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Cape Elizabeth Capers Fall Sports Preview

Sports

Cape Elizabeth Capers Fall Sports Preview

Cape Elizabeth's fall sports teams expect to excel in 2010 and for good reason. Football made a first-ever trip to the state final a year ago and despite losing some key players to graduation, is in position to again be a top team in Western B. Boys' soccer will be formidable and could be poised to play into November. The girls' team looks to get back to the playoffs after falling short a year ago. Field hockey also seeks to improve and make the postseason. The girls' cross country program has been transcendent for several years and seeks to win another championship. The boys welcome a new coach and look to be among the best. The golf team will be in the hunt for a title. Volleyball looks to continue to develop into a contender.

FOOTBALL

COACH: Aaron Filieo (seventh year)

2009 Record: 11-1 (Lost 35-21 to Leavitt in Class B state final)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Jack Barber (Senior), Kyle Danielson (Senior), Jack McDonald (Senior), Andrew Lavallee (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 10 (H) YORK, Sept. 24 (H) FALMOUTH, Oct. 8 @ Wells, Oct. 29 @ Mountain Valley

COACH’S COMMENT: “We're a work in progress, replacing a lot of guys. The offensive and defensive lines are where our experience are. Our skills guys are trying to fill spots. We have an open competition at quarterback. It's running back by committee. We've always had stars in the past. It's not that way anymore. We have guys who want to work hard and have great character and attitudes. We have high expectations to be there at the end. It's a different road this time. There's a lot of parity in the league. More of a dogfight.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Cape Elizabeth finally got past nemesis Mountain Valley in the playoffs a year ago (although it wasn't easy) and appeared in the Class B Final for the first time. Ultimately, the Capers didn't have enough to slow Leavitt and fell short, but the season was an unmitigated success regardless. Cape Elizabeth was hard hit by graduation, losing the likes of 2009 Fall Male Athlete of the Year quarterback Ezra Wolfinger, running back Tommy Foden and wide receiver Finn Melanson, just to name three standouts. While this year's team doesn't have the star power of past editions, anyone who thinks Filieo won't have his team ready will be in for an unpleasant surprise. The Capers feel they're an elite program that can contend year in, year out, despite departures. While last year's offense was predictable (and close to unstoppable, scoring 422 points), this season's skill players had yet to emerge at press time. Cape Elizabeth should be solid on the line behind Lavallee (the team's lone returning Campbell Conference all-star) and McDonald. Barber will see his share of action and Danielson can block and catch from his tight end spot. Defensively, the Capers will have a hard time matching last year's dominance. In 2009, they surrendered only 89 points in 12 games, including just 27 in eight regular season contests. If this year's unit is anywhere near that stingy, the team will be in great shape. Danielson and Lavallee will plug holes up front, Barber and McDonald lead the linebacking corps. Senior Patrick Tyler will be key on special teams. His punting was huge in last year's postseason. While there are a lot of question marks with Cape Elizabeth, the team's biggest rivals all have uncertainties as well. It doesn't look like anyone will run roughshod through the league and many more games will be close than in years past. When the dust settles, however, it's hard to imagine the Capers not being right near, or even at the top. If some new skill players develop as hoped, the team stays healthy and hungry and gets a few breaks, it could find itself back at Fitzpatrick Stadium in November with a chance to finish the job.

BOYS' SOCCER

COACH: Ben Raymond (fifth year)

2009 Record: 9-5-1 (lost 2-1 to Windham in Western Class A quarterfinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Nick Breed (Senior), Cam Brown (Senior), Alex Diaz (Senior), Patrick Kelley (Senior), Andy Lynch (Senior), Jack Queeney (Senior), Timmy Takach (Senior), Blake Barritt (Junior), Tim Lavallee (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 8 (H) NYA, Sept. 16 @ Greely, Sept. 18 @ Falmouth, Sept. 23 (H) YARMOUTH, Oct. 5 (H) GREELY, Oct. 7 (H) FALMOUTH, Oct. 9 @ Yarmouth

