Greely Rangers Fall Sports Preview

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Greely will be chasing state championships in several sports this season. The boys’ soccer team found lightning in a bottle a year ago and won a somehwat unexpected Class B title. The girls’ reached the regional final before being bested and this time, look to finish the job. Football has been a playoff regular and despite a small roster, should be in the mix again. Field hockey welcomes a new coach and hopes to stay in contention. Cross country again has no shortage of top runners. Golf might just be the best team in Class A. Volleyball fell short of its accustomed championship in 2013, but looks to remedy that this season.

BOYS’ SOCCER

COACH: Mike Andreasen (17th year, 165-80-21 overall record, four state championships)

2013 record: 14-2-2 (Beat Camden Hills, 1-0, to win Class B state championship)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Ben Ingraham (Senior), Ben Leverett (Senior), Harry Shain (Senior), John Wright (Senior), Jacob Nason (Junior), Austin Nowinski (Junior), Nick Pronovost (Junior), Lucas Watt (Junior), Hunter Graham (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 9 @ Yarmouth, Sept. 13 @ Falmouth, Sept. 23 CAPE ELIZABETH, Sept. 30 FALMOUTH, Oct. 11 @ Cape Elizabeth, Oct. 17 YARMOUTH

COACH’S COMMENT: “It will be tougher for us this year. (Matt) Crowley was a star. Jacob’s a star, but we don’t have star-power after that. We need other people to step up. I think we’ll be around where we were last year and I’d be happy with that. We hope it comes down to one night again.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Greely sure made the most of its first year in Class B. After a solid regular season, the Rangers were viewed as second fiddle to Yarmouth, especially after getting pounded by the Clippers late in the year, but on that “one night” that Andreasen alludes to, Greely shook off an early Yarmouth goal in the regional final, tied the score before halftime, then won it on a late tally from Crowley. The Rangers then outlasted a very good Camden Hills squad in the cold to win it all. Repeating won’t come easily (Greely hasn’t gone back-to-back since 1974-75), but you wouldn’t be wise to overlook this squad. Crowley, the school’s Fall Male Athlete of the Year, goalkeeper Alex McAdoo and midfielder Aidan Black are among those who graduated, but there is talent in reserve.

Leading that list is Nason, who made the all-state team as a sophomore after scoring 13 key goals. The bigger the game, the better Nason, a captain, plays. Since Nason will always be the focal point of the opposition, he’ll need some support putting the ball in the net and that figures to come from Graham, who had a strong freshman campaign, Ingraham, Leverettt and Pronovost and a pair of transfer students, senior Luis Villa (from Spain) and sophomore Paul Bischoff (from Germany). Considering Spain won the 2010 World Cup and Germany took home the title this past summer, it’s safe to say those two will fit in. Defensively, Shain, a captain, along with Nowinski and junior Chris Perry will try to keep the Rangers’ many talented foes at bay. Sophomore Dylan Fried will also figure into the mix. Wright, a captain, replaces McAdoo in goal after serving as his backup in 2013.

It will be a process for Greely to hit its stride and the Rangers’ schedule won’t do them any favors. By the end of the year, however, look out. This could be a very dangerous squad once more. Perhaps one that again makes the most of the biggest stage.

GIRLS’ SOCCER

COACH: Josh Muscadin (second year)

2013 record: 11-5-1 (Lost, 4-2, to Cape Elizabeth in Western B Final)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Mia Lambert (Senior), Maddie McKenney (Senior), Kristina Volta (Senior), Allison Coon (Junior), Izzy Hutnak (Junior), Jocelyn Mitiguy (Junior), Kelsey Otley (Junior), Maggie Reed (Junior), Ellie Schad (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 9 @ Yarmouth, Sept. 13 FALMOUTH, Sept. 23 @ Cape Elizabeth, Sept. 27 FREEPORT, Sept. 30 @ Falmouth, Oct. 2 @ York, Oct. 10 CAPE ELIZABETH, Oct. 17 YARMOUTH, Oct. 21 YORK

COACH’S COMMENT: “We lost a lot from last year, 10 seniors, but a lot of last year’s juniors played. We’ll try to minimize our mistakes and stay focused and healthy. I hope to have a lot of different girls score. It’s up to us to determine our destiny. Cape is the team to beat. We’ll have to take care of business with them before we can do anything else. Our goal is always to win a Gold Ball”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Greely won at Cape Elizabeth last year in the regular season, but in the playoffs, despite a rally from an early 2-0 deficit, the Rangers couldn’t do it again and fell short of advancing to the state final for the ninth straight autumn. Greely is always knocking on the door and this could be the season, the Rangers kick it in.

