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McAuley Lions Spring Sports Previews

Sports

McAuley Lions Spring Sports Previews

On the heels of another triumphant winter, McAuley looks to turn some heads this spring. Softball has been a consistent contender and after falling short of the playoffs last year, the Lions hope to get back to the postseason this year. Lacrosse features some talent and will give teams fits. Track features some top-notch athletes and could be a factor at the state level. Tennis, after barely missing out on a championship a season ago, should be in the mix this time around.

SOFTBALL

Coach: Robbie Ferrante (fourth year, 30-21 overall record)

2012 Record: 6-10 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Molly Mack (Senior), Sam Libby (Junior), Taylor Whaley (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 24 (H) CHEVERUS, May 6 @ South Portland, May 13 (H) SCARBOROUGH, May 15 @ TA, May 17 (H) NOBLE, May 24 @ Deering

Coach's comment: “Our numbers are low, but the kids are working hard. We won't have as much offense this year without Shelby (Bryant). We'll rely a lot on our pitching and defense. I hope we don't give up extra outs and allow big innings. We have to beat the teams I think we can beat to give us a playoff spot. We've been right there the past three years. I hope we can do it again.”

The Forecaster's forecast: After the two best seasons in program history, the Lions took a step back last spring. This season, McAuley will look to its pitching to lead the way. Libby and Whaley both figure to see plenty of time on the hill (and will play shortstop when the other pitches). Whaley was an honorable mention league all-star last season. Both girls will also be looked upon to fill the offensive void created when first-team all-star Shelby Bryant (now playing at the University of Maine-Farmington) graduated. Other players to watch include junior third baseman Heather Chapman, who was limited by injury last year, and Mack, also known as “Molly McAuley,” a basketball standout and fan favorite who is no stranger to coming up huge in big games. There won't be a lot of expectations around the Lions this season, but that worked in their favor back in 2010, Ferrante's first season. McAuley should be able to hold its own with just about anyone. If the Lions get steady offense, they'll have a real shot to win more than they lose and get back to the playoffs after falling short a season ago. The guess here is that McAuley will turn some heads with its promising play over the course of the year.

LACROSSE

Coach: Jo-Ellen Rand (11th year, 42-80 overall record)

2012 Record: 6-6 (no playoffs)

Top returning players: Alla Agren (Senior), Delaney Regan (Senior), Katherine Lake (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 23 (H) SCARBOROUGH, April 25 (H) CHEVERUS, April 27 @ Deering, April 30 @ Massabesic, May 10 @ Portland, May 14 (H) SOUTH PORTLAND

Coach's comment: “Our team is a hard-working team and great girls to work with. We are young but very athletic. I feel once we start playing together and as the season goes on, we are going to surprise a number of teams.”

The Forecaster's forecast: McAuley posted a second straight .500 record a year ago, but fell short of its desired goal of making the playoffs. This spring, after graduating league all-stars Sadie DiPierro and Clare McLaughlin, the Lions will try again and they have some talent to work with. The offense will be sparked by Lake, who had 25 goals and three assists (to go with 22 ground balls) last season. Lake, an SMAA honorable mention all-star, will have scoring company from freshman Kaeli Leddy. Agren, Regan and sophomore Rachel Taylor could also figure into the scoring. Junior Natalie Carter, sophomores Natalie Juris and Allison Tardif and freshman Elizabeth Poulin add depth. Leddy and Taylor will take draw controls. On defense, Agren (a three-year varsity starter who had 31 ground balls last season) and Regan (another three-year starter who had 40 ground balls and 12 caused turnovers a season ago) are the anchors. They're joined by sophomores Laura Holman (last seen helping the basketball juggernaut to another state title) and Amanda Spink. The goalie is freshman Jordyn Carr. Rand is high on her athletic ability and reflexes. McAuley will be a work in progress, but the pieces are there for a competitive season. The Lions last made the playoffs in 2005 and have never boasted a winning record. This group has a chance to turn that around. Look for this team to be a lot of fun to watch in the weeks to come.

TRACK

Coach: Tim Donovan (11th year)

2012 Results: 20th @ Class C state meet

Top returning athletes: Liz Houston (Senior), Elsa Curran (Junior), Katherine Possiel (Junior), Anna Dube (Sophomore), Adele Werner (Sophomore)

Top foes: Bonny Eagle, Scarborough, Thornton Academy

Coach's comment: “We have one of the smallest teams, number-wise since I have been coaching at McAuley. However, it could rank as one of the most talented ones with some new additions and some late arrivals. We will have a very hard time in the smaller meets. We will not be able to score a huge number of points. In the bigger meets, we should fare a little better. I am looking forward to the season and the big meets at the end. Moving into Class C for our state meet, we should be more competitive. If (John Bapst, Orono and Traip) can kind of steal points away from each other and keep the scoring below 80 points, things might get interesting.”

