Cheverus Stags Winter Sports Preview

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Senior Alex Brewer and his Cheverus boys’ hockey teammates hope to make another deep playoff run this winter.

File photos.

More photos below.

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Coach: Ryan Soucie (fourth year, 26-31 overall record)

2017-18 record: 6-13 (Lost, 59-47, to eventual champion Edward Little in Class AA North quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Owen Burke (Senior), Matt Duchaine (Senior), Patrick Foster (Senior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 11 SOUTH PORTLAND, Dec. 14 EDWARD LITTLE, Jan. 2 THORNTON ACADEMY, Jan. 4 SCARBOROUGH, Jan. 10 @ Deering, Jan. 18 PORTLAND, Jan. 31 @ Portland, Feb. 5 DEERING, Feb. 7 @ South Portland

Coach’s comment: “We’ve had a good preseason. I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen. We’re relatively small, so we’ll have to hold our own on the glass, take care of the ball and make shots. I feel good about what I can do to mix and match. The league as a whole is very tough. I hope by the end of the year, we’ll be in the conversation. We want to play at the Civic Center in the semifinals.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus made it five consecutive postseason trips last winter and with a fair amount of experience returning, the Stags believe that by the end of the season, they could become one of the better teams in a very deep and talented Class AA.

Burke and Duchaine were both AA North honorable mention selections in 2017-18. Duchaine will be a top scoring threat from the wing, while Burke, who could miss the first few games with injury, is another player who can pace the offense. Foster is a shooting guard, who will get his share of points. Junior Nick Galli, an All-Rookie team selection last winter, could be primed for a big season. He can get the job done outside and on the glass. Sophomore Nolan Sanborn will play point guard. Senior Akera Oryem will also see some time running the offense. Senior Richard Joyce and junior Marc Reali provide size in the post. Sophomore Dylan Morrison is another wing player to watch.

While Cheverus doesn’t have a lot of proven commodities at the varsity level, this group holds promise. Look for steady improvement between now and February. The Stags could be a darkhorse before all is said and done.

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Coach: Brian Heal (first year)

2017-18 record: 12-8 (Lost, 59-49, to Oxford Hills in Class AA North semifinals)

Top returning players: Meg Kelly (Senior), Lauren Jordan (Junior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 11 SOUTH PORTLAND, Dec. 14 @ Edward Little, Jan. 4 @ Scarborough, Jan. 7 @ Gorham, Jan. 10 @ Deering, Jan. 18 PORTLAND, Jan. 22 OXFORD HILLS, Jan. 25 @ Portland, Feb. 5 DEERING, Feb. 7 @ South Portland

Coach’s comment: “We’re starting to come together. We’re a very young group with only one senior. There are a lot of opportunities. It’s up to the kids to take advantage. We have good athletes. We just need experience. We’ll rely on playing fullcourt and getting out in space. We need to establish an identity and some stability. We play a very tough schedule and want to be competitive every night.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: The Gary Fifield Era lasted only one year at Cheverus and after the Stags reached the regional semifinals, they welcome their third coach in as many seasons this winter as Heal takes over. Heal spent two years as an assistant to Steve Huntington at Cheverus and coached the Biddeford girls’ program for four years earlier this decade. He inherits a squad that lacks varsity experience, but doesn’t lack for athletes or promise.

Jordan made the SMAA All-Rookie team a year ago and will play an even bigger role this season at forward. A terrific athlete and tenacious competitor, Jordan will be a matchup nightmare. Kelly also has experience. She’ll play guard and could be a top scorer. Junior Emily Huntington has the ability to hit key shots and sophomores Helena Bolduc and Ella Davie will also play guard. Freshman Hayley Jordan is a wing player. The point guard position will be shared by freshmen Julia Kratzer, who made her presence felt on the soccer pitch this fall, and Lily Singleton. The Stags don’t have much size, so they’ll need to force turnovers to set up transition baskets and continue the program’s tradition of strong 3-point shooting.

Going into the year, Cheverus isn’t considered as a top contender in Class AA North, but this is a team that will show steady improvement. If the younger players develop as hoped, the Stags might arrive a year early and make a tournament run. The future is certainly very bright.

