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Cape Elizabeth Capers Winter Sports Preview

Winter Sports Previews

Cape Elizabeth Capers Winter Sports Preview

The Cape Elizabeth winter sports teams will be very competitive, which isn't exactly a news flash. Boys' basketball is coming off its third trip to the state final in four years and despite some big-time graduation losses, will be in the hunt again. The girls' squad continued its resurgence my making doing something last winter it hadn't done this century. The Capers will again be in the playoff hunt. Boys' hockey should be one of the best in Western B. The girls are hoping to make a run to the postseason. Track, swimming and skiing boast plenty of standout athletes as well.

BOYS' BASKETBALL

COACH: Jim Ray (18th year, 237-114)

2010-11 Record: 17-5 (Lost, 68-59, to Camden Hills in Class B state final)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Rob West (Senior), Henry Babcock (Junior), Chris Robicheaw (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 20 @ Greely, Jan. 4 @ Waynflete, Jan. 6 (H) POLAND, Jan. 10 @ Wells, Jan. 12 (H) YARMOUTH, Jan. 20 (H) FALMOUTH, Jan. 24 @ York, Jan. 31 (H) WELLS, Feb. 3 (H) YORK, Feb. 7 @ Yarmouth, Jan. 10 (H) GREELY

COACH’S COMMENT: “Theo (Bowe) stepped up huge last year. I don't know if I have anyone who can fill his shoes. If we can do it by committee, that will save us. The kids are working hard. They want to give their best and don't want to let anyone down. We have decent balance. Guys need to come off the bench and contribute, especially on defense. I hope we can be good enough to make the tournament. We'll build toward that.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: The Capers have a dramatically different look in 2011-12 after graduating league leading scorer and Winter Athlete of the Year Theo Bowe and longtime stalwarts Cam Brown and Joey Doane, along with role player Kyle Danielson. While several players are back, only two, Babcock and Robicheaw, saw big minutes. That means the season will be a growing process, as evidenced by a 60-37 loss in the opener at Falmouth. Cape Elizabeth played hard and showed glimpses, but the more experienced Yachtsmen put them away in the second half. This year, the offense will be paced by senior captain Matty Pierce at point guard. Babock and Robicheaw (who led the way in the opener with 10 points each) figure to be top scorers. West will be a force at both ends of the floor. Seniors Sam Donnelly and Max Gore and juniors Harrison Clarke, Chad Peterson (who had seven points versus Falmouth) and Kyle Snowden also show promise. While the Capers will have difficulty with the league's elite, they'll win their share of games and will certainly improve and play hard as the season goes on. By February, the roles will be defined and confidence will be gained. Cape Elizabeth won't have its usual high seed for the tournament, but it will be a team that no one will relish having to play.

GIRLS' BASKETBALL

COACH: Chris Roberts (fifth year, 26-48)

2010-11 Record: 9-10 (Lost, 67-39, to Leavitt in Western Class B quarterfinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Caroline Kelly (Senior), Kayla Raftice (Senior), Marlo Dell'Aquila (Junior), Shannon Nicholson (Junior), Maddy Riker (Junior), Kisa Tabery (Junior), Kate Miklavic (Sophomore), Mary Perkins (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 20 (H) GREELY, Dec. 22 @ Lake Region, Jan. 4 (H) WAYNFLETE, Jan. 20 @ Falmouth, Jan. 24 (H) YORK, Feb. 3 @ York, Feb. 10 @ Greely

COACH’S COMMENT: “We only lost Emily (Donovan), but she was everything. We're very young. We have seven sophomores. We should have depth. I think there will be a lot of close games. We're definitely a work in progress. We hope to get better and stronger. Everybody's starting to figure out their roles. The girls are excited and ready to get started. If we put it together, we'll cause problems.”

