McAuley Lions Spring Sports Preview

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McAuley hopes to build on the momentum of its recent basketball championship this spring. Softball has a new look, but the program’s competitiveness in recent years should serve it well. Lacrosse could be primed for a quantum leap and might be a team that everyone’s talking about by the end of the year. Track has several athletes who can score points at championship meets and tennis, like always, is on the short list of contenders.

SOFTBALL

Coach: Robbie Ferrante (third year, 24-11 overall record)

2011 Record: 13-5 (Lost 14-2, in five innings, to South Portland in Western Class A semifinals)

Top returning players: Shelby Bryant (Senior), Molly Mack (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 21 @ Kennebunk, April 25 @ Cheverus, May 4 @ Portland, May 7 (H) SP, May 14 @ Scarborough, May 16 (H) TA, May 25 (H) DEERING

Coach’s comment: “Five graduated and two others left unexpectedly and they happened to be my top pitcher and catcher. I have six freshmen and five will start. Offensively, as Shelby goes, we’ll go. I’d like to get to five or six wins. Hopefully, we’ll grow up fast. I think we’ll be competitive.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: McAuley produced the best season in program history last spring, winning 13 games, including just its second ever in the postseason. This year’s team has a vastly different look as some key players graduated and pitcher Gabby Townsend (a second-team all-star) and catcher Sam Schildroth both transferred to other schools. That means sophomore Sam Libby will be thrown into the fire as pitcher. She saw time on the varsity team a year ago. Freshman Taylor Whaley will also pitch. Sophomore Heather Chapman moves in behind the plate. The offense is still in good hands behind Bryant, McAuley’s two-time reigning Spring Athlete of the Year and a first-team all-star last year, who’s as potent an offensive force as you’ll find (she hit.526, scored 21 times, stole 12 bases, drove in 19 runs and homered three times last season). Bryant, who patrols centerfield, is heading to U. Maine-Farmington next year. The other returner of note is Mack, last seen helping the girls’ basketball team to a second straight state title. Mack will play first base. There’s a lot of youth on the team, including freshmen at key defensive positions. There might be some bumps in the road, but Ferrante has done a terrific job with this program and will get the most out of the team. While the success of the past two seasons is likely beyond reach, look for the Lions to play hard, win some games and with a little good fortune, get back to the playoffs.

LACROSSE

Coach: Jo-Ellen Rand (10th year, 36-74 overall record)

2011 Record: 6-6 (no playoffs)

Top returning players: Taxia Arabatsis (Senior), Sadie DiPierro (Senior), Mary Leasure (Senior), Clare McLaughlin (Senior), Morgan Wheeler (Senior), Sam Paglia (Junior), Delaney Regan (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 23 @ Scarborough, April 26 @ Cheverus, April 28 (H) DEERING, May 12 (H) PORTLAND, May 15 @ South Portland

Coach’s comment: “We lost only three seniors and two other starters from last year’s team. I have a strong offensive unit coming back, including my top three scorers. If our defense gets together and if we’re focused each and every game and play as a team, we will be a top competitor and I feel we’ll have a winning record. We should be a tough team to beat. Our number one goal for this season is to make the playoffs. We’re in the East this year for the playoffs, so I feel we’ll have a good chance. This is the best team I’ve ever coached. I think we are going to surprise a few teams this year.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: There good reason for Rand’s optimism. For starters. McAuley is coming off its best season since 2005. There’s an abundance of returning talent, some promising newcomers dot the roster and the team is hungry to make its mark. Leading the offensive charge are McLaughlin (33 goals, 13 assists in 2011), Paglia (28 goals, eight assists) and DiPierro (the basketball standout who had 21 goals and 10 assists during an honorable mention all-star season last year). DiPierro also handles draw controls. Then there’s Arabatsis (15 goals, six assists) and Leasure (15 goals, 13 assists). Regan, junior Alla Agren and sophomore Katherine Lake will also be in the scoring mix. Simply put, offense won’t be a problem for this team. The Lions just need to step it up on defense (after allowing an average of 11 goals per game last season). Wheeler will pace that unit and will get help from senior Kathryn O’Donoghue. Senior Jaime LaCasse takes over in goal, replacing Olivia Porch. LaCasse was the field hockey goalie for four seasons and will be up to the task. McAuley’s schedule is difficult to start, but will get easier. Once this team gets a few wins under its belt, the confidence will soar. The Lions could be primed for a big jump, which could include a first-ever winning record and the first trip to the postseason in seven years. This group will put on a show.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coach: Tim Donovan (10th year)

2011 Results: No score @ Class B state meet (16th @ Southwesterns)

Top returning athletes: Danielle Allen (Senior), Katie Dubois (Senior), Elsa Curran (Sophomore), Meghan Goodrich (Sophomore), Enrica Harris (Sophomore), Liz Houston (Sophomore), Catherine Possiel (Sophomore)

Top foes: Bonny Eagle, Scarborough, Thornton Academy

Coach’s comment: “It has been very difficult competing in Class A with 180 students in the school. I feel we have been very competitive in the past and hopefully we might even have more success in Class C. We are looking forward to the opportunity.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: McAuley didn’t score at states for the first time since 2003, but that figures to be an aberration. This year’s squad will compete at states against schools more its size and that will help. The team features Harris in the sprints, Curran in the hurdles. Allen and Dubois in the middle distance, Possiel and freshmen Anna Dube and Adel Warner in the distance, Curran in the throws and Allen, Dubois, Goodrich, Houston and freshman Victoria Lux in the throws. The Lions have plenty of athleticism and will improve during the league season, setting the stage for what could be a big splash in their first Class C state meet appearance.

