Wednesday, December 11, 2013
1. Cheverus: Like so many of the top teams, the Stags must replace a graduated all-state player (Sarah LaQuerre). They appear primed to handle the task most effectively, with the return of Staci Swallow, Emily Rodrigue and goalie Libby DesRuisseaux, and three-year starters Katie Roy at defense and Brooke Flaherty in the midfield. "By no means are we a pretty team to watch. We get it done because they'll do anything to get it done," said Coach Amy McMullin.
2. Scarborough: The top seed in Western Class A for a third straight year in 2011, the Red Storm must replace three current collegiate players (Shauni Cowan, Kelsey Howard and Lindsay Dobecki) plus defensive standout Stephanie Felt, who's attending Phillips Exeter Academy. Four senior captains -- Karli-An Gilbert (MF), Grace Whelan (F), Mikaela Gove (D) and Shannon Hicks (G) -- are spread across the field. Sophomores Abby Walker and Maddie Dobecki will assume bigger roles.
3. Marshwood: The surprise Western Class A champs in 2011 return loads of speed up front, with juniors Karissa Boesch, Ashley Hickey and Emily Osborne, and talented midfielders Sammy Crosman and sophomore Lindsey Crosman are adept at creating transition attacks. Senior captain Kaitlin Carr is a tenacious defender. Sixth-year coach Lisa Truesdale inherited a team that hadn't won a game in 21/2 seasons, then went 0-14 in her first year. Now the Hawks are firmly in the SMAA's upper tier.
4. Westbrook: Coach Beth Murphy returns 11 from last year's 12-5 squad that reached the Western Class A semifinals. "I'm absolutely tickled. There's no real weakness out there that I can see," Murphy said. Allison Lemay leads a well-balanced offense, while fellow captain Tori Winton switches from the wing to center midfield, filling in the spot held by graduated sister and all-state pick Kayla Winton. Forward Sarah Hopkins, defender Emily Blackmore and junior goalie Nicole Miranda are also key players.
5. North Yarmouth Academy: Only at NYA could a state title be called a down year, but the Panthers struggled at times and relied on defense and Katherine Millett, who finished with 96 career goals. Seniors Jen Brown, Bailey Clock and Lillie Reder should control the middle, and sophomore goalie Elizabeth Coughlin is back. If juniors Olivia Madore (eight goals) and Kayla Rose (five goals) double their output, NYA could again be the class of Class C.
6. Massabesic: Similar to Marshwood, the Mustangs are a team climbing the SMAA ranks and are still relatively young. Junior Jackie Guillemette and All-SMAA pick Alex Staples are "a couple of powerhouse forwards," said Coach Michelle Martin-Moore. Senior backs Kaelyn Kuni and Sarah Cost bring experience to help new keeper Abby Greenleaf, with juniors Bailey Ohman and Logan Provencher leading the midfield.
7. Falmouth: The season-opening 3-0 win against Greely demonstrated that Coach Robin Haley has an explosive team well suited to its artificial turf. Juniors Leika Scott and Hayley Richards team with senior captain Sarah Sparks to form a dominant midfield, and Jillian Rothweiler is a speedy forward target. Defender Katie Cooleen uses superior stick work to disarm opposing attacks. Mikey Richards has a knack for key goals.
8. York: The Wildcats have won six of the last seven Western Class B titles, so they can't be counted out. Still, replacing 11 seniors creates holes, particularly at the offensive end where all-state Cari Posternak (now playing for UNH) carried the load. The defense has plenty of experience with fourth-year goalie Amanda Kasbohm, senior sweeper Kelsey Elsemore and senior Olivia Drew. Senior Tori Stock (MF) and junior Taylor Simpson (F) will need to produce.
9. Fryeburg Academy: Coach Dede Frost may have undersold her team in the preseason when she said "realistically, we're hoping to stick here as a playoff contender." In Friday's 1-0 win against York, the Raiders had a 13-0 shot advantage. Five starters and 11 players return from a team that went 12-3. Senior forward Ellen Bacchiocchi is a speedy playmaker, senior Christine DiPietro is a scoring threat and Kendra Fox leads the midfield unit.
10. Lisbon: After falling to NYA in penalty corners in the Western Class C final, the Greyhounds return eight starters, including senior midfielder Bailey Madore, team MVP Olivia Harrington (11 assists) and sophomore Arianna Kahler (17 goals), the team's leading scorer. Three players are contending for the goalie job.
-- Steve Craig, Staff Writer