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Roberts has done wonders with this once-dormant program, punctuating the resurgence by getting the Capers to the quarterfinals for the first time since 1996, winning our Coach of the Year award as a result. While many players return, there is still a lot of work to do, a point that was hammered home with a 48-38 home loss to Falmouth in the opener. Cape Elizabeth did some things well, but the Yachtsmen pulled away in the second half. The Capers were paced in that one by 13 points from Raftice, who could become one of the league's better players. Sophomore Emma O'Rourke made her presence felt with eight points. Della'Aquila also had eight. Miklavic will run the offense at the point guard position and will look to score her share of points. She'll be spelled by sophomore Melanie Vangel, who burst on to the scene in the fall with her soccer excellence. Perkins and Riker are also guards. In the paint, joining Raftice will be Nicholson and Tabery. While elite teams like Greely, Lake Region and York will give Cape Elizabeth trouble, there are enough winnable games on the slate to suggest that the Capers will improve as the season progresses. If some consistent scorers emerge, a return trip to the postseason isn't beyond the realm of possibility.

BOYS' HOCKEY

COACH: Bill LeBlond (second year, 13-6)

2010-11 Record: 13-6 (Lost, 5-1, to York in Western Class B semifinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Nick Breed (Senior), Donald Clark (Senior), Connor Logan (Senior), Matt Ross (Senior), Kirby Saari (Senior), Austin Shields (Senior), Chris Grennon (Junior), Brandon Negele (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 14 @ York, Dec. 17 @ Scarborough, Dec. 22 (H) LEAVITT, Jan. 14 @ Greely, Feb. 4 @ Leavitt, Feb. 11 @ Yarmouth, Feb. 16 (H) YORK, Feb. 23 (H) GREELY

COACH’S COMMENT: “We're trying to play consistent hockey and make the playoffs.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: The Capers returned to form last year and are looking to go even deeper into the postseason this winter. They opened in style with a 6-2 victory over Yarmouth last weekend. The team promises to be potent on offense behind the likes of Breed (a first-team league all-star last year), Grennon, Shields and new senior Mackie Sweeney. Clark, Logan, Negele and Ross all have experience. Freshman defenseman Cole Caswell and freshman forward Jack Drinan figure to make an immediate impact. Saari (an All-Rookie team selection last winter) will be in goal. Cape Elizabeth has a challenging schedule, but will be able to go toe-to-toe with everyone. While Greely and defending Class B state champion York have dominated the region the past several years, the proud Capers program is ready to return to the top. This will be a team that's fun to watch. One that will provide plenty of thrills and victories in the weeks to come.

GIRLS' HOCKEY

COACH: Jason Bremiller (first year)

2010-11 Record: 5-13 (no postseason)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Lucy Crane (Senior), Roz Gray-Bauer (Senior), Kelsey Jackson (Senior), Emily Spidel (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 17 (H) FALMOUTH, Dec. 21 (H) GREELY, Dec. 23 @ Portland, Jan. 5 @ Falmouth, Jan. 11 @ York, Jan. 25 (H) YORK, Jan. 26 @ Cheverus, Feb. 1 @ Portland, Feb. 4 @ Scarborough

COACH'S COMMENT: “We're optimistic for an improved season. We have a strong core of returning players and a contingent of new players who are excited about the game. This season will be all about growth and development. We're trying to instill in our girls a passion for the game and a strong foundation of skills and habits. Hopefully, we'll continue to develop so we're playing the top teams tough by the end of the year.”

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: The Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete co-op team has a new coach this winter in Bremiller, who was formerly an assistant coach at The Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Conn. He inherits a squad that looks to be on the way up. After a 9-3 win at St. Dom's to start the year, the Capers lost to Scarborough (4-3 in overtime) and Cheverus (7-0) before evening their mark at 2-2 with an 8-3 victory over Gorham. Thus far, Gray-Bauer (one of the Waynflete players) has led a balanced scoring attack. Crane, Jackson (an honorable mention all-star a year ago), Spidel and Madeline Ciraldo will all be heard from. Julianne Ayers and Jenna Wallace are seeing time in goal. Freshmen Katie Bosworth, Kathryn Clark and Julia Ginder will make an impact. Cape Elizabeth should be competitive throughout, win more than games last year and if all goes well, get to participate in the postseason.

