Cheverus Stags Fall Sports Preview

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Lucia Pompeo had a terrific freshman season for Cheverus’ field hockey team in 2017. As a sophomore, Pompeo hopes to lead the Stags back to the playoffs this fall.

File photos.

More photos below.

FOOTBALL

Coach: Mike Vance (third year, 8-11 overall record)

2017 record: 3-6 (Lost, 12-6, to Windham in Class A North quarterfinal) 

Top returning players: Colt Dumond (Senior), Teigan Lindstedt (Senior), Vic Morrone (Senior), Akera Oryem (Senior), Sean Sullivan (Junior), Sean Tompkins (Junior)

Pivotal games: Sept. 1 MASSABESIC, Sept. 7 @ Portland, Sept. 15 LEWISTON, Sept. 21 @ Deering, Sept. 29 OXFORD HILLS, Oct. 13 WINDHAM

Coach’s comment: “We have some experience, especially on defense. We have some good pieces, but we need to grow the inexperienced guys. I don’t think there’s a bully in the league this year. There’s a lot of opportunity, but not a lot of room for error. We have a lot of potential, but we don’t have depth. If we can mature and build chemistry, we should be able to compete with everyone on our schedule.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus finished under .500 last year for the first time in a decade, but the Stags are poised to return to form this fall and could make a run at a regional title if all goes well.

Junior Marc Reali will play quarterback this season. He’ll hand off to Lindstedt (a captain) and junior Ian Trafford. Tompkins, a conference all-star in 2017, will be a top receiver. Oryem and Morrone (a captain) are also threats down the field. Dumond can do a variety of things on offense. The line is led by Sullivan. Senior Cam Harris will do the place-kicking.

On defense, a unit that again will be coached by the legendary John Wolfgram, Morrone, Sullivan and Trafford anchor the line. The linebacker corps is led by Lindstedt. Secondary play figures to be a strength, as Oryem and Tompkins return.

Cheverus is flying under the radar a bit as the season commences, but the Stags are happy to come of age without a lot of attention. Cheverus will get a good idea of how good it is when it goes to Portland in the second game. Class A North has some dangerous teams, but if the Stags put it all together when it matters most, they might just play well into November.

BOYS’ SOCCER

Coach: Matt Andreasen (third year, 13-16-1 overall record)

2017 record: 9-6-1 (Lost, 3-2, to Gorham in Class A South quarterfinal)

Top returning players: Owen Burke (Senior), Nolan Doherty (Senior), Tommy Gordon (Senior), Tanner LaFlamme (Senior), Jack Mullen (Senior), Michael Nason (Senior), James Shimansky (Senior), Harrison Bell (Junior)

Pivotal games: Sept. 4 FALMOUTH, Sept. 13 PORTLAND, Sept. 27 DEERING, Oct. 2 @ South Portland, Oct. 4 SCARBOROUGH, Oct. 11 GORHAM

Coach’s comment: “We made a sizable jump a year ago, more than doubling our win total from 2016, and we hope to continue building and take another step forward this fall. We return eight starters, all of whom started as sophomores or freshmen. This group is experienced, focused and determined to have a good season. Our goals are stay healthy, play with a selfless mentality and continue to grow throughout the season. If we can check all those boxes, we feel we’ll be a tough draw in October.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus returned to form a year ago, reaching the playoffs and giving Gorham a scare in the quarterfinals. The 2018 Stags will be in the thick of things during the regular season and in the playoffs.

Nason was a second-team SMAA all-star last autumn and will pace the offense, along with Burke, Doherty, Mullen and Shimansky. New junior Jacob Sargent and sophomore Nate Smith will also be in the scoring mix. Gordon and LaFlamme (another second-team all-star a year ago) anchor the defense. Bell is a veteran goalie, one of the best in the league.

Cheverus has few easy games on its slate and with several championship-caliber teams standing in its way, will stumble from time to time, but look for this group to put together another successful campaign, win some key games and be a force to be reckoned with in late October.

GIRLS’ SOCCER

Coach: Craig Roberts (sixth year, 38-32-7 overall record)

2017 record: 14-3 (Lost, 1-0, to Scarborough in Class A South semifinal)

Top returning players: Tholia Hallett (Senior), Zoe Mazur (Senior), Sam Belaire (Junior), Emma Gallant (Junior), Lauren Jordan (Junior), Julia Ryan (Junior), Neve Cawley (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Sept. 1 KENNEBUNK, Sept. 5 @ Portland, Sept. 14 @ Falmouth, Sept. 28 @ Deering, Oct. 5 SCARBOROUGH

Coach’s comment: “We have 13 returning players, new leaders, girls adjusting to their roles and players who will be seeing their first significant varsity minutes. There may be some growing pains early in the season in a tough league, however, this is an extremely tightly-knit group of girls and if we stick together and try to get better each day, hopefully we can build ourselves into a formidable playoff team.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus set a program record a year ago with 14 victories and took eventual regional champion Scarborough to the wire in the semifinals before bowing out. This year’s team has some holes to fill, but also has quite an upside.

