McAuley Lions Spring Sports Preview

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McAuley’s spring sports teams hope to build on the excitement from the basketball team’s title this winter. Softball, with better health and some promising additions, will be a contender. Lacrosse, featuring a transcendent talent, will make life difficult for the opposition. Outdoor track has several athletes who will be in the mix. Tennis, as always, will be on the short list of title contenders.

SOFTBALL

Coach: Robbie Ferrante (fifth year, 32-35 overall record)

2013 record: 2-14 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Heather Chapman (Senior), Lauren Coulombe (Senior), Sam Libby (Senior), Taylor Whaley (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 28 @ Cheverus, May 3 CHEVERUS, May 7 @ Portland, May 30 DEERING

Coach’s comment: “Last year was a step back, but we had injuries. If we can stay healthy, I’m shooting for the playoffs. Pitching is a strength. I don’t know if we’ll score much. We should be competitive against most teams.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: After setting a program-high in wins (13) and making it to the semifinals for the first time ever in 2011, the Lions have trended backwards, but last year’s record comes with a caveat: injuries. McAuley lost both pitchers to maladies last spring and couldn’t recover (eight games ended early due to the 12-run mercy rule). This year’s team, however, expects to be much more competitive. For starters, both hurlers, Libby and Whaley, are now healthy and both are veterans. Chapman (an honorable mention league all-star last season) and Coulombe (last seen making the final basket of the Class A state final back in March) bring experience as well. A couple of newcomers show great promise with the bat. Catcher Ally Tillotson, another player who has made her mark on the hardwood, and Maddie Beaulieu, who tripled and homered in the Lions’ 7-5, 14-inning loss to Marshwood in the opener, will make this lineup much more potent. While McAuley lacks the firepower to contend with the upper echelon teams in the league, it should be able to compete quite nicely with most of the squads on the schedule. Surpassing last year’s win total, even tripling or quadrupling it, is likely. If this year’s team can avoid the injury bug and show steady improvement, it might just make its way back to the playoffs. These unheralded Lions are ready to roar.

LACROSSE

Coach: Jo-Ellen Rand (12th year, 45-89 overall record)

2013 record: 3-9 (no playoffs)

Top returning players: Katherine Lake (Senior), Natalie Juris (Junior), Kathryn McBrady (Junior), Rachel Taylor (Junior), Kaeli Leddy (Sophomore), Elizabeth Poulin (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 30 @ Marshwood, May 16 @ NYA, May 20 PORTLAND, May 22 @ Gorham, May 27 DEERING, May 29 WINDHAM, June 3 @ Cheverus

Coach’s comment: “Our team is very young, but the work ethic is outstanding, If the players give 110 percent each day, I feel as the season goes on we will surprise a few teams. We have our leading scorer, Katherine Lake, back for her final season, so she will be our leader out on the field and our go-to-player. Our goal is to make the tournament and to improve our record from last year.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Opposing teams would be smart to not overlook the Lions this spring. McAuley has a lot of athleticism and potential. Leading the way will be the program’s standout and one of the best players around, Lake, who lit up opposing teams last spring to the tune of a whopping 61 goals, and also takes draw controls. Lake, a second-team league all-star in 2013, will look to share scoring duties with Juris and Leddy. Junior Allison Tardif also hopes to join in the fun. In the midfield, the Lions feature Poulin, an All-Rookie team selection last season, who is joined by new juniors Greta DiPierro and Amanda Spink. The defense is keyed by McBrady, Taylor and new sophomore Jordyn Carr. Junior Avery Roma, a transfer from Thornton Academy, is new in goal. While the opposition will key on Lake, McAuley has several other girls who can hurt you. If the defense can slow down the opposition, the Lions will be in just about every game. If this group can earn some early confidence, the victories will come and McAuley will make a run at a first-ever winning mark and its first playoff berth since 2005.

OUTDOORTRACK

Coach: Tim Donovan (12th year)

2013 results: 9th @ Class C state meet

Top returning athletes: Katherine Possiel (Senior), Olivia Smith (Senior), Ayla Tartre (Junior), Emma Downey (Sophomore), Rebecca McNamara (Sophomore)

Top foes: Cheverus, Deering, Scarborough, TA, Westbrook

Coach’s comment: “Our team is very small. It will be very tough to win small meets, but we will be very competitive in the larger meets. We just won’t have enough kids to put together points. It’s always very exciting to coach a new team and we all have a lot of fun. We’re looking forward to the season.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: McAuley’s strength is in its quality, not its quantity this spring. There are some accomplished athletes on the roster led by Smith, a basketball standout, who will be playing hoops at Dartmouth College. She will throw this season. Tartre, who made a name for herself this past winter on the hardwood, will jump and throw. Downey is the lone returning scorer from last year’s state meet where she placed fifth in the racewalk. Possiel will compete in both middle distance and the jumps, where she will be joined by McNamara. A bevy of newcomers help the cause. Sophomore Summer Bourque will sprint, jump and compete in relays.Junior Monica Hutchinson is a thrower to watch. Then there are four freshmen: Julia Bailinson, Lily Bergh, Samantha Witkowski and Elena Woods, who could be factors. Bailinson jumps and sprints. Burkin will jump and run distance. Witkowski jumps, runs middle distance and pole vaults and Woods takes part in the jumps and middle distance. The Lions will steal some individual thunder as the season progresses. Look for some girls to turn heads at the SMAA and state meets.

TENNIS

Coach: Joe Kilmartin (27th year, 260-91 overall record, one state championship)

2013 record: 7-7 (Lost, 4-1, to Portland in Western A quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Mary Furlong (Junior), Siobhan Kenneally (Junior), Kathleen O’Brien (Junior), Sun Yool-Park (Junior), Devri Ramsay (Junior)

Pivotal matches: May 7 @ Cheverus, May 21 SCARBOROUGH, May 27 @ Deering

Coach’s comment: “Almost everybody’s back this year. They’re good kids. We hope to improve. We should be competitive. Our goal is always to get to the semis or to the finals.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: McAuley made it 26 straight playoff berths and counting last spring and this season, the Lions hope to be even better as almost the whole starting seven returns. Leading the way is Ramsay, at first singles. Not only is she one of the league’s best players, but she could make a run at a top spot in the state singles tournament. Ramsay is battling a nagging ankle injury as the season commences, but should be fine when it matters most. Also playing singles will be Kenneally and Furlong. O’Brien and Park make up the first doubles team. After that, there are still a few holes for Kilmartin to plug, but he figures to be able to do so. McAuley is primed to make a deep run in the playoffs.

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

Junior Taylor Whaley is healthy again and ready to pitch the Lions to big things this season.

Junior Devri Ramsay should be one of the state’s top singles players.

Sidebar Elements


Senior Katherine Lake filled the goal 61 times last spring and hopes to lead the McAuley girls’ lacrosse team to the playoffs for the first time since 2005.

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.