Cheverus Stags Spring Sports Preview

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The 2010-11 school year has been kind to the Cheverus athletic program. This spring, the Stags hope to end it in style. Baseball projects to be one of the best teams in the region. Softball was hit hard by graduation, but can’t be overlooked. Boys’ and girls’ lacrosse will vie for regional titles. Both track teams have many standout athletes and could be among the best in the state. Boys’ tennis will make another run at the top spot, while the girls’ squad looks to build on last year’s playoff appearance.

BASEBALL

Coach: Mac McKew (third year)

2010 Record: 9-8 (Lost 4-1 to Deering in Western Class A quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Jack Bushey (Senior), Nic Lops (Senior), Peter Potthoff (Senior), Joey Royer (Senior), Louie DiStasio (Junior), Harry Ridge (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 23 @ Scarborough, April 26 (H) THORNTON ACADEMY, May 3 @ Biddeford, May 5 @ South Portland, May 19 @ Portland, May 24 (H) DEERING, May 28 (H) SCARBOROUGH, May 31 @ Westbrook

Coach’s comment: “We have a veteran team that should contend in a very competitive league. Our pitching depth and defense up the middle are our strengths. How well we can improve offensively will determine our level of success.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus got off to a sizzling start a year ago, beating Deering in the opener en route to a 6-0 record, but the Stags lost eight of their final 11, including a playoff loss to Deering. This year, they aim to start and finish strong and make noise in the postseason. Cheverus has enough pitching and hitting to make life difficult for the rest of the league. Starting on the mound, the Stags have depth and talent. Ridge didn’t allow a run in eight innings a year ago. Bushey (3-1, 2.19 earned run average in 2010), DiStasio (3-3, 2.20 ERA, team-high 38 strikeouts) and co-captain Royer (1-2, 4.40 ERA, 21 Ks) will see the lion’s share of action. Freshman Mitchell Powers will also figure into the mix. Lops, a co-captain, is the man behind the plate. He was named the top defensive catcher in the league and was a member of the Southern Maine Activities Association’s All-Defensive team a year ago. He lends his bat to an attack that also features DiStasio (.364 average and 10 runs batted in during a second-team league all-star campaign in 2010), Royer (who hit .358 and drove in 10 runs a year ago) and Potthoff, who battled injury last season. Keep an eye on new third baseman Tyler Flaherty, a junior, and outfielder Spencer Cooke, another junior, last seen back in November running wild, leading the Cheverus football team to its first state championship in 25 years. The Stags are hoping to post a winning for the third year in a row, something they haven’t done since 1998-2000. They look for another hot start this spring, but this time, they feel they can sustain the momentum the whole way. While Deering and Westbrook are the favorites, Cheverus has every reason to believe it can be a top contender. If the team stays healthy and can score runs consistently, this could be a team that makes a serious run at the top.

SOFTBALL

Coach: Amy McMullin (third year)

2010 Record: 12-5 (Lost 5-2 to Thornton Academy in Western A quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Jasmyn Welch (Senior), Izzi Grasso (Sophomore), Staci Swallow (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 27 (H) KENNEBUNK, April 30 (H) MCAULEY, May 16 (H) THORNTON ACADEMY, May 18 @ Scarborough, May 20 (H) BIDDEFORD, May 25 (H) SOUTH PORTLAND

Coach’s comment: “We graduated a lot of talent last year, but we have a strong core who we’re going to look to lift this team. We’ve already improved tremendously in the preseason, so if we can continue to work on the girls’ confidence, then I think we’ll be just fine. The coaching staff is very excited about the way these girls are pushing themselves and wanting to succeed. If the younger players step up offensively, then we should have a great season.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus will have a dramatically different look in 2011, but anyone underestimating the Stags might come to regret it. While the loss of star pitcher and three-time Spring Female Athlete of the Year Theresa Hendrix is a big hole to fill, Grasso could be up to the task. She had a 2.45 earned run average and nine strikeouts in 11 innings last season. Freshman Brittany Bell will also see some time in the pitching circle. The offense (which will miss departed all-stars Audrey Grinnell, Keturah Smith and Anna Snook) will be paced by catcher Welch, who hit .500 in 2010, a season which saw her named an SMAA second-team all-star. Swallow (leftfield) and Bell will also look to produce with the bat. New sophomores Kelsy Dulac (centerfield) and Katie Roy (third base) should step in and make an immediate impact. Each of the past two seasons has seen a program-best 12 victories followed by a disappointing playoff loss. This season, many will overlook Cheverus, but as the season progresses, this squad could become very formidable. If the Stags manage to score enough runs, they could get back to the postseason for the fourth straight spring. If they make it that far, no one will want to play them with the season on the line.

