Greely Rangers Fall Sports Preview

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Greely’s volleyball team had no peer in Class A a year ago. The Rangers hope to win another championship this fall, but this time around, they’re in Class B.

File photos.

More photos below.

FOOTBALL

Coach: David Higgins (ninth year, 39-35 overall record)

2016 results: 6-4 (Lost, 22-6, to Biddeford in Class B South semifinal)

Top returning players: Nolan Anderson (Senior), Tim Coyle (Senior), Shane DeWolfe (Senior), Nick Gauvin (Senior), Tual Kuoth (Senior), Luke Stickney (Senior), Joey Casella (Junior), Will Schumacher (Junior), Naveen Caron (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Sept. 1 @ Kennebunk, Sept. 8 MARSHWOOD, Sept. 15 WESTBROOK, Oct. 13 YORK, Oct. 20 @ Falmouth

Coach’s comment: “We have a lot of pieces, but not the complete puzzle. Our line is young and inexperienced. We don’t have a lot of depth with just 30 kids, but hopefully we can work some magic again.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: No one has mastered the art of making October magic quite like Higgins the past few seasons. Last year was yet another example as the undermanned Rangers lost their regular season finale at rival Falmouth, but a week later, they drove down Route 9 again and this time, shocked the higher seeded Yachtsmen in the quarterfinals. Graduation took its toll, as several key players, including Fall Male Athlete of the Year Paul Buchanan, departed and now Greely will have to build back to contender status again. Don’t bet against this program.

Gauvin returns under center. He’s a passing and running threat. Casella and Coyle both made the Campbell Conference all-star team in 2016 and will be top running backs. Caron will also see his share of carries. Kouth is a top lineman. Through the air, Gauvin can look for Anderson, Casella, DeWolfe, Schumacher and Stickney. When this offense is clicking, it will score its share of points.

On the other side of the ball, the Rangers will look to Anderson and Kouth to anchor the line. The linebacking corps features Caron, Casella and Coyle. In the secondary, Casella will see occasional time, alongside DeWolfe, Schumacher and Stickney.

Greely is again undermanned and again will be an underdog in most of its games, but the Rangers seem to embrace that role. This year’s team, like those of recent vintage, will need some time to hit their stride, but once Greely does, it will be dangerous. Again.

BOYS’ SOCCER

Coach: Mike Andreasen (20th year, 194-96-26 overall record, four state championships)

2016 record: 9-8 (Lost, 3-2, in OT, to eventual state champion Yarmouth in Class B South semifinal)

Top returning players: A.J. Eisenhart (Senior), Evan Goettel (Senior), Quinn Molloy (Senior), Matt Kramlich (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Sept. 1 YORK, Sept. 5 YARMOUTH, Sept. 16 @ Yarmouth, Sept. 19 @ Cape Elizabeth, Oct. 4 @ York, Oct. 5 CAPE ELIZABETH

Coach’s comment: “We’re still looking to put the pieces together. We lost nine starters, so we’re in a rebuilding mode, but for now, we’re undefeated until we run into York and Yarmouth. We need to win enough to get enough Heal Points to get into the playoffs. We want to get better by the end of the season.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Greely was mere moments away from ending Yarmouth’s two-year stranglehold on Class B last fall, but the Rangers gave up a late goal, then lost to the rival Clippers in overtime. Many key players then departed and the 2017 edition is largely starting from scratch, but expect Greely to improve mightily in the weeks to come.

This year’s team will turn to a new addition, senior Hazael Tshituka, to pace the offense. Tshituka, who comes to Cumberland from the Congo via Portland, is a difference maker with a great scoring touch. He’ll quickly become a household name. Other scorers to watch include Kramlich, Molloy and sophomore Andy Moore. The Rangers will be tough on the wings and will look to use their speed to flummox opposing defenses. Players to watch on the outside include seniors Sam Colesworthy and Colin Stewart, juniors Brendan Carrell and Aidan Smith and sophomore Silas Cunningham. On defense, Goettel returns and is joined by seniors Mike Geary, Sam Jagolinzer and Matt Strout and sophomore Chris Theodores. Eisenhart is back in goal and will be joined by senior Brandon George, who has seen time between the pipes before, but spent last year in France.

The Rangers face the region’s likely two best teams right out of the gate, so it will take some time to get up to speed. If Greely can make the playoffs for the seventh year in a row, it has the potential to enjoy another deep run. Rest assured that Yarmouth wouldn’t be very excited if the Rangers stand in its way with the season on the line.

