Greely Rangers Fall Sports Preview

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Senior Joey Casella and his Greely football teammates got to the Class B South playoffs again last fall. Casella figures to have another big season this year.

File photos.

More photos below.

FOOTBALL

Coach: David Higgins (10th year, 45-39 overall record)

2017 results: 6-4 (Lost, 45-19, to Marshwood in Class B South semifinal)

Top returning players: Joey Casella (Senior), Nick Male (Senior), Will Neleski (Senior), Colby Santana (Senior), Will Schumacher (Senior), Luke Stickney (Senior), Naveen Caron (Junior), Brady Nolin (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Sept. 14 MARSHWOOD, Sept. 21 @ Cape Elizabeth, Oct. 5 BIDDEFORD, Oct. 19 @ Falmouth 

Coach’s comment: “We only have 23 kids. It’ll be a process, but we always fight hard. A realistic goal for us is to compete hard over the course of the season. We hope to stay injury-free and want to make the playoffs.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Greely has reached the playoffs seven straight years, but stretching that streak to eight won’t be easy. The Rangers have very low numbers, even for a program used to making do, and will have to somehow stay healthy enough to compete week-in, week-out against much larger rosters. That’s not to say it can’t be done.

Male returns at quarterback. Casella, a Campbell Conference all-star in 2017, will be a top running back. Caron and Schumacher will also get their share of carries. Through the air, Male will look for Caron, Nolin and Schumacher. The line is anchored by Neleski and Santana.

On defense, Nolin plays nose guard and Neleski and Santana are also on the line. The linebacking corps features Caron and Schmacher. Casella and Stickney will pose a challenge in the secondary.

Greely’s schedule isn’t conducive for a team with low numbers, but no matter what, expect this group to give every ounce it has, to steadily improve and before the season is over, to spring a result that no one expects. Don’t be shocked if the Rangers manage to crash the postseason party.

BOYS’ SOCCER

Coach: Mike Andreasen (21st year, 203-102-27 overall record, four state championships)

2017 record: 9-6-1 (Lost, 2-1, to Cape Elizabeth in Class B South quarterfinal)

Top returning players: Silas Cunningham (Junior), Andy Moore (Junior), Chris Theodores (Junior)

Pivotal games: Aug. 31 @ Cape Elizabeth, Sept. 5 @ Freeport, Sept. 8 YARMOUTH, Sept. 15 @ Waynflete, Sept. 25 CAPE ELIZABETH, Sept. 28 FREEPORT, Oct. 2 @ Yarmouth

Coach’s comment: “We’re really young, but we’re working really hard. We only have two starters back. We’re building and we’ll learn as we go. If we play hard and don’t get outworked, we’ll be in most games. We want to win or tie enough of our games to get in. From there, who knows?”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Greely is starting nearly from scratch this fall, an unfamiliar predicament, but don’t write the Rangers off just yet. A proud program, with an accomplished coach and hungry kids, might just sneak up on some teams over the course of the year.

Cunningham returns to pace the offense up top. Senior Aiden Smith could be a threat on the wing. Greely’s midfield will be strong thanks to Moore, senior Evan Wyman, junior Ethan Fraser and sophomores Chase Cornwall, Lucas Goettel, Jonathon Pieski and Chris Williams. Theodores, senior Tommy Young and junior Jake Westra are top defenders. Junior Schuyler Wetmore, the lacrosse standout, will be in goal this season.

Greely’s schedule doesn’t allow for a gradual growth process. The Rangers will need to come of age quickly and early in the season, there will be some growing pains. If Greely does make the playoffs, it will make any potential foe very uncomfortable.

GIRLS’ SOCCER

Coach: Josh Muscadin (sixth year, 64-19-2 overall record, one state championship)

2017 record: 12-4 (Lost, 3-2, to Cape Elizabeth in Class B South semifinal)

Top returning players: Erin Clancy (Senior), Skylar Cooney (Senior), Julia Martel (Senior), Katie Bennert (Junior), Katherine Clancy (Junior), Sawyer Dusch (Junior), Paige Evans (Junior), Brooke Obar (Junior)

Pivotal games: Aug. 31 CAPE ELIZABETH, Sept. 6 @ York, Sept. 8 YARMOUTH, Sept. 25 @ Cape Elizabeth, Oct. 2 @ Yarmouth, Oct. 11 YORK

Coach’s comment: “We lost four seniors. Our new players need to adapt. We need to get to know each other. The goal is to bond and give our best. Of course, we’d love to win states, but I want the kids to excel in the classroom and on the field.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Greely is coming off another strong season, its 11th straight with double-digit victories, but for the first time in five years, the Rangers didn’t take part in the regional final. This fall, Greely has the necessary pieces to compete with two-time defending state champion Yarmouth and preseason favorite Cape Elizabeth.

