in every game. If they can produce goals consistently, they’ll be able to beat any foe. Don’t be surprised if Cheverus plays multiple postseason contests.

FIELD HOCKEY

COACH: Amy McMullin (fourth year)

2010 Record: 13-5 (Lost 3-0 to Skowhegan in Class A Final)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Sarah LaQuerre (Senior), Ali Saxton (Senior), Brooke Flaherty (Junior), Emily Rodrigue (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Aug. 31 @ Thornton Academy, Sept. 22 @ Scarborough, Sept. 26 @ SOUTH PORTLAND, Sept. 28 (H) GORHAM, Oct. 12 (H) SANFORD

COACH’S COMMENT: “I’m excited to see how the league will be this year. We have a strong core of girls returning who got a taste of last year’s success, so as long as we can jell together as a unit, we should be fine. We have been pushing and pushing the girls and they are really giving everything they have. They are ready and willing to do anything we ask of them and there is no better feeling as a coach. We will need people to step up scoring-wise and are looking for a strong presence in the cage..This team is passionate from top to bottom and we can’t wait to get started.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Cheverus’ 2010 season was the stuff that TV shows are made of and lo and behold, the Stags really were the subject of “Varsity,” a half-hour weekly look inside the team. In the end, no one could have scripted just how magical Cheverus’ campaign proved to be. The Stags showed glimpses of greatness in the regular season, but stumbled on four occasions. Then, everything came together in the playoffs, highlighted by an upset win at Scarborough in the semifinals (avenging a regional final loss from 2009 and a one-sided setback from earlier in the 2010 regular season) and the Emily Sawchuck Show in the regional final win over Bonny Eagle. While Cheverus’ magic carpet ride was finally grounded in the snow against perennial champion Skowhegan in the state game, this program has arrived as a legitimate, consistent contender. Seven seniors (including Fall Athlete of the Year Sawchuck) graduated and up-and-comer Gabi Cardona transferred to Portland, but the Stags once again have the pieces in place for a memorable ride. LaQuerre (a first-team league all-star in 2010) will be viewed as one of the state’s best players by the end of the season. She’ll get offensive support from Flaherty, Rodrigue, Saxton and new sophomore forward Alex Logan. Junior Laura Peabody-Harrington anchors the defense. Sophomore Libby DesRuisseaux will step into the cage. While Cheverus appears to be all set on offense, it might take a little while for the defense to get up to speed. Ultimately, the Stags’ talent and heart will carry them a long way again. While another trip to the state final might be a stretch, look for Cheverus to once again be one of the top teams in the region and likely the one having the most fun, even if there aren’t cameras following its every move this time around.

CROSS COUNTRY

COACH:

(BOYS) Kristin Barry and Sheri Piers (second year)

(GIRLS) Valerie Guillet (eighth year)

2010 Results:

(BOYS) 9th @ Class A state meet

(GIRLS) Repeated as Class A state champion

TOP RETURNING RUNNERS:

(BOYS) Lukas Temple (Senior), David Woodbury (Senior), Adam Zieba (Senior), Chandler Dundas (Junior), Brady Foshay (Junior)

(GIRLS) Emily Durgin (Senior), Fiona Hendry (Senior), Maddie Woods (Senior), Lizzie Gwilym (Junior), Shannon Conley (Sophomore), Kiera Murray (Sophomore), Greta Niedermeyer (Sophomore), Rachel Simonds (Sophomore)

TOP FOES: Massabesic, Scarborough boys; Scarborough girls

COACH BARRY’S COMMENT: “Heavy graduation losses eroded our depth, but our top five returnees have been working hard all summer and will continue to progress as the season goes on. Even given the loss of four of our top seven from last year, the team aims to qualify for the state meet and have a decent showing there.”

COACH GUILLET’S COMMENT: “Our top seven are all returning, have run well throughout the summer and are looking healthy. They are joined by four freshmen and two juniors of whom I don’t know much yet other than the fact that they seem to be very coachable and willing to make a difference and be a part of this team. It will be an exciting season and I really look forward to developing this team.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Cheverus’ cross country teams are once again primed to excel.

The boys lost standout Jack Terwilliger to graduation, but return Temple (37th at last year’s state meet), Dundas (54th), Woodbury (56th) and Foshay (79th). Zieba and new senior Lars Murphy provide depth. While these Stags won’t have a lead runner like Terwilliger, the pack appears strong and Cheverus figures to be competitive throughout the regular season and will be among the very best at the postseason meets.

On the girls’ side, a run at a third consecutive championship is a realistic goal. All five state meet scorers return, led by Durgin, who was the individual runner-up in Class A a year ago. Hendry (third), Conley (fourth), Murray (14th) and Woods (22nd) look to duplicate or exceed last year’s results. Conley, Durgin, Hendry and Murray were all first-team league all-stars in 2010. Gwilym, Niedermeyer and Simonds would all be top runners on other teams and provide depth for this group. Then, there’s newcomers Hayley Doss and Georgia Caso, giving the Stags an embarrassment of riches. Good luck to the rest of the region and state in keeping up with this group. If Cheverus stays healthy and hungry, another championship coronation could be in store.

GOLF

COACH: James Ouellette (eighth year)

2010 Results: 5-5 (4th @ Class A state match)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Mike Haas-Zanghi (Senior), Andrew Cloutier (Junior)

TOP FOES: Deering, Falmouth, Scarborough

COACH’S COMMENT: “We have good numbers this year. This is one of the first years where I don’t have a No. 1 guy. I hope everyone will be solid. I really think this team is solid 1 through 6. I think we can have a decent year and get back to states. We hope to do it.”

FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Cheverus has been a steady state match participant in recent years and hopes to make it to Natanis again. The Stags return two players who scored at states a year ago, Haas-Zanghi, who shot an 84, and Cloutier, who shot 85 at the team state meet and 87 at the individual championships. Freshman Chris Billings shows promise. While the departed Kyle Bourassa will be missed, this edition’s balance will serve it well. Cheverus is in a very difficult schedule pod, which means its regular season record might not reflect how good it is. That demonstration will come in the qualifier and if all goes well, at states, where the Stags could prove to be one of the finest teams in Class A yet again.

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

Senior Spencer Cooke left Bangor in his wake in last year’s state final, rushing for 239 yards and four TDs. He’ll pace the Cheverus offense in 2011.

Senior Louie DiStasio can punish the opposition in multiple ways. He’s fast, has tremendous hands and is one of the state’s premier placekickers.

Junior Ryan Casale made his presence felt on defense a year ago and will help anchor that unit this fall.

Senior Nick Melville projects to be one of the league’s top players.

Senior Elliot Maker will be one of the SMAA”s top scorers in 2011.

Senior Sarah LaQuerre hopes to lead Cheverus’ field hockey team to more postseason glory.

Senior Lukas Temple fronts a strong pack for the Cheverus boys’ cross country team.

Emily Durgin hopes to lead Cheverus’ girls’ cross country team to another state title.

Sophomore Shannon Conley represents a solid present and future for the girls’ cross country program.

Sidebar Elements


2011 schedules

FOOTBALL

Sat., Sept. 3 H SP

Fri., Sept. 9 @ Gorham

Fri., Sept. 16 @ Bonny Eagle

Sat., Sept.24 H SANFORD

Sat., Oct. 1 H SCARBOROUGH

Sat., Oct. 8 H BIDDEFORD

Fri., Oct. 14 @ Portland

Fri., Oct. 21 @ Deering

BOYS’ SOCCER

Sat., Sept. 3 @ Sanford

Tues., Sept. 6 @ Biddeford

Thurs., Sept. 8 H BONNY EAGLE

Tues., Sept. 13 @ Noble

Thurs., Sept. 15 H SCARBOROUGH

Tues., Sept. 20 @ Windham

Fri., Sept. 23 H KENNEBUNK

Tues., Sept. 27 @ Portland

Thurs., Sept. 29 H WESTBROOK

Tues., Oct. 4 H TA

Thurs., Oct. 6 H SP

Tues., Oct. 11 @ Massabesic

Thurs., Oct. 13 @ Deering

Tues., Oct. 18 H GORHAM

GIRLS’ SOCCER

Fri., Sept. 2 H MCAULEY

Wed., Sept. 7 H BIDDEFORD

Sat., Sept. 10 @ Bonny Eagle

Wed., Sept. 14 H NOBLE

Sat., Sept. 17 @ Scarborough

Tues., Sept. 20 H WINDHAM

Thurs., Sept. 22 H KENNEBUNK

Sat., Sept. 24 @ Sanford

Wed., Sept. 28 H PORTLAND

Fri., Sept. 30 @ Westbrook

Wed., Oct. 5 @ TA

Wed., Oct. 12 H MASSABESIC

Fri., Oct. 14 @ Deering

Tues., Oct. 18 @ Gorham

FIELD HOCKEY

Wed., Aug. 31 @ TA

Tues., Sept. 6 @ Deering

Thurs., Sept. 8 H WINDHAM

Sat., Sept. 10 @ Biddeford

Mon., Sept. 12 @ Bonny Eagle

Wed., Sept. 14 H MASSABESIC

Fri., Sept. 16 H PORTLAND

Tues., Sept. 20 H MARSHWOOD

Thurs., Sept. 22 @ Scarborough

Mon., Sept. 26 @ SP

Wed., Sept. 28 H GORHAM

Tues., Oct. 4 @ Kennebunk

Thurs., Oct. 6 H MCAULEY

Wed., Oct. 12 H SANFORD

BOYS’ CROSS COUNTRY

Fri., Sept. 9 H GORHAM, SANFORD

Fri., Sept. 16 @ Noble (Biddeford, Westbrook)

Fri., Sept. 23 @ Massabesic (BE, Kbunk)

Wed., Sept. 28 @ Windham (Marshwood)

Sat., Oct. 1 @ Belfast Invitational

Fri., Oct. 7 H SCARBOROUGH, TA

Fri., Oct. 14 @

Sat., Oct. 22 Western A Regionals

Sat., Oct. 29 Class A States

GIRLS’ CROSS COUNTRY

Fri., Sept. 9 H GORHAM, SANFORD

Fri., Sept. 16 @ Noble (Biddeford, Westbrook)

Fri., Sept. 23 @ Massabesic (BE, Kbunk)

Wed., Sept. 28 @ Windham (Marshwood)

Sat., Oct. 1 @ Belfast Invitational

Fri., Oct. 7 H SCARBOROUGH, TA

Fri., Oct. 14 @

Sat., Oct. 22 Western A Regionals

Sat., Oct. 29 Class A States

GOLF

Thurs., Sept. 1 H DEERING

Tues., Sept. 6 H SP

Thurs., Sept. 8 @ Falmouth

Mon., Sept. 12 @ Scarborough

Wed., Sept. 14 H PORTLAND

Mon., Sept. 19 @ Deering

Wed., Sept. 21 @ SP

Fri., Sept. 23 H FALMOUTH

Tues., Sept. 27 H SCARBOROUGH

Thurs., Sept. 29 @ Portland

Cheverus’ football team was all smiles after winning the 2010 Class A championship. A new group of Stags is seeking an encore 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.