TENNIS

Coach: Joe Kilmartin (25th year, 241-87 overall record, one state championship)

2011 Results: 12-2 (Lost 3-2 to Gorham in Western Class A semifinals)

Top returning players: Addie Devine (Senior), Katie Poulin (Senior), Joanna Shin (Senior), Caitlyn Connolly (Junior)

Pivotal matches: May 9 (H) CHEVERUS, May 11 @ Deering, May 16 (H) SCARBOROUGH, May 18 @ Portland

Coach’s comment: “If our doubles teams can jell, we will be right back in the thick of it.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: The Lions seem to always be in the thick of it and this year should be no exception. Devine returns and will play first singles. She was a first-team all-star a year ago. A couple freshmen, Devri Ramsey and Ally Strawn, are also in the hunt for singles positions. Shin will be on the first doubles team and will likely be joined by freshman Siobhan Kenneally. Connolly and Poulin project to be second doubles. McAuley will be a very difficult foe during the regular season and could easily make it to the semifinals for the fourth year in a row. If not beyond.

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

Senior Shelby Bryant’s bat, glove and speed will lead the Lions softball team this spring.

Sophomore Sam Libby will play a much bigger role on the mound this season.

Senoirs Danielle Allen (handing off) and Katie Dubois are two of several key returners for the McAuley outdoor track team.

Sidebar Elements


Senior Sadie DiPierro is coming off a state title in basketball and hopes to lead the girls’ lacrosse team to great things this spring.

More photos below.

2012 schedules

SOFTBALL

Sat., April 21 @ Kennebunk

Mon., April 23 H MARSHWOOD

Wed., April 25 @ Cheverus

Fri., April 27 H WINDHAM

Mon., April 30 @ Westbrook

Wed., May 2 H BIDDEFORD

Fri., May 4 @ Portland

Mon., May 7 H SP

Wed., May 9 @ Gorham

Fri., May 11 H BONNY EAGLE

Mon., May 14 @ Scarborough

Wed., May 16 H TA

Fri., May 18 @ Noble

Mon., May 21 H SANFORD

Wed., May 23 @ Massabesic

Fri., May 25 H DEERING

LACROSSE

Mon., April 23 @ Scarborough

Thurs., April 26 @ Cheverus

Sat., April 28 H DEERING

Mon., April 30 H MASSABESIC

Thurs., May 3 @ Biddeford

Tues., May 8 H WINDHAM

Sat., May 12 H PORTLAND

Tues., May 15 @ SP

Thurs., May 17 @ Sanford

Tues., May 22 H WESTBROOK

Thurs., May 24 @ Bonny Eagle

Tues., May 29 H NOBLE

OUTDOOR TRACK

Tues., April 24 @ Portland (Kbunk, Noble, Scar)

Mon., April 30 @ Cheverus (Deering, Portland, SP)

Tues., May 8 @ Bonny Eagle (Mass, Port, West)

Mon., May 14 @ Portland (Bidd, Mass, Windham)

Fri., May 18 @ SP (Chev, Deer, Portland)

Sat., May 26 Southwesterns

Sat., June 2 CLASS C STATE MEET

TENNIS

Wed., April 25 @ Sanford

Fri., April 27 H MARSHWOOD

Mon., April 30 H SP

Wed., May 2 @ Westbrook

Fri., May 4 H KENNEBUNK

Mon., May 7 @ Windham

Wed., May 9 H CHEVERUS

Fri., May 11 @ Deering

Mon., May 14 H GORHAM

Wed., May 16 H SCARBOROUGH

Fri., May 18 @ Portland

Mon., May 21 H TA

2012 schedules

SOFTBALL

Sat., April 21 @ Kennebunk

Mon., April 23 H MARSHWOOD

Wed., April 25 @ Cheverus

Fri., April 27 H WINDHAM

Mon., April 30 @ Westbrook

Wed., May 2 H BIDDEFORD

Fri., May 4 @ Portland

Mon., May 7 H SP

Wed., May 9 @ Gorham

Fri., May 11 H BONNY EAGLE

Mon., May 14 @ Scarborough

Wed., May 16 H TA

Fri., May 18 @ Noble

Mon., May 21 H SANFORD

Wed., May 23 @ Massabesic

Fri., May 25 H DEERING

LACROSSE

Mon., April 23 @ Scarborough

Thurs., April 26 @ Cheverus

Sat., April 28 H DEERING

Mon., April 30 H MASSABESIC

Thurs., May 3 @ Biddeford

Tues., May 8 H WINDHAM

Sat., May 12 H PORTLAND

Tues., May 15 @ SP

Thurs., May 17 @ Sanford

Tues., May 22 H WESTBROOK

Thurs., May 24 @ Bonny Eagle

Tues., May 29 H NOBLE

OUTDOOR TRACK

Tues., April 24 @ Portland (Kbunk, Noble, Scar)

Mon., April 30 @ Cheverus (Deering, Portland, SP)

Tues., May 8 @ Bonny Eagle (Mass, Port, West)

Mon., May 14 @ Portland (Bidd, Mass, Windham)

Fri., May 18 @ SP (Chev, Deer, Portland)

Sat., May 26 Southwesterns

Sat., June 2 CLASS C STATE MEET

TENNIS

Wed., April 25 @ Sanford

Fri., April 27 H MARSHWOOD

Mon., April 30 H SP

Wed., May 2 @ Westbrook

Fri., May 4 H KENNEBUNK

Mon., May 7 @ Windham

Wed., May 9 H CHEVERUS

Fri., May 11 @ Deering

Mon., May 14 H GORHAM

Wed., May 16 H SCARBOROUGH

Fri., May 18 @ Portland

Mon., May 21 H TA

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