The offense returns two all-Western B regional standouts in Hutnak and Mitiguy. Coon, Lambert, Schad and Volta will also make their presence felt. On defense, McKenney, Otley and Reed all have speed, athleticism and experience in front of new goalie, junior Maddie Cyr.

Some holes need to be filled, but there’s no denying this squad’s promise. While Greely will have its hands full with a daunting schedule, it will be battle tested by the time the playoffs begin. This time around, the Rangers might just be able to deny Cape Elizabeth, as well as any other team standing between them and their first championship since 2002.

FOOTBALL

COACH: David Higgins (sixth year, 25-20 overall record)

2013 results: 5-4 (Lost, 26-19, to Westbrook in Western B quarterfinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Nick Dubois (Senior), Ryan Pomeroy (Senior), Andrew Verrill (Senior), Nate Grandchamp (Junior), Sam Peck (Junior), Matt Pisini (Junior), Isaiah Richardson (Junior), Andrew Ray (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 5 @ Marshwood, Sept. 26 WESTBROOK, Oct. 2 KENNEBUNK, Oct. 10 @ York, Oct. 24 FALMOUTH

COACH’S COMMENT: “We have 32 kids, which is down a little from last year. We lost almost all of our linemen, but we have seven starters back. We’re very young and inexperienced, but we’ll be OK at our skill positions. I think we’ll be a lot better at the end of the season than at the beginning. We always have playoff hopes. We have to stay away from the injury bug and have things fall into place.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Greely got to the playoffs again last fall in a season which saw the Rangers handle eventual champion Cony in a late season contest. Graduation wasn’t kind to the program (all-stars James Ferrar, Connor Hanley and Dylan Rasch were among those who departed) and as a result, the Rangers have small numbers, as well as some big shoes to fill.

At least Greely returns its quarterback and Pisini, a Campbell Conference all-star in 2013, is a good one. Pisini will do his share of running, but will look often to Grandchamp, Peck, Ray and Verrill to help move the chains. Freshman fullback Nolan Anderson will help open holes. Through the air, Pisini will throw to Dubois, who was hurt much of last season, and new junior John Riolo. Pomeroy, a captain, anchors the offensive line.

Defensively, the same cast of characters will try to hold back the opposition. The line features Richardson, who will be joined by Pomeroy. Linebackers include Anderson, Peck and Ray. Dubois, Pisini, Ray and Verrill will be active in the secondary.

Greely will measure itself against the preseason favorite, Marshwood, in the opener Friday. The Rangers should show steady improvement and if all goes well, their annual showdown with Falmouth won’t be the end of their season. Another trip to the playoffs won’t come easily, but if it comes, it means that this team has made nice strides in a short period of time.

FIELD HOCKEY

COACH: Becki Belmore (first year)

2013 record: 4-10-1 (Lost, 1-0, to Freeport in Western B preliminary round)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Sophie McMonagle (Senior), Anna Murphy (Senior), Mikela Nolin (Senior), Maura Perry (Senior), Lucy Wetzel (Senior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 3 @ Lake Region, Sept. 9 FALMOUTH, Sept. 11 @ York, Sept. 15 @ Cape Elizabeth, Sept. 19 LAKE REGION, Oct. 1 YORK, Oct. 7 CAPE ELIZABETH, Oct. 9 FREEPORT, Oct. 13 @ Falmouth

COACH’S COMMENT: “’The coaching transition has been very good for the girls and easy for me having been part of the program. We have very few returners and a lot of new-to-varsity seniors. We’ll get playing time for our younger players and see how things fit together. We have to step up and support the defense and put the ball in the net. We made the playoffs last year. We’d like to go deeper this year.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Greely has made the playoffs every year but one this century and could be a team that makes impressive strides in the weeks to come. After seven seasons, Kristina Lane Prescott stepped down as coach and was replaced by Belmore, her assistant. Belmore played at Freeport High School and coached at various levels in Massachusetts and Maine. She’ll take over a team looking to compete in a very deep Western Class B.

