Coach: Dawn Armandi (first year)
2014 record: 8-9 (Lost, 2-0, to Noble in Western A preliminary round)
Top returning players: Taylor Whaley (Senior), Maddie Beaulieu (Sophomore), Ally Tillotson (Sophomore)
Pivotal games: April 27 CHEVERUS, May 4 @ Biddeford, May 6 PORTLAND, May 8 @ South Portland, May 9 @ Cheverus, May 15 SCARBOROUGH, May 18 @ TA, May 29 @ Deering
Coach’s comment: “I’ve got a lot of solid players. We’ll be able to compete. All three of our pitchers look good. We have speed this year. We’ll be competitive and give teams a run for their money. I think making the playoffs is a realistic goal. I’d like to see us in the top five.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: McAuley made a late surge last year to qualify for the playoffs and believes it can do even better this spring. The Lions welcome a familiar face as their new coach. Armandi has been involved with the powerhouse girls’ basketball program for several years and has quite the playing pedigree, starring in softball and basketball at Gray-New Gloucester High School and at the University of Southern Maine. She takes over a team that could find itself among the top contenders by June.
Whaley will be the ace. She went 7-4 with a 2.63 earned run average in 2014 and made the SMAA all-star second-team. She can hit as well, batting .534 with 31 hits, four doubles and eight RBI last season. Sophomore Ashley Littlefield and freshman Anya Chase (a lefthander) will also be heard from on the mound. Whaley isn’t the only big bat. Tillotson had a breakout freshman campaign, also being named to the second-team after hitting .472 with four home runs and a team-high 19 RBI. She’s an elite catcher, but Armandi plans to often play her at shortstop. Chase can also hit. Beaulieu will be at short, or second base. Sophomore Lillie Donovan will also see time behind the plate.
This is an intriguing squad. While McAuley doesn’t have the depth of perennial powers Scarborough or Thornton Academy, its battery is as good as any and the supporting cast shows promise. Armandi is eager to put her imprint on this program and that means the Lions will force the issue and won’t wait for the three-run homer (unless Tillotson comes up with two runners on). This group starts out with a lot of promise and should only get better. If you’re looking for a darkhorse, look no further than McAuley.
Coach: Jackie Dubois (first year)
2014 record: 2-10 (no playoffs)
Top returning players: Greta DiPierro (Senior), Kathryn McBrady (Senior), Amanda Spink (Senior), Allison Tardiff (Senior), Jordyn Carr (Junior), Kaeli Leddy (Junior), Elizabeth Poulin (Junior), Sophia Borie (Sophomore), Claire Reid (Sophomore), Meredith Wheeler (Sophomore)
Pivotal games: April 28 MARSHWOOD, May 15 @ NYA, May 18 @ Portland, May 21 GORHAM, May 26 @ Deering, May 28 @ Windham, June 2 CHEVERUS
Coach’s comment: “We’re a young team, but we’re showing improvement already. We want to improve on last season. Ultimately, our big goal is to improve and understand the game and make the playoffs.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: A new era is underway with the Lions’ girls’ lacrosse program. Dubois, a 2009 McAuley graduate who played at Marquette, replaces longtime coach Jo Ellen Rand and has some talent to work with.
The offense will be paced by Leddy (a second-team SMAA all-star in 2014), Spink (an All-Rookie selection last year), Poulin and Tardiff. DiPierro, Reid and freshman Molly Barr will anchor the midfield. The Lions need to improve on defense after giving up 16 goals per game a year ago. Carr, McBrady and Wheeler should help that group improve. Borie is in goal.
This group has the necessary ingredients to compete, it just needs confidence. McAuley should improve on last year’s record and if all goes well, could end an eight-year playoff drought.
Coach: Tim Donovan (13th year)
2014 results: Tie-5th @ Class C state meet
Top returning athletes: Megan Bailey (Senior), Monica Hutcherson (Senior), Aketch Allolding (Junior), Emma Downey (Junior), Lily Bergh (Sophomore), Sam Witkowski (Sophomore), Elena Woods (Sophomore)
Top foes: Cheverus, Deering, Massabesic, Scarborough, TA
Coach’s comment: “It’s very tough to compete in our league. We’re a young team with some good athletes. We lack depth with just 11 kids on the team. Other teams with numbers can easily out-point us. Our goal is to get better, have a lot of fun and add numbers next year to our already young team.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: McAuley doesn’t have big numbers, but there are some strong athletes on the roster.
This year’s squad has plenty of balance. Woods, along with sophomores Batoul Berro and Ana Neff-Jendrasko (the swimming standout who was the school’s Winter Athlete of the Year), will be sprinters to watch. Bailey is a top hurdler. Downey hopes to score in the racewalk. Bergh, Woods, junior Andrea Dumond and freshman Madison Lagassey are distance runners who show promise. On the field side, Allolding and Hutcherson are veteran throwers. Jendrasko and junior Naissa Isaro also will be heard from. Bergh, Isaro, Witkowski and Woods are top jumpers. Berro, Dumond and Witkowski hope to score in the pole vault.
This team’s quality exceeds its quantity. By June, the Lions could steal some headlines.
Coach: Joe Kilmartin (28th year, one state championship)
2014 record: 3-9 (no postseason)
Top returning players: Mary Furlong (Senior), Siobhan Kenneally (Senior), Kathleen O’Brien (Senior)
Pivotal matches: May 6 CHEVERUS, May 13 @ TA, May 20 @ Scarborough, May 26 DEERING
Coach’s comment: “I have great kids to work with. We’ll be a little better than last year. I think we’ll be a tournament team. It’s time to start a new playoff streak.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: Last spring, the Lions missed the playoffs for the first time since 1987, but that was an aberration. McAuley should be stronger this spring.
With seniors Sun Yool Park and Devri Ramsey out with injury, other girls will have to step up and there are several prepared to do so. Kenneally will play first singles. Furlong will lock down the second singles spot. Junior Kimanna Nguyen and freshman Kiera Kenneally were battling for third spot at press time. Senior Sophia Krieckhas and O’Brien will likely make up the first doubles team. Freshmen Sani Hackett and Sarah Mariskis are in the mix for the No. 2 doubles squad.
The Lions aren’t accustomed to being home when the postseason begins. This year’s team should get back to the playoffs and perhaps stay awhile.
Ashley Littlefield hopes to play a key role for the Lions this season.
Senior Taylor Whaley will be the Lions’ ace this season.
After a standout freshman campaign, Ally Tillotson is back to lead McAuley back to the playoffs.
More photos below.