COACH’S COMMENT: “We should be a very good team again this season. We have a bunch of seniors who are great kids and great leaders. They want to do well and know what they lack in skill level they can easily make up for in effort and attitude in practices and on game day. The junior class has a lot of talented players who will play important roles this season and I think they're ready for the responsibility and the challenge. We need to win games to collect enough Heal Points to make the Class A playoffs, but once we get in, we are looking to go very deep into them.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: As has been the case for several years, Cape Elizabeth doesn't enter the season as the favorite, but has enough talent that it could very well steal headlines by the end (a script the boys' lacrosse team penned this spring, with many of the same players). The Capers will miss graduated all-stars Brock Barritt, Ben Brewster and Harper Nelson, but have plenty of talent in reserve. Raymond thinks that Takach will be a big scorer for the team. Blake Barritt is a soccer aficionado who will score his share and set up his teammates on a regular basis. Diaz, Lavallee, Lynch, junior Forrest Hewitt and new junior James Barlow will help the cause. Cape Elizabeth will be formidable on defense. Breed and Kelley are touted as superb 1-on-1 defenders and Queeney's tenacious in the air. That triumvirate will make up one of the stingiest units around in front of Brown, who is only getting better. The Capers will have their hands full with a good chunk of the schedule, namely the part that includes defending Class B champion Falmouth and perennial powerhouses Greely and Yarmouth, but they should be able to compete with those squads. If Cape Elizabeth finds a way to win or tie in a good percentage of those games and takes care of business against the rest of the league, it might be able to play at least one postseason game on its own turf. Once late-October rolls around, the Capers will be very dangerous. Don't be surprised if they advance deeper than last year's team and make a serious bid to play into November.

GIRLS' SOCCER

COACH: Gary Newell (third year)

2009 Record: 6-6-2 (no postseason)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Karyn Barrett (Senior), Lexi Weatherbie (Senior), Abby Houghton (Junior), Maddy Riker (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 7 @ NYA, Sept. 16 (H) GREELY, Sept. 18 @ Falmouth, Sept. 20 @ York, Sept. 23 (H) YARMOUTH, Oct. 5 @ Greely, Oct. 7 (H) FALMOUTH, Oct. 9 @ Yarmouth, Oct. 19 (H) YORK

COACH'S COMMENT: “Though the bitter taste of not making the playoffs last season remains, it should provide plenty of fuel for the team. A core group of players are doing everything they can to lead, inspire and bring this program back to where it once was. Whether the rest of the team follows remains to be seen.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: After a 5-1-2 start a year ago, the Capers fizzled, going just 1-5 down the stretch and missing the playoffs for the first time since 1993. Look for that to be an aberration as a strong core hopes to become the basis of one of the best teams in the conference and in Western Class A. Barrett leads the way. One of the best players in the state, last year's leading scorer, league all-star and school's Fall Female Athlete of the Year can score with abandon from just about anywhere, but is also capable of and happy to set up her teammates. Barrett hopes to bow out with a special season after devoting countless hours in the offseason to her craft. She'll get some help on offense from Houghton, Riker (who saw time as a freshman) and freshman Addie Wood. Senior Tory Etzel, who has battled back from injury, will also play a key role on the team. Defensively, the backbone is Weatherbie, who is in her third season as varsity goalkeeper. Newell considers her the best goalie in the state, who can get the job done in the field if the Capers look to mix things up. This team has a very difficult schedule, but simply needs to regain its confidence. The athletes are in place for Cape Elizabeth to not only improve its win-loss total, but get back to the playoffs and stick around awhile. If you're looking for a dark horse, look no further than the Capers.