The offense will be paced once again by Gallant, who scored 20 goals (and added three assists) during an all-state campaign a year ago. Gallant, a captain, not only has unmatched speed, but also boasts a deft finishing touch. Hallett, a captain, and Mazur anchor the midfield. They’ll be aided by new arrivals Mia Kratzer, a sophomore, and freshman Julia Kratzer. While graduated standout Michaela Jordan will be missed, the Stags promise to remain strong on defense as Lauren Jordan (who can also put the ball in the net to the tune of 10 goals and five assists a year ago) Belaire and Ryan return. Freshman Hayley Jordan provides depth on the back line. Cawley returns in goal. She surrendered just over a half-goal per contest in 2017.

While Scarborough and traditional powers Gorham and Windham remain the favorites in the region, Cheverus gets a break with its schedule, as it only sees the Red Storm in the regular season. The Stags will score goals over the course of the regular season, but will need to be able to do so consistently in the crucible of October against top defenses. If that happens, this team could advance even deeper than last year’s squad.

FIELD HOCKEY

Coach: Sally Cloutier (third year, 22-9 overall record)

2017 record: 11-4 (Lost, 1-0, to Westbrook in Class A South quarterfinal)

Top returning players: Bella Booth (Senior), Paige DeGeorge (Senior), Sophia Pompeo (Senior), Madison Durgin (Sophomore), Lucia Pompeo (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Sept. 8 @ Massabesic, Sept. 11 BIDDEFORD, Sept. 17 @ Falmouth, Sept. 27 @ Westbrook, Oct. 3 @ Scarborough

Coach’s comment: “We have a very young team. Only five seniors and 11 freshmen, but we have talent. It will be a bit of a building year for us, but we hope to contend. We have really good chemistry. We’ll work to put it together.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus made the playoffs for the 12th consecutive season a year ago, but didn’t advance as deeply as it hoped. While Hannah Abbott has departed for the University of Maine and defensive standout Anna Smith and goalie Kat Kane have also graduated, the Stags still have some of the best players in the region, suggesting they’ll be right near the top of the standings again.

Sophia Pompeo was an all-state selection in 2017. She’s dazzled with her stick-handling skills and finishing ability and this season could be her best yet. While Pompeo will be the star in the midfield, the forward line features her sister, Lucia Pompeo, who was Cheverus’ Rookie of the Year last fall, and Booth, a second-team all-star who scored many big goals last season. Freshman Norah Slattery, the latest member of her family to come through the program, will be heard from on offense as well. Defensively, DeGeorge and Durgin will hold the fort in front of junior Hannah Woodford, who replaces Kane in goal.

In a year devoid of a clear Class A South favorite, Cheverus can learn a few regular season lessons and still be very much in the title hunt when October rolls around. Don’t overlook the Stags. With the talent on this roster, anything is possible.

VOLLEYBALL

Coach: Andy Wimmer (first year)

2017 record: 2-12 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Madison Geiger (Senior), Mary Jerome (Senior), Emma White (Senior)

Pivotal matches: Sept. 4 BIDDEFORD, Sept. 11 SCARBOROUGH, Sept. 18 @ South Portland, Sept. 25 DEERING, Sept. 27 YARMOUTH, Oct. 16 PORTLAND

Coach’s comment: “Everything is new, but we’re looking good so far. I think we have a solid group. We have all the tools. It will depend on how we put things together. We’re looking to improve on last year. We’re thinking about playing deep into October.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus, which had the best season in program history in 2016, took a step back last year, but there is optimism that the Stags could be in for a quantum leap this fall. Cheverus welcomes a new coach in Wimmer, who has coached previously at Thornton Academy and with the Maine Juniors program and is an avid beach volleyball player. He inherits a squad with a lot of promise.

Geiger was a league all-star in 2017. She’ll be a captain this fall and will be a force at the outside hitter position. Jerome, another captain, is another hitter watch. White, the state champion jumper, will use her athleticism to be a top blocker. Sophomore Liza Rogers, a transfer from Falmouth, is another hitter to watch. Junior Maddie Williams will be the setter this season. Sophomore Jenna Booth is the libero.

Wimmer is hopeful that the Stags won’t just improve on their win total from last year, but will get in to the playoffs and perhaps win a postseason match for the first time. If this squad has some early success and stays healthy, those goals are realistic.