BOYS’ LACROSSE

Coach: Deke Andrew (13th year)

2010 Record: 6-7 (Lost 9-6 to Messalonskee in Eastern Class A quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Stephen Ambrose (Senior), Evan Jendrasko (Senior), Mike Dedian (Junior), Tommy Sullivan (Junior), Colie Walsh (Junior), Warren Murray (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 20 @ South Portland, April 23 (H) SCARBOROUGH, April 27 @ Thornton Academy, April 30 (H) MESSALONSKEE, May 14 @ Yarmouth

Coach’s comment: “I have an influx of athletes from other sports like football and basketball this year. Finally. I think we’ll be a better team than last year. We’ll likely start as many as three freshmen. I think you’ll see unprecedented parity this year. I expect we’ll be a playoff team. It depends on the development of the first-year players.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus finished under .500 for the second straight season in 2010, but the Stags managed to extend their streak of playoff appearances to 11. This time around, they appear much better equipped for their schedule, which starts daunting, then turns manageable, and that could mean more triumph in the weeks to come. Andrew, the only coach this program has known, is excited about his combination of returning players and promising newcomers. This year’s team will ride the intensity and skill of Jendrasko, an SMAA second-team all-star last spring, who, as a fullback, helped Cheverus win the football title in November. He’ll look to get things going in the faceoff circle, control the midfield and do his share of goal scoring. Ambrose and Murray can also score, while junior Cam Olson (another player with an impressive multi-sport pedigree) could become a household name in no time. Defensively, the Stags project to be stingy behind Dedian, Sullivan (longstick middie) and Walsh. Sophomore Brent Green is a newcomer to the unit who will only make it stronger. Last year’s goalie, Sean Oddy, a league all-star, has graduated. He’s replaced by sophomore Colm Pusey. Cheverus has great athleticism, figures to be strong up and down the field and has kids who have won in other sports and are hungry to triumph in this one. Eastern Class A doesn’t feature a heavy favorite this year, meaning that if the Stags grow and come together as hoped, they’ll be in the mix throughout and could compete for a regional crown. Their upside is that good.

GIRLS’ LACROSSE

Coach: Jamie Chamberlain (sixth year)

2010 Record: 8-6 (Lost 12-9 to Mt. Ararat in Eastern Class A semifinals)

Top returning players: Paige Lucas (Senior), Meghan MacGillivray (Senior), Anna McDonough (Senior), Eliza Hellier (Junior), Sarah LaQuerre (Junior), Catie Walsh (Junior), Gabby Cardona (Sophomore), Laura Peabody-Harrington (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: May 2 @ Portland, May 12 @ Scarborough, May 14 (H) WAYNFLETE, May 19 @ Kennebunk, May 26 (H) GORHAM

Coach’s comment: “It’s going to be a fun team to watch. We have a lot of new faces. The majority of our offense graduated, so we’re young on attack. An encouraging sign I see with such a new group is good team chemistry. This is our most skilled and athletic team. We have a competitive schedule. The challenge will be how quickly everyone adjusts to the speed and competitiveness of the varsity level and their new teammates and new positions. We have a lot of three-sport athletes who know each other. We hope to be balanced on offense and peak at the right time.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus returned to the playoffs last spring after a year away and this year’s squad could be very dangerous by June. There are a lot of good athletes on the roster. It might take awhile for players to get used to new teammates and positions, but if they do, look out. The offense features several threats. Leading the way will be LaQuerre, who also handles draw controls. Several newcomers will seek to fill the net. Sophomore Annie Dilisio and freshmen Alex Logan (who will also see time in the draw circle), Michaela Weeks and Meredith Willard hope to step right in and do their share of scoring. Defensively, the Stags appear to be loaded in front of new junior goalie Ali Saxton. Cardona, Hellier, Lucas, MacGillivray, McDonough, Peabody-Harrington (a member of the SMAA All-Rookie team last spring) and Walsh (currently out with a broken wrist, but back soon) all have experience. They’re joined by freshmen Elyse Caiazzo and Emily Manter. Cheverus has a showdown against Waynflete, the most storied program in the state, and will also see top SMAA rivals Gorham, Kennebunk and defending Class A champion Scarborough. If this team can jell as hoped, it will be able to compete with anyone. Come playoff time, when the Stags are competing in Eastern Class A, they will be a very tough draw and could make a serious run at dethroning regional champion Mt. Ararat and competing with traditional power Brunswick.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Boys’ Coach: Steve Virgilio (first year)

