McAuley Lions Spring Sports Preview

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Coming off an exciting winter season which saw the basketball program return to glory, McAuley looks to be a factor in four spring sports. Softball stole headlines a year ago en route to the finest season in program history. Lacrosse has an abundance of solid athletes and could be a darkhorse this time around. Track will hang tough in the regular and postseasons. Tennis is on the short list of Western A favorites.

SOFTBALL

Coach: Robbie Ferrante (second year)

2010 Record: 11-6 (Lost 6-4 to eventual state champion South Portland in Western Class A quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Kayla Daigle (Senior), Jen Field (Senior), Shelby Bryant (Junior), Sam Shildroth (Sophomore), Gabby Townsend (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 30 @ Cheverus, May 2 (H) KENNEBUNK, May 4 @ Deering, May 20 (H) THORNTON ACADEMY, May 23 @ Scarborough, May 25 (H) BIDDEFORD, May 31 (H) SOUTH PORTLAND

Coach’s comment: “The schedule is in our favor. We hope to get off to a decent start. The kids are working well together. We’re going with our strength, which is pitching. Gabby is throwing well. We have some pop on offense. Not much depth. I’d like to finish top six this year. We’ll have to beat some top teams.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: McAuley stole headlines a year ago, pulling off an improbable rally to beat Cheverus in the opener en route to the best season in program history. Ferrante, our 2010 Coach of the Year, was able to instill confidence and belief from the get-go and the Lions roared from there. This year’s team won’t be able to sneak up on anyone and will get everyone’s best shot, but the pieces are in place for another winning campaign and perhaps even a playoff run. Townsend was a revelation as a freshman and should be one of the best pitchers in Western Class A this spring. Field and freshman Samantha Libby will also see time on the mound. Shildroth (a Southern Maine Activities Association honorable mention all-star in 2010) returns behind the plate. Offensively, Bryant (2010 Spring Athlete of the Year and a first-team league all-star), who led the league in batting average (.526, in addition to scoring 22 runs and driving in 11), will hit leadoff. Field has speed (seven steals last spring) and Shildroth (who batted over .300) and Townsend also have pop. Daigle brings experience, leadership (and a basketball title) to shortstop. Freshman second baseman Heather Chapman will also be heard from. While defending state champion South Portland and perennial powerhouse Scarborough rightly lead the list of top contenders, McAuley has every reason to think it can follow last year’s success with more triumph this spring. If the team stays hungry and can again take advantage of a favorable early schedule, the Lions might make 2011 the best in program history as they go even deeper in the postseason.

LACROSSE

Coach: Jo-Ellen Rand (eighth year)

2010 Record: 3-9 (No postseason)

Top returning players: Michele Girard (Senior), Olivia Porch (Senior), Tori Tenenbaum (Senior), Taxia Arabatsis (Junior), Sadie DiPierro (Junior), Mary Leasure (Junior), Clare McLaughlin (Junior), Sam Paglia (Sophomore), Sam Sivovlos (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 25 @ Gorham, April 28 (H) CHEVERUS, May 2 @ South Portland, May 16 (H) SOUTH PORTLAND, May 23 @ Westbrook

Coach’s comment: “We have a lot of returning players. I have a strong junior group. We can score goals. We have a strong offensive unit back from last year. We need to fill some holes on defense. Once we work on defense, I think we’re gong to have a great season. Our goal for the season is to make the tournament. Two of the seniors have never made the tournament in any sport they’ve played this year. Another goal is to win more games than last year.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: McAuley has an abundance of good athletes and has the potential to make the leap and become a contender this spring and perhaps even make the playoffs for the first time since 2005. The Lions figure to do plenty of goal scoring. Leading the way is Tennenbaum, an SMAA honorable mention all-star a year ago after scoring 22 times. McLaughlin (12 goals and six assists during an All-Rookie campaign last spring), Paglia (12 goals), Arabatsis (45 ground balls last season), Leasure and DiPierro (a key cog on McAuley’s state championship basketball team who missed much of last year with injury) will add firepower. Sophomores Alla Agren, Katie Profenno and Delaney Regan, along with freshman Katherine Lake, will also be heard from. The Lions have no trouble scoring goals, it’s shutting down the opposition that’s been a problem. A year ago, foes scored 137 times. This season, Rand looks to Girard (14 interceptions last spring) and Sivovlos, along with new junior Morgan Wheeler to hold the fort in front of Porch, another basketball champion, who is now in her fourth season in goal. McAuley has some tough tests on its schedule, but also have several games it should win. A .500 or better finish is certainly within the realm of possibility. If the defense comes around, the offense produces as hoped and this squad stays healthy, look out. The Lions might be the feel-good story of the spring.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coach: Tim Donovan (eighth year)

