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Cape Elizabeth Capers Winter Sports Preview

Sports

Cape Elizabeth Capers Winter Sports Preview

Cape Elizabeth will be competitive across the board this winter. Look for boys' basketball to return to its accustomed spot as a top contender. The girls' team has enjoyed early success and could be in for a trip to the playoffs. Boys' hockey will once again be one of the biggest threats to Greely's reign in Class B. The girls' squad has what it takes to make the postseason. Both track teams have several good athletes who will make noise all season. Both swim teams will make a run at Class A crowns. Alpine and Nordic skiing also feature good talent.

BOYS' BASKETBALL

COACH: Jim Ray (19th year, 244-126)

2011-12 Record: 7-12 (Lost, 56-49, to Wells in Western Class B preliminary round)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Henry Babcock (Senior), Chad Peterson (Senior), Chris Robicheaw (Senior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 7 (H) FALMOUTH, Dec. 18 (H) GREELY, Jan. 3 (H) WAYNFLETE, Jan. 5 @ Poland, Jan. 8 (H) WELLS, Jan. 11 @ Yarmouth, Jan. 18 @ Falmouth, Jan. 25 (H) YORK, Jan. 29 @ Wells, Feb. 1 @ York, Feb. 5 (H) YARMOUTH, Feb. 8 @ Greely

COACHS COMMENT: “The kids are playing hard. We have kids with potential. I think our conference is one of the best from a competitive standpoint. The guys need to figure out how to win close games. We need to demonstrate more confidence down the homestretch. We'd like to get deeper in the tournament.”

THE FORECASTERS FORECAST: After making it to three state finals in four years, the Capers took an expected step back last winter after being decimated by graduation. This season, Cape Elizabeth is starting from a better place and should return to its accustomed spot as one of the top contenders in Western B. This year's squad will be paced by 6-foot-3 guard/forward Babcock (sixth in steals, 2.7 per game, and ninth in scoring, 14.1, during a second-team, all-conference campaign a year ago) Robicheaw, a 6-3 forward, has also been through the battles. Peterson (a 6-4 center) and sophomores Eddie Galvin (guard/forward) and Ethan Murphy (point guard) look to play bigger roles this season. The Capers haven't had successive seasons of sub-.500 records since 1995-96 and 1996-97, so it's unlikely Cape Elizabeth will lose more than it wins. Western Class B is as balanced as it's been in recent memory, which can be looked at in one of two ways. Either the Capers are going to have a hard time improving when every game is a stern test, or they stand to not just improve, but perhaps make a run at one of the top spots if they develop as hoped. Ray always gets the most out of his roster. After last year's struggles, Cape Elizabeth is ready to return to form. Look for this team to be in the mix throughout and be a tough out come tournament time.

GIRLS' BASKETBALL

COACH: Chris Casterella (sixth year, 30-62)

2011-12 Record: 4-14 (no postseason)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Marlo Dell'Aquila (Senior), Kisa Tabery (Senior), Kate Miklavic (Junior), Emma O'Rourke (Junior), Mary Perkins (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 7 @ Falmouth, Dec. 11 @ Freeport, Dec. 18 @ Greely, Dec. 22 (H) LAKE REGION, Jan. 3 @ Waynflete, Jan. 8 @ Wells, Jan. 18 (H) FALMOUTH, Jan. 25 @ York, Jan. 29 (H) WELLS, Feb. 1 (H) YORK, Feb. 8 (H) GREELY

COACHS COMMENT: “I have 14 kids, but seven of them are new to varsity. I hope our ability and understanding get better as the season goes on. We don't have a lot of height, so we'll be up-tempo and we'll press. I think we're nine deep. Maybe even more. Everyone's shown at times that they can put the ball in the hoop. There's unbelievable parity in the league this year. Anybody can beat anybody on a given night. Playoffs is the hope. I think it's in our reach. We have to stay healthy.”

