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Junior Austin Boudreau looks to shoot the Cheverus boys’ basketball team deep into the playoffs this winter.
More photos below.
Ed. Note: Previews for indoor track, swimming, skiing and wrestling will be added next week
COACH: Ryan Soucie (first year)
2014-15 record: 11-9 (Lost, 65-45, to South Portland in Western A quarterfinals)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Luca Napolitano (Senior), Andrew Roberts (Senior), Austin Boudreau (Junior), Jack Casale (Junior), Jesse Matthews (Sophomore)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 22 @ Oxford Hills, Jan. 2 @ Deering, Jan. 5 SOUTH PORTLAND, Jan. 16 @ Portland, Jan. 22 DEERING, Jan. 29 @ South Portland, Feb. 2 @ Gorham, Feb. 5 PORTLAND
COACH’S COMMENT: “We’re plugging away. I know the guys and that certainly helps. We have a fair amount back, but we’re still young. I’m optimistic and hoping for good things. I hope it’s the start of a run we may be able to go on. We’re playing a tough schedule. No nights off. On paper, we have the potential to be there at the end. We want to get better every day and play our best in February. We haven’t gotten out of the quarterfinals the last couple years. Our goal is to get to Augusta and get out of that round.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: After yet another tournament appearance (its 14th in 15 years), Cheverus says farewell to Dan Costigan and welcomes Ryan Soucie as its new coach. Soucie is well known to the program, having served as an assistant for four years. He’s joined on the bench by former University of Southern Maine teammate Wade Millett and inherits a team that figures to only get better in the weeks to come. While Derek Hammond and Zordan Holman (a second-team league all-star in 2014-15) will be missed, there is plenty of talent in reserve.
This winter, the Stags’ offense will be in the capable hands of Boudreau, a third-team all-star a year ago, who will play the point while being more than capable of draining shots when he gets the opportunity. Bouchard averaged 11 points, 4.2 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.9 steals in 2014-15 and made 28 3-point shots. Casale (last year’s SMAA Rookie of the Year and a honorable mention all-star after averaging 12.3 ppg and 3.1 rpg and placing fourth in made 3-pointers, 43) can also shoot the ball, as can Napolitano. Down low, look for Matthews (an All-Rookie team selection last winter after averaging 7.8 points and 3.7 rebounds) and Roberts to use their size to do damage. Off the bench, senior Kenny Drelich will be a matchup problem in the paint, sophomore Tobias Ephron and freshman Tre Fletcher will use their speed and athleticism on the wings, sophomore Will Shibles backs up Bouchard at the point and freshman Matt Duchaine will be counted upon to knock down some shots.
The whole complexion of the sport has changed this winter and Cheverus is in the newly formed Class AA North. While the Stags remain tethered to ancient rivals Deering and Portland, they’ll also meet some unfamiliar foes like Bangor, Edward Little, Lewiston and Oxford Hills in the regular season, along with other Southwestern Maine Activities Association rivals. That means there won’t be many nights off, as virtually every game will be a challenge. Cheverus has what it takes to battle everyone and while the Stags will stumble at times, look for this squad to improve steadily in the weeks to come and be a team that no one wants to face in February. It’s been four years since Cheverus has played in the semifinals or beyond. Don’t be surprised if this group makes the jump and finds itself on the big stage.
COACH: Steve Huntington (second year)
2014-15 record: 9-10 (Lost, 67-63, to Portland in Western A preliminary round)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Brooke Dawson (Junior), Brooke McElman (Junior), Emme Poulin (Sophomore)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 8 @ Portland, Dec. 11 BANGOR, Dec. 15 SOUTH PORTLAND, Dec. 29 @ Deering, Jan. 2 MCAULEY, Jan. 5 @ South Portland, Jan. 16 @ Windham, Jan. 22 @ Thornton Academy, Feb. 2 GORHAM, Feb. 4 @ McAuley
COACH’S COMMENT: “We were the youngest team in the league last year and this year, we have no seniors and we’ve got a lot to work on. There are a lot of new pieces to put together. We’re a scrappy team. Over the summer, we were able to put in a lot of our offense and defense. Now, we’re concentrating on skills. We’re very guard-heavy. I don’t know if one team will stand out this year. We want to make the playoffs and be playing well at the right time.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: A year ago, Huntington joined the team late and the Stags played catch-up all winter. They made great strides and qualified for the playoffs for the eighth straight season, but dropped a heartbreaker to Portland in the preliminary round. While Cheverus lost some talented players, including Division I-bound Jill Libby, several younger players saw a lot of valuable playing time and that nucleus has been bolstered by three newcomers, making the Stags one of the teams to beat in the minds of several coaches.
