Senior Lauren Jordan and her Cheverus girls’ soccer teammates will be a top contender in Class A South this fall. File photos. More photos below.

FOOTBALL

Coach: Mike Vance (fourth year, 15-14 overall record)

2018 record: 7-3 (Lost, 35-6, to Oxford Hills in Class A North semifinals)

Top returning players: Gavin Callahan (Senior), Mitchell Cloutier (Senior), Avery Conant (Senior), Tim O’Brien (Senior), Sean Sullivan (Senior), Sean Tompkins (Senior), Ian Trafford (Senior), Giovanni Fornaro (Junior), Greyden Lindstedt (Junior), Sebastian Merrill (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Sept. 6 @ Kennebunk, Sept. 14 SOUTH PORTLAND, Sept. 20 @ Gorham, Oct. 5 PORTLAND, Oct. 18 @ Bonny Eagle, Oct. 26 DEERING

Coach’s comment: “We have a bunch of kids who have been there. Our theme this year is maturity. Maturing throughout the season. We just want to improve. There’s a lot of opportunity. The league is tough. Not a lot of room for error. We don’t make long term goals in terms of wins and losses. Important stats for us are turnovers and points allowed versus points scored. We should be competitive. We’re excited for the season.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus had its best season, in terms of wins and losses, since 2014 last fall and the Stags look to do it again this autumn while contending in Class B South for the first time (where most of their foes are familiar).

Senior Sean Tompkins will be a big-play threat for the Cheverus offense.

Cheverus will have junior Josh Paquet under center this fall after Marc Reali transferred back to Biddeford. Paquet will direct an offense that can be effective running and throwing the ball. Tompkins, a captain, will see plenty of carries and his breakaway speed should result in some long touchdown runs (he rushed for 750 yards and 11 TDs on 59 attempts in 2018). Lindstedt (a fullback), Trafford (79-455-6) and sophomore Orion Guibord will also get there share of opportunities. Through the air, Callahan, Conant and new sophomore Bryant Nsengiyumva will be top threats. Tompkins will be involved in the passing game as well. The Stags, as always, will be strong on the line, as Cloutier, Fornaro, Merrill, O’Brien and Sullivan (a captain) all return. Senior Teddy Michaud will be the placekicker. This is a potentially dynamic offense that should score a lot of points.

Defensively, Cheverus, which again is coached by the legendary John Wolfgram, will be stout as Callahan (31.5 tackles and seven sacks a season ago), Fornaro (30 tackles, two sacks), Guibord, Lindstedt (23 tackles, two sacks) Sullivan and Trafford help anchor the line, O’Brien (39.5 tackles last fall) and sophomore Marshall Fowler are top linebackers and the secondary consists of Conant, Nsengiuymva and Tompkins (who made the all-star team last season after registering 28 tackles and an interception).

Not many pundits are talking much about the Stags as the season dawns, choosing instead to focus on defending state champion Marshwood and teams like Biddeford, Kennebunk, Portland and even resurgent South Portland, but no one should overlook Cheverus. While the schedule is as challenging as any in memory, these Stags have experience and hunger to prove they can be one of the best teams in arguably the state’s toughest region. By November, Cheverus just might be getting the accolades it deserves.

BOYS’ SOCCER

Coach: Bill LeBlanc (eighth year, 61-38-10 overall record)

2018 record: 10-4-2 (Lost, 2-0, to Gorham in Class A South semifinals)

Top returning players: Harrison Bell (Senior), Ethan Hammond (Senior), Ethan Hunt (Senior)

Pivotal games: Sept. 5 @ South Portland, Sept. 10 PORTLAND, Sept. 19 @ Gorham, Sept. 24 @ Deering, Sept. 27 FALMOUTH, Oct. 22 @ Scarborough

Coach’s comment: “I have some really good kids who are very competitive. We’re experienced on the varsity level, it’s just a case of getting our younger kids used to varsity. We’ll be strong on defense. We need to get better on offense. We’ll have to score goals by committee. I hope we win a lot of games 1-0. The goal is to be good by October. We want to make the playoffs. Get in and you never know.”

Senior goalie Harrison Bell will keep Cheverus’ boys’ soccer team in games all season.

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus goes back to the future this fall as LeBlanc, who coached the program from 2007-13 and put the pieces in place for the 2014 title run, returns to the program after taking five years off. He’s re-energized and inherits a squad that could surprise.