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Cape Elizabeth struggled to put points on the board last winter and as a result, fell short of a tournament berth for the first time since 2009. The Capers have a good core of upperclassmen who intend to turn things around and they're joined by some newcomers who bring depth and promise. Dell-Aquila and Tabery are captains. They've played in some big games over the year and bring poise and leadership. The 5-foot-8 Tabery will anchor the frontline with 5-11 junior Elizabeth Cloutier, who saw a lot of time on the junior varsity last winter. Perkins has the dexterity to play both guard and forward. The backcourt features Dell'Aquila, Miklavic, O'Rourke and junior Anna Goldstein. A couple of freshmen can help push this group back into contention. Kate Breed will be the point guard and could be a star in the making. Montana Braxton is a very good athlete and she'll see ample time at guard. Cape Elizabeth should be able to compete with most everyone on its schedule and if the Capers can find consistent offense, they will be one of the league surprises and could make a run to the postseason.

BOYS' HOCKEY

COACH: Matthew Buotte (first year)

2011-12 Record: 9-7-3 (Lost, 4-2, to York in Western Class B semifinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Chris Grennon (Senior), Satchel McCarthy (Senior), Brandon Negele (Senior), Cole Caswell (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 8 (H) YORK, Dec. 13 (H) YARMOUTH, Dec. 20 @ Greely, Dec. 22 @ Biddeford, Jan. 3 (H) SCARBOROUGH, Jan. 8 @ Yarmouth, Jan. 12 @ York, Jan. 19 (H) CAMDEN HILLS, Jan. 21 @ Leavitt, Feb. 2 @ Camden Hills, Feb. 7 (H) GREELY, Feb. 16 (H) LEAVITT

COACHS COMMENT: “If we can stay injury free, I expect us to be toward the top of Class B. We don't have the depth, so staying healthy is key. Our big guns are as good as any in the state and we should have a competitive, hardworking team that can score a lot of goals.

THE FORECASTERS FORECAST: Cape Elizabeth projects to once again be one of the top contenders in Western B. The Capers have a new coach this winter in Buotte, who played at Bridgton Academy and had a quick stint at the University of New England. He's coached youth hockey for several seasons and is also coaching the Maine Renegades Bantam team at the present time. He takes over a Cape Elizabeth squad that will need to replace reigning Winter Male Athlete of the Year Nick Breed (now at Boston University) and last year's Goaltender of the Year Kirby Saari, but it's one that returns some talent and adds some new faces who will help the cause. Grennon (3 goals, 7 assists last season) and McCarthy will pace the offense. Freshman Matt Riggle will help fill the net as well. Caswell and Negele (2 goals, 5 assists last year) are top defenders, who will help break in new goalies junior Kevin Hare and sophomore Ross LeBlond. While Cape Elizabeth lags behind defending champion Greely and perennial power York in preseason buzz, it does have reason for optimism. The Capers will battle everyone and if they can stay healthy and improve as the season progresses, look out for them come playoff time.

GIRLS' HOCKEY

COACH: Bob Mills (first year)

2011-12 Record: 5-12-1 (no postseason)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Sarah Bosworth (Senior), Madeline Ciraldo (Senior), Lilly McMullin (Senior), Emily Spidle (Senior), Casey Murray (Junior), Kate Bosworth (Sophomore),  Kathryn Clark (Sophomore), Katie Ewald (Sophomore), Julia Ginder (Sophomore), Allie Mills (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 15 @ Falmouth, Dec. 29 @ Cheverus, Jan. 2 @ Scarborough, Jan. 19 (H) FALMOUTH, Jan. 26 (H) PORTLAND, Jan. 31 (H) SCARBOROUGH

COACH'S COMMENT: “We have a short bench this season with only two lines with varsity experience. Our two lines are balanced and experienced, however. Staying healthy will be key to our success. We have six forwards who are scoring threats. Even with improved goaltending this year, we'll need to be strong and smart in our defensive zone. We're expecting to have a better overall record than last year and to be a playoff team at the end of the season.”

