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Freeport Falcons 2010 Fall Sports Preview

Sports

Freeport Falcons 2010 Fall Sports Preview

Look for improvement from several Freeport fall sports teams in 2010. Boys' soccer missed the playoffs, a rarity, last autumn, but should be back in the hunt this season. The girls' team stands to improve. Field hockey is coming off a strong campaign and looks to remain one of the contenders in Western C. Cross country is always a top program and again features stellar runners. Golf is hoping to build on last year's win total. Football enters its second varsity season and looks to continue to grow and improve.

BOYS' SOCCER

COACH: Joe Heathco (13th year)

2009 Record: 4-8-2 (no postseason)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Ryan Farley (Senior), Nate Pfeffer (Senior), Hans Pope (Senior), Jack Dawe (Junior), Evan Hench (Junior), Josh Weirich (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 3 (H) YARMOUTH, Sept. 28 @ Greely, Sept. 30 (H) FALMOUTH, Oct. 5 @ Yarmouth, Oct. 8 @ Waynflete, Oct. 12 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, Oct. 19 (H) NYA

COACH’S COMMENT: “We've had a very good preseason. It's a good group of kids. I don't think we're the most skilled team out there, but we have experience, good speed and size. I think we're very athletic. It's tough to beat the top schools in our conference, but we can compete. If we work hard, I really believe we'll do well. Getting back to the playoffs is a goal. We've gotten better, but I think other teams have gotten better as well.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Freeport didn't qualify for the postseason a year ago, the first time that happened under Heathco and the first time since 1997. That was certainly an aberration that figures to be rectified this autumn. The Falcons project to be steady all over the field. Starting in the back, sophomore Connor Dietrich and Weirich will split time in goal and will play in the midfield when not between the pipes. Pfeffer and Pope (Freeport's Spring Male Athlete of the Year from lacrosse) anchor what should be a strong defense. The midfield features Farley (an all-star a year ago) and new sophomores Griff Breer and Parker Matheson, who could do his share of goal scoring. Dawe and Hench will attempt to tickle the twine as well. There are a lot of winnable games on the schedule. For the Falcons to truly announce they're back, however, they'll need to play well against the traditional powers that always dot their schedule. If Freeport develops as hoped, it will be a team that no one wants to reckon with in the playoffs. This should be a very strong campaign for the Falcons.

GIRLS' SOCCER

COACH: Elayna Zachko (second year)

2009 Record: 2-11-1 (no postseason)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Molly Curry (Senior), Kelly Edwards (Senior), Allyson Fuehrer (Senior), Katee Poulin (Senior), Emily Martin (Junior), Abby Roney (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 4 (H) YARMOUTH, Sept. 24 @ York, Sept. 28 (H) GREELY, Oct. 4 @ Yarmouth, Oct. 7 (H) NYA, Oct. 12 @ Cape Elizabeth

COACH’S COMMENT: “We have a lot more girls than we've had in a long time. We only lost one starter, so we're pretty much returning all our players. The girls have a lot of drive to win. We worked on changing our style last year and keeping it simple. Now, we're working more on offense. Katee and Molly are seasoned scorers. Our defense is solid. We're trying to see where the new players fit in. If we stay healthy and work well together, we'll have a good season. We want to make the top teams nervous.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Zachko is confident that the Falcons will be vastly improved in 2010. With plenty of talent back, they certainly have a puncher's chance. The top returner is Fuehrer, who was a league all-star a year ago. She's one of the top defensive forces in the league. Martin will also protect Roney in goal. On offense, Freeport hopes to be more productive and if the goals come, wins will follow. Top scoring threats include Curry and Poulin. Edwards will be a factor all over the pitch. A pair of freshmen should soon become household names. Midfielders Ellie Bengsston and Brooke Heathco will step right in. While the Falcons still have a way to go to compete with the traditional powerhouses, there's no reason why they can't challenge in every game and earn several victories. It's been five years since Freeport qualified for the playoffs and six seasons since the Falcons boasted a winning mark. Both droughts could come to an end if all goes well in the weeks to come.

