Coach of the year is a difficult award to bestow. There are so many devoted and excellent candidates. These awards were not necessarily awarded to a man and a woman, but to the top coach of a boys’ team and the top coach of a girls’ team.
Spring 2010 Southern Edition Coach of the Year—Boys’ Team
BEN RAYMOND—CAPE ELIZABETH LACROSSE
For four long seasons, the Cape Elizabeth boys’ lacrosse program fell short of what it’s long felt is its birthright, the state championship.
When this spring began with a lopsided home loss to upstart Falmouth, the drought appeared primed to extend to five, but the Capers turned things around. With a vengeance.
The second time they played the Yachtsmen, in Falmouth, they only lost by two and 10 days later, they turned the corner for good with a stunning come-from-behind home win over two-time defending state champion Yarmouth.
Cape Elizabeth entered the playoffs full of confidence, avenged their two regular season setbacks with a come-from-behind overtime win at Falmouth in the regional final, then capped its surge by holding off Yarmouth in the state final.
At last, the Capers were back on top.
While everyone on the roster deserved credit, longtime coach, Mr. Cape Lacrosse himself, Ben Raymond, certainly merits the most. Widely respected by his peers for his ability to form a team, have it reach its potential and to make in-game and in-season adjustments, while getting the best out of his charges with his impassioned approach, Raymond might have done his finest work in 2010.
As a result, The Forecaster is naming Ben Raymond as our Spring 2010 Southern edition Coach of the Year, of a boys’ team.
Raymond was a three-sport star at Cape Elizabeth High School, playing soccer and lacrosse, as well as swimming. He played for Charlie Burch when the Capers set the bar for excellence every spring. He went to Springfield College to play soccer and also took part in club lacrosse.
When Burch left for Kennebunk in 1998, Raymond took over the Cape Elizabeth program. He won state titles his first three years and again in 2002, 2003 and 2005.
Raymond also coaches varsity soccer and swimming at the high school and for three seasons, was the men’s lacrosse coach at the University of Southern Maine, but now, he focuses on the high school program alone.
This year’s team obviously had a lot of talent and pride, but it took awhile for the pieces to come together. Riding senior talents like Ben Brewster and Tommy Foden, while getting everything he could out of burgeoning stars like goalie Jack Roos and faceoff specialist Timmy Takach, Raymond pushed all of the buttons.
Raymond lives is a special education teacher at the high school and lives in Cape Elizabeth with his family. He might have the Capers on the verge of another dynastic run.
Cape Elizabeth is always on the brink of greatness with him at the helm. The state’s most storied team is back at the top and that’s thanks mostly to the man most associated with the program, Ben Raymond, our Spring 2010 Southern edition boys’ Coach of the Year.
2009 winner: Jim Cronin (Scarborough baseball)
2008 winner: Joe Hezlep (Scarborough lacrosse)
2007 winner: Craig McDonald (Scarborough tennis)
2006 winner: Tobey Farrington (Scarborough lacrosse)
2005 winner: Dave Weatherbie (Cape Elizabeth track)
2004 winner: Todd Day (Cape Elizabeth baseball)
2003 winner: Ben Raymond (Cape Elizabeth lacrosse)
2002 winner: Andy Strout (Cape Elizabeth boys’ tennis)
Spring 2010 Southern Edition Coach of the Year—Girls’ Team
RALPH ACETO—SOUTH PORTLAND SOFTBALL
South Portland has been playing softball since the 1970s and despite being competitive most of that time, had never tasted the glory of winning a state championship.
This spring, the Red Riots reached the pinnacle.
Appeared doomed to play second fiddle to Scarborough once again, South Portland enjoyed a superb regular season, got on a roll in the playoffs, then finally solved the Red Storm enigma in the regional final. The Red Riots didn’t rest on their laurels, however, as they found a way to edge Bangor in the Class A state game to win the big prize at last.
Ralph Aceto has been around the South Portland program for years, first as a parent and now for the past two seasons, as a coach. He got the Red Riots to the regional final a year ago, but this time got them to believe they were the best, that they could hit the seemingly unhittable Scarborough pitching and that they could be the last team standing.
For accomplishing all of that, Ralph Aceto is The Forecaster’s selection for our Spring 2010 Southern edition Coach of the Year, of a girls’ team, marking the second straight year he’s been selected.
Aceto is a South Portland native who played softball in the military, started coaching when his kids were at the youth level (oldest daughter Amanda was a third baseman on the 2005 regional champion, while middle daughter Christina was a standout as well) and formed the Coastal Maine Diamonds ASA team.
This year, South Portland won its first 10 contests, most with relative ease, then, after one rough inning, lost again to Scarborough, 5-0. The Red Riots won their final five contests, then eliminated McAuley and Kennebunk to get back to the regional final against the Red Storm, a team they hadn’t scored against in six games. That all changed, thanks to some early hustle and an error. Junior Katlin Norton then broke the game open with a three-run dinger and South Portland held off a late Scarborough rally to reach the state game where Norton drove in the game’s lone run and junior Alexis Bogdanovich shut down the Bangor attack.
Coming into the year, Aceto knew that more balls would be put in play due to the mound being moved back three feet. He preached defense and an aggressive offensive approach and with the help of assistants Rick Fournier and Marc Sandora, got his charges to buy in.
Now, the Red Riots get a chance to defend the crown, a challenge they and their coach will welcome. Ralph Aceto, our Spring 2010 Southern edition girls’ Coach of the Year, has shown he can turn a team into a champion. Don’t be surprised if he does it again.
2009 winner: Ralph Aceto (South Portland softball)
2008 winner: Tom Griffin (Scarborough softball)
2007 winner: Tom Griffin (Scarborough softball)
2006 winner: Joe Henrikson (Cape Elizabeth softball)
2005 winner: Jim Hartman (South Portland softball)
2004 winner: Susan Ray (Cape Elizabeth tennis)
2003 winner: Tom Griffin (Scarborough softball)
2002 winner: Jack DiBiase (South Portland softball)