This year’s squad doesn’t have a lot of size, but its guards bring a lot to the table. Poulin was an SMAA All-Rookie team selection as a freshman and could be even better this winter. She’ll be a top scoring threat, along with Dawson, junior guard Alayna Briggs and a pair of newcomers from South Portland, sophomores Abby Cavallaro and Grace Soucy. Mix in junior Kaylin Malmquist, a junior point guard who comes to Cheverus from Indonesia, and junior guard Ally Tillotson, who saw critical minutes as a defensive specialist at McAuley the past two seasons, and you can see why the Stags’ backcourt is so highly touted. The frontcourt features McElman, who will be a top shotblocker and rebounder, and sophomore Deirdre Sanborn, who played a key role in goal for a regional finalist field hockey team this fall.
Cheverus will have its hands full, not just from its traditional SMAA rivals, but from several new opponents as well, including talented Bangor, but as the season progresses, look for the Stags to hit their stride. A solid record, a first-ever victory over nemesis McAuley and a deep tournament run are all possible developments. By late February, Cheverus hopes to be one of the last teams standing. If this year’s team comes along as last year’s did, the Stags might meet or even exceed all of their goals.
COACH: Dan Lucas (seventh year, 67-45-4 overall record)
2014-15 record: 13-6-2 (Lost, 5-2, to Scarborough in Western A Final)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Jesse Cyr-Brophy (Senior), Garrett Dion (Senior), Luke Trickey (Senior), Chris Vallee (Senior), Mike Hatch (Sophomore)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 8 @ Scarborough, Dec. 17 YARMOUTH, Dec. 19 @ Falmouth, Dec. 23 @ Biddeford, Dec. 28 @ St. Dom’s, Jan. 7 @ Cape Elizabeth, Jan. 16 PORTLAND/DEERING, Jan. 23 SCARBOROUGH, Jan. 28 @ Portland/Deering, Jan. 30 BIDDEFORD, Feb. 3 @ Lewiston
COACH’S COMMENT: “I think we’ll have a decent team. It’s a nice group of kids. We lost some good defensemen and we’re not big, but we have some good skaters. We’ll be young and we’ll have to grind. We’ll redial and go back to zero. It’s a whole different team with different personalities. Hopefully, we’ll end up better than we start and we’ll stay healthy.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Cheverus saved its best for last a year ago, reaching the regional final for the first time since 2005-06 and earning Lucas Coach of the Year honors in the process. This year’s squad has some holes to fill, but don’t be surprised if the Stags are stealing headlines in late February and early March once again.
This winter, the scoring punch projects to come from Cyr-Brophy, Dion, Vallee and Trickey, whom Lucas refers to as “relentless.” Hatch, who had a strong freshman season, and sophomore Marco Giancotti, who saw time on the junior varsity team last winter, anchor the defense. Cheverus has to break in a new goalie this year after Kyle Severance graduated and will look to sophomore Colby Benway, who saw limited minutes in 2014-15, or sophomore Jason Halvorsen, a transfer from South Portland, to step in between the pipes and make a difference.
The Stags have re-established themselves as an annual top contender. While it will take time for this unit to hit its stride, Cheverus will get there. Pay no attention to the win-loss record at season’s end. The important thing will be how much the team has improved. If it develops as expected, it will be in the playoff mix. The Stags have a ways to go to compete with the Class A elite, but the guess here is that they’ll get there and be a team no one wants to face with the season on the line.
COACH: Kent Hulst (first year)
2014-15 record: 5-13 (no playoffs)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Taylor Courtois (Senior), Sophia Giancotti (Senior), Jill Hannigan (Senior), Caroline Ray (Senior)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 12 CAPE ELIZABETH, Dec. 30 @ Portland/Deering, Jan. 2 @ Scarborough, Jan. 6 SCARBOROUGH, Jan. 16 PORTLAND/DEERING, Jan. 23 @ Cape Elizabeth, Jan. 30 @ Falmouth
COACH’S COMMENT: “I’m excited to be back on the high school scene. Working with the girls has been fun. We have a good nucleus. We’ll heavily count on Taylor for our success this year. The senior leaders will need to bring along the younger kids. We want to have a winning record and to compete every night. Our goal is to make the playoffs.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Cheverus, which also includes players from Kennebunk and Old Orchard Beach this winter, has missed out on the playoffs the past two seasons, but the program is primed for a bounce-back season. For starters, a local hockey legend is leading the team. Hulst, a one-time Portland Pirates standout, who previously coached the North Yarmouth Academy’s boys’ team to a state final, takes over for Amy McNally, who is now, coincidentally, at NYA. Hulst inherits a group with a lot of talent and one that is hungry for success. After winning at York (7-2) and at home over Biddeford (5-0), Cheverus suffered its first loss Wednesday, 10-2, at St. Dom’s.
