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Falmouth Yachtsmen Winter Sports Preview

Sports

Falmouth Yachtsmen Winter Sports Preview

Falmouth will make noise across the board this winter. The boys' basketball team has a great shot to win a first-ever Class B championship. The girls' squad has advanced deep in the playoffs the past three years and hopes to remain a top contender this year. Boys' hockey was a regional finalist in 2008-09 and could have enough to finally go all the way. Girls' hockey expects to compete and has enjoyed some early success. Both indoor track teams feature stellar athletes. Girls' swimming hopes to win Class B again, while the boys' also look strong. Both the Alpine and Nordic ski teams should be at their best in February.

BOYS BASKETBALL

COACH: David Halligan (23rd year)

2008-09 Record: 17-4 (Lost 58-48 to Cape Elizabeth in Western B Final)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Sam Horning (Senior), Stefano Mancini (Senior), Jahrel Registe (Senior), John Roberts (Senior), E.J. Rogers (Senior), Ryan Rogers (Senior), Jack Cooleen (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 15 @ Greely, Dec. 17 (H) LAKE REGION, Dec. 19 (H) YARMOUTH, Jan. 5 @ Cape Elizabeth, Jan. 20 @ Yarmouth, Jan. 23 (H) GREELY, Jan. 30 @ Lake Region, Feb. 5 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH

COACH'S COMMENT: "We like our chances. We have a lot of experience back. It'll be a dogfight every night. Our senior experience will benefit us. If we work hard all season, we'll be there at the end, but you also need some luck."

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Luck proved to be on the side of Falmouth's regional final foe last winter. Cape Elizabeth, which on the heels of its miraculous last-second win over Greely, had just enough to end the Yachtsmen's season a win shy of that elusive Class B Final. This year's team appears primed to finally kick the door down. Falmouth has top-notch talent, is well-coached, experienced and hungry. The Yachtsmen will face some stern competition, but if they play at their best, they should make the trip to Bangor. Mancini eschewed football this fall to be at his best this basketball season. The first-team Western Maine Conference all-star (who was fourth in the league with 17.2 points, fifth in assists, 3.4, and tied for seventh in steals, 2, a year ago) is one of the elite players in the state. Mancini had 23 points Friday in Falmouth's season-opening 66-34 victory at Gray-New Gloucester. He's far from the Yachtsmen's only weapon, however. Horning (nine points in the opener) and Ryan Rogers, along with Roberts, the emerging post star (15 points versus Gray-New Gloucester), will make teams pay if they focus too much on Mancini. Registe always plays hard from his forward position. Cooleen is an upcoming star and E.J. Rogers will also be heard from. Four new players should also contribute. Senior guard Mitch Beaulieu and junior guards Michael LaFond and Brendan McDonell , senior forward Neil Axelsen and sophomore guard Matt Kingry give this team tremendous depth. Falmouth is the favorite for good reason, but there are a lot of good teams in Western Class B this year. The Yachtsmen need to stay focused and work on improving between now and February, when their season will ultimately be judged. If Falmouth can stay healthy, look out. There's a very good chance the Yachtsmen will finally finish the job.

FUN FACT: Falmouth won its last four regional finals in Western C. Since moving up in class, however, the Yachtsmen are 0-for-3, including last year's loss.

GIRLS' BASKETBALL

COACH: Kristi Ouellette (second year)

2008-09 Record: 12-8 (Lost 47-37 to York in Western Class B semifinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Annelise Keeler (Senior), Katie McCarthy (Senior), Caitlin Costello (Junior), Jess DiPhillippo (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 11 (H) WAYNFLETE, Dec. 15 @ Greely, Dec. 17 @ Lake Region, Dec. 19 (H) YARMOUTH, Jan. 5 @ Cape Elizabeth, Jan. 14 @ York, Jan. 20 @ Yarmouth, Jan. 23 (H) GREELY, Jan. 29 (H) LAKE REGION, Feb. 2 (H) YORK, Feb. 5 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH

COACH'S COMMENT: "We're a brand new team now. Very young. We're building the team aspect. I think we have a lot of strengths. We have pretty good size. We're definitely guard-heavy. We have a pretty tough schedule. We have to find a way to win. Our goal's to make it to the tournament. We want to come together at the right time."

