Coach: Josh Stowell (first year)
2014 record: 4-12 (no postseason)
Top returning players: Nick Bevilacqua (Senior), Kevin Goldberg (Senior), Sam Luebbert (Senior), Dominick Bernard (Junior)
Pivotal games: April 28 @ Gorham, April 30 BIDDEFORD, May 5 SOUTH PORTLAND, May 7 MARSHWOOD, May 15 GORHAM, May 21 @ Cheverus, May 23 @ Scarborough, May 29 PORTLAND
Coach’s comment: “I’m intrigued by what we have. We have a good mix of sophomores, juniors and seniors, younger pitching and older pitching. I think we have a solid group. I see a lot of good things. I want us to play aggressively all season and keep learning. I want us to get in the playoffs, then anything can happen.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: Deering took a step back into its glorious past and replaced Tim Eisenhart (who stepped down after last season) with Josh Stowell as head coach. Stowell was part of Class A state championship teams at Deering in 2003 and 2004 (as a first baseman/designated hitter) and was a key member of perhaps the most storied team ever to come out of the state, the Nova Seafoods squad which won the 2004 American Legion World Series. Stowell went on to play at the University of Southern Maine and as served as an assistant at Cheverus (as well as being a Deering boys’ basketball assistant) prior to coming home. He inherits a once-proud program which has missed the playoffs the past three seasons, winning just 10 games in that span.
Signs suggest the Rams are primed to turn things around. This year’s squad has some unproven, yet promising arms. Luebbert is the lone veteran on the hill. He went 3-4 with a 3.42 earned run average in 2014. He’s joined by sophomores Colby Dame and James Sinclair. If that trio can be consistent, Deering will be competitive every time out. Offensively, Bevilacqua is the top returner. He hit .352 and drove in seven runs last season, earning SMAA all-star second-team recognition. Bevilacqua will also anchor the infield at shortstop (he made the SMAA All-Defensive team as a junior). Outfielder Goldberg (.268 with a team-high 10 RBI in 2014) and Bernard (an outfielder who is primed to have a breakout season) are other bats to watch.
The Rams go into the season with nothing to lose and figure to take their chances on the basepaths. Deering lost six games by one, two or three runs a year ago. Often when a team loses an abundance of close games, it’s on the verge of making the jump. While a serious run at a championship is a stretch, this group will be one that turns heads and will only get better. It’s time for the Rams to get back to the postseason and this squad has the necessary ingredients to begin to wake up the echoes.
Coach: Anthony DiBiase (first year)
2014 record: 1-15 (no postseason)
Top returning players: Gabby Alvarez (Senior), Jade Jordan (Senior), Cassidy Coyne (Junior), Siobhan Densmore (Junior), Kaytlin DiBiase (Junior), Gabby Legaspi (Junior), Sydney Giroux (Sophomore), Kaylee Helmick (Sophomore)
Pivotal games: April 22 @ Portland, April 24 @ Cheverus, May 4 @ Portland, May 6 SOUTH PORTLAND, May 13 @ Scarborough, May 15 TA, May 29 MCAULEY
Coach’s comment: “We only graduated three players and have two seniors this year. The core of our team is juniors. I feel we’re more focused this year. The young ladies are constantly improving. If we can stay away from making errors, we’ll be in a lot of games. We need to stay away from long innings. The bats are a lot stronger than a year ago and we’ll look to put up a lot more runs. We’re looking to pick up where we left off after last season.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: Deering has spent a lot of time in the wilderness the past five seasons, but signs of a better tomorrow came in last spring’s finale, a 10-9 victory at Marshwood, which snapped a 50-game losing skid. John Moody stepped down as coach and was replaced by DiBiase, a Deering graduate, who played baseball, football and hockey in high school. He has a lengthy resume coaching in the city and spent the past couple season’s as Moody’s assistant. He inherits a squad ready to make a move up the standings.
The Rams will rely on pitchers Kaytlin DiBiase and Helmick to keep them in games. Jordan returns behind the plate. The infield features Coyne at first base, Densmore at second, Giroux at third and junior Cierra Burnham, a transfer from Portland, at shortstop. DiBiase (when she doesn’t pitch), Alvarez and Legaspi make up the outfield.
This is still a work in progress, but Deering should be competitive in most games. If the Rams get off to a promising start, look out. While a playoff run might still be a year away, this group will play hard every time out. The future holds tremendous promise.