BOYS’ HOCKEY

Coach: Mike Carmody (first year)

2017-18 record: 14-5-1 (Lost, 6-5, in 2 OT, to Biddeford in Class A South Final)

Top returning players: Colby Anton (Senior), Alex Brewer (Senior), Colin Doherty (Junior), Jackson Wilson (Junior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 8 ST. DOM’S, Dec. 15 LEWISTON, Dec. 20 BIDDEFORD, Dec. 29 @ Portland/Deering, Jan. 5 @ Lewiston, Jan. 24 PORTLAND/DEERING, Jan. 29 @ Falmouth, Feb. 2 @ St. Dom’s, Feb. 16 FALMOUTH

Coach’s comment: “We expect to continue our competitive tradition and compete for a state championship. We have a relatively young group with a ton of talent up top. We will rely on our two seniors to lead the way. A very talented sophomore class will play big minutes.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: After a very successful nine-year run, which included over 100 victories, Dan Lucas stepped down as the Stags’ coach after last year’s painful regional final ouster. The program remains in very good hands, however, with Carmody taking over. Carmody is best remembered for being a scoring machine at Falmouth High (Class of 2002). He went on to play with the New Hampshire Monarchs junior program, spent four years at New England College and even played professionally for a year before being injured. Carmody has coached at Westbrook and with Casco Bay and served as an assistant at New England College. He inherits a squad that has some holes to fill, but by season’s end, Cheverus could be one of the top contenders yet again.

While Travis Roy Award finalist Mike Hatch and league all-stars Marco Giancotti and Jason Halvorsen have departed, the Stags have some talent back. Leading the way on offense will be Anton, Brewer and Wilson, who all figure to score their share of goals. Doherty is a seasoned defender, who is joined by freshman Kevin Connolly to make life easier for sophomore Bryson Pomerleau, who replaces Halvorsen in goal. Several other youngsters will have a chance to see a good amount of ice time.

This team will be a work in progress and with their usual daunting schedule, the Stags will occasionally stumble, but look for Cheverus to be vastly improved by February and when the playoffs roll around, the Stags will be a foe no team wants to face with their season hanging in the balance.

GIRLS’ HOCKEY

Coach: Scott Rousseau (third year, 28-12 overall record)

2017-18 record: 19-2 (Lost, 3-1, to Greely/Gray-New Gloucester in state final)

Top returning players: Abby Enck (Senior), Zoe Mazur (Senior), Sarah Noyes (Senior), Sophia Pompeo (Senior), Abby Lamontagne (Junior), Hannah Woodford (Junior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 8 ST. DOM”s, Dec. 11 @ Greely, Dec. 15 LEWISTON, Dec. 19 @ Scarborough, Dec. 22 @ Cape/Waynflete/SP, Dec. 29 @ Portland/Deering, Jan. 5 @ Lewiston, Jan. 12 CAPE/WAYNFLETE/SP, Jan. 19 PORTLAND/DEERING, Jan. 21 GREELY, Jan. 31 SCARBOROUGH, Feb. 2 @ St. Dom’s

Coach’s comment: “We have talent, but no depth. It’s a veteran team. We have a talented goaltender, three senior defenders anchored by Zoe and we have Abby at forward. I’m not sure there isn’t a speedier forward twosome than Abby and Sophia. We can work with that. I think we have a very good chance to get back to the state final.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: The Cheverus/Kennebunk co-op team came within two goals of winning a state championship last winter and while numbers are a concern this winter, this is still the team to beat in the South Region. Cheverus/Kennebunk began with convincing victories over Winslow/Gardiner (10-0), Falmouth (3-0), Biddeford (12-2) and York (6-0).

While senior Caitlin Wolff is sidelined with a torn ACL and sophomore Lucia Pompeo has been limited by injury as well, Cheverus/Kennebunk does feature an offense led by Lamontagne (an all-state selection last winter), Sophia Pompeo (a South Region all-star a year ago) and Woodford. Enck and Noyes play defense and help out the offense, as will senior Terryn MacDonald. Mazur is an imposing defender who will give the opposition nightmares. Sophomore Trinity Atwater, a transfer from Biddeford, is in goal.

