Coach: John Wolfgram (10th year, 70-22 overall record, two state championships)
2014 record: 8-2 (Lost, 21-20, to Windham in Eastern A Final)
Top returning players: Dan Baker (Senior), Frank Curran (Senior), Kenny Drelich (Senior), Drek Dumond (Senior), Isaac Dunn (Senior), Justin Johnson (Senior), Rylan Benedict (Junior), Jack Casale (Junior), Bobby Slattery (Junior)
Pivotal games: Sept. 12 @ TA, Oct. 2 @ Portland, Oct. 9 @ Bangor, Oct. 16 SCARBOROUGH, Oct. 23 @ Windham
Coach’s comment: “We don’t have a lot of experience or numbers, but we have high character kids. We’ll be competitive. We’re more balanced this year. We don’t have someone like Joe Fitzpatrick, but we’ll have some versatility. I think we’ll be competitive, we just have to stay healthy. The guys are aware of the expectations. We’ve got a good tradition.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: The Stags have indeed established a dominant, winning tradition over the past half dozen years (averaging 10 victories per season). Each of the past two years, however, has ended with improbable stunning losses as late leads slipped away, resulting in agony. Cheverus will try again to capture the state title which has eluded it in progressively painful fashion each of the past three autumns. While the squad will certainly miss graduated standout running back Joe Fitzpatrick, the school’s 2014 Fall Male Athlete of the Year and the reigning Eastern Class A and Maine Gatorade Player of the Year, this year’s team has some impressive pieces in place and can’t be overlooked.
No one player will be able to replace Fitzpatrick’s 2,071 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns, but Wolfgram hopes that by committee, the Stags’ offense will remain potent. Baker, Benedict and Johnston (490 yards, 7 TDs in 2014) will see a lot of carries in the weeks to come. Dunn returns under center. He completed 23 of 45 passes for 388 yards and six TDs a year ago. Casale projects to see some time at quarterback as well. They’ll look to connect through the air to with Drelich (who was an Eastern Class A All-Conference selection after catching nine balls for 189 yards and a pair of TDs in 2014) and possibly some of the backs on short passes (don’t expect Cheverus to light it up through the air this year or any year). The line, Wolfgram’s pride and joy and the backbone of the program’s success, is anchored by returning conference all-star Curran and Dumond. Casale replaces Patrick Mourmouras as placekicker. Look for longer, more time-consuming drives from this group, which should once again put up its share of points (although matching last year’s nearly 37-points per contest will be a stretch).
Cheverus held its opponents to seven points or fewer in six of 10 contests in 2014 and even though last year’s Eastern A Lineman of the Year, Zordan Holman, has departed, the defense should once again cause a lot of frustration and discomfort. Up front, Curran and Dumond will be tough to move. Johnston is a top linebacker. He had three sacks and a fumble recovery last fall. The secondary is loaded behind the likes of Baker, Casale, Drelich (who had two interceptions last season), Dunn and Slattery.
It all adds up to what should once again be among the best teams around. The Stags’ region (now Northern Class A) has gotten tougher, however, so there won’t be many easy games. Windham is viewed by many to be the favorite, Bangor has the pieces in place to be great, Portland will once again be formidable and Wolfgram feels teams like Edward Little and Oxford Hills will be improved. Then, of course, the crossover games are against defending state champion Thornton Academy and Scarborough, which might be the second best team in Southern A. If Cheverus can remain consistent, it will be right there in November. After three straight gutwrenching playoff ousters, this could be the year that the Stags return to the pinnacle and give their legendary coach one more shiny trophy.