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Falmouth endured a tumultuous up and down season a year ago, but peaked late and once again advanced deep into the tournament. The Yachtsmen were then hit hard by graduation, including the loss of league all-stars Andie Doyle and Haley Jordan (who is now at the University of Southern Maine). While this year's team is young, Falmouth has a lot of promising players and could evolve into a very tough out by year's end. Keeler has experience and a scorer's touch at the forward position. She had 12 points in Friday's season-opening 43-42 home win over Gray-New Gloucester. Newcomer Kiley Libby added 11, Another new player, sophomore Jenna Serunian, had 19 rebounds. The Yachtsmen have an abundance of talented guards, led by Costello, DiPhillippo and McCarthy. New sophomores Laney Evers and Jackie Doyle will also make an immediate impact. Senior Lauren Boucher is also in the mix. Falmouth isn't considered to be a serious threat to favorites Greely and York, but a lack of expectations and pressure should serve this team well. The Yachtsmen will be scrappy all season. If this group can come together as hoped, it will be very good by the latter part of the season. If Falmouth can make it back to the tournament (not a sure thing now with one fewer berth), this is a team that no one will want to face in a one-and-done scenario.

FUN FACT: Falmouth has won at least one playoff game in three straight years, a program record.

BOYS' HOCKEY

COACH: Scott Rousseau (13th year)

2008-09 Record: 14-7 (Lost 3-1 to St. Dom's in Western Class A Final)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Ford Bohrmann (Senior), Julien Clement (Senior), Dan Hanley (Senior), Gabe Hoffman-Johnson (Senior), Brandon Morrill (Senior), Tim Nash (Senior), Dixon Pike (Senior), Bruce Tuttle (Senior), Tim Hanley (Junior), Jay Hurdman (Junior), Matt MacDowell (Junior), Mitch Tapley (Sophomore), Brandon Tuttle (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 10 (H) TA, Dec. 17 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, Dec. 22 @ Scarborough, Jan. 6 @ Lewiston, Jan. 9 (H) SCARBOROUGH, Jan. 13 @ Biddeford, Jan. 16 (H) WATERVILLE, Jan. 18 @ St. Dom's, Jan. 20 @ TA, Jan. 23 (H) BIDDEFORD, Feb. 6 (H) ST. DOM'S, Feb. 15 (H) GREELY

COACH'S COMMENT: "The gap between the strong teams and the 'have nots' has never been as large. There is great parity among the strong teams, however. Our offense returns eight forwards. We'll have to learn to adjust without Mike Chase, but we should have a more balanced attack. Defense and discipline will still be our calling card. We were the least-penalized team in Class A for the second straight year last year."

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Falmouth has to once again be viewed as a top contender. The Yachtsmen reached their first Western A Final a year ago and return a bevy of talented players this winter. While program scoring leader (for now) Mike Chase has moved on, the Falmouth offense won't suffer. Dan Hanley (a first-team all-state selection in 2008-09 after scoring 31 goals) has 98 career points and should be dominant. Pike (a second-team all-star last year) is right there with him. Bohrmann, Clement, Hoffman-Johnson (Falmouth's Fall Male Athlete of the Year for his soccer brilliance), Morrill, Mitch Tapley and Brandon Tuttle can all light the lamp as well. Pike and Morrill both scored twice in Saturday's season-opening 5-1 win over Portland. The defense is anchored by MacDowell (first-team all-state last winter). He's joined by Tim Hanley, Bruce Tuttle, Nash and freshman Jack Pike in front of Hurdman, another reigning first-team all-state selection. While the focus is usually on the Yachtsmen's potent offense, the defense deserves kudos. Last year, Falmouth didn't allow a power play goal after Jan. 5, successfully killing 50 penalties over a 19-game span. The Yachstmen once again face a series of fierce tests on their schedule, but they have the ammunition to compete night in, night out. Look for Falmouth to light it up on offense and to frustrate opposing attacks. This team will win its share of games and has to be on the short list of teams to beat in the region and the state. Perhaps this is the year the puck bounces right and the Yachtsmen make the trip to Lewiston the first Saturday in March. It's a distinct possibility.