McMonagle, Nolin, Perry and Wetzel are top scoring threats. Murphy leads the defense. Freshman Elizabeth Brown will step into the cage. She could be there four years if all goes well.

This will be a work in progress, but these Rangers know that the program’s standards are high and they’ll do all they can to get back to the postseason. If that happens, Greely could be a team capable of making life miserable for its foes.

CROSS COUNTRY

COACH: David Dowling (17th year, 10 state championships)

2013 results:
(BOYS) DNQ for Class B state meet (8th @ regionals)
(GIRLS) 3rd @ Class B state meet

TOP RETURNING RUNNERS:
(BOYS) Troy Cochrane (Senior), Chris Goding (Senior), Ryan Morrison (Junior), Connor Rog (Junior)

(GIRLS) Emma Mason (Senior), Kristina Smith (Senior), Sophie Stickney (Junior)

TOP FOES: Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, Freeport, Yarmouth, York

COACH’S COMMENT: “The girls return three of the top five and hope to improve on last year’s finish at states. The boys return four of the top seven. They hope to make it to states and impact the top teams there.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Both Greely cross country teams face challenges this autumn, but both have the necessary pieces in place to be a force at the conference, regional and state levels.

The boys failed to qualify for states a year ago. That hadn’t happened since 2005 and was just the third such occurrence since 1994. This time around, the Rangers have a couple top runners leading the way. Cochrane qualified for states as an individual in 2013 and came in 23rd. Rog placed 38th. Joining them is Goding, who placed 54th at the regional meet. Morrison also has experience. A trio of newcomers: junior Kyle Hansen and sophomores Max Stickney and Ben Wilson provide depth. Greely has never failed to qualify for states in successive seasons. Don’t expect that to happen this fall. This is a team that will get a lot better in the weeks to come.

On the girls’ side, the departure of superstar Kirstin Sandreuter, Greely’s Fall and Spring Female Athlete of the Year, will certainly be felt. She was a once in a generation talent. This year, the Rangers will be led by Mason (11th at states a year ago) and Stickney (36th). Smith is primed to make a name for herself. Three promising additions: sophomore Kathryn Leggat-Barr and freshmen Kate Curran and Izzie Evans will step right in and contribute. Greely should be able to extend its state streak to seven years and could be among the best teams in Class B once again when the dust settles.

GOLF

COACH: Brian Bickford (sixth year)

2013 results: 9-1 (4th @ Class A state match)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Chaz Reade (Senior), Sam Burgoyne (Junior), Nathan Gervais (Junior), Aidan Roberts (Junior), Jacob Storey (Junior), Ryan Megathlin (Sophomore), Erin Holmes (Sophomore), Sarah Novick (Sophomore), Joe Piwowarski (Sophomore), Tate Porter (Sophomore)

TOP FOES: Gorham, Thornton Academy

COACH’S COMMENT: “We have a young team, but we should be competitive. We’ll continue a tradition of strong girls’ players. We’re hopeful to be competitive with a goal of making the state championships in October..”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Greely was excellent in 2013 and while the roster is underclassmen-laden, it might just win the program’s first state title in golf since capturing Class B back in 1995.

This year’s team will be led by Burgoyne, who was a second-team all-star a year ago after shooting a 79 at the team state match and an 85 at the Class A individual championships. He’s joined by Roberts (85 at states) and Gervais (89 at states). Megathlin and Porter also have experience and have played well during tryouts. Piwowarski, Reade and Storey hope to figure into the mix. Freshmen Nathan Bryant, Nathan Cyr, Eben Kiesow and Duncan Lary add depth and will look to get an opportunity. Then there’s the girls’ element. The Rangers always seem to boast some of the best female golfers in the state and 2014 will be no different. A year ago, Holmes made the girls’ all-star team after tying for 10th at states with a round of 98. Novick came in 25th. They’re joined by sophomores Katilin Hughes and Jenna Pavis and freshman Hannah Storey.