FIELD HOCKEY

COACH: Darci Holland (fourth year)

2009 Record: 4-9-1 (no postseason)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Ally Boyington (Senior), Lauren Nicholson (Senior), Kelsey Maguire (Senior), Bella Robinson (Junior), Julianne Ayers (Sophomore), Jane Coffrin (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 7 (H) FALMOUTH, Sept. 11 (H) YORK, Sept. 13 (H) WELLS, Sept. 27 (H) GREELY, Sept. 29 @ York, Oct. 1 @ Wells, Oct. 5 @ Greely, Oct. 8 @ Falmouth

COACH’S COMMENT: “We graduated six last year. We are very young and have small numbers this year; so we won't have a lot coming off the bench for us. We have a talented group back who have played with each other for several years. We look to contend, but we need to work on scoring goals. We are pretty strong defensively.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: The Capers lost four of their last five games in 2009 and snapped a 15-year streak of making the playoffs. They'll look to get back this autumn and have a great shot to do so. Offensively, Cape Elizabeth could be in good shape. There are certainly plenty of athletes on the roster, led by Maguire, who was a first-team all-star a year ago. Boyington, Coffrin, Robinson, sophomores Shannon Nicholson and Lauren Steidl and freshman Elizabeth Robinson look to help the cause as well. Defensively, Lauren Nicholson sets the pace in front of Ayers in goal. Western B appears to be pretty wide open this season and there will be plenty of playoff spots up for grabs. If the Capers can remain consistent, finish their chances and stay focused and hungry, there's no reason why they won't make a run at a winning record and a postseason berth. As the season progresses, this is a squad that should only get stronger and be one that no one will want to face by year's end.

CROSS COUNTRY

BOYS COACH: Derek Veilleux (first year)

GIRLS COACH: Mary Ann Doss (13th year)

2009 Results:

(BOYS) 4th @ Class B state meet

(GIRLS) Class B state champions

TOP RETURNING RUNNERS

BOYS: Reid Douty (Senior), Leo Ledman (Senior), Paul Trantina (Senior), Thomas Bottomley (Junior), Thomas Robinson (Junior)

GIRLS: Kelsey Barton (Senior), Lydia Berman (Senior), Rachel Nichols (Senior), Catherine Tierney (Junior), Ellen Best (Sophomore), Emma Inhorn (Sophomore)

TOP FOES: Falmouth, Greely, York

COACH VEILLEUX’S COMMENT: “Our goal is to improve throughout the season so that we're running our best in late-October. The team worked hard this summer. We have talent. If we stay healthy, we can contend with anyone in the state. We don't have a lot of depth right now and hopefully that doesn't come back to bite us in the end. There's a big influx of freshmen this fall, which is great for the program. Being a first-year coach, this has me not only excited about this season, but the future as well.”

COACH DOSS’ COMMENT: “We plan to contend for our fourth straight championship. We have a great amount of depth, very talented freshmen, previous state individual champions and a slew of other girls who have improved vastly since last season. I believe that one or two of my new, talented freshmen will be in my top seven as the season progresses. I know the girls have set fantastic goals and if everyone stays healthy, it should be another exciting and successful season.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Stop me if you've heard this before, but both Cape Elizabeth cross country teams will be in the hunt for state titles this autumn.

The girls' team has won three straight championships and four in five years and has been among the elite longer than that. Doss has created a veritable all-star team that was so far beyond any other squad a year ago, it had to go out of state to find serious competition. The loss of Emily Attwood (last year's state meet runner-up) and Hannah Doss to graduation will hurt, but there is plenty of skill in reserve, with a group of promising newcomers right there as well. The top returner is Nichols, who was third at states a year ago. Barton (eighth) and Inhorn (16th) also scored, while Tierney (39th) and Best (47th) would have scored for virtually any other team. Berman brings experience. Three freshmen, Dana Hatton, Emily Labosco and Natalie Rand, will soon become household names. While the Capers might not be the juggernaut of 2009, they'll still be very, very good. If they can stay healthy, a fourth consecutive crown is a very good bet.