GIRLS’ SOCCER

Coach: Josh Muscadin (fifth year, 52-15-2 overall record, one state championship)

2016 record: 12-5 (lost, 3-1, to Yarmouth in Class B South Final)

Top returning players: Molly Matthews (Senior), Bridget Roberts (Senior), Courtney Sullivan (Senior), Erin Clancy (Junior), Skylar Cooney (Junior), Anna DeWolfe (Junior), Katherine Clancy (Sophomore), Brooke Obar (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Sept. 1 YORK, Sept. 5 YARMOUTH, Sept. 16 @ Yarmouth, Sept. 19 CAPE ELIZABETH, Oct. 3 @ York, Oct. 5 @ Cape Elizabeth, Oct. 14 WAYNFLETE

Coach’s comment: “We only lost three players to graduation, but the girls will be in completely different spots. We just need to stay healthy. Our goal is to go until November. If we can stay healthy and put in the work, I think we can accomplish that.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Greely reached the regional final for the fourth year in a row last fall, but couldn’t repeat as state champions, falling to powerhouse Yarmouth. With most of last year’s squad returning, the Rangers have the ability to enjoy another deep run and with a little luck, they’ll find themselves back on the biggest stage.

Cooney and Sullivan are reigning league all-stars. Both will make their presence felt in the midfield and up top. DeWolfe also returns. She’ll do her share of goal scoring, as will Obar, who had a terrific freshman campaign. Erin Clancy, Katherine Clancy and Roberts will be top defenders in front of Matthews, who returns in goal. Junior Logan Pray and sophomore Sawyer Dusch will see time in virtually every position. Junior Julia Martel is a potential threat up top and sophomore Molly Hale will be called upon to play defense and in the midfield.

This team has a lot of players who can do a little of everything and that diversity will come in handy in the weeks to come against a tough schedule. Greely once again has enough talent to enjoy a triumphant campaign and it wouldn’t be a big surprise if the Rangers dethrone Yarmouth and wind up back atop the Class B heap.

FIELD HOCKEY

Coach: Becki Belmore (fourth year, 15-29-1 overall record)

2016 record: 5-10 (Lost, 2-1, in OT, to Poland in Class B South preliminary round)

Top returning players: Isabelle Bachelder (Senior), Elizabeth Brown (Senior), Sydney Meredith-Pickett (Senior), Ella Novick (Senior), Maddy Perfetti (Junior), Kylie Rogers (Junior)

Pivotal games: Aug. 31 FREEPORT, Sept. 8 @ Cape Elizabeth, Sept. 14 @ York, Sept. 16 YARMOUTH, Sept. 18 POLAND, Sept. 28 CAPE ELIZABETH, Oct. 9 YORK, Oct. 10 @ Freeport

Coach’s comment: “We return the entire team with more experience and confidence in qualifying and progressing further into the postseason.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Greely qualified for the playoffs for the fourth year in a row last autumn, but the Rangers lost in the preliminary round for the fourth straight time as well. This time around, Greely, with an experienced roster, could be in line for a big leap up the standings and could find itself in a position for a deep playoff run when all is said and done.

Meredith-Pickett was an all-state and a first-team league all-star last fall. She’s a force in the midfield who can put the ball in the cage. Perfetti made the second-team a year ago and will see time on the forward line along with Brown, Novick and promising freshmen Delia Knox and Hannah Perfetti. Bachelder anchors the defense in front of Rogers and Brown, who will both have an opportunity to see time in goal.

Greely lost five one-goal games a year ago (including three in overtime, capped by its playoff ouster). If the Rangers can simply muster a little more offense and turn those close losses into wins, they might be able to avoid the preliminary round altogether. All signs point to this being a season of growth for Greely. One which could well extend deep into late October.

VOLLEYBALL

Coach: Kelvin Hasch (16th year, 223-24 overall record, 10 state championships)

2016 results: 17-0 (Beat Scarborough, 3-1, to win Class A state title)

Top returning players: Sara Agren (Senior), Claire Davis (Senior), Coco Petrone (Senior), Morgan Selby (Junior)

Pivotal matches: Sept. 1 @ Falmouth, Sept. 7 BIDDEFORD, Sept. 12 @ Yarmouth, Sept. 19 GORHAM, Sept. 21 @ Cape Elizabeth, Sept. 26 @ Scarborough, Oct. 3 CAPE ELIZABETH, Oct. 14 FALMOUTH

Coach’s comment: “We have a lot of girls this year, by far the most we’ve had. It’s going to be a little more difficult this time around. There are a lot of good teams in Class B and everyone will be gunning for us. Why not aim for the top spot? We just might not be there all along.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Greely was clearly the state’s premier team a year ago, shaking off the disappointment of losing to Scarborough in the 2015 state final to produce 14 decisive victories in the regular season, not dropping a single set, a feat which had never before been accomplished in Maine high school play. While the Rangers did drop a few sets in the playoffs, they were able to finish the job and win the program’s 10th championship. While the graduation of all-state standout and Fall Female Athlete of the Year Kayley Cimino, as well as all-conference Molly Chapin, will be felt and while Greely has been reclassified into Class B, where several top foes await, another banner year could be in store.

Selby was a league all-star in 2016 and returns as the Rangers’ setter. Agren and Davis will be this year’s top hitters. Petrone remains one of the best liberos around and junior Emma Spoerri will also be a force at the net.