FUN FACT: Falmouth has four sets of brothers (Hanley, Pike, Tapley, Tuttle) on the varsity team.

GIRLS' HOCKEY

COACH: Rob Carrier (first year)

2008-09 RESULTS: 10-7-3 (Lost 4-1 to Biddeford in West Region semifinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Amber Aaskov (Senior), Jacki Aaskov (Senior), Nicole Foley (Senior), Megan Fortier (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 19 @ Cape Elizabeth, Dec. 23 @ St. Dom's, Jan. 5 (H) ST. DOM'S, Jan. 16 @ Lewiston, Jan. 21 (H) LEWISTON, Jan. 30 @ Greely

COACH'S COMMENT: "As the girls learn and become more comfortable with the new systems and the new way practices are being run, the more competitive the team will be. As the season moves along, I expect the girls to be more competitive in each game."

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Falmouth welcomes a new coach this winter in Carrier, who was an assistant at Cheverus for five seasons, helping the Stags become one of the top squads in the state. The Yachtsmen have three games under their belt this winter and are 2-1 to date. Falmouth opened with a hard-fought 2-1 home loss to York, then bounced back by beating host Scarborough 5-1. Saturday, it handled rival Greely, 6-1. This year's offense is led by Fortier (an all-star a year ago, who leads the team with five goals and three assists this season), senior Maria Darrow (three goals in three games), Jacki Aaskov and Foley, who recently starred together in field hockey. Freshmen Jade Bazinet and Gabby St. Angelo look to make a quick mark as well. Defensively, Amber Aaskov and Fortier, along with freshman Abby Payson, lead the way, in front of junior goalie Jen Greene (who has saved 55 of the 59 shots she's seen so far this winter). This team should be competitive against virtually everyone this season and will earn its share of wins. The Yachtsmen like their chances to get back to the playoffs and if they do, they'll be capable of doing some damage.

INDOOR TRACK

COACH: Jorma Kurry (11th year)

2008-09 Results:

(BOYS) 2nd @ WMC meet (2nd @ Class B state meet)

(GIRLS) 2nd @ WMC meet (6th @ Class B state meet)

TOP RETURNING ATHLETES:

(BOYS) Alec Dunn (Senior), Michael Gardner (Senior), Kellen MacDonald (Senior), Mike Serunian (Senior), Charlie Swerdlow (Senior), Will Wegener (Junior), Henry Briggs (Sophomore), Jimmy Polewaczyk (Sophomore), Reid Pryzant (Sophomore)

(GIRLS) Rachel Brown (Senior), Francesca D'Alfonso (Senior), Corey Morganstern (Senior), Erin Morris (Senior), Adrienne Michalakis (Junior), Kate Sparks (Junior), Amy Webster (Junior), Emily Rand (Sophomore)

TOP FOES: Cape Elizabeth, Greely, York

COACH'S COMMENT: "The boys' team isn't quite as deep as past seasons, but should challenge again for league and state titles. We need to develop more field event athletes in order to achieve our team goals. We should cover all the events well. We continue to set high goals and are taking up the challenge of achieving them. The girls lost quite a bit to graduation. It will be a bit of a struggle to reach the marks of the past two seasons, bu the girls have shown early on they're willing to work for it. If we can develop depth to cover the jumps and junior sprints, well be very competitive in the league meets again. We'll shoot for a top-10 finish at states.."

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Falmouth has been hit-hard by graduation, but this program's remarkable depth will serve it well this winter.

The boys' team will miss state champions Kristopher Floridino and Tom Winger, but returns state scorers in MacDonald (55 hurdles), Dunn (55 hurdles), Wegener (400) and Serunian (relays). MacDonald will also run the 400 and compete in the high jump. Dunn will sprint and hurdle. Wegener sprints and Serunian will run middle distance. That foursome is joined by Briggs (distance), Gardner (sprints), Polewaczyk (sprints), Pryzant (hurdles) and Swerdlow (distance). Three newcomers could also be in contention. Junior Justin Hovey (hurdles and pole vault), sophomore Sean Hodgdon (middle distance) and freshman Azad Jalali (middle distance) show great potential. Sam Bennett and Reilly Bayer hope to score in the pole vault. Falmouth will have its work cut out to equal last year's performance, but you can never write the Yachtsmen off.