Greely is in a tough division and even making it to states is no guarantee, but the guess here is that the Rangers will qualify and will do very well on the big stage, not only as a team, but the following week, when several individuals will follow suit.

VOLLEYBALL

COACH: Kelvin Hasch (13th year, 177-17 overall record, nine state championships)

2013 results: 11-5 (Lost, 3-1, to Scarborough in Class A semifinals)

TOP PLAYERS: Emily Buchanan (Senior), Lauren Weickert (Senior), Hannah Butland (Junior), Alex Tebbs (Junior), Kayley Cimino (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL MATCHES: Sept. 5 YARMOUTH, Sept. 11 CAPE ELIZABETH, Sept. 16 GORHAM, Sept. 18 BIDDEFORD, Sept. 23 FALMOUTH, Sept. 29 @ Scarborough, Oct. 9 @ Falmouth, Oct. 16 @ Cape Elizabeth

COACH’S COMMENT: “We have five players returning. Add to that a lot of new faces and new-to-volleyball players and it will be interesting to see where we go in this rebuilding year. New players will have to come on fast to make an impact. Expect for us to push some teams to five sets.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: The phrase, “rebuilding year,”as a different meaning at Greely as it does elsewhere. While many schools hope to simply make the playoffs while reloading, the Rangers expect to be in the hunt for a championship, something the program has managed in nine of its dozen seasons. Several key players return and there are a couple notable additions as well.

Cimino made the all-state team as a freshman. She’s a top setter. Butland is a setter as well. Top hitters include Buchanan, Tebbs and Weickert. Greely will be bolstered by the arrival of sophomore Molly Chapin, who had a terrific freshman basketball season. She never played the sport until this summer, but she’s already turning heads with her hitting skills. Hasch calls her the team’s “wild card.” Freshman Coco Petrone looks to help fill the void at libero after Lexi Foster graduated.

Just because the Rangers aren’t the best team on paper doesn’t mean they should be overlooked. This group always improves as the season progresses and there’s so much pride in doing well in the postseason that it often become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Greely has work to do, but could wind up being the last team standing. Again.

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

Greely’s football team should be in the hunt for a Western B playoff spot, thanks in part to the leadership of junior quarterback Matt Pisini.

Junior Isaiah Richardson will be a force on both sides of the line of scrimmage.

Junior Jacob Nason has scored an abundance of big goals for Greely’s boys’ soccer team. He’ll be the center of attention again as the Rangers go for a repeat crown.

Senior Ben Ingraham will be in the middle of the action in the middle of the field in the weeks to come.

Junior Austin Nowinski is another key returner for the defending champs.

Junior Izzy Hutnak has scored her share of big goals for Greely’s girls’ soccer team, which hopes to go another step this fall and reach the state final for the first time in a decade.

Junior Jocelyn Mitiguy is a matchup nightmare for the opposition.

Junior Maggie Reed will do a little of everything on the pitch for the Rangers this fall.

Playoffs is the goal for senior Maura Perry and her Greely field hockey teammates.

Senior Troy Cochrane is a key returner for a Greely boys’ cross country team looking to qualify for states this fall.

Senior Emily Mason just missed out on a top 10 finish at last year’s state meet and should help Greely’s girls’ cross country team to another strong season.

Senior Kristina Smith provides depth for the Rangers.

Kayley Cimino made the all-state volleyball team as a freshman and will look to lead Greely to a title this fall.

Junior Hannah Butland is another key returner for the Rangers.

Junior Alex Tebbs will make her presence felt at the net.

Sidebar Elements


Greely’s boys’ soccer team saved its best for last in 2013 and won the Class B title in memorable fashion. The Rangers are primed for an encore in 2014.

File photos.

More photos below.

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