Winter is when McAuley athletics shines the brightest. The storied girls’ basketball team is coming off a second straight Class A state championship and now takes aim at a very realistic goal of being the first girls’ Class A squad in nearly two decades to win three straight. Indoor track features some solid athletes and will be competitive throughout. The swim team welcomes a new coach and has enough ammunition to compete in Class B.
COACH: Billy Goodman (second year, 22-0, one state championship)
2011-12 Record: 22-0 (Beat Cony, 54-41, to win second straight Class A state title)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Molly Mack (Senior), Allie Clement (Junior), Olivia Smith (Junior), Jackie Welch (Junior), Victoria Lux (Sophomore)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Jan. 4 (H) DEERING, Jan. 11 @ Thornton Academy, Jan. 15 @ Cheverus, Jan. 18 (H) SCARBOROUGH, Jan. 25 (H) GORHAM, Jan. 26 @ Sanford
COACH’S COMMENT: “We have a lot of experience with five girls who had a big role last year. Our strengths are our experience and defensive quickness. We lost two great defensive players and captains. They’ll be missed. We’re waiting to see who steps up. We don’t talk about records, just how we play. We didn’t play well until about January last year. Our goal is to be playing well in February.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: McAuley has won 26 straight games and two consecutive state titles and is viewed as the favorite again entering the new season. While the Lions have an abundance of talent once more, they will unquestionably miss graduated Miss Maine Basketball Alexa Coulombe (now at Boston College) and underapppreciated graduated defensive stalwart and emotional leader Sadie DiPierro. Great programs reload, however, and McAuley is at a level all its own. Most teams would be happy to simply return a first-team all-star like Clement(12.7 points, 4.0 steals, 3.0 assists last year), but the Lions not only bring her back, they add a second Clement in Allie’s younger sister, Sarah, a freshman, who joins the squad and will see plenty of playing time. Welch will look to become more of a scorer this winter and she’ll have plenty of company in sophomore shooting guard Olivia Dalphonse (a transfer from Bonny Eagle , who was 11th in the league in assists last year, 2.9 per game), junior Lauren Coulombe (Alexa’s sister, who saw limited varsity time last year) and sophomore Ayla Tartre (who also played sporadically in 2011-12). While the frontcourt lacks an unrivaled shot blocker like Alexa Coulombe, it remains quite formidable. The 6-foot-2 Smith (9.9 points last year) was a second-team all-star last winter and like Allie Clement, is receiving her share of interest from Division I schools. She can score in transition or the halfcourt and is a force on defense as well. Mack’s ability to dominate on the glass has been well documented. She looks to bow out with a strong senior season. Lux was an All-Rookie team selection last season after shooting 49 percent from the floor with 2 blocks per game. She’ll continue to emerge as one of the top post players around. Sophomore Laura Holman will see more playing time and hopes to make a mark. There’s little question the Lions have the pieces in place to become the first Class A team to three-peat since Cindy Blodgett and Lawrence won four in a row between 1991 and 1994. If McAuley stays hungry and healthy and is able to improve steadily like last year’s squad, another season ending ending with yet another coronation is a likely result.
COACH: Tim Donovan (10th year)
2011-12 Results: tie-23rd @ Class B state meet
TOP RETURNING ATHLETES: Liz Houston (Senior), Elsa Curran (Junior), Sam Libby (Junior), Catherine Possiel (Junior),Megan Bailey (Sophomore),Rachel Taylor (Sophomore), Adele Werner (Sophomore)
COACH’S COMMENT: “We have a very small team, but one with some good talent. I think it will be a very enjoyable year. The kids have been working as hard as any of the teams I’ve coached here. If that is any indication of things to come, it could be a very exciting year.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: McAuley has a lot of good athletes on its roster this winter and Donovan (assisted this year by former Lion Christina Salamone) likes what he has to work with. The top returners are Possiel and Werner (McAuley’s Fall Athlete of the Year), who both scored in the 3,200 relay at last year’s state meet. They’ll lead the distance contingent with help from freshman Sophia Lodish. In the sprints, Libby and Taylor are joined by sophomore Ellen Richter and freshmen Kim Fisher and Mai Mangin. Bailey, Curran, junior Mia Fisher and freshmen Akech Allolding and Rebecca McNamara are hurdlers. Jumpers to watch include Allolding, Curran, Taylor, Werner, Kim Fisher, McNamara and freshman Emily Rogan. Houston is a top pole vaulter. Kim Fisher also takes part in that event. Curran throws the shot put, as do Allolding, Mangin and Richter. The Lions have scored in 10 of the past 11 state meets. Expect this group to remain competitive and make noise come February.
COACH: Laura Lazenby (first year)
2011-12 Results: 4th @ Class B state meet
TOP RETURNING SWIMMERS: Taylor Church (Senior), Libby Gajewski (Senior), Mia Labrie-Mitchell (Senior), Delaney Regan (Senior), Audrey Thames (Senior), Katie Call (Sophomore)
COACH’SCOMMENT: “I’m not as concerned about winning. I’m more concerned with their focus on team unity. It’s a great group. I want the new swimmers to be as competitive as they can be. We want to have a strong foundation. The girls’ work ethic is awesome.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: For the second year in a row, McAuley has a new swim coach in Lazenby, who was a key cog on Falmouth’s championship teams earlier this century. She went on to swim at Washington College and served as an assistant to Kary Goodman with the Lions last winter. Lazenby takes over a program that has been a steady contender in Class B, placing in the top four at states seven years running, and one that should make noise again. Gajewski is the top returner. She was third in both the 200 and 500 freestyle at last year’s state meet. Church was fourth-best in both the 200 individual medley and the backstroke. Call had a fourth-place finish in the breaststroke and was fifth in the butterfly. Thames swims the IM and breaststroke, Regan is a threat in the relays and Labrie-Mitchell takes part in the 200 free and the relays. That group makes up a solid nucleus. McAuley should once again be able to put up points both in dual meets and in February. Another top five state meet finish is quite likely.
For the second year in a row, the McAuley girls’ basketball team won a state championship last winter. The Lions are loaded and like their chances of doing it again.
After playing pivotal roles on state champions in her first two high school seasons, sharpshooting junior Allie Clement welcomes her sister, Sarah, to the team this winter and hopes to lead the Lions to another Gold Ball.
Junior Olivia Smith had a fantastic first season at McAuley last winter. She’s receiving interest from Division I colleges.
Senior Molly Mack has been McAuley’s secret weapon as a tenacious defender and arguably the best rebounder around.
Victoria Lux had a breakout freshman season and should be even more formidable as a sophomore.
Junior Elsa Curran will contend in the hurdles, among other events, this winter.