Coach: Colin Minte (second year)
2014 record: 11-4-4 (Beat Lewiston, 2-1, to win Class A state title)
Top returning players: Jonathan Bernier (Senior), Mackenzie Hoglund (Senior), Brady Levesque (Senior), John Nappi (Senior), Jake Tomkinson (Senior), Andrei Vile (Senior)
Pivotal games: Sept. 4 @ Portland, Sept. 24 TA, Sept. 29 @ Scarborough, Oct. 6 @ Gorham, Oct. 8 SOUTH PORTLAND, Oct. 15 DEERING
Coach’s comment: “We have nine of 11 guys back and a big freshman class. We have the pieces in place. We’ll be right in the thick of things like last year, but there are a lot of good teams. I’d be surprised if anyone goes undefeated in the league. There won’t be any easy games with everyone gunning for us. Last year’s experience will help us. We played in some challenging environments. That gave the guys confidence. They want to get back to that point. We should be a top four team in the SMAA.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: Every once in awhile, a team is kissed by stardust and goes on a magical, historic run and never was that more evident that last October and November when the Stags made a stirring and thoroughly unexpected surge to the championship. Cheverus won five playoff games, by a total of five goals, to capture its second state title and the best news of all is that almost all of the key contributors return to take a shot at a repeat championship.
The offense figures to be well stocked behind Hoglund, last year’s leading scorer and an SMAA first-team and All-State selection. Levesque can also score and Vile (another SMAA first-teamer in 2014) came up with some huge goals last postseason. Sophomore Luc Dionne, a transfer from Greely, will also be heard from. Defensively, Bernier and Nappi have experience and Tomkinson, who stood on his head at times last fall, returns as the last line of defense in goal. That stingy unit only allowed 21 goals in 19 games last season and pitched six shutouts.
Cheverus hasn’t missed the playoffs since 1993 and that trend will continue. It’s not about making the playoffs, however, it’s about how far this particular team can go. While last year’s team proved seeding means little, Cheverus would like to have a home playoff game or two. This squad has the pieces in place to improve on last year’s record and make late October and early November a magic carpet ride once again.
Coach: Craig Roberts (third year, 9-17-4 overall record)
2014 record: 5-8-2 (Lost, 1-0, to Falmouth in Western A preliminary round)
Top returning players: Ally Smith (Senior), Willa Tarasevich (Senior), Hannah Tyson (Senior), Katie Gordon (Junior), Mackenzie Johnston (Sophomore), Michaela Jordan (Sophomore)
Pivotal games: Sept. 4 PORTLAND, Sept. 23 @ Windham, Sept. 25 @ TA, Sept. 30 SCARBOROUGH, Oct. 7 GORHAM, Oct. 15 @ Deering, Oct. 20 MCAULEY
Coach’s comment: “With the graduation of seven seniors, this year’s group is young, but really focused on team building. We hope that translates into an improvement in our ability to compete with other teams, a gain in wins and will allow us to land a playoff berth.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus has made the playoffs in 12 of its 13 varsity seasons and overcame a 2-5-2 start a year ago to become a factor by the time the postseason rolled around. This year’s team has a lot of untapped youth, but the upside is high.
The Stags have to replace reigning Fall Female Athlete of the Year and second-team all-star Abby Goodrich, but Roberts expects that Gordon will increase upon her four goals and four assists from a year ago. Johnston and Jordan will be heard from on offense and junior Kaylin Malmquist could also factor in. Defensively, the Stags could be very strong as they return Smith and Tarasevich and add sophomore Abby Cavallaro (a transfer from South Portland) and freshman Meg Kelley. Tyson (who had three shutouts in 2014) returns in goal and gives the team a solid answer if the defense breaks down.
There are a lot of very good teams in the Southwestern Maine Activities Association, but Cheverus should be able to contend with just about everybody. If the squad can improve upon last year’s offensive output (22 goals in 15 games), the win total will increase, the Stags will get a better seed and they will be in position to enjoy a longer playoff stay. Don’t be surprised if this is one of the dark horse squads that no one wants to face come late October.
