Cheverus Stags Spring Sports Preview

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Sophomore Emma Gallant is coming off a record-setting indoor track season. This spring, she’ll look to lead Cheverus’ girls’ outdoor team to a second straight Class A state title.

File photos.

More photos below.

BASEBALL

Coach: Mac McKew (10th year, 107-55 overall record, one state championship)

2017 record: 17-2 (Lost, 4-1, to Falmouth in Class A South Final)

Top returning players: Cam Dube (Senior), Conner MacDonald (Senior), Maxx St. John (Senior), Griffin Watson (Senior), Jack Mullen (Junior), Justin Ray (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 26 THORNTON ACADEMY, May 1 @ Falmouth, May 12 SOUTH PORTLAND, May 15 @ Deering, May 22 PORTLAND, May 24 @ Scarborough

Coach’s comment: “We always expect to be in the hunt. Our success this year is dependent upon replacing the leadership of Jared Brooks, Jack Casale and Logan McCarthy, the ability of key juniors to quickly adjust to the varsity level and taking care of the baseball, playing sound defense.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus, riding the superb left arm of league Most Valuable Player and Forecaster Spring Male Athlete of the Year Jared Brooks, had a superb 2017 campaign, losing just once in the regular season, then advancing all the way to the Class A South Final. Brooks (as well as fellow league all-stars Dom Casale and Jack Casale and stalwart Logan McCarthy) has departed, but there is plenty of talent in reserve and the Stags are once again on the short list of title contenders.

This year’s team will be led on the mound by MacDonald (3-0, 1.19 earned run average in 2017), Mullen (2-0, 2.19 ERA) and Ray. Dube and St. John will see time in relief, while senior Tyler Turner, juniors Ryan Breece and Nathaniel Lapoint and sophomore Nick Galeucia will also see time on the hill. The offense is sparked by Watson (second-team league all-star in 2017), who hit .348, scored 19 times and stole 11 bases last season. Watson is also a defensive standout at shortstop and along with Ray (a first-team all-star last spring after hitting .292 with nine runs batted in) at second, makes up a strong middle infield. St. John is another bat to watch. He drove in 17 runs as the designated hitter last year and will see time in the outfield this spring. Dube (nine RBI in 2017) is another veteran bat of note. The offense will be bolstered by the addition of Lapoint (outfield), junior catcher Hayden O’Donnell, junior first baseman/outfielder Andrew DeGeorge, junior catcher/outfielder Andrew Young, junior first baseman/designated hitter John Welch, junior infielder/outfielder Tanner Laflamme, sophomore infielder/outfielder Chris Cimino and sophomore infielder Luke Knowles. Seniors Perrin Conant, Jackson Humphrey and David Woodford round out a talented roster.

As always, Class A South has an abundance of talented teams, so there won’t be many easy games. For Cheverus to make a run at a top seed, several players are going to have to step into bigger roles, but there’s ample reason to suggest they can do that. The Stags might not have the big names of a year ago, but look for this team to have another very strong season and to be one of the last squads standing come June.

SOFTBALL

Coach: Theresa Hendrix (second year)

2017 record: 0-16 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Katie Boynton (Senior), Emily Haley (Senior), Alex Hammond (Sophomore), Caroline Taylor (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: May 7 MGA/FALMOUTH, May 9 @ Deering, May 21 PORTLAND

Coach’s comment: “With two returning seniors, one rookie senior and only one junior, we will be a very young team this season. Our focus will be on improving each day and each game. Although we are young, our leadership from our seniors, combined with the athleticism and competitive spirit of our underclassman, will allow us to surprise people. One of our top goals this season is to become students of the game. If each day we grow as individuals and as a team, then over the next two months, this team will fit right into the mix of fighting for the playoffs.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus, which for the second year in a row is a co-op squad with North Yarmouth Academy, is looking to get back in the win column and build toward future success.