Girls’ Coach: Valerie Guillet (11th year)

2010 Results:

(Boys) 2nd @ Class A state meet

(Girls) 6th @ Class A state meet

Top returning athletes:

(Boys) Pat Jerome (Senior), Kane Molleo (Senior), Jack Terwilliger (Senior), Joe Slattery (Junior), Lukas Temple (Junior), Adam Zieba (Junior), Chandler Dundas (Sophomore), Jackson McMann (Sophomore), Malcolm Smith (Sophomore)

(Girls) Caroline Summa (Senior), Armani Alonzo (Junior), Emily Durgin (Junior), Lizzie Gwilym (Junior), Fiona Hendry (Junior), Katie Shapiro (Junior), Taylor Spang (Junior)

Top foes: Bonny Eagle, Scarborough, South Portland boys; Scarborough, Thornton Academy girls

Coach Virgilio’s comment: Our team is young and ambitious. A great work ethic and passion for competition is the prevailing theme. There are some interesting and inspiring goals within the minds of these young men. We want to be competitive in every meet and qualify as many people in as many events for the state meet as we can.“”

Coach Guillet’s comment: “We hope to be in the mix even with a relatively small team of 18 girls. This is our last season with Caroline. She has the potential to score in three or four events, so we need to make sure we capitalize on that. If all my distance runners are healthy by the end of the season and our very small contingent of throwers, sprinters and jumpers comes through, we should do very well. So far, we have all enjoyed each other and I believe we are off to a good start..”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Both Cheverus outdoor track teams have an abundance of promise and strong athletes.

The boys are headed this spring by Virgilio, who also coached the indoor team. He is a Cheverus graduate who was a decathlete in high school and at Holy Cross. He took part in decathlon world championships in 2005 and 2010 in Virginia. Virgilio has also coached at the youth and collegiate levels. He inherits a squad that just missed ending a state title drought a year ago that dates to 1998. This season, the Stags will be formidable across the board, even after losing a lot of points to graduation a year ago. Terwilliger, Cheverus’ 2010 Spring and 2010-11 Winter Male Athlete of the Year, is healthy and will run distance and relays. He helped set a 3,200 relay state record and was runner-up in both the mile and two-mile a year ago outdoors and looks to dominate one more season before going on to compete at the next level. Dundas, Jerome, Temple and Zieba add depth, along with new junior Lars Murphy and new sophomore Zeb Tarasevich. McMann and Slattery are top sprinters. They’re joined by new junior Alex Mann, sophomores Jimmy Campbell and Andrew Rose and freshmen Colin Grove, Elijah Yeboah and Isaac Yeboah. McMann will also hurdle, as will sophomore David Terwilliger. The jumps feature McMann, Slattery and Smith (sixth in the high jump last spring). Sophomore Michael Orne will jump and compete in the pole vault. Molleo seventh in the javelin last year) and sophomore Matt Benoit are top throwers. Junior John Foley and sophomores Matt Cushing and Jack Tolan join the team, giving that contingent great depth. There’s no shortage of athleticism on this team. How it all comes together will determine just how seriously the Stags can make a run at a top finish in June.

