Senior quarterback Gio St. Onge hopes to lead the Stags deep into the playoffs this fall. File photos.

Coach: Mike Vance (seventh year, 34-23 overall record, one state championship)

2022 record: 6-4 (Lost, 64-28, to eventual champion Leavitt in Class C South semifinals)

Top returning players: Preston Fallon (Senior), Xavier Nadeau (Senior), Gio St. Onge (Senior)

Pivotal games: Sept. 2 YORK, Sept. 15 @ Cape Elizabeth, Sept. 22 @ Wells, Sept. 30 FRYEBURG, Oct. 20 @ Leavitt

Coach’s comment: “The preseason is going well. I feel good about the kids we have. We have a lot of experience back. Eight starters on both sides of the ball. There’s an element of maturity there that’s important for us. We have a lot of players and a kid who can carry the rock. We’re familiar now with Class C South. We have a very competitive schedule, but we won’t look long-term. Our goal is to be the best team we can be week-in, week-out. If we can create that mentality, the rest will take care of itself.

The Forecaster’s forecast: After winning an eight-man large school state title in 2021, Cheverus moved up to Class C South last season and more than held its own. This season, the Stags boast a lot of veterans and that experience should pay dividends as they hope to make another deep playoff run.


St. Onge, a captain, returns under center. He’s poised and can make plays with his arm and feet. Cheverus will be a run-first attack, like usual, and could have a specific running back poised to emerge as a star, although Vance didn’t want to tip his hand prior to the start of the season, so stay tuned. Fallon, a captain, will be at tight end and Nadeau, the other captain, helps anchor the line.

Senior Preston Fallon is a top returner on defense for the Stags.

Defensively, Nadeau is a top lineman, Fallon will lead the linebacking corps, while St. Onge will see time in the secondary.

The Stags will run the gauntlet schedule-wise, starting with a tough game versus York. Cape Elizabeth, Fryeburg Academy, Wells and of course reigning champion Leavitt, also loom. Nothing will come easily, but this program is used to putting in the hard work and having it pay off. Don’t be surprised if the 2023 squad produces similar success to last autumn. Or perhaps even more.


Senior Anton Behuniak is a top returner for the Cheverus boys’ soccer team this fall.

Coach: Ben Schulz (first year)

2022 record: 5-7-3 (Lost, 3-2, to South Portland in Class A South preliminary round)

Top returning players: Anselm Arbogast (Senior), Anton Behuniak (Senior), Shane McGrath (Senior), Henry Huntley (Junior), Emil Strock (Junior)


Pivotal games: Sept. 5 @ Deering, Sept. 18 FALMOUTH, Sept. 21 @ Windham, Sept. 26 GORHAM, Oct. 6 SCARBOROUGH, Oct. 17 DEERING

Coach’s comment: “My expectations for this team are that we play hard each game, compete to the best of our ability in the toughest conference in the state and to qualify for the tournament and see where we can go from there. We will rely heavily on underclassmen in key positions, which should make for some challenges but benefit us in the future.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus got back to the playoffs and gave South Portland a scare before ultimately falling a goal short a year ago. Longtime coach Bill LeBlanc has moved on and Schulz replaces him. Schulz had success in a previous stint as the Windham boys’ coach and graduated from Cheverus in 1995. He inherits a program that is building, but could be dangerous in the weeks ahead.

The Stags have some experience they can rely on up front and in the midfield. That group includes Behuniak, Huntley, McGrath and Strock. Freshman Ange-Michel Liwanga could be a top scoring threat as well. Arbogast anchors the defense. The goalkeeping position was still up in the air at press time. Sophomore Alexander Royle and freshmen Griffin MacLeod and Jonah Nathanson are other newcomers who could quickly make a name for themselves.

Cheverus’ goals are modest in Schulz’s first season, but you can bet that you’ll see a lot of improvement from start to finish. The Stags are accustomed to playing in the postseason, having missed just once in a non-COVID season over the past three decades. If this group develops as hoped, it could find itself in position to make some noise in late-October.


Junior Finley Brown will be a top player to watch for Cheverus’ always-strong girls’ soccer team.

Coach: Craig Roberts (11th year, 98-48-8 overall record)


2022 record: 12-5 (Lost, 2-1, to eventual champion Scarborough in Class A South semifinals)

Top returning players: Reese Belanger (Senior), Finley Brown (Junior), Jillian Foley (Junior), Sophia Monfa (Junior), Evelyn Rush (Junior), Annie Vigue (Junior), Rachel LaSalle (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Aug. 31 WINDHAM, Sept. 13 @ Thornton Academy, Sept. 15 PORTLAND, Sept. 20 @ Scarborough, Sept. 29 DEERING, Oct. 2 @ Gorham, Oct. 13 @ Windham

Coach’s comment: “We only graduated five and we have five new freshmen, four who will see significant minutes. I think we’ll play a better brand of soccer this year. Last year’s group may not have had the most talent, but they were really tight and overcame a lot. The questions for us are can the experienced players can bring along the inexperienced players and how fast will that happen? When we play the top teams, we have to get into the final third more consistently and get into dangerous spots more often. We hope to get contributions from everyone. The girls are excited.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus made a surprising run all the way to the semifinals a year ago and gave the eventual state champions their most challenging regional tournament test before bowing out. While graduation took its toll, taking standout Caoilinn Durkin and several others, this year’s group is primed to contend once more and make another deep playoff surge if all goes well.