Hammond was an honorable mention a year ago after hitting .370. She’ll see time at catcher and at shortstop. Taylor returns as the pitcher. She’s potent on offense as well, hitting .396 with an on-base percentage of .491 in 2017. Other veterans include Boynton and Haley. Senior Hannah Abbott, the University of Maine-bound field hockey standout, freshman catcher and infielder Madisyn Durgin and freshman Mackenzie Turner will step right in and make an impact.

This squad will again have some growing pains, but with some key returners in place and Hendrix having a season under her belt, it’s fair to say that Cheverus will be competitive against many of its foes. A few victories would be huge for confidence. The future is bright and the present holds promise for this squad.

BOYS’ LACROSSE

Coach: Dan Soule (first year)

2017 record: 10-4 (Lost, 12-8, to eventual state champion Brunswick in Class A North semifinal)

Top returning players:  Finn Cawley (Senior), Patrick Griffin (Senior), Mike Hatch (Senior), Kevin Ly (Senior), Chris St. John (Senior)

Pivotal games: April 13 @ Scarborough, April 25 SOUTH PORTLAND, May 2 FALMOUTH, May 9 @ Kennebunk, May 18 THORNTON ACADEMY, May 22 @ Falmouth, May 30 DEERING, June 1 @ South Portland

Coach’s comment: “We return 13 seniors in key positions and they will be expected to lead the program to success. With a challenging schedule, we’ll look to develop a new focus and culture under a new coaching staff, as well as focus on trying to develop and get better individually and cumulatively every day. Expectations and enthusiasm are high to achieve team and individual goals.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus is coming off another strong season and this spring, the Stags welcome a new coach in Soule, who spent the last six years coaching the Gorham boys. Soule also spent seven years on the Cheverus football coaching staff. He inherits a squad rich in experience and talent. One that appears bound for a seventh straight winning season and playoff appearance.

The Stags’ offense will be sparked by sophomore Billy Ly, the faceoff specialist. In the midfield, Cawley (a second-team all-star last spring), St. John and senior Will Shibles will be matchup nightmares. Hatch, Cheverus’ Winter Male Athlete of the Year and a Travis Roy Award finalist, will be a top scoring threat from his attack position. Junior Nate Scott figures to score some goals as well. Griffin (a second-team all-star in 2017) and junior Finn McLain are long-stick middies and Kevin Ly returns to anchor the defense. Senior Christian Gilliam and junior Alex Brewer were battling for the starting goalie position at press time.

The good news for this year’s team is that longtime nemesis Brunswick has moved down to Class B, but the bad news is that perennial powerhouse Falmouth has moved up to Class A North. Reaching an elusive state final won’t come easily, but if that squad comes together as hoped, it will be among the last standing.

GIRLS’ LACROSSE

Coach: Bill Fenton (second year)

2017 record: 6-8 (Lost, 12-7, to Messalonskee in Class A North semifinal)

Top returning players: Kathryn Griffiths (Senior), Teagan Guenther (Senior), Mackenzie Johnston (Senior), Kate Sessler (Senior), Annesley Black (Junior), Bella Booth (Junior), Margaret Keating (Junior), Terryn MacDonald (Junior), Maeve McGarrity (Junior), Aisling Flaherty (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 24 @ Waynflete, May 1 WINDHAM, May 7 SCARBOROUGH, May 10 @ Kennebunk, May 16 @ Falmouth, May 22 @ Deering, May 24 @ Portland, May 29 @ Marshwood, May 31 SOUTH PORTLAND

Coach’s comment: “We have a lot of talent, but we have a lot of work to do. We have seven seniors and seven juniors this season. We have a tough schedule and I think we’ll be competitive. We want to make the playoffs and go from there.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus made it eight straight trips to the playoffs last spring and this season, the Stags look to be a serious contender in a restructured Class A North.