The Stags were hurt by graduation, most notably by the departure of regional all-stars Jack Mullen and Michael Nason, but the cupboard is not bare. Bell, who was an SMAA all-star, honorable mention in 2018, returns in goal. He’s a captain and will be one of the best keepers in the region. Hunt returns on defense and is joined by junior Evangelo Kapothanasis to shut down the opposition. Generating goals will be Cheverus’ biggest challenge this autumn. The hope is Hammond, along with a pair of sophomores, Brady Hoglund and Emmet Schuele, can help make it happen.

Class A South is as tough as ever and the Stags won’t have time for growing pains. They’ll be tested every time out and while Bell will certainly keep the team in every game, for Cheverus to be successful, the offense has to show up. The guess here is that it will come around as the season progresses and by the end of the campaign, the Stags will make it 25 playoff trips in 26 years and they’ll be a tough out once they get there.

GIRLS’ SOCCER

Coach: Craig Roberts (seventh year, 52-35-7 overall record)

2018 record: 14-3 (Lost, 3-1, to Scarborough in Class A South Final)

Top returning players: Emma Gallant (Senior), Lauren Jordan (Senior), Julia Ryan (Senior), Helena Bolduc (Junior), Neve Cawley (Junior), Mia Kratzer (Junior), Lily Paszyc (Junior), Julia Kratzer (Sophomore), Riley O’Mara (Sophomore)

Speedy and talented senior Emma Gallant will be the focal point of the opposition all season.

Pivotal games: Sept. 19 GORHAM, Sept. 28 @ Falmouth, Oct. 1 @ Bonny Eagle, Oct. 8 WINDHAM, Oct. 22 SCARBOROUGH

Coach’s comment: “We’re looking good so far. It’s a tight-knit group. We have a lot of seniors and a lot of girls back. I consider myself lucky to coach these girls. They want to get better. We have strength all over the field. A variety of players who can contribute. We want to get where we were last year and go even farther. That motivates the seniors and the younger kids want to win for them.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus is coming off arguably the best season in program history, once which saw it  tie for most victories, make it to the regional final for just the second time and hold a momentary lead over Scarborough in that game before going down to defeat. With a lot of talent back, the Stags are aiming even higher this fall and if all goes well, they might just be the last team standing.

Gallant and Jordan were each first-team league all-stars, as well as members of the regional all-star team in 2018. Gallant is already the program’s all-time leading goal scorer and she’s far from done. Her speed and finishing ability make her a matchup nightmare. Jordan, a big-game player, anchors the back line (she was SMAA Co-Defensive Player of the Year last fall), but also takes free kicks and has a penchant for scoring clutch goals. Jordan’s joined on defense by Ryan and senior Sam Belair, who returns after being sidelined last fall with a knee injury. Cawley returns as the goalkeeper and she’s coming off an impressive summer. In the midfield, Bolduc, Julia Kratzer and Mia Kratzer (an honorable mention all-star as a freshman) are all crafty and capable of setting up their teammates, as well as finishing. Up top, O’Mara and Paszyc are other scoring threats.

Julia Kratzer will be a top contributor for the Stags again this autumn.

Cheverus will score a lot of goals and give up few. The Stags know that the road to glory won’t come easily, however. Class A South has several powerhouse teams. Cheverus would love homefield advantage for the playoffs, but regardless of where it plays in the postseason, it will be equipped to do great things. Look for this squad to keep turning heads and making history.

FIELD HOCKEY

Coach: Theresa Hendrix (first year)

2018 record: 9-7 (Lost, 2-0, to Scarborough in Class A South quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Lindsey LeFevre (Senior), Hannah Woodford (Senior), Madisyn Durgin (Junior), Lucia Pompeo (Junior), Norah Slattery (Sophomore)

Junior Lucia Pompeo will be in the middle of the action for a talented Cheverus field hockey team.

Pivotal games: Sept. 10 @ Biddeford, Sept. 18 @ Scarborough, Sept. 26 WESTBROOK, Oct. 8 GORHAM, Oct. 16 MASSABESIC

Coach’s comment: “I got to work with the girls over the summer and they’ve been great. It’s been an easy transition. We’re young, but we have strong leaders who will be in key roles. There are several strong teams this year. It will make for an exciting season. We hope to make a big run in the playoffs this year.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus made it 13 straight trips to the playoffs a year ago, but for the third consecutive season, bowed out in the quarterfinals. The program welcomes back a former star player, Hendrix, as just its fourth ever coach. Hendrix (who also coaches softball at the school and previously coached field hockey at Westbrook) takes over a squad that once again will be in the thick of the hunt in Class A South.

While All-State standouts Bella Booth and Sophia Pompeo have graduated, the Stags still have several strong players hungry to carry on the program’s legacy of success. Woodford (the team’s Rookie of the Year in 2018) returns in goal. LeFevre and Slattery will be top defenders. In the midfield, Durgin, freshman Bella Cloutier and Slattery, will carry play. Up top, look for Lucia Pompeo to continue use her dazzling moves to make things happen. She’s joined by freshman Taylor Tory.