Coach: Jon Dubois (fourth year, 19-22 overall record)
2014 record: 3-9 (no postseason)
Top returning players: Ryan Hazelton (Junior), Max Hornblower (Junior), Andrew Johnson (Junior), Nate Richards (Sophomore), Brent Rickett (Sophomore)
Pivotal games: April 24 CHEVERUS, April 28 @ Portland, May 1 TA, May 6 SCARBOROUGH, May 19 @ South Portland, June 2 @ Westbrook
Coach’s comment: “We had a rough season last year, but we’re doing better this year. We have more maturity from the kids returning. I’d like to go .500 or better. I’d like to get back to the playoffs. Having success against our city rivals, Cheverus and Portland, is another goal. I think we can compete.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: Last spring, Deering missed the playoffs for the first time since 2009. This season, the Rams are looking to return to form.
Richards was hindered by injury as a freshman, but is ready to really turn heads this spring. He’ll pace the offense, along with Johnson and Rickett. Hazelton and Hornblower are top defenders. After surrendering nearly 16 goals a game in 2014, that unit seeks to improve. Junior Connor Ray will be in goal. Several other players are eager to make their mark.
Deering has some tough tests out of the gate and if it can survive that gauntlet, could make a run at a playoff spot. This team could be a surprise in the weeks to come.
Coach: Aimee Burgos (first year)
2014 record: 3-9 (no playoffs)
Top returning players: Bristyn Leasure (Senior), Erin Mathews (Senior), Emily Mooney (Senior), Maddy Reid (Senior), Katie Cyr (Junior), Emily Krabbe (Junior), Micary Verville (Junior), Luci Santerre (Sophomore)
Pivotal games: April 30 @ Cheverus, May 12 @ Massabesic, May 14 @ Windham, May 19 SOUTH PORTLAND, May 25 MCAULEY, June 2 PORTLAND
Coach’s comment: “Preseason has been going really well. It’s exciting. We hope to get our record up from last year. This is the start of developing the foundation of a team and establishing some stability.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: A year ago, Deering fell short of the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season. This season, the Rams have some positive pieces in place. Burgos takes over as coach. She played at Gorham High School and coached for a year with the Scarborough Middle School program before taking over at Deering. She inherits a Rams’ squad that could surprise.
This year’s team will look to get things going behind Mathews and Verville in the draw circle. Krabbe and Mooney are other strong midfielders. Cyr and Santerre will look to pace the offense. Defensively, Leasure and Reid set the tone in front of new goalie, senior Evelyn Molina.
Deering has its share of winnable games on the schedule. Don’t be surprised if the Rams improve their record and are in hunt for a playoff spot come June. This group will only get better going forward.
Boys’ coach: Gerry Myatt (third year)
Girls’ coach: Kevin Campbell (second year)
(Boys) Tie-9th @ Class A state meet
(Girls) Tie-14th @ Class A state meet
Top returning athletes:
(Boys) Jacob Coon (Senior), David Doering (Senior), Yahya Hussein (Senior), David Mathew (Senior), Hany Ramadan (Senior), Iid Sheikh-Yusuf (Senior), Paolo DeMarco (Junior), Raffaele Salamone (Sophomore)
(Girls) Katie Farrell (Senior), Neilab Habibzai (Junior), Simone Lauture (Junior), Caitlin Lally (Sophomore)
Top foes: Cheverus, Scarborough, Thornton Academy boys; Scarborough, Thornton Academy, Westbrook girls
Coach Myatt’s comment: “We hope to score our share of points when we have the opportunity. We were lucky in indoors. Hopefully it happens again. We have decent numbers.”
Coach Campbell’s comment: “We’re excited by the younger runners we have on the roster this season. They will meld nicely with the experienced kids for a balanced team. We should have depth in all events.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: Both Deering outdoor track teams will be heard from in the weeks to come.