CROSS COUNTRY

Coach: Addie Cullenberg (first year)

2017 results:
(Boys) DNQ for Class A state meet (13th @ regionals)
(Girls) 8th @ Class A state meet 

Top returning runners:
(Boys) Ryan Breece (Senior), Michael Luna (Junior), Jackson Wilson (Junior), Donald Mahoney (Sophomore)
(Girls) Hannah Galeucia (Senior), Rosie Train (Senior), Dani Niedermeyer (Junior), Sophie Schuele (Sophomore), Mackenzie Turner (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “With five of the girls’ top seven returning from last year, we’re thrilled to welcome several key additions to our team who are proving quite promising. Our goal is to have a tighter pack and staying healthy will be a key factor. The boys have six of the top seven returning, so we’re excited for what the season holds. We’re aiming to qualify for states as a team, as well as run many (personal bests).”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Both Cheverus cross country teams are primed to make some noise in the weeks to come. The Stags welcome Cullenberg as head coach this fall. Cullenberg was a standout runner at Mt. Blue High School and Bates College and served as a Stags assistant last year. She inherits a program that has a nice mixture of youth and experience.

The girls’ team is coming off its best state meet showing since 2012 and could move up even higher this year. Turner (29th at states in 2017) is the top returner. Galeucia (39th) and Train (44th) are also returning scorers. Niedermeyer and Schuele also have big meet experience. They’re joined by junior Maeve Swift, sophomore Miryam Keller, who ran last year, and a bevy of promising newcomers, senior Annesley Black, junior Erin Libby and freshmen Sophie Toothaker, Grace Turner and Leska Whitmarsh, to make up a very balanced and promising squad. Cheverus will have its hands full with the likes of Bonny Eagle, Deering, Falmouth and Gorham, but the Stags should be near the top of the league and good health permitting, will be at their best in late October when it matters most.

On the boys’ side, Mahoney, who qualified for states as an individual, but didn’t finish the race as a freshman in 2017, is the top returner. Breece and Wilson scored at the regional meet last season and Luna was right behind. Junior Max Hillgraf and sophomores Nathan Cook, Will Herman and Anthony Zerillo provide depth. Sophomore Connor Feeney and freshmen Ryan Flaherty and Andrew Griffiths are new to the team and look to make a quick impact. The Stags haven’t qualified for the state meet since 2014, but this year’s team has the pieces in place to do so and turn some heads when they get there.

GOLF

Coach: A.J. Simokaitis (third year)

2017 results: 7-3 (2nd @ Class A state match)

Top returners: Jeremy Baker (Senior), Tom Higgins (Senior)

Coach’s comment: “We look to be competitive again this year, especially at the state level. We lost two big pieces of our team, but Tom and Jeremy, along with the rest of the crew, have really stepped up and have begun to push each other. Everyone is on the same page and committed to improving their games so that we can be in the mix come October 6th.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus is a consistent state match qualifier and last season was business as usual for one of the state’s best programs. This fall, the Stags look to take the final step and win the title.

Baker and Higgins were both SMAA second-team all-stars in 2017 and they’ll be the nucleus of this squad. Higgins shot an 18-hole round of 75 and Baker a 79 at Natanis last October. If some other players can step up and play well consistently, Cheverus will be in good shape and will win the majority of its regular season matches and be a force to be reckoned with at the state level.

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

Senior Teigan Lindstedt and his Cheverus teammates plan to run over the opposition in the weeks to come.

Senior Vic Morrone will play a bigger role in Cheverus’ passing attack this fall.

Junior wide receiver Sean Tompkins has the ability to get open behind the defense.

Junior Harrison Bell has great instincts in goal for a Cheverus boys’ soccer team looking to build on last year’s success.

Senior Owen Burke is a top goal-scoring threat for the Stags.

Senior James Shimansky is another returning veteran for the Stags.

No goalie likes the prospect of facing junior Emma Gallant one-on-one. Gallant hopes to lead Cheverus’ girls’ soccer team on another deep playoff run this fall.

Senior Tholia Hallett is a poised leader for the Stags.

Junior Lauren Jordan has made life miserable for the opposition for the past two seasons.

Senior Bella Booth has great stick skills and the ability to score clutch goals. She’ll play a key role this year for Cheverus’ talented field hockey squad.

Sophia Pompeo has been a star since her freshman year and she hopes to lead Cheverus on a deep playoff run as a senior.

Donald Mahoney qualified for states last year as an individual as a freshman. Now as a sophomore, Mahoney hopes to help his boys’ cross country team make it to the state meet.

Sophomore Mackenzie Turner, left, and senior Hannah Galeucia return to pace Cheverus’ strong girls’ cross country team. Turner placed 29th and Galeucia was 39th at last year’s Class A state meet.

Senior Rosie Train is another top returner for the girls’ cross country squad. She was 44th at last year’s Class A state meet.

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