While the South Region boasts several competitive teams, Cheverus/Kennebunk appears to be the cream of the crop, presuming it can remain healthy. This team has the pieces in place to get back to the final game and perhaps this time, bring home the big trophy.

INDOOR TRACK

Coach: John Wilkinson (first year)

2017-18 results:

(Boys) 8th @ Class A state meet

(Girls) Class A co-champions

Top returners:

(Boys) Alex Baur (Senior), Nolan Doherty (Senior), Joseph Baur (Junior), Sean Tompkins (Junior), Giovanni Fornaro (Sophomore)

(Girls) Evelyn Hanley (Senior), Emma White (Senior), Emma Gallant (Junior), Victoria Bossong (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “We have strong returners and some nice youngsters. The girls know if we can stay healthy, we should do very well. The boys’ team is predominantly underclassmen. We’d love to be a top-10 team in the state.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus features some top-notch athletes this winter and welcomes a new coach in Wilkinson, who spent 27 years coaching track and cross country at Gorham, leading the Rams to four state titles. He inherits a squad that should be among the league and state’s best in the weeks to come.

The girls’ team shared state honors with Scarborough last winter and again boasts a trio of superstars. Gallant was Cheverus’ Winter Female Athlete of the Year a year ago after winning the Class A title in the 400 (with a state record time of 57.85 seconds) and the 200 and placing runner-up in the 55. Bossong, who saved her best work for outdoor track as a freshman, is coming off an indoor season which saw her place second to Gallant in the 200 and 400 and finish third in the 55. White is the other standout. She was runner-up in the both the long jump and triple jump last season. She’ll hope to move into the top spot this time around and will also hurdle, as will Hanley. Sophomore Madison Durgin (shot put) and sophomore Sophie Schuele (jumps) are two newcomers to watch. The Stags will be very tough in regular season meets and if their standouts come through as expected in February, Cheverus might bring home more hardware.

On the boys’ side, Tompkins (second in the 400 and third in the 55 last year) is the top returner. He’ll again be top sprinter, along with Alex Baur. Doherty, who was injured his junior year, will lead the distance contingent. Fornaro (third in the shot put last winter) leads the field athletes. Joseph Baur will jump, as will freshman Frank Morong, who will also take part in the sprints. Getting Doherty back and having other returners a year older should help the Stags move up the ladder this season.

SWIMMING

Coach: Kevin Haley (21st year w/boys’ team; 18th year w/girls’ team, seven state championships)

2017-18 results:

(Boys) Class A state champions (sixth in a row)

(Girls) 6th @ Class A state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Jeremy Baker (Senior), Lawrence Bossong (Senior), Alex Drago (Senior), Clay Hatch (Junior), Landon Roma (Senior), Phineas Underwood (Senior), Quinton Hastings (Junior), Jack Martin (Junior), John Hight (Sophomore), Brim Peabody (Sophomore)

(Girls) Caroline Arpin (Senior), Patsy Ciampi (Senior), Tholia Hallett (Senior), Grace Shimansky (Junior)

Coach’s comment: “The boys are looking forward to the season. We should be in the top three by the end of the year. The girls have a squad of 15. We’re not deep in numbers, but we have quality swimmers who want to compete, along with one of the state’s top divers We’ll do well in dual meets. We’re looking to finish in the top five at states.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus is coming off another dominant season and will be among the state’s best teams again.

The boys are seeking an amazing seventh consecutive state championship and have a lot of firepower returning. Peabody is the reigning Class A champion in the 200 free and 500 free and he’s also a force in the relays. Baker (fifth in the 500 free last year) is another distance standout. In the sprints, Underwood (third in both the 100 free and 200 free last season), Drago, Hatch and Hight will vie for top finishes. Hastings, a top sprinter in 2017-18, will look to score in the butterfly and individual medley this season. Martin (eighth in the IM a year ago) will be strong in the IM and backstroke this winter. Bossong and Roma are the top breaststrokers. New sophomore Owen Gallo-Wagoner can do a little of everything. The pieces are in place for Cheverus to excel again. If everyone is at their best, the top spot on the podium is attainable.