The boys have some elite front-line talent. If Ramadan comes anywhere close to the success he had indoors this spring, he’ll turn heads, win titles and break more records. Ramadan won the 55 and 200 in February and looks to add some hardware outdoors. Ramadan was second in the 400 last year. Hussein is the defending outdoor champion in the two-mile. He’s joined by Sheikh-Yusuf (fifth in the two-mile a year ago) to make up arguably the top distance contingent arond. Doering, junior Abdi Hassan and sophomore Hisham Ramadan make that group even deeper. Mathew and sophomores Jonata Mbongo and Jean-Claude Nzeza are other sprinters to watch. Coon, DeMarco (fifth in the 300 hurdles last year) and sophomore Mason Kaserman will seek to score in the hurdles. Deering has strength on the field side as well. Coon and Mathew are experienced jumpers. Kaserman, Nzeza and sophomores Roman Anderson and Ezra Chappola will be heard from too. Salamone and soccer standout Stephen Ochan look to score in the throws. The potential is there for the Rams to be very good in the regular season and perhaps improve upon last year’s state meet result and place in the top five for the first time since winning the Class A championship back in 2004.
On the girls’ side, last year’s state meet scorers (Alexis Elowitch and Rashad Zagon) graduated, but the cupboard is not bare. Farrell and Lally can score in the hurdles. Lauture is a sprinter to watch. Habibazi is a thrower to watch. Three freshmen provide depth and promise. Annah Rossvall will jump and hurdle, Lucy Turnavicus runs the distance and Nicole Whipkey is a threat in the middle distance. This group will be a threat to move up the standings by the time June rolls around.
Coach: Regina Morton (sixth year)
2014 results: 14-1 (Lost, 5-0, to eventual state champion Falmouth in Western A Final)
Top returning players: Kelvin Huynh (Senior), Jason Thach (Senior), Isaac Finberg (Senior), Will Weeks (Junior), Conor Doane (Sophomore)
Pivotal matches: April 27 @ Gorham, May 1 @ Portland, May 4 SCARBOROUGH, May 18 @ TA, May 20 CHEVERUS
Coach’s comment: “We should have another strong season. We have most of our starting lineup returning, but are looking to fill a big void left by Tyler Butler. Our expectation is to finish somewhere in the top five and head into the playoffs with the strongest team possible.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: Deering had a magical season in 2014, winning all 12 regular season matches, then downing Cheverus and Thornton Academy in the playoffs. Only the classification vagaries of Falmouth being placed in Class A for the playoffs kept the Rams from a chance at winning the championship. While the loss of Spring Athlete of the Year Butler will be felt, Deering should be very strong again.
Weeks was an all-star at doubles last season, but is vying for the number one singles spot this spring, along with Doane and Finberg. Huynh and Thach are pegged for doubles. Senior Jordan Sparks, juniors Marshall Abbott, Cameron Baxely, Victor Graviss and Greg Levinsky and sophomore Lukas Handanos are also in the running for spots.
The SMAA features several strong teams again, but the Rams could be as good as any of them. A fifth straight winning record and playoff berth awaits.
Coach: Stephanie Doane (fourth year)
2014 results: 5-8 (Lost, 4-1, to Gorham in Western A preliminary round)
Top returning player: Maddie Abbott (Junior)
Pivotal matches: May 1 PORTLAND, May 4 @ Scarborough, May 20 @ Cheverus, May 26 @ McAuley
Coach’s comment: “We hope to win 50 percent or more regular season matches and make it to the postseason.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: Deering has qualified for the playoffs in 15 of 16 seasons and should be in the hunt again this spring.
Abbott is the top returner. She was an SMAA second-team all-star a year ago and will play No. 1 singles. Junior Priscilla Maccario and sophomore Liva Pierce are in the second and third spots, respectively. Kerry Wells, Leilani Farnsworth, Monica Sak and Alexandra Green comprise the doubles teams. Cassi Bigelman, Deborah Mugaju, and Gemima Etina round out the lineup.
There are question marks to answer, but the Rams have promise. If the pieces fall into place, a winning record and another playoff trip are the likely result.
Nick Bevilacqua has plenty of experience and will help the Rams at the plate and in the field.
Kevin Goldberg is another key returner for the Rams.
Siobhan Densmore is a top returner for a Deering softball team ready to contend.
Kaylee Helmick had a strong freshman year and will help the Rams in the weeks to come.
Max Hornblower will be a force for the Deering boys’ lacrosse team this season.
Emily Mooney is a top returner for a Deering girls’ lacrosse team which hopes to contend this spring.
Sam Luebbert will be a top pitcher for a Deering baseball team hoping to make a run at a playoff spot this season.
More photos below.