The Forecaster's forecast: McAuley is all about quality, not quantity this spring and the outlook is promising. For starters, the program welcomes former Lion Christina Salamone as an assistant coach. Houston (third in the pole vault at the Class C state meet last season) is the top returner. She'll also compete in the hurdles and relays. Curran will also hurdle and throw. The distance contingent features Dube, Possiel and Fall Athlete of the Year Werner. Then, there's a series of newcomers who will provide depth and likely some big points as well. Basketball fans will recognize junior Olivia Smith (throws, high jump) and sophomore Victoria Lux (throws). Freshmen Akech Allolding and Ellen Richter will also throw. Junior Maria Ramsay joins the distance corps. Freshman Emma Downing hopes to be a factor in the racewalk. McAuley should steadily improve as the season progresses and hope the new athletes get comfortable. By the postseason, the Lions might just turn some heads and be a real factor. This team's growth will be fun to follow.

TENNIS

Coach: Joe Kilmartin (26th year, 253-84 overall record, one state championship)

2012 Results: 15-1 (Lost, 3-2, to Brunswick in Class A Final)

Top returning players: Caitlyn Connolly (Senior), Siobhan Kenneally (Sophomore), Kathleen O'Brien (Sophomore), Devri Ramsey (Sophomore)

Pivotal matches: May 8 @ Cheverus, May 10 (H) DEERING, May 15 (H) SCARBOROUGH, May 17 (H) PORTLAND

Coach's comment: “It's a little bit of a rebuilding year. It will come down to how the girls develop and if doubles comes along. Devri is probably the best singles player in the league. We're still in the mix for a playoff spot.”

The Forecaster's forecast: After so narrowly missing out on its second state title a year ago, McAuley was hit hard by graduation, most notably losing 2012 Spring Athlete of the Year Addie Devine. This spring, the Lions don't have the depth of a year ago, but they can't be overlooked. Ramsey, a first-team all-star in 2012, moves up to first singles and is highly touted. She should be one of the strongest players in the league and will be in contention for a singles championship. Kenneally also projects to play singles, as does sophomore Mary Furlong. Connolly and O'Brien bring experience to doubles. McAuley isn't mentioned among the favorites this season, but has the pieces in place to extend its streak of postseason berths to 26 years.

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

Photo: Courtesy Matt Whaley

Sophomore Taylor Whaley is one part of McAuley's strong two-headed pitching attack this spring.

Photo: File photo

Junior Sam Libby will play a key role in the Lions' success this year, on the mound and at the plate.

More photos and schedules below.

Photo: Courtesy Mandi Coulombe

Senior Molly Mack is a top returning hitter and team leader.

Photo: File photo

Senior Alla Agren is a top returner for McAuley's girls' lacrosse team.

McAuley Spring Schedules

SOFTBALL

Sat., April 20 H KENNEBUNK

Mon., April 22 @ Marshwood

Wed., April 24 H CHEVERUS

Fri., April 26 @ Windham

Mon., April 29 H WESTBROOK

Wed., May 1 @ Biddeford

Fri., May 3 H PORTLAND

Mon., May 6 @ SP

Wed., May 8 H GORHAM

Fri., May 10 @ Bonny Eagle

Mon., May 13 H SCARBOROUGH

Wed., May 15 @ TA

Fri., May 17 H NOBLE

Mon., May 20 @ Sanford

Wed., May 22 H MASSABESIC

Fri., May 24 @ Deering

LACROSSE

Tues., April 23 H SCARBOROUGH

Thurs., April 25 H CHEVERUS

Sat., April 27 @ Deering

Tues., April 30 @ Massabesic

Thurs., May 2 H BIDDEFORD

Tues., May 7 @ Windham

Fri., May 10 @ Portland

Tues., May 14 H SP

Thurs., May 16 H SANFORD

Tues., May 21 @ Westbrook

Fri., May 24 H BONNY EAGLE

Tues., May 28 @ Noble

TENNIS

Wed., April 24 H SANFORD

Fri., April 26 @ Marshwood

Mon., April 29 H SP

Wed., May 1 H WESTBROOK

Fri., May 3 @ Kennebunk

Mon. May 6 H WINDHAM

Wed., May 8 @ Cheverus

Fri., May 10 H DEERING

Mon., May 13 @ Gorham

Wed., May 15 H Scarborough

Fri., May 17 H PORTLAND

Mon., May 20 @ TA