As always, Cheverus will be entertaining to watch and Hendrix will get the most out of her squad. The Stags will hold their own with everyone and will be primed to make some noise when the playoffs arrive. After some early ousters in recent years, this fall, Cheverus is looking to be one of the last teams standing and has the pieces in place to make that happen.

VOLLEYBALL

Coach: Andy Wimmer (second year)

2018 record: 9-7 (Lost, 3-0, to Gorham in Class A state quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Kristina Matkevich (Senior), Maddie Williams (Senior), Liza Rogers (Junior)

Senior Kristina Matkevich is a top returner for a Cheverus volleyball team which made the playoffs last year.

Pivotal matches: Sept. 6 @ South Portland, Sept. 10 FALMOUTH, Sept. 12 @ Scarborough, Oct. 1 GORHAM, Oct. 3 BIDDEFORD, Oct. 19 @ Deering

Coach’s comment: “We hope to improve on our above .500 record last year, as well as host a playoff game and get past the second round.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus is coming off a strong season, one which saw the Stags win a playoff match for the first time. This year’s team wants to build on that success and become an even bigger factor in a deep Class A field.

Cheverus returns Williams, a setter, who led the team in assists in 2018. Rogers can do a little of everything. She led the team in aces last fall and can serve as a setter or a hitter. Matkevich is a hitter who will be heard from all over the court. Senior outside hitter Alex Hammond and junior Jill Lizzotte are a pair of newcomers to watch.

Cheverus is still chasing the traditional powers in Class A (defending champion Falmouth, Scarborough and Biddeford) and will have a chance to measure itself against those teams in the weeks to come. Several other tough foes loom as well, but this group will show steady improvement and should win an impressive share of matches before all is said and done. Another playoff trip is the likely end result.

CROSS COUNTRY

Coach: Addie Cullenberg (second year)

2018 results:
(Boys) DNQ for Class A state meet (14th @ regionals)
(Girls) 5th @ Class A state meet

Top returning runners:
(Boys) Michael Luna (Senior), Jackson Wilson (Senior), Will Herman (Junior), Anthony Zerillo (Junior), Andrew Griffiths (Sophomore)
(Girls) Sophie Schuele (Junior), Mackenzie Turner (Junior), Grace Turner (Sophomore), Leska Whitmarsh (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “The boys are aiming for many individual personal records this season and will be hoping for a place at states. The girls graduated two of the top five and are excited to see younger teammates move up to fill their places this season.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus is poised for a strong season on the trails.

The girls’ squad is coming off its best state meet finish since 2012 and will be led by Mackenzie Turner (35th last season at states), Grace Turner (36th) and Whitmarsh (46th). Schuele also has experience. The Stags veterans look to move up and hope some younger runners can fill in the gaps. If that happens, another top five finish is realistic.

The boys’ team missed the state meet a year ago, but if all goes well, Cheverus will qualify this fall for the first time since 2014. Captains Luna (54th at last year’s regional meet) and Wilson (80th) are the top returners. Griffiths, Herman and Zerillo also have experience. They’re joined by promising newcomers Jack Herman (a sophomore) and Doni Hallett and Ryan Franceschi (both freshmen). Look for steady growth from this team in the weeks to come.

GOLF

Coach: Billy Goodman (first year)

2018 results: 6-3 (DNQ for Class A state match)

Top returners: Ethan Goodman (Senior), Jack Tracy (Senior), Anthony Cloutier (Junior), Nick Giancotti (Junior)

Coach’s comment: “We’re having a lot of fun. We lost a lot, but we have a bunch of kids who are learning. We’ll look to finish .500, get better and make a push to be one of the teams qualifying for states.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus begins a new era this fall as Billy Goodman takes over. Goodman had a long and successful (two state titles) reign at Deering and he moves across town (and also takes over the school’s girls’ basketball program). The golf team will be a work in progress, but the upside is high.

While league all-stars Jeremy Baker and Tom Higgins graduated, Cheverus does feature players who have spent time with the program. That list includes Cloutier, Giancotti, (Ethan) Goodman and Tracy. Senior Nick Galeucia, juniors Liam Allen and Caleb Cholod and sophomores Sam Clark and William Haley also figure into the mix.

The Stags are in a very challenging division and will be tested every time out. Look for several players to improve in the weeks to come and when it’s time to qualify for states, for Cheverus to comport itself very well and perhaps be a surprise.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.


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