Greely will have to get past Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth and Yarmouth and that’s just in Class B. The schedule also features Biddeford, Gorham and Scarborough. While this year’s team won’t achieve the perfection of a year ago, rest assured, that as the season progresses, the Rangers will only get better. That means they’ll be in prime position to make a serious run at title number 11 in late October and by now, you know full well to never bet against Greely in the season’s biggest matches.

CROSS COUNTRY

Coach: David Dowling (21st year, 13 state championships)

2016 results:
(Boys) Class B state champions
(Girls) Class B state champions

Top returners:
(Boys) Adam Bruder (Senior), Trevor Rafford (Senior), Caleb Thurston (Senior), Jack Gustafson (Junior), Luke Marsanskis (Junior), Isaac Moore (Junior), Matthew Todd (Junior)
(Girls) Chloe Smith (Senior), Chloe Waldrep (Senior), Julia Curran (Junior), Carolyn Todd (Junior), Marin Provencher (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “We move up to Class A this year and hope to compete for a top five position. As the 2016 Class B state champions in both boys and girls, both teams will return many experienced runners. This will be crucial in facing stiffer competition at regionals and states.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Greely cornered the market on Class B excellence in 2016 and faces an even bigger challenge this fall as its enrollment places it in Class A for the postseason (the Rangers will continue to face their longtime Western Maine Conference foes in the regular season). Both teams have the pieces in place to again turn heads at the big meets.

The boys’ team returns three scorers from last year’s state meet. Marsanskis (sixth), Todd (14th) and Thurston (17th) are a great beginning. They’re joined by veterans Bruder, Gustafson, Moore and Thurston. Freshmen Sam Wilson and Leif Harvey add depth. The Rangers will be very good in the regular season, which they’ll use to improve to the point where they can take on the likes of Deering, Falmouth and Scarborough at the big meets. The class will be new, but the result will be similar as Greely should again be one of the finest teams around.

On the girls’ side, the loss of Katherine Leggat-Barr (third in Class B last season) will be felt, but three others who scored at states return, making up a formidable unit. Todd placed fourth last fall and will make a run at a top finish in Class A. Waldrep (24th) and Smith (28th) also have shown they know how to excel on the big stage. Julia Curran and Provencher also return. After long dominating in Class B, Greely is primed to show Class A what it’s all about. A seventh straight top five state meet finish is the likely result.

GOLF

Coach: Brian Bickford (ninth year)

2016 results: 10-0 (5th @ Class A state match)

Top returners: Nathan Cyr (Senior), Rachel Smith (Junior), Jake MacDonald (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: ”We hope to qualify for states at Natanis.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Greely accomplished quite a bit a year ago, winning a division championship while also seeing Erin Holmes win the schoolgirl championship. This time around, the Rangers appear very strong again.

Greely returns Smith, a first-team all-star who had a team-best round of 81 at the Class A state meet and shot a 79 to tie for sixth at the girls’ state meet. The sky’s the limit for her this fall. Cyr and MacDonald are veterans who hope to step in and play a key role. D.J. Kenney, Andrew Klein, Ben Rosenthal and Jacob Whiting are other players to watch.

The Rangers are poised for another very successful regular season and should make their way to Natanis again. If Greely can be at its best on the biggest stage, it could move up in the team standings.

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

Junior Joey Casella was an all-conference player in 2016 and helped Greely to another successful season on the gridiron. Casella will be a top running back for the Rangers this fall.

Senior Tim Coyle is another reigning all-conference player who will be a factor on offense and defense.

Senior Nick Gauvin is back under center for the Rangers.

Senior A.J. Eisenhart is back in goal for Greely’s boys’ soccer team, which is again chasing Yarmouth for the top spot in Class B South.

Senior Evan Goettel returns as a top defender for the Rangers.

Junior Skylar Cooney was an all-conference player in 2016. She’ll be a key contributor to a Greely girls’ soccer team that hopes to return to the pinnacle this season.

Junior Anna DeWolfe can do it all on the pitch, and has in her first two seasons.

Brooke Obar had a terrific freshman season for the Rangers. She’ll be a force to be reckoned with again this fall.

Senior Courtney Sullivan was an all-star last season and figures to stand out again in her final season in a Rangers uniform.

Senior Sydney Meredith-Pickett is a key returner for Greely’s field hockey team. Meredith-Pickett made the all-state team last year and projects to be a top scorer for the Rangers.

Junior Maddie Perfetti is another reigning all-star and returning scoring threat for the Rangers.

Junior Kylie Rogers will see time in goal again for the Rangers.

Senior Sara Agren is a top returning hitter for the defending champions.

Senior Coco Petrone is one of the state’s premier liberos.

Junior Morgan Selby is another key returner for the Rangers.

Junior Luke Marsanskis came in sixth at last year’s Class B boys’ cross country state meet helping Greely win the title. Expect more dominance from Marsanskis this year.

Junior Carolyn Todd is coming off a fourth-place showing at last year’s Class B state girls’ cross country meet, which helped Greely place first as a team. This season, the Rangers will be in Class A for the postseason and Todd again will be one of the best runners around.

Senior Chloe Waldrep also scored at last year’s state meet, placing 24th.

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