On the girls’ side, Cheverus is coming off a program-best-tying sixth-place state finish. A pair of individual state meet scorers return and are joined by several good runners, jumpers and throwers, suggesting the Stags will hold their own in the league and state. The top returner is Summa, coming off a Winter Female Athlete of the Year campaign indoors. She won the high jump last season outdoors and is bound and determined to repeat while making a run at the school record. Hendry (second in the mile and a scorer in the 3,200 relay last spring), Durgin and Gwilym (who also scored in the 3,200 relay) return in the longer races. Then, there’s freshman Shannon Conley, who will soon be a household name. She was 19th in New England in the fall for cross country and will make a strong distance contingent that much better. Alonzo could be the top sprinter and jumper. Spang is a middle-distance threat (she was a 3,200 relay scorer last year). Shapiro hopes to score in the throws. Sophomore Brooke Flaherty brings her athletic skill over from field hockey and basketball and might add depth in the throws. If other scorers can emerge to add to the production Cheverus expects to get from Summa, it will be able to hold its own all season. This promising group will be fun to watch.

BOYS’ TENNIS

Coach: Wayne St. Peter (seventh year)

2010 Results: 12-2 (Lost 5-0 to Scarborough in Western Class A semifinals)

Top returning players: Will Lenk (Senior), Connor O’Neil (Senior), David Woodbury (Junior)

Pivotal matches: April 27 (H) DEERING, May 11 @ Portland, May 18 (H) WINDHAM

Coach’s comment: “Our three singles players are set. After that, it’s up in the air. We have a lot of new kids out. I hope we develop into tennis players. The kids tend to surprise me. Making the playoffs is a good goal.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus has enjoyed three straight seasons of double-digit victories. The Stags have solid talent returning at singles, which suggests they could be a top contender yet again. Lenk, a second-team SMAA all-star in 2010, returns to anchor the first singles spot. O’Neil will play second singles and Woodbury is in the No. 3 spot. A couple junior varsity players, junior Ryan Hoffman and sophomore Reed Fernandez, moved up this spring to play doubles on varsity. The other spots had yet to be filled at press time. St. Peter always gets the most out of his players and the Stags are usually quite formidable by the end of the season. If this team gets the expected production from its singles veterans, they could wind up being a team that no one wants to see when the playoffs roll around.

GIRLS’ TENNIS

Coach: Erin Ovalle (second year)

2010 Results: 8-5 (Lost 4-1 to Scarborough in Western Class A quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Maria Cianchette (Junior), Abby Harrison (Junior), Stephanie Maxsimic (Junior), Conley Dion (Sophomore)

Pivotal matches: April 27 @ McAuley, May 4 @ Scarborough, May 6 (H) GORHAM, May 11 (H) PORTLAND

Coach’s comment: “We have a very young team with just one senior. We have three freshmen who have really surprised us. We’ll continue to build on program with diverse athletes looking to play competitive tennis.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus was a playoff team a year ago, posting its third winning record in four seasons, and indications suggest the Stags can do it again in 2011. At press time, Cianchette and Harrison were battling for the No. 1 singles position, while Dion and Maxsimic were vying for the third singles spot. Freshman Caty Galligan will soon be heard from as well. The other spots will be work themselves out. Cheverus has an opportunity to be one of the better teams in Western Class A. While Gorham is the favorite, Portland suffered big-time losses to graduation and will take a step back. That give teams like McAuley, Scarborough and Cheverus the opening to contend. If the Stags stay healthy and some newer players get accustomed to varsity play, they’ll do very well. Keep an eye on this squad as the season progresses as it will take this year’s success and build on it in future seasons.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net and followed on Twitter @foresports

Senior Joey Royer looks to shut down the opposition this spring.

Senior Peter Pothoff is another top returner for the Stags.

Junior Colie Walsh is an aggressive defender for the dangerous Cheverus boys’ lacrosse team.

Junior Tommy Sullivan will be a force on the lacrosse field this spring.

Senior Jack Terwilliger, one of the state’s premier track talents, is primed to excel in his final high school season.

Senior Katie Shapiro is a top thrower in the SMAA.

Sidebar Elements


Jack Bushey should be one of the top pitchers in Western Class A this spring. He and his teammates are hoping for a deep playoff run.

More photos below.