Coach: Amy Ashley (eighth year, 83-30-3 overall record)
2014 record: 7-8-2 (lost, 5-1, to Marshwood in Western A semifinals)
Top returning players: Becca Archer (Senior), Caroline Baker (Senior), Elise Bourassa (Senior), Abby Ford (Senior), Kate Libby (Senior), Emily Michaud (Senior), Colleen Slattery (Senior), Carrie Hight (Junior), Charlotte Noyes (Junior), Hannah Abbott (Sophomore)
Pivotal games: Sept. 10 @ TA, Sept. 16 @ Scarborough, Sept. 22 @ Portland, Sept. 24 MARSHWOOD, Sept. 30 DEERING, Oct. 2 @ Gorham
Coach’s comment: “We have a lot of returning players, so we are excited to build on last year. We have a solid group of seniors who will lead our team both offensively and defensively, most who have started for us since they were sophomores. We lost most of our defensive unit due to graduation, so we’re working hard this preseason to fill those spots. We have two new goalies who will be competing for the starting spot, so right now we still have a lot of unknowns. The girls came into preseason in the best shape that we have seen in awhile, so we are very excited about the effort they put in this summer. We will look to some younger players to step up and become impact players right away. We have a lot to work on, but we see lots of potential in this group. We will have our ups and downs, but we hope to be playing our best field hockey at the end of the season and to make another playoff run.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: The Stags flipped the switch in a big way last October, rendering a nine-game regular season-ending winless streak meaningless by coming alive in the playoffs and winning at Portland and Gorham to make an improbable run to the semifinals, their fifth venture to at least that round over the past seven years. This time around, Cheverus looks to be consistent all the way through and make a run at even more playoff glory.
Archer and Michaud, who have scored plenty of big goals in their careers, pace the offense (Michaud was a first-team league all-star in 2014). Abbott had a strong freshman campaign and will rattle the cage, as should veterans Baker and Ford (a second-team league all-star last fall) and freshmen Isabella Booth and Sophia Pompeo. Noyes and Slattery are top midfielders. Hight will play defense and midfield and will be a presence all over the field. Bourassa and Libby bring experience to the defensive end. They’re joined by sophomore Anna Smith. In goal, the Stags have to replace Casey Simpson and will do so with a pair of new sophomores, Kat Kane and Deirdre Sanborn.
A 10th straight playoff berth is imminent, but just getting to the postseason isn’t the goal, it’s winning some games once the Stags get there. Ashley (last seen guiding Yarmouth’s softball team to a first-ever state title in June) always gets her team to improve dramatically from start to finish. She’s due to have her first child in early November and is hoping to coach almost up to her due date. If this team steals some more headlines in October, she’ll get to do just that.
Coach: Amanda Ruel (first year)
2014 results: 2-12 (no postseason)
Top returning players: Allie Scott (Senior), Elizabeth Jerome (Junior), Alexis Parsons (Junior)
Pivotal matches: Sept. 4 WINDHAM, Sept. 8 @ South Portland, Sept. 15 YARMOUTH, Sept. 18 @ Greely, Sept. 25 DEERING, Oct. 3 @ Deering, Oct. 13 @ Portland, Oct. 15 South Portland, Oct. 17 @ Windham
Coach’s comment: “With only two returning varsity players, the team will be young, but they’re dedicated. We have six girls who played Maine Juniors in the offseason, so we’re in good shape. My goal is to build a strong varsity team and work on fundamentals with the JV team. I’m excited and so are the girls about the season.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus enters its fourth varsity season with a new coach in Ruel, who played at St. Joseph’s College and has coached with the Maine Juniors program, as well as serving as a Stags’ assistant. She inherits a team that looks to be competitive against several newer programs.
This fall, the Stags return three experienced hitters in Jerome, Parsons and Scott. They’re bolstered by the addition of four promising freshman: setter Maddy Broda, libero Madison Geiger, setter Emma Ivy and libero Zoe Watts.
Look for this group to steadily improve and to exceed last year’s win total. A playoff berth might be a stretch, but Cheverus will give its all to play an extra match or two. The program’s future is very bright.
Coach: Kristin Barry (sixth year with boys’ team; third year with girls’ team)
(Boys) 13th @ Class A state meet
(Girls) 10th @ Class A state meet
Top returning runners:
(Boys) Luke Guibord (Senior), Josh Veroneau (Senior), John Cox (Junior), Steven Larkin (Junior), Logan McCarthy (Junior), Scout Tucker (Junior), Ben Adams (Sophomore), Will Shibles (Sophomore), Michael Young (Sophomore)
(Girls) Ashley Turner (Sophomore)
Top foes: Gorham, Scarborough boys; Massabesic, Scarborough, Westbrook girls
Coach’s comment: “The boys’ team returns only three of last year’s top seven. We lost a couple of key returnees to other sports and school transfer. Even so, the top four is solid with Josh, Steven, Scout and Luke. We will look to Logan and freshman Michael Manetti to step up and fill that very important fifth spot. Depth will be a problem, but if the team can stay healthy and improve throughout the season, we should be able to achieve our number one goal and qualify for the state meet.