Junior Evelyn Rush is back in goal for the Stags.

Up top, look for Monfa (an honorable mention all-star last season) and Vigue to do damage. The midfield will help with the scoring as well, as Brown, who was a second-team all-star in 2022 and is one of two Mainers playing for the Region I Olympic Development Program, Foley (honorable mention), sophomore Alaina Holmes and freshmen Addy Rush and Maddie Smith bring speed, skill and talent. In the back, Belanger, a captain, has experience and steps up huge regardless of the season. She’s joined by LaSalle and freshmen Addison Jordan and Olivia Vigue along with Foley and senior Sofia Pothier, in front of Evelyn Rush, who was an honorable mention a year ago.


It all adds up to a very promising squad, but nothing will come easily, as the Stags begin and end the regular season with perennial powerhouse Windham and also have to visit Scarborough and Gorham. Cheverus has long proved it can contend in Class A South. To take the next step means beating those aforementioned powers. If this team develops as hoped, that just might happen.


Cheverus’ field hockey team had a ton to celebrate last fall, but ultimately, the Stags fell one goal short of a repeat state title. Cheverus looks to avenge that setback this season.

Coach: Theresa Arsenault (fifth year, 49-7-3 overall record, one state title)

2022 record: 17-1 (Lost, 3-2, to Skowhegan in Class A state final)

Top returning players: Mackenzie Cash (Senior), Lily Johnson (Senior), Taylor Krieger (Senior), Charlotte Miller (Senior), Lucy Johnson (Junior), Lillian Magda (Junior), Joey Pompeo (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Sept. 1 BIDDEFORD, Sept. 7 @ Noble, Sept. 11 @ Scarborough, Sept. 15 @ Gorham, Sept. 30 @ Biddeford, Oct. 3 SCARBOROUGH, Oct. 5 NOBLE

Coach’s comment: “It’s my favorite time of the year. We’ll focus on our defense this year and on pushing up from there. We need to stay true to who we are. We’ll work hard and get better every day. Playing a tough schedule will be good for us. Other teams have gotten better, so we have to keep getting better too. We have a lot of veterans. The girls are always competitive, but there’s even more of a competitive fire after last year. Their work ethic hasn’t changed and that will give them the edge when the postseason begins.


The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus was on the brink of being a team for the ages last fall, scoring 140 goals and winning its first 17 games in dominant fashion, but the Stags weren’t able to earn the biggest victory of all, dropping a gutwrenching one-goal decision to Skowhegan on the big stage as their repeat quest fell agonizingly short and a program-record 39-game win streak came to a halt in the process. The good news is that Cheverus returns some of the state’s premier players and that, combined with the hunger over last year’s close call, means this group is poised to take care of unfinished business.

All eyes will be on sensational junior Lucy Johnson this fall. Johnson scored 49 goals last season.

Lucy Johnson leads the way up front. Arguably the finest player in program history, Johnson, an all-state selection and Cheverus’ Fall Athlete of the Year in 2022, scored 49 goals and had 19 assists as a sophomore and will give the opposition fits, even when they try everything in their arsenal to stop her. Lily Johnson, a standout in her own right, a terrific team leader and like her younger sister, an all-state player last fall, will help control the midfield and will score her share of goals, as will Pompeo (who made the All-Rookie team as a freshman), Cash and promising freshman Sydney Brunell. The Stags are making an extra effort to be defensive minded this autumn. That group will be led by Krieger, Magda and Miller. Sophomore Ellie Skolnekovich, who backed up Logan LeFevre last season, will be in goal.

Senior Lily Johnson is another standout for Cheverus.

After running roughshod over everyone in Class A South last season, Cheverus could get more of a test this fall, as it faces three of its top challengers, Biddeford, Noble and Scarborough on two occasions apiece. This group won’t be measured by what it does in the regular season, however. After its date with destiny was dashed, these Stags have a single goal in mind. Recapturing the championship they feel is rightly theirs. Expect this talented group to produce another fun, memorable and ultimately, triumphant campaign.