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: The Capers have a new coach this winter in Mills, who played at South Portland High School and the University of Southern Maine and also coached for 24 years, including last year as an assistant with this program. He takes over a team (which also includes several Waynflete players) which features a lot of promise even though there isn't a lot of depth. The offense this fall will be paced by Clark (a second-team region all-star last winter and Cape Elizabeth's Fall Female Athlete of the Year), Ciraldo, Ewald, Ginder, Mills and Spidle. In the opener, a 2-2 tie versus Yarmouth, Clark and Spidle had the goals, while Mills added an assist. An 8-1 win over Portland (Ciraldo had a hat trick) and a hard-fought 6-5 loss to Cheverus (despite two Clark goals) followed as the Capers have shown they'll score goals if they can stay healthy. Kate Bosworth, Sarah Bosworth, McMullin and Murray will anchor the defense in front of sophomore goalie Lily Jordan (who made 15 saves in the opener). There's enough talent for Cape Elizabeth to hold its own against most foes. Winning more than they lose and qualifying for the postseason are realistic Capers' goals. This team figures to steadily improve and be very exciting to watch in the weeks to come.

INDOOR TRACK

COACH: Doug Worthley (18th year)

2011-12 Results:

(BOYS) 7th @ Class B state meet

(GIRLS) Tie-10th @ Class B state meet

TOP RETURNERS:

(BOYS) Alex Bornick (Senior), Will Britton (Senior), Zach Culver (Senior), Adam Haversat (Senior), Zach Hillman (Senior), Austin Petsinger (Senior), Sam Sherman (Senior), Kyle Snowden (Senior), Jake Wilson (Senior), Trevor Ewald (Junior), Trevor Gale (Junior), Deven Roberts (Junior), Liam Simpson (Junior), Kyle Kennedy (Sophomore), Robert Mackay (Sophomore)

(GIRLS) Ellen Best (Senior), Caroline Gleason (Senior), Emma Inhorn (Senior), Erin Lyons (Senior), Laura Mackay (Senior), Alissa Mitchell (Senior), Maria Tremblay (Senior), Hannah Newhall (Junior), Hailey Petsinger (Junior)

COACHS COMMENT: “The boys have a wealth of upperclass newcomers as well as a majority of the state champion cross country team. It is a much deeper team than last year with a lot of untested talent, so we are looking forward to a strong season and placing higher in the state meet. The girls hope to be in the top six in the state as we have added not only some quality frosh, but some upperclass talent. We're looking for some great performances from rookies.”

THE FORECASTERS FORECAST: Both Cape Elizabeth indoor track teams were top 10 caliber a year ago and should be even stronger this winter. Worthley is assisted this season by Greg Marles (throws and sprints) and Amber Cronin (distance and high jump).

The boys' squad returns Roberts from a runner-up 800 relay team. He'll focus on the jumps this season and will be joined by Culver, Mackay and freshman Harry Queeney. In the throws, keep an eye on Petsinger, Snowden and Wilson. The Capers appear to be in great shape in the distance races as Britton, Hillman, Kennedy and Simpson all helped the cross country squad win a Class B state title back in October. Sherman leads the sprinters. He's joined by Bornick, Ewald, Gale and Haversat. Cape Elizabeth has a lot of depth and athleticism and should be a factor not just during the conference season, but also in February. A top five finish is attainable.

On the girls' side, Newhall is back after placing third in the long jump and fourth in the pole vault at last year's state meet. Newhall, a standout athlete, will also throw this winter. She's joined in the jumps and throws by Gleason, Mitchel and Petsinger. Lyons and Mackay will be top sprinters. The distance contingent features Best, Inhorn and Tremblay. New senior Emily Tall and sophomores Hayley Doss and Rachel Seekins provide depth. The Capers will show steady improvement during the season and have the ability to be among the top teams at the conference and state championships.