On the boys' side, Cape Elizabeth is trying to run down Greely, York and Falmouth both in the regular season and the postseason. Veilleux, an assistant under Dave Weatherbie a year ago, takes over this fall. He's led the Scarborough indoor and outdoor programs to great success in recent seasons. The Capers do return three scorers and four participants from last year's state meet. Bottomley (11th), Ledman (21st) and Douty (30th) all scored in 2009, while Trantina (72nd) also took part. Robinson looks to move up in the pack. Four newcomers will also be factors. Junior Matt Barksdale and freshmen Peter Doane, Julian Pelzar and Liam Simpson provide depth. If the team can stay healthy and meet its potential, it has to be considered to be worthy of making a run. By October, Cape Elizabeth should be one of the better teams in the state.

GOLF

COACH: Bill McGary (second year)

2009 Results: 3-6 (4th @ Class B state match)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS:Ben Berman (Senior), Brad Dickinson (Senior), Wilson LaPrade (Senior), Rob MacDonald (Senior), Ben Morse (Senior), Will LeBlond (Junior), Sam Kozlowki (Sophomore), Brandon Negele (Sophomore)

TOP FOES: Falmouth, Greely, York

COACH’S COMMENT: “We're looking forward to a good season and to the regionals to qualify for the state tournament and seeing what damage we can do there.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Cape Elizabeth had a down year by its standards in 2009, but should be right back near the top of the conference and Class B by October. LaPrade (84 at team states, 88 at individuals, a league all-star in 2009) Morse (87 at team states) and MacDonald (88 at team states) all took part in the postseason a year ago and should lead the way in 2010. Berman, Dickinson and LeBlond have experience. Kozlowski and Negele also return. Four newcomers look to step right in. Juniors Max Gore and Connor Logan and sophomores Jackson Berman and Alex Silva will make the team stronger from the get-go. The Capers are in a very tough conference and will be tested in almost every regular season meet. They hope to be clicking on all cylinders by the time of the qualifier and if they get back to states, they're capable of winning it all.

VOLLEYBALL

COACH: Rob Thompson (third year)

2009 Record: 1-13 (no postseason)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Lena Castro (Senior) Tori Downer (Senior), Lucy Hewitt (Senior), Catherine Powell (Senior), Olivia Cooper (Junior)

PIVOTAL MATCHES: Sept. 10 @ Cony, Sept. 20 (H) NYA, Sept. 22 @ Kennebunk, Sept. 24 (H) YARMOUTH, Oct. 1 (H) KENNEBUNK, Oct. 13 (H) CONY, Oct. 15 @ NYA

COACH'S COMMENT: “We have a huge number of girls who tried out this year and some really good freshmen. Last year, we ran a more complicated offense. I hope this year we'll translate that into wins. It's a shorter team. We hope to rock and roll on defense. The program is coming along nicely. Great teamwork.”

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Cape Elizabeth is now in its third varsity season and should be better equipped to compete. The Capers have a strong contingent of returning seniors who will set the tone. Downer is the defensive specialist. Hewitt and Powell serve as outside hitters. Cooper's in the middle. Castro is a setter. If the newcomers can get up to speed quickly, Cape Elizabeth will be able to hold its own against all but the elite powers. Look for an improvement in victories and maybe even a run at a .500 record by this program which is certainly on the way up.

Photo: File photo

Senior Jack MacDonald (53) packs a mighty hit on defense for a Cape Elizabeth football team seeking to defend its regional championship.

Photo: File photo

Senior Alex Diaz will be a force at midfield for a Cape Elizabeth boys' soccer team that expects to contend for a Class A championship.

Photo: File photo

Senior Karyn Barrett is one of the premier girls' soccer players in the state.

Photo: File photo

Junior Thomas Bottomley finished 11th at last year's state meet.

Photo: File photo

Sophomore Emma Inhorn is another top returner for Cape Elizabeth's girls' team. She was 16th at last year's state meet.