The offense features Giancotti (an honorable mention all-star in 2014-15), Hannigan (an all-conference selection last winter) and Ray. They’re joined by freshman Sophia Pompeo, who had a terrific field hockey season. Teams will focus on Hannigan, but she’s tough to stop and her teammates are capable of tickling the twine as well. Look for the Stags to score their share of goals in the weeks to come. At the other end of the ice, Cheverus has the luxury of returning Courtois, an all-conference goalie. She’ll be the last line of defense and allow freshmen defensemen Maddie Courtois, Abby Enk and Terryn MacDonald to come of age at a comfortable pace.
The good times should continue to roll for the Stags. They project to win more games than they lose, will be a force to be reckoned with in the postseason as well and the future promises even more triumph.
COACH: Steve Virgilio (sixth year w/boys’ team; fourth year w/girls’ team)
(BOYS) 6th @ Class A state meet
(GIRLS) 4th@ Class A state meet
(BOYS) Mak O’Brien (Junior), Bobby Slattery (Junior)
(GIRLS) Emily Grinnell (Senior), Sarah Mount (Senior), Katelyn Gendron (Junior), Emily Turner (Junior), Caroline Ford (Sophomore), Ashley Turner (Sophomore)
COACH’S COMMENT: “This will be a very small team, about a dozen boys and a dozen girls, but I hope it can do some big things in performance, preparation, approach and character. There is potential for great success among this group of athletes. The girls could be very competitive and do some new things. The boys will be new with a different identity and different goals to achieve. This team will work and compete together as always, striving to continue to progress the tradition, accomplishment and good will of those who came before.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Cheverus is coming off a very strong indoor track season a year ago and will look to be very competitive again this winter.
The boys graduated all of their state meet points scorers from last year, but are confident that O’Brien (jumps and sprints) and Slattery (jumps and sprints) can come through. They’ll be bolstered by senior Frank Curran, the football standout, who throws the shot put, junior Will Peterson, best known for his soccer ability, who will sprint, and freshman Tre Fletcher, who is also playing basketball and will also jump and sprint when his schedule allows. While Scarborough, South Portland and Thornton Academy appear to be the favorites, the Stags should be competitive. If athletes step up as hoped, they’ll score some points and make a run at a fifth straight top 10 finish at states.
On the girls’ side, Mount is the top returner. She was part of a state champion 3,200 relay team and placed fifth in the 400 last winter. She’ll compete in the sprints, hurdles, relays, jumps and pentathlon. Gendron was seventh in the long jump and was a member of a third-place 800 relay team a year ago. She’ll be a threat in both the sprints and jumps again. Turner was on both scoring relay teams and finished third in the 400 back in February. She’ll be another top sprinter and jumper and can even run middle distance if need be. Ford didn’t score indoors last year, but she holds the second-fastest 55 time in school history and will likely emerge as a threat to score in the weeks to come. Freshman Evelyn Hanley adds depth to the sprints and will also compete in the hurdles, as will freshman Emma White. Turner is the top distance runner. She can compete in the 800, mile and two-mile. Grinnell and sophomore field hockey standout Hannah Abbott will be top throwers. White (who broke former Lake Region star Kate Hall’s state 13-14 age group long jump record this past summer) and sophomore Julia Pomerleau are new to the jumps. Pomerleau was runner-up outdoors as a freshman. Scarborough, South Portland and Thornton Academy have bigger teams, but look for Cheverus to be very formidable during the regular season and to make a run at a fifth straight top five finish at states. A lot of excitement is in store.
COACH: Kevin Haley (27th year w/boys’ team; 15th year w/girls’ team, four state championships)
(BOYS) Class A state champions
(GIRLS) 2nd @ Class A state meet
(BOYS) Jacob Griffin (Senior), Kevin Kane (Senior), Thomas Nappo (Senior), Michael O’Donovan (Senior), Gus Anderson (Junior), Raymond Le (Junior), Shane Moore (Junior), Ben Tompkins (Junior), Ben Adams (Sophomore)
(GIRLS) Gabrielle Cholish (Junior), Lauren Girard (Junior), Abby Longstaff (Junior), Nina Greenwood (Junior)
COACH’S COMMENT: “We have experienced young swimmers who will be a nice addition to a team that’s rebuilding. We hope to qualify as many athletes as possible to have a good showing at states. The boys’ team is healthy and strong again. We hope to be in the top three in the area and the state.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Cheverus’ swim program has brought home an abundance of hardware the past three years (four titles combined) and should be in the running for more February glory.