Katherine Clancy made the WMC all-star team a year ago. She’ll be a key contributor on defense and in the midfield. Bennert and Erin Clancy are also back on defense. They’ll help Obar’s transition to goalkeeper (last year’s keeper, Camille Clement, isn’t playing this fall). On offense, the Rangers will miss standout Anna DeWolfe, who is focusing on basketball, but in her wake, Cooney, Dusch, Evans and Martel are all capable of finishing with regularity.

The Rangers know they’ll have many tough games as the season progresses, but their focus will be on playing their best when late October rolls around. Greely has what it takes to be one of the last teams standing yet again and with a little good fortune, the Rangers could go all the way.

FIELD HOCKEY

Coach: Chelsea Morley (first year)

2017 record: 7-7-1 (Lost, 3-2, to Poland in Class B South quarterfinal)

Top returning players: Maggie McCormick (Senior), Maddy Perfetti (Senior), Courtney Rog (Senior), Delia Knox (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Aug. 30 FREEPORT, Sept. 12 @ Yarmouth, Sept. 15 @ Poland, Sept. 26 YORK, Oct. 4 @ York, Oct. 10 @ Freeport 

Coach’s comment: “This year’s team consists of very well-rounded athletes, both on and off the field. We plan on honing our offensive skills and finishing in the circle. This team plans on focusing on the process of getting better each and every day and will reap the benefits.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Greely made it five consecutive trips to the postseason a year ago, but dropped a heartbreaker in the quarterfinals. The Rangers then said goodbye to coach Becki Belmore, who is replaced this fall by Morley, who played for the York juggernaut and later at the University of Maine-Farmington before serving as an assistant coach at Deering and Freeport. She inherits a squad that should be right in the thick of the playoff chase in a balanced Class B South.

While the departure of league all-stars Isabelle Bachelder, Meredith Sydney-Pickett (an all-state selection in 2017) and Ella Novick will be felt, the Rangers have some solid veterans returning, combined with some promising newcomers. The offense will be paced by Knox, McCormick, Perfetti and Rog. Sophomore Anna Doughan will be a force in the circle as well. Sophomore Bella Hendry is a player to watch on defense. Sophomore Cassie Ward and freshman Savannah Harvey were vying for the goalie position at press time. 

Greely will have its hands full with a challenging schedule, but should show steady improvement in the weeks to come. Another trip to the postseason is a distinct possibility and if the Rangers get there, they could be a very difficult foe.

VOLLEYBALL

Coach: Kelvin Hasch (17th year, 231-32 overall record, 10 state championships)

2017 results: 8-8 (Lost, 3-0, to eventual state champion Cape Elizabeth in Class B state semifinal)

Top returning players: Katy Ray (Senior), Maddie Scott (Senior), Morgan Selby (Senior)

Pivotal matches: Aug. 31 @ Falmouth, Sept. 6 BIDDEFORD, Sept. 13 @ Yarmouth, Sept. 20 @ Cape Elizabeth, Sept. 25 @ Scarborough, Oct. 2 CAPE ELIZABETH, Oct. 5 SCARBOROUGH, Oct. 16 FALMOUTH

Coach’s comment: “We’ve got some height this year. We’ll see how it comes together. I expect that we’ll get in the tournament, then I hope we can knock some teams off.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Greely wasn’t able to win a repeat title a year ago, but still managed to make life difficult for the opposition. This fall, the Rangers hope to challenge Cape Elizabeth and Yarmouth for Class B supremacy.

Selby is the top returner. She was a first-team league all-star in 2017 and will be one of the state’s top setters. Ray is a hitter to watch. Scott and senior Emma Spoerri, who was hampered by injuries last fall, will clog up the middle, along with senior Katie Fitzpatrick and junior Eliza Rowland, a transfer from Connecticut. Senior Zoe Watts, a transfer from Cheverus, will be the libero.