SWIMMING

COACH: Ben Raymond (seventh year)

2011-12 Results:

(BOYS) 3rd @ Class A state meet (third @ Southwesterns)

(GIRLS) 3rd @ Class A state meet (first @ Southwesterns)

TOP RETURNING SWIMMERS:

(BOYS) Jackson Berman (Senior), Jacob Brady (Senior), Evan Long (Senior), Ian Riddell (Senior), Ethan Duperre (Junior), Charlie Emmerson (Junior), Jordan Petersen (Junior), Reese McFarlane (Sophomore), Noah Robinson (Sophomore), Griffin Thoreck (Sophomore), Leo Wing (Sophomore)

(GIRLS) Elle Richards (Senior),  Charlotte Sawyer (Senior), Caroline Herriman (Junior), Shannon Howard (Junior), Katie Schonewolf (Junior), Jayne Vaughan (Junior), Sidney Wight (Junior), Sierra Bates (Sophomore), Taylor Herrera (Sophomore), Hannah Homans (Sophomore), Sadie Stiles (Sophomore), Arden Wing (Sophomore)

COACHS COMMENT: “With the boys' team, we're hoping to have another great season, contend for a Southwestern championship and to be among the top three in the state meet. We have a couple very good frontline swimmers backed by very big numbers. We have 36 boys this season and just about all of them can swim. Hopefully, some of the newer swimmers will be able to contribute as we near the end of the season. If they can, we should do pretty well. The girls hope to defend their Southwestern championship and contend once again at the state meet. We should have a pretty good chance with some very good frontline swimmers backed by girls in the second tier who gained a ton of experience in big meets last year. Our numbers with the girls team should also give us an advantage as we had 51 girls come out, the biggest team I can remember. We have our work cut out for us, but we have some very good athletes who have decided to swim, as well as some freshmen with experience. We have been training very well so far and if that continues, we should compete very well.”

THE FORECASTERS FORECAST: All signs point to Cape Elizabeth having a strong swim season across the board.

The boys have a lot of depth. The top returner is Long, who won the Class A title in the 50 freestyle and placed third in the breaststroke a year ago. He was also part of a state champion 200 free relay team, which also included Thoreck. Long will be a threat in just about every event this season. Thoreck will be a top sprint freestylist. Other sprinters include Petersen, Riddell and freshmen Stephen Bennett and Tommy Brett. Berman, Brady (who also swims the individual medley and the butterfly), Emmerson and Robinson are distance swimmers of note. Petersen also swims the fly. Riddell is a backstroker. McFarlane (Cape Elizabeth's Fall Male Athlete of the Year) will be a factor in the breaststroke. Duperre is a backstroker to watch. Wing swims the fly and the IM. Freshman Alex Mukai will also factor into the mix. The Capers have a strong nucleus which should only get better as the season progresses.

On the girls' side, Homans (Cape Elizabeth's reigning Winter Female Athlete of the Year) is a top returner for a very good squad. Homans finished second in the backstroke, fifth in the 500 freestyle and was part of a runner-up medley relay and a member of a third-place 200 free relay last year. She'll focus this season on sprint freestyle races and the backstroke. Herriman also scored in the medley relay last year. She'll swim freestyle and breaststroke this season. Richards (sprint freestyle) and Sawyer (IM and breaststroke) provide senior leadership. A solid and diverse junior contingent includes Howard (sprint freestyle), Schonewolf (IM, fly), Vaughan (distance freestyle, IM, fly) and Wight (IM, fly, backstroke and freestyle). Sophomores Bates (distance freestyle, IM, fly), Herrera (sprint freestyle, backstroke), Stiles (freestyle, breaststroke) and Wing (freestyle, fly, backstroke, IM) also return. The Capers additionally have a group of newcomers who will help the cause. That list includes junior freestylers Elise Flathers and Molly Thibodeau, sophomores Yodit Hermann (all disciplines), Sarah Loring (all events) and Nikita Wallace (all events) and freshmen Lexi Bakke (distance freestyle), Olivia Hintlian (all events), Mya Hodgon (backstroke), Gabby Lawrence (distance freestyle) and Gabrielle Raymond (freestyle). This team has the balance to go toe-to-toe with the best teams in the conference and the state and be among the very best at the biggest meets.

