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McAuley Lions Fall Sports Preview

Sports

McAuley Lions Fall Sports Preview

While McAuley’s greatest glory usually arrives in the winter, the school’s fall teams are eager to make a mark. Soccer features some top-notch athletes and should be able to compete in a tough league. Field hockey welcomes a new coach and looks to continue its upward climb. Cross country has promise and should be able to hold its own against foes from larger schools. Golf boasts two individuals, senior Molly Mack and junior Kathleen Lake.

SOCCER

COACH: Vince Aceto (fifth year, 12-37-8 overall record)

2011 Record: 2-10-2 (no postseason)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Molly Miller (Senior), Delaney Regan (Senior), Katherine Lake (Junior), Olivia Smith (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Aug. 31 (H) CHEVERUS, Sept. 10 @ Windham, Sept. 14 @ Thornton Academy, Sept. 18 (H) SOUTH PORTLAND, Sept. 22 @ Gorham, Sept. 29 @ Deering, Oct. 5 @ Scarborough

COACH’S COMMENT: “Our numbers this fall are low and our underclassmen outweigh our returning players. Expectations will be to take each day and prepare for each team the best we can. The gals have been very positive through preseason and are buying into a system and style of play they have to adapt to without having the benefit of a feeder program other schools possess.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: After making the playoffs in 2010 for the first time in seven years, McAuley fell short a year ago. The Lions will have an opportunity to sneak up on the league this season and have reason for optimism. Miller was a first-team all-star and Fall Female Athlete of the Year in 2011 and brings her experience to goal. Regan and Smith, the basketball standout, have an abundance of athleticism in the midfield. Lake will look to be a top scorer, along with Regan. Three newcomers, Kim Fisher, Brooke Howard and Becca McNamara, hope to make a mark. While the program is lacking in numbers, it will play hard every time out. If McAuley can earn some early wins and confidence, it will be able to exceed last year’s victory total. The Lions will be able to compete with most foes and led by their returning talent, could spring a few surprises as well. A playoff berth appears to be a longshot, but this team is capable of turning heads in the weeks to come.

FIELD HOCKEY

COACH: Elyse Tourangeau (first year)

2011 Record: 3-10-1 (no postseason)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Alla Agren (Senior), Liz Houston (Senior), Hana Martinez (Senior), Charlotte Murphy (Senior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 5 (H) MARSHWOOD, Sept. 11 (H) WINDHAM, Sept. 13 (H) DEERING, Sept. 17 @ Sanford, Sept. 27 (H) PORTLAND, Oct. 3 (H) CHEVERUS, Oct. 5 @ Westbrook

COACH’S COMMENT “We’re focusing on taking it one game at a team. It’s a small team that wants to come together. The seniors are spread out really well as leaders on different parts of the field. We have a lot of fresh faces. They’ll all bring something to the team. The girls are working so hard. We’re building up the program.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: A former Lion returns to lead the program this fall. Tourangeau graduated from McAuley in 2006 and played at Franklin Pierce. She assisted at St. Joseph’s College in 2010 and is still active in the Portland Women’s League. Tourangeau is assisted by Sam Leach, who played at Massabesic. This team has a solid senior core. Murphy, who was a defender in 2011, is new in goal, replacing honorable mention league all-star Jaime LaCasse. Martinez leads the defense. Agren anchors the midfield and Houston is a top threat on the front line. Junior Mia Fisher and freshman Jenny Devine could also rattle the cage. Junior Sophie Warren and freshman Akech Allolding will provide assistance on the defensive end. The Lions will find their way during the season and hope to hit their stride in time to register some wins and maybe make a run at a first winning season since 2003 and first playoff berth since 2004. After many coaching changes, this tandem appears in for the long haul and the program should benefit from their contributions going forward.

CROSS COUNTRY

COACH: Tim Donovan (10th year)

2011 Results: Did not qualify for state meet (10th @ regionals)

TOP RETURNING RUNNERS: Samantha Libby (Junior), Katherine Possiel (Junior), Anna Dube (Sophomore), Adele Warner (Sophomore), Taylor Whaley (Sophomore)

TOP FOES: Bonny Eagle, Cheverus, Massabesic

COACH’S COMMENT: “Over the past couple of years, we have been trying to get back to qualifying for the state meet. With a student population of around 150 student-athletes at McAuley now and virtually no feeder program it makes it very hard to compete in Class A. We will have seven to 10 kids when the season begins. In saying all that, I would not want to be in any other class, or conference. Over the years we have proved we belong in both and have been able to compete with anyone. This year will be another building year with maybe a few surprises along the way. We are slowly putting the pieces together for another very strong team. The future is looking brighter and as a coach, I am looking forward to this season and this team.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: McAuley will be competitive during the regular season and can’t be discounted when it comes to qualifying at the regional meet. Top returners include promising sophomores Warner (41st at the conference meet in 2011) and Dube (45th). Possiel (76th) and Libby (80th) also scored a year ago. Whaley wasn’t far off the pace. Sophomore Emily Rogan and freshmen Nellie Block and Emma Downey hope to make an immediate mark and join the pack. While the numbers are sparse, the quality is high. Staying healthy will be paramount for the Lions. If they can do so, they have enough in place for a competitive season. McAuley could find itself making it to states as a team for the eighth time in 10 years. Considering the youth of this roster, even brighter days are on the horizon.

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

Photo: File photo

McAuley junior Olivia Smith's exploits on the basketball court are well known. She's also a standout on the pitch and will be a force for the Lions this fall.

Fall schedules

GIRLS' SOCCER

Fri., Aug. 31 H CHEVERUS

Thurs., Sept. 6 H SANFORD

Mon., Sept. 10 @ Windham

Fri., Sept. 14 @ TA

Tues., Sept. 18 H SP

Thurs., Sept. 20 H BONNY EAGLE

Sat., Sept. 22 @ Gorham

Wed., Sept. 26 H MARSHWOOD

Sat., Sept. 29 @ Deering

Mon., Oct. 1 H KENNEBUNK

Wed., Oct. 3 @ Portland

Fri., Oct. 5 @ Scarborough

Wed., Oct. 10 @ Biddeford

Fri., Oct. 12 H WESTBROOK

FIELD HOCKEY

Thurs., Aug. 30 @ Scarborough

Sat., Sept. 1 H BIDDEFORD

Wed., Sept. 5 H MARSHWOOD

Fri., Sept. 7 @ TA

Tues., Sept. 11 H WINDHAM

Thurs., Sept. 13 H DEERING

Sat., Sept. 15 H NOBLE

Mon., Sept. 17 @ Sanford

Wed., Sept. 19 @ SP

Thurs., Sept. 27 H PORTLAND

Sat,. Sept. 29 @ Massabesic

Mon., Oct. 1 @ Bonny Eagle

Wed., Oct. 3 H CHEVERUS

Fri., Oct. 5 @ Westbrook

CROSS COUNTRY

Fri., Sept. 7 H BIDD, WINDHAM

Fri., Sept. 14 @ Sanford (BE)

Fri., Sept. 21 @ Marshwood (Gorham, TA)

Thurs., Sept. 27 @ Deering (Kbunk, Noble, Scar)

Fri., Oct. 5 @ Massabesic (Westbrook)

Fri., Oct. 12 @ Deering (Chev, Portland, SP)