Cheverus 2011 Spring Schedules

(See cheverus.org for updated times)

BASEBALL

Sat., April 23 @ Scarborough

Tues., April 26 H TA

Thurs., April 28 H GORHAM

Sat., April 30 @ Noble

Tues., May 3 @ Biddeford

Thurs., May 5 @ SP

Tues., May 10 H KENNEBUNK

Thurs., May 12 H SANFORD

Sat., May 14 H MARSHWOOD

Tues., May 17 @ Massabesic

Thurs., May 19 @ Portland

Sat., May 21 @ Bonny Eagle

Tues., May 24 H DEERING

Thurs., May 26 H WINDHAM

Sat., May 28 H SCARBOROUGH

Tues., May 31 @ Westbrook

SOFTBALL

Mon., April 25 @ Sanford

Wed., April 27 H KENNEBUNK

Fri., April 29 @ Deering

Sat., April 30 H MCAULEY

Mon., May 2 H WESTBROOK

Wed., May 4 @ Windham

Fri., May 6 H NOBLE

Mon., May 9 @ Marshwood

Wed., May 11 H GORHAM

Fri., May 13 @ Massabesic

Mon., May 16 H TA

Wed., May 18 @ Scarborough

Fri., May 20 H BIDDEFORD

Mon., May 23 @ Portland

Wed., May 25 H SP

Sat., May 28 @ Bonny Eagle

BOYS’ LACROSSE

Mon., April 18 H BIDDEFORD

Wed., April 20 @ SP

Sat., April 23 H SCARBOROUGH

Wed., April 27 @ TA

Sat., April 30 H MESSALONSKEE

Wed., May 4 @ Bonny Eagle

Fri., May 6 @ Marshwood

Wed., May 11 H WESTBROOK

Sat., May 14 @ Yarmouth

Wed., May 18 H NOBLE

Sat., May 21 H WINDHAM

Wed., June 1 @ Gorham

GIRLS’ LACROSSE

Mon., April 25 H MASSABESIC

Thurs., April 28 @ McAuley

Sat., April 30 @ Messalonskee

Mon., May 2 @ Portland

Thurs., May 5 H DEERING

Mon., May 9 H MARSHWOOD

Thurs., May 12 @ Scarborough

Sat., May 14 H WAYNFLETE

Mon., May 16 H WINDHAM

Thurs., May 19 @ Kennebunk

Mon., May 23 @ TA

Thurs., May 26 H GORHAM

BOYS’ OUTDOOR TRACK

Wed., April 27 H BE, SANFORD, WINDHAM

Tues., May 3 @ Deering (Portland, SP)

Wed., May 11 @ Gorham (Kbunk, Massabesic)

Tues., May 17 @ Marshwood (BE, Scar)

Fri., May 20 @ Scarborough

Sat., May 28 Southwesterns

Sat., June 4 CLASS A STATE MEET

GIRLS’ OUTDOOR TRACK

Tues., April 26 @ Windham (BE, McA, Sanford)

Mon., May 2 H DEER, MCA, PORT, SP

Tues., May 10 H GORHAM, KBUNK, MASS

Mon., May 16 @ BE (Marsh, Scar)

Fri., May 20 @ Scarborough

Sat., May 28 @ Southwesterns

Sat., June 4 CLASS A STATE MEET

BOYS’ TENNIS

Mon., April 25 H TA

Wed., April 27 H DEERING

Fri., April 29 @ Biddeford

Mon., May 2 H WESTBROOK

Fri., May 6 @ Gorham

Mon., May 9 @ Sanford

Wed., May 11 @ Portland

Fri., May 13 H MARSHWOOD

Mon., May 16 @ Bonny Eagle

Wed., May 18 H WINDHAM

Fri., May 20 H MASSABESIC

Mon., May 23 H SP

GIRLS’ TENNIS

Mon., April 25 @ TA

Wed., April 27 @ McAuley

Fri., April 29 H BIDDEFORD

Mon., May 2 @ Westbrook

Wed., May 4 @ Scarborough

Fri., May 6 H GORHAM

Mon., May 9 H SANFORD

Wed., May 11 H PORTLAND

Mon., May 16 H BONNY EAGLE

Wed., May 18 @ Windham

Fri., May 20 @ Massabesic

Mon., May 23 @ SP

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