“The girls’ team was small last year and after graduating three and losing two to school transfer, this most definitely will be a rebuilding year. Right now it does not look like we will field a scoring team of five, so we will focus on the individual development of Ashley Turner and Rosie Train. Both are dedicated, talented runners who will work hard to try to qualify for the state meet as individuals.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: Both Cheverus cross country teams are seeking to make noise again this fall, both in the regular season and at the state meet.
The boys return state meet scorers in Veroneau (29th a year ago) and Tucker (50th). Larkin ran at states, but didn’t score. They’re joined by Adams, Cox, Guibord, McCarthy, Shibles and Young, who all return. Manetti shows promise and freshman Ryan Breece adds depth. Cheverus has some holes to fill, but should have enough talent to reach the state meet for the 45th time 46 seasons.
On the girls’ side, no state meet scorers return. This season, Turner and freshman Rosie Train will do their best as individuals. While the Stags’ run of 13 straight trips to states will likely end, expect that to be an aberration and hopefully numbers will increase going forward.
Coach: Jason Swint (second year)
2014 results: 5-5 (no postseason)
Top returners: Matt Dilios (Senior), Jake Harris (Senior), Alex Jacobs (Senior), Kyle Cholod (Junior)
Top foes: Falmouth, Scarborough
Coach’s comment: “After falling short of qualifying as a team for the state championship tournament by a third tiebreaker, this year’s team has the heart, determination and ability to have a winning record in league matches and hopes to advance to states.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus is hoping to return to the top of arguably the state’s most challenging division and get back to the state match, but it won’t be easy.
State match qualifier Chris Billings has departed and will be missed, but Harris (who had a nine hole stroke average of 42.1 last fall), Dilios (42.7), Jacobs (42.8) and Cholod (43.1) all show promise. Sophomore Conner MacDonald and freshmen Jeremy Baker and Thomas Higgins add depth and look to be among the top five for the league qualifier.
Speaking of which, this time around, Cheverus, regardless of what its regular season record winds up being against such a stacked division, has the pieces in place to get over the hump. If the Stags can get to states, don’t be surprised if they make some noise there too.
Senior Dan Baker will see his share of the pigskin this season.
Junior Rylan Benedict looks to play a bigger role this autumn.
Senior Frankie Curran is an anchor on the line for the Stags.
Senior Kenny Drelich has the penchant for the big play.
Senior Isaac Dunn will see a lot of time under center in the weeks to come.
Senior Justin Johnston is a key runner for the Stags.
Senior captain Mackenzie Hoglund is one of the state’s elite players and will make life miserable for the opposition in the weeks to come.
Senior John Nappi hopes to bow out with another championship.
Jake Tomkinson’s heroics in goal were a key to last season’s championship.
Senior Andrei Vile scored some big goals during Cheverus’ title run last autumn.
Junior Katie Gordon will be a top scoring threat for the Stags.
Sophomore Michaela Jordan will be a force in the midfield.
Senior Ally Smith helps anchor the defense this season.
Senior Hannah Tyson is back in goal for the Stags this fall.
Hannah Abbott had a strong freshman season and should be a top scoring threat for this year’s team.
Becca Archer has scored her share of big goals. As a senior, she looks to go out with a bang.
Abby Ford is a veteran leader for this year’s team.
Junior Carrie Hight will be a force to be reckoned with in the weeks to come.
Senior Emily Michaud will be one of the top players in the SMAA this season.
Junior Charlotte Noyes looks to play a bigger role this season.
Senior Colleen Slattery is another key returner for the Stags.
Cheverus was the king of the Class A boys’ soccer world a year ago. The Stags have the pieces in place to repeat in 2015.