Cheverus boasts some great athletes in the midfield. Leading the way is Johnston, a second-team league all-star a year ago. She’s joined by Black, Booth, Griffiths, Keating and junior Zoe Mazur, who transferred from Maine Girls’ Academy. On attack, look for Flaherty, an All-Rookie team selection as a freshman, MacDonald, McGarrity and freshmen Emma McCauley and Lucia Pompeo to make an impact. Guenther and Sessler are top defenders who will play a key role this year as the Stags break in a new freshman goalie, either Neve Cawley or Mariyam Keller.

Cheverus has no breathers on its schedule and will need to show steady growth to be in optimal position by season’s end. With the talent on the roster, the Stags should be able to win their share of contests, then be primed to make a postseason run. If you’re looking for a darkhorse this spring, Cheverus might be your team.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coach: Steve Virgilio (eighth year w/boys’ team; sixth year w/girls’ team, two state championships)

2017 results:

(Boys) tie-14th @ Class A state meet

(Girls) Class A state champion

Top returning athletes:

(Boys) Christian Gilliam (Senior), Paul Lussier (Senior), Alex Baur (Junior), Lawrence Bossong (Junior), Owen Burke (Junior), Nolan Doherty (Junior), Joe Baur (Sophomore), Sean Tompkins (Sophomore)

(Girls) Ashley Turner (Senior), Mary Kate Earley (Junior), Hannah Galeucia (Junior), Evelyn Hanley (Junior), Sophia Pompeo (Junior), Rosie Train (Junior), Emma White (Junior), Emma Gallant (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “We try to encourage every athlete on the team to a new level of existence, on the track and off. That may mean a personal record or it may mean a state record. It could be a conference qualifying mark or a National qualifying mark. It may mean scoring in a meet for the first time or it may mean All-American honors for the first time. For all, it should be enlightening and bring positive change to self and others.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus is poised for another terrific spring on the track.

The girls won the Class A crown last spring and tied for a state title indoors back in February. Leading the way again this season will be Gallant, Cheverus’ Winter Female Athlete of the Year, who holds the outdoor state record in the 200 and also won the 100 a year ago. She’ll be a sprinter without peer. Freshman Victoria Bossong, who was runner-up to Gallant indoors in the 200 and 400 and placed third in the 55, will make an immediate impact outdoors as well. Freshman Helena Bolduc is another new sprinter to watch. Hanley, White and freshman Sophie Schuele also compete in the sprints, as well as the hurdles. Earley is another hurdler to watch. In the distance races, the Stags will be led by Galeucia, Pompeo, Train and Turner. Senior Abby Pipkin, who runs for Waynfete but is training with Cheverus, is the reigning Class C champion in the 800 and runner-up in the mile. She can’t score for the Stags, but will push the other girls. On the field side, White is the reigning Class A champion in the long jump and also placed second in the triple jump a year ago. She’ll look to equal or exceed last year’s showing. Schuele also jumps and will also take part in the pole vault. This team is loaded for bear. While Scarborough and Thornton Academy will provide tough competition, if all goes well, the Stags could find themselves the last team standing once more.

On the boys’ side, Cheverus is hoping to finish in the top 10 for the first time in three years. The Stags return Tompkins, who is coming off a runner-up showing in the 400 and a third-place finish in the 55 indoors. He placed fourth in the 100 last spring and holds the school record in that event. Look for him to lead the sprinting contingent that also features Burke (sixth in the 400 last spring), Alex Baur, Joe Baur, Lussier, senior Ethan Johnson (who last competed outdoors as a freshman) and sophomore Joe Macaluso. Macaluso and freshman Jakub Jastrzebski take part in the hurdles. Bossong and Doherty (seventh in the mile indoors) are distance runners of note. Freshmen Liam Doherty, Will Hermon and Donald Mahoney will also be heard from. On the field side, Gilliam was sixth in the javelin last season and hopes to move up. Jastrzebski, Lussier, Macaluso and Tompkins are top jumpers. Jastrzebski and freshman Giovanni Fornaro are throwers of note. Cheverus has the pieces in place to not only be formidable in the league, but to move up the standings at the big meets.

