1. Cheverus: Why are the Stags the clear favorite in A South? Ten of 11 starters are back from a team that went undefeated and won the Class A championship. Three of those starters, Lucy and Lily Johnson and Taylor Tory, combined for 75 goals and were all first-team all-SMAA. Another returning forward, Olivia McCartney, scored twice in the state championship victory. The SMAA will be a test, but Cheverus’ firepower could be unmatched.

2. Biddeford: It’s easy to think, given the way Cheverus rolled, that 2021 was an off year for the Tigers. Not true. Biddeford came a goal away from the A South final, and now the Tigers are ready for another run. Khianna “Kiki” Jackson is a game-changer at midfield, Cece Keller was a 30-goal scorer last year, and sophomore midfielders Ayla Lagasse and Eliza Doyon are among eight returning starters. Keep an eye out for Kayla Magnant, a talented freshman forward.

3. York: The Wildcats graduated 10 players from a team that went 14-0 in the regular season last year, but the perennial contenders should be a team to beat once again. Abby Dickson and Abigail Armlin return after being named first-team players in the Western Maine Conference, and senior midfielder Maggie Hanlon, senior back Kristen MacAuley and sophomore back Emma Joyce lead what should be a steady, reliable defense. New players will have to step up, but as Coach Barb Marois said, “We’ve been pretty fortunate with that in the past.”

4. Scarborough: The Red Storm were hit hard by graduation and lost 10 players, but Coach Kerry Mariello should have a contender on her hands again this year thanks to a group of players who are ready for bigger roles. Scarborough will be a really strong offensive team, led by senior forwards Daisy Stone and Ayden Harris, and the defense is coming along as well. “The core group is extremely talented,” Mariello said. “It’s just a matter of how fast we can do it.”

5. Cape Elizabeth: The Capers went 13-3-1 and came within a goal of making the Class B state title game, and there’s little to suggest they won’t be a tough opponent again. Senior forwards Grace Gray and Kaitlyn McIntyre are back to lead the offense, as is senior back Ella Membrino to anchor the defense. Goalie Zoe Burgard, a starter since her freshman season, and back Sophia Chung are part of an impressive junior class. Expect some regression to the mean – the Capers were 6-0 in one-goal games last year – but also expect this to be a good field hockey team.

6. Gorham: Speed and skill should be hallmarks of this Rams team. The centerpiece is junior center midfielder Hannah Bickford, one of the best players in southern Maine, but Gorham also has strong players in junior forward Brooke Farquhar, senior forward/defender Ellie Szostalo and junior defender Julia Wareham, and is a quality passing team that will be a difficult matchup for most teams. Ten players graduated, but most of the players remaining have competed together for years, and there’s plenty of field hockey experience with the bunch.


7. Noble: The Knights are looking for their first winning season since 2003, and this fall they have the talent to be one of the better teams in the region. There are five starters back for Noble, including superb midfielder Ella Anania and high-scoring forward Jenna Baxter, but the team is benefiting from a season spent playing a cast of young players. With returning players like goalie Trinity Valle and midfielder Malia Petelo also in the mix, the Knights could be tough.

8. Thornton Academy: Coach Lori Smith’s group went through a rebuilding season in 2021, and had to use some players with little to no varsity experience. That should pay off this season, however, as the Golden Trojans should be better suited for the A South race. Senior defender Zoey Pennell and senior forward Faith Tillotson are the leaders, but senior defender Emma Boissonneault, junior forward Ariana Cote and sophomore goalie Allison Marines step back into starting roles. The goal for Thornton will be avoiding the preliminary round.

9. Mt. Ararat: The Eagles were A North’s second seed last year behind Skowhegan, and though the team graduated its goals and assists leaders – as well as the whole defensive line – it also has the players returning to be a strong team again. First-team all-conference pick Piper Cohen is back in goal, and Belle Hemond, another first-team KVAC selection, moves to defense and will anchor the back end. Defense for the Eagles should be solid; the question is whether forwards Phoebe Fitzpatrick, Grace Keleher, Alex Graf and Lydia Hiltz will provide enough offense.

10. Windham: After going 8-6-1 last year and making the A South prelims, the Eagles have enough experience returning to expect a step forward. Eleven players from last year’s varsity team are back, including eight starters. Senior forward Hannah Heanssler leads the way after leading Windham in scoring, senior Ella Wilcox is the linchpin of a strong defense, and senior Casey Downing will be solid in the back end as well. Defense will be the Eagles’ strong suit.

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