On the girls’ side, Arpin is the top returner. She was runner-up in the IM and sixth in the breaststroke last season and hopes to move up. Hallett was eighth in both the backstroke and fly in 2017-18 and is poised to climb up the rankings. Ciampi (distance) and Shimansky (the eighth-best diver in Class A last season) are other returning veterans. Newcomers Cialy Charbonneau (breaststroke, sprint freestyle), Alyvia Earle (breaststroke and free) and Delilah Hastings (backstroke, fly and IM) will help the cause. Don’t be surprised if the Stags move in to the top five at states.

ALPINE SKIING

Coach: Erin Zeli (first year)

2017-18 results:

(Boys) No score @ Class A state meet

(Girls) 7th @ Class A state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Liam Allen (Sophomore)

(Girls) Annesley Black (Senior), Jenn Christensen (Senior), Tellie Stamaris (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “These promising athletes are working hard. We expect to see a great deal of improvement and success this season. The athletes have demonstrated that they’re willing to put in the time and effort that is needed for this demanding sport.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus’ Alpine team hopes for a competitive season as it welcomes a new coach in Zeli, who skied for Gould Academy and coached at Gould, Taos Ski Academy and was an assistant at Yarmouth.

Black leads the girls’ squad. She’s the defending Class A champion in both the giant slalom and slalom. Stamaris is another front-line skier. She was fifth in the GS and eighth in the slalom a year ago. Christensen is another veteran. Sophomores Francesca Chase, Julia Harnum and Julia Lamontagne are new to the team and add depth. Cheverus will be in line for another high state meet finish.

The Stags’ boys’ squad is led by Allen, who hopes to be a high scorer this winter. Sophomores Liam Bulger, Declan Danzig and Colby White and freshmen Aiden Ferizzi and Jack Williams round out the team. Cheverus has enough skiers to score this winter.

WRESTLING

Coach: Jason Barriault (seventh year)

2017-18 results: 14th @ Class A state meet

Top returners: Teigan Lindstedt (Senior), Alexi King (Junior), Keagan Rice (Junior), Sean Sullivan (Junior)

Coach’s comment: “It’s been a slow process building the program the last few years, but this year feels like we’ve finally made a giant step forward and will be able to fill the majority of the weight classes. Our team is made up of high character athletes. I believe we have all ingredients in place to jump a level and begin being competitive with the top teams in the region each year. Our goal is to always do better than the previous year. We’ll need everyone, including our new wrestlers, to step up, score bonus points and win matches on the back side to have a better regional tournament. I’m confident we have the ability to do that.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus lost standout Zeb Leavitt to graduation, but the Stags are stronger on balance and could be in for a very good season.

Lindstedt, Cheverus’ Fall Male Athlete of the Year, will contend at 182 pounds. King (126), Rice (152) and Sullivan (220) also have experience. Senior Aaron Merrill (heavyweight) and junior Joe Macaluso (132) return to the team after wrestling as freshmen and freshman Marshall Fowler (145) adds depth.

This promises to be the program’s best season yet and the optimism is understandable. The Stags will more than hold their own during the regular season and could be one of the top squads in the region and the state when February rolls around.

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

Senior Matt Duchaine is a key returner for a Cheverus boys’ basketball team seeking to make some noise this year.

Senior Akera Oryem will be a steady veteran presence for the Stags this winter.

Junior Lauren Jordan will be a leader and top player for Cheverus’ girls’ basketball team this season.

Meg Kelly will hit some big shots this winter for the Stags.

Senior Colby Anton will be in the middle of the action for Cheverus’ boys’ hockey team.

Junior Jackson Wilson will help pace what should be a potent Cheverus offense.

Junior Emma Gallant has already set a standard as one of the state’s elite sprinters. She’ll look to finish as the best in Class A this winter.

Emma White returns as one of the state’s premier jumpers.

Brim Peabody and his Cheverus boys’ swim teammates are looking to capture a seventh consecutive Class A state championship.

Annesley Black is back to excel on the slopes for Cheverus’ girls’ Alpine ski team this winter.

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