BOYS’ TENNIS

Coach: Ben Putnam (second year)

2017 record: 8-5 (Lost, 3-2, to Scarborough in Class A South quarterfinal)

Top returning players: David Amoroso (Senior), Cameron Harris (Junior), Vipul Periwal (Junior), Max Hillgraf (Sophomore), Aidan Treutel (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “Aidan is looking to build off a strong freshman year and we will need him to set the pace for the rest of the team. The other returning players all have a year of varsity experience under their belts and I expect them to improve upon their results from last year. The new team members have shown a lot of promise and will definitely be competitive wherever they end up on the ladder. I’m excited by our potential and hopeful we can match or better our record from last year.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus improved by five victories last season and made it to the playoffs for the 17th year in a row. This spring, the Stags will again be in the hunt in a deep Class A South.

Treutel, a second-team league all-star a year ago, is the top returner. He’ll be at the first singles spot. Amoroso, Harris, Hillgraf and Periwal also have varsity experience. That core group is joined by new sophomore Harrison Bell and freshman Dylan Morrison.

Cheverus will be competitive in all of its matches and should be a team to be reckoned with when the playoffs begin.

GIRLS’ TENNIS

Coach: Jason Barriault (fourth year)

2017 record: 10-4 (Lost, 4-1, to Scarborough in Class A South quarterfinal)

Top returning players: Ellianna Budri (Senior), Alexis Paszyc (Senior), Anastasia Kapothanasis (Junior), Kristina Matkevich (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “We have talent and experience at the top of our lineup and should have a lot of success early. We have some tough newcomers and girls who didn’t crack the lineup last year who have been working hard in the offseason. We should be able to put together a couple doubles teams that can be competitive with the rest of the league. The team has been in the mix the last few years, but seems to always fall short in the quarterfinals. The goal for this year is to come into the postseason as a top three seed and push through to the semis. From there, we are in a position to make a run for the title. I think that the talent is there. It’s going to be a matter of peaking for the playoffs and having the girls be mentally strong enough to pull out some of the close matches towards the end of the year.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Last spring, Cheverus posted its best record in three years, then was bested by Scarborough in the playoffs for the second straight spring. This time around, the Stags are hoping for an even deeper postseason stay.

Cheverus will be very strong in singles, as Budri and Kapothanasis have spots locked up and Matkevich and Paszyc (league all-stars a year ago) are also in the mix. The doubles teams will feature some combination of newcomers Erin Libby, Lily Paszyc, Julia Ryan and Maddie Williams.

The Stags have enough talent to go toe-to-toe with everyone in the conference. This group wants to take the next step and all signs suggest they’ll be able to do so and make some noise in June.

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

Jack Mullen will be one of Cheverus’ top pitchers this season as the Stags look to get back to the regional final.

Senior Cam Dube will give his all in the outfield.

Senior Maxx St. John will be a top hitter for the Stags.

Senior shortstop Griffin Watson is a defensive standout for the Stags.

Senior Finn Cawley was an SMAA all-star last year. This spring, Cawley and his boys’ lacrosse teammates are hoping for another deep playoff run.

Senior Michael Hatch will score his share of goals for the Stags this season.

Junior Bella Booth will find herself in the middle of the action for a Cheverus girls’ lacrosse team that could be a top contender in Class A North this spring.

Senior Kathryn Griffiths is a seasoned veteran in the midfield.

Senior Mackenzie Johnston made the SMAA all-star team a year ago. She’s a top midfielder for the Stags.

Junior Margaret Keating will also be involved in the midfield.

Junior Terryn MacDonald is another scoring threat for the Stags.

Junior Nolan Doherty looks to score in the distance events for Cheverus’ boys’ outdoor track team.

Senior Ashley Turner is a top distance runner for the Cheverus girls’ team.

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