On the girls' side, graduation took its toll and the program lost Rosemary Nurse ( atop hurdler and jumper) to a move, but several state meet scorers are back. Michalakis finished fourth in the 55 last year and should be one of the top sprinters in the league. Brown came in fifth in the 800 last winter. She'll sprint this season. D'Alfonso finished sixth in the 800 last February and will key the distance effort, along with Morris. Joining that core is Morganstern (pole vault), Sparks (shot put), Webster (pole vault) and Rand (sprints). Sophomore sprinter Jena Mannette, freshman sprinter Sarah Sparks and freshman middle distance runner Summer Greenwood add depth and hope for future success. The Yachtsmen will be in the hunt in league competition and should produce several state meet scorers as they display steady growth in the weeks to come.

SWIMMING

COACH: John Keyes (eighth year)

2008-09 Results:

(BOYS) 8th @ Southwesterns (12th @ Class B state meet)

(GIRLS) 2nd @ Southwesterns (Class B state champions)

TOP RETURNING:

(BOYS) Josh Grassman (Senior), Bryce Leary (Senior), Carter Milliken (Senior), Sam Bruni (Sophomore), Jack Kilbride (Sophomore)

(GIRLS) Hayley Couper (Senior), Adrianne Madden (Senior), Sarah Uminski (Senior), Courtney Greenwood (Junior), Victoria Sabo (Sophomore)

TOP FOE: Greely

COACH'S COMMENT: "The girls will have to do a lot of swimming this year to catch Greely. We'll be good and competitive. Our diving strength helps. We'll have good relays again. This may be the best boys' group to start out with. The boys from last year are better. We won't do much on the state level, but we'll have fun."

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Falmouth will look to continue its dominance in the water this season.

The boys' squad could be more competitive than they've been in recent seasons. Lone state meet scorer Cameron Greenwood graduated, but the program boasts several swimmers who are on the brink of turning heads. Three seniors lead the way. Grassman swims the butterfly and freestyle. Leary is a sprint freestyler. Milliken competes in the 200 and 500 free. Sophomores Sam Bruni (200 free and backstroke) and Jack Kilbride (backstroke) will also be heard from, as will sophomore diver Ryan Conley, who was hurt as a freshman. Freshmen Elijah Dewey (breaststroke and IM) and Shawn Lamoreaux (freestyle) bring depth and the promise of future success. Falmouth will be an exciting team to watch and could move up the ladder in February.

On the girls' side, coming off yet another championship, but graduating Kristen Jackson, the Yachtsmen will be hard-pressed to get past an absolutely loaded Greely squad this winter. However, Falmouth has plenty of reasons to think it will threaten the Rangers. Madden and Eve Perry are top returners. Madden won the 50 free and was third in the 100 free at last year's state meet. She was also on a first-place medley relay team. Perry was the best diver in Class B. Couper was on a champion relay team and placed fourth in the backstroke and seventh in the 200 free last season. Uminski finished fourth in the 200 free and sixth in the 100 free last year. She'll also swim the butterfly and IM. Greenwood was sixth in the 500 free and 12th in the IM. Sophomores Brianna Esposito and Nicola Mancini add diving depth. Sophomore Marley Dewey swims the backstroke and breaststroke. Sophomore Allison Rand competes in the sprint freestyle and IM. Freshmen Melissa Keene (breaststroke and freestyle) and Emma Perrone (breaststroke) will also be heard from. Falmouth might not have the front-end talent it's used to and won't be the favorite, but if all goes well, the Yachtsmen will be making headlines in February once again.