Coach: Abby Rzcudilo (first year)

2022 record: 9-7 (Lost, 3-1, to Sanford in Class A state quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Ruth Boles (Senior), Bella Cortez (Junior)


Pivotal matches: Aug. 31 SCARBOROUGH, Sept. 6 @ South Portland, Sept. 19 @ Deering, Oct. 3 FALMOUTH, Oct. 5 @ Gorham, Oct. 16 @ Biddeford

Coach’s comment: “Volleyball has been a huge part of my life for many years, so I’m looking forward to giving back to the sport I love through coaching. I hope I can make a positive impact on the players and the program with my knowledge of the sport. I want to not only help the girls grow as volleyball players but also as young adults through the many life lessons that sports have taught me. Overall, I am looking forward to a successful season ahead.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus has made the postseason each of the past four years the playoffs were held and this year’s team has a new look, as Rzcudilo takes over. Rzcudilo played Division III college volleyball at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania and inherits a team that looks to contend yet again.

Cortez was a first-team league all-star a year ago and is a top returner. The defensive specialist was the team’s most valuable player as a sophomore and will keep the ball alive despite the best efforts of the opposition. Boles is the team’s lone senior. She was a second-team league all-star in 2022 and she’ll be the setter. Sophomore Mary Hackleman is a newcomer to watch. She’ll be in the middle. Freshman Dylan Walker could be a top hitter.

The Stags are hoping to remain competitive throughout the season and take it to another level come playoff-time. This is a team on the rise that won’t be easy for anyone to contend with.


Coach: Nick Denari (fourth year)


2022 results:
(Boys) DNQ for state meet (10th @ regionals)
(Girls) 12th @ Class A state meet

Top returning runners:
(Boys) Danny McCartney (Senior), Ambrose McCullough (Senior), Griffin Vivian (Senior), Cash Kellen (Junior), Logan Whitmarsh (Junior), Arman Gurcan (Sophomore)
(Girls) Bo Miller (Senior), Roxie Van Oosterum (Senior), Delaney Whitmarsh (Senior), Grace Beeler (Sophomore), Meg Kingsley (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “Our girls’ team snuck into the state meet last year with mostly a team of newbies. We do lose frontrunner and New England qualifier Annabelle Brooks off of that team, but otherwise bring everybody else back. Losing Annabelle is tough, but I think with the talent we have coming in from the freshmen, we should be able to match last year’s finish and qualify again for the state championships. The boys had a disappointing end to the season last year, being the first team out of the state meet. We lost to a couple of teams that we had consistently beaten throughout the year and our result that day was a big letdown. This year, we bring back the entirety of last year’s varsity roster and should be in a place to succeed. We are a very small team, but the runners that we have all take it very seriously. I think a realistic goal for us would be to finish in the top five at the regional meet and in the top 10 at the state championships.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus has reason for optimism on the trails as a new season commences.

The girls’ team will miss Brooks, who had the seventh-best time (sixth for scoring purposes) at last year’s state meet. The Stags do return state meet scorers Beeler (63rd), Van Oosterum (64th) and Kingsley (75th). Miller and Whitmarsh are veterans who will help the cause. Keep an eye on freshmen Anika Hickey and Allie Schmidt, who had success as middle schoolers and who will step right in and not only be part of the pack, but perhaps lead it when all is said and done.

On the boys’ side, Cheverus is hoping to get to states for the first team in nearly a decade (2014). This year’s team is led by McCartney, who ran as an individual at last year’s state meet and posted the 56th-best time. McCullough (41st at last year’s regional meet), Vivian (56th), Kellen (67th) and Gurcan (74th) also return. Whitmarsh looks to move up, while sophomore Jackson Kayne is another younger runner to keep an eye on. If all goes well, the Stags will end their drought, qualify for states and turns some heads when they get there.



Sophomore Mick Madden is the top returner on the links for the Stags.

Coach: Billy Goodman (fifth year)

2022 results: (Did not qualify for Class A state match)

Top returners: Liam Cloutier (Junior), Aaron Goodman (Junior), Mick Madden (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “We lost three of our top six. Mick and Liam should be top individuals. We hope the others can keep their scores in the 40s. We hope to get better throughout the year and to qualify for states.

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus lost a couple top players to graduation and Brian Connolly, the baseball standout, isn’t playing this fall as he’s going to a private school. That doesn’t mean the cupboard is bare, however, as the Stags should be one of the top teams in a deep SMAA Northern Division.

Madden is the top returner. He was a first-team league all-star and came in second as an individual at last year’s Class A state match, shooting an 18-hole round of 74. He’ll continue to excel as he looks to take the top spot this time around. Cloutier (second-team all-star) is another talented, seasoned veteran and Goodman will be heard from as well. Senior Jeff LaFrance, juniors Quinlen Gleason, Christina Lapoint and Andrew Reilly and sophomore Matthew Paradis are also in the hunt for spots.

The Stags will be tested often this fall and that will get them prepared for the all-important state qualifier. If this group can show steady improvement, it will have what it takes to go to the final meet as a team.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at 

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