The boys are looking for a fourth consecutive Class A crown and return a couple standouts in Kane (200 individual medley champion and part of first-place 200 and 400 freestyle relay squads) and Griffin (tops in the 50 freestyle and part of both champion relays). Both will remain among the finest swimmers in the state this winter. Also returning are O’Donovan (runner-up in the 200 free and 500 free and part of both champion relays last season), Moore (third in the 50 free and fourth in the 100 free) and Nappo (seventh in the backstroke). Adams (distance free), Anderson (sprint freestyle and breaststroke), Le (IM, butterfly, backstroke) and Tompkins (backstroke, IM, distance freestyle) also return. Freshmen Jeremy Baker (distance freestyle) and Phineas Underwood (sprint freestyle) add depth. If this group stays healthy and hungry, another title celebration could be in store.
The girls were runners-up last winter after winning their first title in 2014. This year’s team returns top-notch diver Greenwood (second in Class A last winter) and freestyle and backstroke star Longstaff (runner-up in the 100 free and third in the backstroke last year). Cholish (seventh in the fly), Girard (breaststroke, sprint freestyle, fly) and sophomore Sophia Kruse (sprint freestyle, backstroke, IM) also return. Sophomore Isabella White, a transfer from Wells, is another diver to watch. Sophomore Teagan Guenther (sprint freestyle) and freshmen Caroline Arpin (breaststroke, fly, IM), Patsy Ciampi (distance freestyle) and Tholia Hallett (fly, distance freestyle) add depth. Look for Cheverus to be a top contender at the big meets once again.
COACH: Pierce Stevens (first year)
(BOYS) No score @ Class A state meet
(GIRLS) No score @ Class A state meet
(BOYS) Liz Fossett (Senior)
(GIRLS) Schuyler Black (Junior)
COACH’S COMMENT: “I have two athletes that I expect to do very well this season. I expect to see Schuyler place in the top 10 in the state.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Cheverus welcomes a new coach this winter in Stevens, a longtime racer. He takes over a small team with a few promising skiers to watch.
The boys are led by Black, who could make a run at a top 10 finish.
The girls feature Fossett and sophomore Sydney Pfeffer, who will quick make a mark.
While the Stags don’t have a lot of depth, these individuals will make the program proud in the weeks to come.
COACH: Aaron Duphily (sixth year)
(BOYS) No score @ Class A state meet
(GIRLS) No score @ Class A state meet
(BOYS) Michael Manetti (Freshman)
COACH’S COMMENT: “The boys will field a full team this year and hopes to post respectable finishes at the big races. We’re excited for the race season to begin and can’t wait for the snow to fall.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: We’re still waiting on the snow, but Cheverus is excited about the season ahead. Manetti is just a freshman, but could quickly make a mark. Several other skiers are awaiting their chance to turn heads. This will be a season of growth for an up-and-coming program.
COACH: Jason Barriault (fourth year)
2014-15 results: 17th at Class A state meet
TOP RETURNERS: Mike Macaluso (Senior), Bobby Holzhacker (Sophomore), Zeb Leavitt (Sophomore)
COACH’S COMMENT: “This is a building year because it’s our first year competing as a varsity team. With a great group of young athletes and senior leadership. I expect to have a season that provides a positive experience and growth opportunities for all the athletes. I hope to guide the athletes to meet their individual goals and get a dual meet win or two as the season progresses.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Cheverus hasn’t fielded a full team the past few seasons, as individuals trained with Deering. This winter, the Stags do have a team and feature some promise.
Macaluso is the top returner. The senior will compete in the 152-pound weight class. Holzhacker (220) and Leavitt (heavyweight) also return. A couple of freshmen, Ryan Breece (132) and Andrew Young (126), provide depth.
Cheverus hopes to continue to grow the program and produce some individual success. The future is bright.
Look for junior Jack Casale to play a key role in the Stags’ attack this season.
Jesse Matthews turned heads as a freshman. He’ll be a force in the paint this winter.
Luca Napolitano is a steady senior leader for the Stags.
Andrew Roberts will make life tough for the opposition.
Junior Brooke Dawson is a top scoring threat for the Stags.
Junior Brooke McElman could be a top shot blocker this winter.
Sophomore Emme Poulin is a top returner for the Stags.
Look for sophomore Deirdre Sanborn to play a bigger role this season.
The arrival of junior Ally Tillotson from perennial title contender McAuley makes Cheverus that much stronger this winter.
Sophomore Abby Cavallaro is another key addition for the Stags. Cavallaro had a strong freshman season at South Portland in 2014-15.
Sophomore Grace Soucy also comes to Cheverus from South Portland.
Senior Jesse Cyr-Brophy is a top returning scoring threat for the Stags.