INDOOR TRACK

COACH: Doug Worthley (16th year)

2010-11 Results:

(BOYS) Tie-18th @ Class B state meet

(GIRLS) Tie-14th @ Class B state meet

TOP RETURNING ATHLETES:

(BOYS) Billy Brooks (Senior), Tom Bottomley (Senior), Tom Janick (Senior), Matt Propp (Senior), Zach Hillman (Junior), Conner Maguire (Junior), Brett Parker (Junior), Sam Sherman (Junior), Deven Roberts (Sophomore)

(GIRLS) Tori Brigham (Senior), Ziana Merlim (Senior), Ellen Best (Junior), Jane Coffrin (Junior), Emma Inhorn (Junior)

COACH’S COMMENT: “The boys have a lot of returning veterans and look to be stronger than last year. We want to send at least 10 athletes to states and place in the top eight. The girls look to send 10 athletes to states and place in the top six.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Both Cape Elizabeth indoor track teams have a legitimate shot at moving up the standings this winter.

The boys return Roberts as a state meet scorer. He placed seventh in the high jump. He's joined by sophomores Trevor Ewald and Trevor Gale. Propp leads the throwers. Freshman Will Kriger looks to make an impact. On the running side, Brooks, Bottomley, Hillman, Janick, Maguire, Parker and Sherman are top sprinters. The Capers will compete with just about everyone in the conference and should be more of a factor in February than they were a year ago.

On the girls' side, Brigham is a top distance runner, while Merlim leads the sprinters. She'll be joined by Coffrin and juniors Anna Brogan, Erin Lyons and Maria Tremblay. Other distance runners of note will be Best and Inhorn. Sophomores Isabel Johnston, Hannah Newhall, Hailey Petsinger and Addie Wood lead the jump contingent. Cape Elizabeth will be very competitive in conference. It's state meet goal is achievable.

SWIMMING

COACH: Ben Raymond (sixth year)

2010-11 Results:

(BOYS) 2nd @ Class A state meet

(GIRLS) 12th @ Class A state meet

TOP RETURNING SWIMMERS:

(BOYS) Noah Backer (Senior), Marcus Cloutier (Senior), Kevin Flathers (Senior), Ian McInerney (Senior), Tom Robinson (Senior), Jackson Berman (Junior), Jacob Brady (Junior), Evan Long (Junior), Peter Doane (Sophomore), Jordan Petersen (Sophomore)

(GIRLS) Julia Hintlian (Senior), Heather Kraft (Senior), Claire Muscat (Senior), Lindsey Stephen (Senior), Lyndsey Tanabe (Senior), Catherine Tierney (Senior), Noelle Webster (Senior), Elle Richards (Junior), Jane Vaughan (Sophomore)

COACH’S COMMENT: “The outlook is very good for both the boys and girls. The boys return two of the top swimmers in the state. If we get some others to step up and replace the points we graduated, we should again be in the top three. This could be one of the fastest girls' teams we've had in awhile. The new swimmers add a ton of talent and speed. We have at least three girls who will challenge to win multiple events at states. It should be an exciting season.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Plenty of triumph is in store for both Cape Elizabeth swim teams.

The boys were second to powerhouse Bangor at last year's state meet and are ready for another run at the top spot. Cloutier returns after winning the Class A title in both the individual medley and 100 freestyle. He'll also swim the backstroke and butterfly. Long is also a two-event state champ, in the 50 and 200 free. Cloutier and Long were also part of the 200 freestyle relay team champion. Flathers was the runner-up diver a year ago. Doane placed fourth in diving. Robinson (seventh in the 500 free, ninth in the 200 free) and Backer (10th breaststroke) also scored. Berman (200 free), Brady (fly, IM), McInerney (50 free, backstroke) and Petersen (free) are other returners of note. Adding depth are three newcomers, Brian Brett (50 free), Reese McFarlane (freestyle, breaststroke) and Griffin Thoreck (50, 100 free). Cloutier and Long will continue to carry this team and the balance and depth the Capers feature will make them very difficult to beat from now until February vacation week. Another high state finish is almost certain.