This isn’t a vintage Greely team, but the Rangers’ upside is high. Look for a vastly improved squad between Aug. 30 and the postseason, where Greely will be a team that no one wishes to face.

CROSS COUNTRY

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

2017 results:
(Boys) 3rd @ Class A state meet
(Girls) 2nd @ Class A state meet

Top returners:
(Boys) Nicolas Giandrea (Senior), Luke Marsanskis (Senior), Isaac Moore (Senior), Matthew Todd (Senior), Jack Gustafson (Junior), Sam Wilson (Sophomore)
(Girls) Julia Curran (Senior), Carolyn Todd (Senior), Marin Provencher (Junior), Elsa Dean-Muncie (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “The boys hope to better their third-place finish from last year. The girls have lost depth to graduation and are looking for strong 5-7 runners. It will be difficult to break into the top five in a very competitive Class A field.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: With a year of Class A competition under its belt, Greely is primed to once again be one of the top teams at that level.

The boys’ squad return state meet scorers Marsanskis (10th), Todd (16th) and Wilson (29th). Giandrea and Gustafson also have big meet experience and Moore provides depth and senior leadership. Freshman Zach Maestas looks to step in and make a quick impact. The Rangers will have their hands full with powers like Falmouth and Scarborough, but a fifth consecutive top five state meet showing is a good bet.

On the girls’ side, four of five state meet scorers are back, suggesting Greely will be vying for top honors. Last year, Todd was fourth individually. She’ll be elite again. Provencher (14th), Curran (22nd) and Dean-Muncie (48th) also return. The Rangers will be pushed by the likes of Bonny Eagle, Falmouth and Scarborough and defending champion Camden Hills looms at the state level, but Greely will be up for the challenge and could make it eight straight seasons placing in the top five on the big stage.

GOLF

Coach: Brian Bickford (10th year)

2017 results: 6-4 (no postseason)

Top returners: Greg Ryder (Senior), Rachel Smith (Senior), Jacob Whiting (Senior), Sawyer Gagnon (Junior), Jake MacDonald (Junior), Ben Rosenthal (Junior), Justin Fairbanks (Sophomore), D.J. Kenney (Sophomore), Andrew Klein (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: ”We are an interesting team with a lot of potential. A winning record in a tough conference would be great. Our goal beyond the conference is to go to Natanis.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Greely is a state match regular, but the Rangers fell short a year ago. This season, look for Greely to return to form.

Smith recently won the Maine Junior golf title. She’ll look to finish as the girls’ high school champion in October. Ryder and Whiting have senior experience. Fairbanks, Gagnon, Kenney, Klein, McDonald and Rosenthal all look to play big roles this year. Freshmen Patrick Johnson and Jacob Sharp are new to the squad and could make their mark as well.

The Rangers will have their hands full during the regular season, but that competition will help them be prepared for the state qualifier. Don’t be surprised if Greely gets back to Natanis and posts a high finish.

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

Junior Silas Cunningham is one of a few returning experienced players for Greely’s always-talented boys’ soccer team.

Junior Katherine Clancy is a reigning league all-star who will lead Greely’s girls’ soccer team deep into the playoffs once again.

Junior Sawyer Dusch will be in the middle of the action.

Senior Julia Martel is another scoring threat to watch.

Senior Maddy Perfetti is a veteran standout for a Greely field hockey team which expects to be back in the playoffs in October.

Delia Knox had a strong freshman season and is in line for a solid sophomore campaign.

Senior Courtney Rog is another top returning scoring threat.

Senior Morgan Selby hopes to lead Greely’s volleyball team back to the top of Class B.

Senior Luke Marsanskis was 10th at last year’s Class A boys’ cross country state meet. He’ll pace a strong Greely squad this season.

Senior Matthew Todd was 16th at last year’s state meet and is another top returner.

Senior Nicolas Giandrea hopes to place in Greely’s top five this year.

Senior Carolyn Todd placed fourth at last year’s Class A state girls’ cross country meet. She and her Greely teammates will make a run at the top spot this fall.

Marin Provencher placed 14th at the Class A state meet as a sophomore and looks to move up this fall.

Senior Julia Curran is another top returner for the Rangers.

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