SKIING

Combined results:

(BOYS) 4th @ Class B meet

(GIRLS) No score@ Class B meet

ALPINE

COACH: Shawn Guerrette (sixth year)

2011-12 Results:

(BOYS) 3rd @ Class B state meet

(GIRLS) No score @ Class B state meet

TOP RETURNERS:

(BOYS) Max Barber (Senior), Curtis Alexander (Junior)

(GIRLS) Sara Paclat (Junior), Emma Landes (Sophomore)

COACHS COMMENT: “The boys' team lost its top racer when Sam Barber graduated, however, we have added three racers. We potentially could be stronger than last year. Hopefully we'll have a top three finish at both the WMC and the state meets. The girls' team now has seven racers, so we should be able to field teams at both the WMC and state meet. Hopefully they can get a top three finish at both.”

THE FORECASTERS FORECAST: Cape Elizabeth's Alpine program should once again be one of the strongest in Class B.

While Sam Barber (first in the giant slalom, third in the slalom at last year's state meet) will be missed, Max Barber (second in the GS, ninth in the slalom) is ready to ascend to the top spot. Alexander could be one of the top finishers as well as the season moves along. Freshman R.J. Sarka joins in the fun as well. The Capers will be solid in the regular and postseasons.

On the girls' side, Paclat is a top returner. She placed 17th in the slalom and 18th in the GS a year ago. She's joined by Landes, who could post some solid times. Cape Elizabeth should be able to score as a team this year, thanks in part to incoming freshmen Emma Dvorozniak and Sophie Hewitt. Look for this team to be one to watch as the calendar flips.

NORDIC

COACH: Stephanie Kramer (first year)

2011-12 Results:

(BOYS) 5th @ Class B state meet

(GIRLS) 4th @ Class B state meet

TOP RETURNING SKIERS:

(BOYS) Sam Barksdale (Senior), Nolan Morris (Senior), Julian Pelzer (Junior)

(GIRLS) Allie Briggs (Senior), FrancescaGovernali (Senior), Christina Kouros (Senior), Dana Hatton (Junior)

COACH'SCOMMENT:This year we have a very enthusiastic and dedicated team that is looking forward to a year of good snow and successful racing. We will be looking to our captains for leadership as we continue to look for a full-time coach.

THE FORECASTERS FORECAST: Cape Elizabeth's Nordic program is in flux in the coaching department as Kramer, an assistant last year is filling in for the time being. The Capers should be very competitive this winter.

The boys' team hopes for another top five finis behind returners Barksdale, Morrisand Pelzer. New junior Andrew Hollyday and sophomore Andrew Thomas add depth. This group has some daunting league foes, but those races will steel this group for the postseason, where it expects to do very well.

On the girls' side, Hatton leads the way. She was eighth in the skate and16th in the classic a year ago. Briggs and Governali also scored last winter. They're joined by new sophomore Amelia Morrissey and freshman Natalie Vaughan to make up a solid core. Kouros is the defending U.S. Cross Country champion in the 5-kilometer adaptive ski race. One of the most inspirational athletes in our midst, she seeks to cap her high school career in style. The Capers should be one of the best teams in the conference and at the Class B state level.

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Senior Laura Mackay is another sprinter to keep an eye on this winter.

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Senior Erin Lyons is a sprinter to watch for the Capers.

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Senior Emma Inhorn is a top distance runner for the Capers.

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Junior Deven Roberts will be one of the league's top jumpers this season.

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Sophomore Kyle Kennedy is coming off a state championship effort in cross country and hopes to pace the Capers distance squad to great things.

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Junior Trevor Ewald is a top returning sprinter for Cape Elizabeth this winter.

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Junior Hannah Newhall is a standout athlete. She'll be a factor in several different events this season.