On the girls' side, Tierney is the top returner. She placed fifth in the 500 free and sixth in the 200 free at last year's state meet. Webster was 12th in the 500 free. Richards and Tanabe were relay scorers. Hintlian (IM, fly), Kraft (sprint freestyle, breaststroke), Muscat (IM, fly), Stephen (backstroke) and Vaughan (200 and 500 free, IM) are also back looking to make a splash. Newcomers include senior Gabrielle Cloutier (freestyle, fly, IM, backstroke), sophomores Caroline Harriman (freestyle), Hannah Homans (freestyle, backstroke, fly) and Sidney Wight (all events) and freshman Sierra Bates (freestyle, fly). Cape Elizabeth's talent and depth will be difficult for anyone to match. The Capers will be very impressive in the regular season and should be able to make a big jump up the standings at the postseason meets.

SKIING

Combined results:

(BOYS) 5th @ Class B meet

(GIRLS) No score @ Class B meet

ALPINE

COACH: Shawn Guerrette (fifth year)

2010-11 Results:

(BOYS) 4th @ Class B state meet

(GIRLS) No score @ Class B state meet

TOP RETURNING SKIERS:

(BOYS) Sam Barber (Senior)

(GIRLS) Sara Paclat (Sophomore)

COACH’S COMMENT: “This is the best boys' team I've ever had. We have great new additions. We'll do well. I think the girls will be reasonably competitive. I'd be happy if we're in the top 50 percent in the conference. We're definitely rebuilding.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Look for exciting things from the Cape Elizabeth Alpine ski program this winter.

The boys return Barber, a league all-star who was the champion of the slalom and placed eighth in the giant slalom at last year's Class B state meet. Junior Sam Kozlowski (24th in the GS), sophomore Luke Dvorniak (31st in the slalom, 33rd in the GS), freshman Curtis Alexander and new junior Max Barber make this a very talented squad. The Capers might have their best season yet when all is said and done.

On the girls' side, after not scoring at states a year ago, the Capers boast some promise this time around. Paclat was 12th in the GS and 16th in the slalom. She's joined by new sophomores Margeaux Rioux (a transfer from Scarborough) and Sammi Altznauer and freshman Emma Landes to make up a formidable crew. Look for this team to make some noise over the next couple months.

NORDIC

COACH: Nick Kline (first year)

2010-11 Results:

(BOYS) 8th @ Class B state meet

(GIRLS) 6th @ Class B state meet

TOP RETURNING SKIERS:

(BOYS) Matt Barksdale (Senior), James Yokabaskas (Junior)

(GIRLS) Francesca Governali (Junior), Dana Hatton (Sophomore)

COACH’S COMMENT: “We're looking to turn some heads in the conference.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Cape Elizabeth has a new coach this year in Kline, who raced at Colby and last year was the assistant coach there. He inherits some talent.

The boys are paced by Yokabaskas (10th in the freestyle, 14th in classic at last year's state meet) and Barksdale (33rd freestyle, 36th classic). Several freshmen hope to make a mark as the Capers look to better last year's results.

On the girls' side, Hatton is the top returner. A league all-star, Hatton was 11th in the freestyle last season. Governali (29th freestyle, 34th classic) will also be heard from. Freshman Amelia Morrissey will be in the mix. This team should be competitive in the conference and at the state meet.

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

Photo: File photo

Junior Henry Babcock played in some huge games a year ago and will called upon this winter to lead an inexperienced Capers boys' basketball team to the playoffs.

Photo: File photo

Junior Kisa Tabery was in the middle of the action last year when the Cape Elizabeth girls' basketball team got to the quarterfinals for the first time this century.

Photo: File photo

Senior Thomas Bottomley will be one of the league's top runners.

Photo: File photo

Junior Ellen Best is a distance runner to keep an eye on this winter.