ALPINE SKIING

COACH: Tip Kimball (eighth year)

2008-09 Results:

(BOYS) 2nd @ Class B state meet

(GIRLS) 5th @ Class B state meet

TOP RETURNING SKIERS:

(BOYS) Ben Weigel (Senior), Nick Bachman (Junior), Matt Beliveau (Junior), Teagan Dunfey (Junior), Andrew DeWolf (Sophomore), Weston Scott (Sophomore)

(GIRLS) Caroline Clement (Senior), Casey Hilfrank (Senior), Elizabeth Carew (Junior), Allie Lycan (Junior), Sarah Jacobson (Sophomore), Macenzie Myers (Sophomore)

TOP FOES: Fryeburg, Yarmouth

COACH'S COMMENT: "We have a record number of kids, but it's a very young team. The boys only have one senior. I think with a little bit of work, there's some talent. We have the largest girls' team we've ever had. I think they'll have a promising year."

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Falmouth's Alpine ski teams have been competitive recently and expect to be in the hunt again this winter.

The boys' return Bachman (fifth in the slalom and 16th in the giant slalom as an all-star last year), Weigel (eighth in the slalom, 11th in the GS, all-star) and Scott (24th in the GS, all-star). Beliveau, Dunfey and DeWolf add experience. Freshmen Alex Gowen and Cooper Lycan join in the fun as well. The Yachtsmen should be one of the teams chasing Yarmouth again this season.

On the girls' side, returners include Clement (19th in the GS and 24th in the slalom at last year's state meet), Carew (26th slalom, 28th GS), Jacobson (30th slalom) and Myers (35th slalom). Senior Casey Hilfrank (an all-conference selection last year) and sophomore Allie Lycan are also in the running. Freshman Sarah Weigel could soon be a household name. The squad's depth will pay dividends as Falmouth could be one of the best teams in the state.

NORDIC SKIING

COACH: Jesse Bastide (first year)

2008-09 Results:

(BOYS) 5th @ Class B state meet

(GIRLS) Tie-6th @ Class B state meet

TOP RETURNING SKIERS:

(BOYS) Eric D'Agostino (Senior), Will Hayes (Senior), Jackson Bloch (Junior), Matt Goldstein (Junior), Tim Follo (Sophomore), Conor McGrory (Sophomore)

(GIRLS) Sarah Abramson (Junior), Catherine Hebson (Sophomore), Olivia Hoch (Sophomore)

TOP FOES: Cape Elizabeth, Yarmouth

COACH'S COMMENT: "We have over 30 skiers. A good number of kids from middle school. The returnees have stepped it up a notch. The kids are showing a lot of motivation. We have some kids with an eye toward top-10 state finishes. It's a fun, hardworking group and we're looking forward to seeing what we can do."

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Falmouth has a new coach in 2009-10 in Bastide, a former Yachtsmen skier who was an assistant last year. He's takes over a program with some strong participants.
The boys' squad is led by D'Agostino (a league all-star who was 14th in the classic and 23rd in the freestyle at last year's Class B state meet). Bloch (21st in the freestyle and 27th in the classic last year) and Follo (22nd in the classic and 25th in the freestyle) also return and look to move up. Goldstein, Hayes and McGrory all have great upsides. Senior skimeister Ben Weigel, senior Will Robinson, sophomores Kyle Griegel and Jamie McCatherin and freshman Jay Lesser will all look to make an impression. Falmouth should be very competitive from start to finish.
On the girls' side, Abramson (all-conference last winter) was eighth in the freestyle and 11th in the classic last year. Hebson (25th freestyle) and Hoch (27th classic, 31st freestyle) also scored at states last year. Junior Zoe Kitchel, sophomore Katie Ventura and freshmen Caroline Levy and Lauren O'Donnell add depth. The Yachtsmen will be in the hunt all season and could be a force in February.

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Senior standout Stefano Mancini and his teammates are dreaming of Gold this winter.

MORE PHOTOS BELOW

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Senior Jahrel Registe is an underrated force for the Yachtsmen.

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Senior Katie McCarthy expects to play a big role this season for a Falmouth team that should be in the thick of the Western B race.

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Senior Dixon Pike is one of several scoring threats for the high-flying Yachtsmen.

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Falmouth junior Matt MacDowell is one of the top defensemen in the league.

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Falmouth senior Ben Weigel, is a skiing standout in both cross country and downhill.

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Sophomore Reid Pryzant is a top hurdler for the Yachtsmen.

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Junior Kate Sparks hopes to score her share of points in the shot put this winter.