2010 Results: 18th @ Class B state meet

Top returning athletes: Alysa Austin (Senior), Autumn Becker (Senior), Allison Bonner (Senior), Liz Houston (Senior), Gabrielle Trzaskowski (Senior), Danielle Allen (Junior), Becca Kaiser (Junior), Cristina Leake (Junior), Kate Liziewski (Junior), Kira Pilger (Junior), Taylor Powell (Junior)

Top foes: Bonny Eagle, Scarborough, Thornton Academy

Coach’s comment: “We have a young team. It will be a building season. We will have some young talent working with some individual top performers. We look forward to a great season.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: McAuley hopes to get back to top-10-in-the-state form this spring and has some athletes who can turn heads in the regular season and possibly score some points in the postseason. Returning scorers from last year’s state meet are Leake (sixth in the 800) and Bonner (who tied for seventh in the pole vault). Leake’s joined in the distance by Kaiser and freshmen Hannah Cain and Katherine Possiel. The middle-distance contingent includes Pilger and Powell, junior Katie Dubois and freshman Haley Holzhacker. In the sprints, Allen, Houston and freshmen Enrica Harris, Aneilia Martin and Abigail Nee look to turn heads. Becker is a top hurdler. She’s joined by freshman Elsa Curran. Liziewski and Trzaskowski are the lead throwers. The jumps feature Allen, Curran, Dubois and new sophomore Megan Goodridge. Joining Bonner in the pole vault will be Austin, Houston and Martin. There’s a lot of promise on this roster. If this team develops as hoped, it will be in the running for a top 10 finish at states.

TENNIS

Coach: Joe Kilmartin (22nd year)

2010 Results: 11-3 (Lost 3-2 to Gorham in Western Class A semifinals)

Top returning players: Priya Ahluwalia (Senior), Nicki Connolly (Senior), Paige Hickey (Senior), Addie Devine (Junior)

Pivotal matches: April 27 (H) CHEVERUS, May 9 @ Scarborough, May 11 @ Deering, May 16 (H) GORHAM, May 23 @ Portland

Coach’s comment: “If I can find a strong doubles team we should be right there. Our singles players only had a few losses last year. We should be one of the better teams.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: McAuley is consistently a top contender and this year should be no different. The Lions have made the playoffs in every one of Kilmartin’s seasons as coach and have been to the semifinals or better in 13 of the past 15 years. Devine will play first singles. She was an SMAA singles second team all-star last year, as was Hickey, who will be at No. 2. Connolly will play third singles. McAuley’s biggest hole is at first doubles after graduating all-stars Danielle LaCasse and Julia Haverty. Ahluwalia, senior Katerina Arabatsis and sophomores Kaili Aloupis and Caitlin Connolly are vying for doubles spots. The Lions spent vacation week honing their skills in Hilton Head, S.C. Upon returning to Maine, they project to be one of the best teams in Western Class A, perhaps the best if the doubles teams can come around.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net and followed on Twitter @foresports

Senior Jen Field will lead McAuley this spring on the mound and in the field.

Junior Cristina Leake is a middle-distance threat for the McAuley outdoor track team.

Sidebar Elements


McAuley junior Shelby Bryant and her talented teammates hope to build on last year’s success.

More photos below.

McAuley Spring Sports Schedules

(See mcauleyhs.org for updated times)

SOFTBALL

Mon., April 25 H BONNY EAGLE

Fri., April 29 @ Sanford

Sat., April 30 @ Cheverus

Mon., May 2 H KENNEBUNK

Wed., May 4 @ Deering

Tues., May 10 @ Windham

Wed., May 11 H NOBLE

Fri., May 13 @ Marshwood

Mon., May 16 H GORHAM

Wed., May 18 @ Massabesic

Fri., May 20 H TA

Mon., May 23 @ Scarborough

Wed., May 25 H BIDDEFORD

Fri., May 27 @ Portland

Tues., May 31 H SP

LACROSSE

Mon., April 25 @ Gorham

Tues., April 26 H EL

Thurs., April 28 H CHEVERUS

Mon., May 2 @ SP

Thurs., May 5 H BIDDEFORD

Mon., May 9 @ Windham

Wed., May 11 @ Noble

Mon., May 16 H SP

Thurs., May 19 H SANFORD

Sat., May 21 @ Biddeford

Mon., May 23 @ Westbrook

Thurs., May 26 H BONNY EAGLE

TRACK

Tues., April 26 @ Windham (BE, McA, Sanford)

Mon., May 2 @ Cheverus (Deer, Port, SP)

Sat., May 28 @ Southwesterns

Sat., June 4 CLASS A STATE MEET

TENNIS

Mon., April 25 H MARSHWOOD

Wed., April 27 H CHEVERUS

Thurs., April 28 @ TA

Mon., May 2 H BONNY EAGLE

Wed., May 4 H MASSABESIC

Fri., May 6 @ SP

Mon., May 9 @ Scarborough

Wed., May 11 @ Deering

Mon., May 16 H GORHAM

Wed., May 18 @ Biddeford

Fri., May 20 H WESTBROOK

Mon., May 23 @ Portland

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