FOOTBALL

COACH: Rob Grover (second year)

2009 Record: 1-7 (no postseason)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Dave Hart (Senior), Matt MacMillan (Senior), Jared Knighton (Junior), Dan Burke (Sophomore), James Purdy (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 4 (H) DIRIGO, Sept. 25 (H) LISBON, Oct. 9 (H) TRAIP, Oct. 16 (H) BOOTHBAY, Oct. 22 @ Yarmouth

COACH'S COMMENT: “We're one year into it, but we're still young this year. Our numbers are growing. Last year we ended with 28 kids. This year we have 34. We want to be more competitive. We're trying to get size on the line. We have good overall team speed.”

FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Freeport did very well as a first-year program, winning once, while playing hard throughout. Year Two won't be any easier, but many of the players have experience. Knighton and Purdy will run the offense, looking to fill the void left by 2009 Fall Male Athlete of the Year Miguel Beckles. Burke and MacMillan will see plenty of carries, as will new junior Luke Lamogna and sophomore Cory Aldecoa, a transfer from Traip Academy. Hart anchors the line. On defense, Hart and Lamogna will play the line. Burke, Knighton and Purdy are top linebackers. Aldecoa and MacMillan are leading members of the secondary. Freeport will seek to control the ball as much as possible and force turnovers. The Falcons still have a way to go to be playoff contenders, but a victory or two would go a long way toward improving the program. This team will have its moments and should be vastly improved between now and late October.

FIELD HOCKEY

COACH: Sara Dimick (third year)

2009 Record: 9-5-1 (Lost 7-0 to Livermore Falls in Western C quarterfinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Abigail Mahoney (Junior), Katie Turner (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 3 @ NYA, Sept. 11 (H) SACOPEE, Sept. 17 (H) GREELY, Sept. 27 (H) NYA, Oct. 1 @ Sacopee, Oct. 7 @ Yarmouth

COACH’S COMMENT: “We only have one senior, so we are a very young team. Our junior class has taken on leadership roles on the team along with our one senior. My girls have very positive attitudes and seem to really enjoy playing the sport. They have worked very hard this preseason and I look forward to seeing what they have to bring in our upcoming season.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Freeport improved from three wins to nine a year ago, Dimick's second, but lost a lot of key contributors to graduation. This year, although inexperienced, the Falcons figures to remain in the hunt. The offense is led by Mahoney and Turner. The loss of two-time Fall Female Athlete of the Year Hannah Schuchert in goal won't be easy to overcome, but senior Emily Daniel will look to step in and make an impression. She's aided by junior back Kayla Thurlow. Freeport will have a hard time competing with two-time defending regional champion North Yarmouth Academy and the game against Dimick's alma mater Greely (who she led to the 2003 Class B title) won't be easy, but the balance of the schedule is manageable. If this young squad develops as hoped, it will win its share of games. By October, the Falcons should be formidable.

CROSS COUNTRY

COACH: Brian Berkemeyer (third year)

2009 Results:

(BOYS) 2nd @ Class C state meet

(GIRLS) 3rd @ Class C state meet

TOP RETURNING RUNNERS:

(BOYS) Miles Boucher (Senior), Griffin Day (Senior), Spencer Egan (Senior), Max Jennings (Senior), Charlie Lehmer (Senior), Scott Ross (Senior), Bennett Wade (Senior), Charlie Baker (Junior), Taylor Saucier (Junior), Mason Cyr (Sophomore)

(GIRLS) Lauren Easler (Senior), Brie Roy (Senior), Ellie Soule (Junior), Lia Wellen (Sophomore)

TOP FOES: NYA, Waynflete

COACH’S COMMENT: “We have 29 boys and 11 girls this year. The boys are looking to perform very well in our conference as well as states. The senior leadership will be key as well as developing the skills of the rest of the team. We have a lot of depth which will help us keep a solid program for years to come. It's a bit of a rebuilding year for the girls, but after our performance last year with only six girls, we look to contend once again.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Freeport's cross country teams should once again be among the best in the conference and state.

The boys came close to winning it all a year ago. This time around, there is plenty of experience and some new runners worth keeping an eye on. Returning scorers from last year's state meet include Day (second), Saucier (20th), Jennings (26th), Wade (28th) and Boucher (39th). Baker, Cyr, Egan, Lehmer and Ross also return. Senior Connor McGhie, sophomore Ian McGhie and freshman Mark Donahue will look to step in and make a mark. The Falcons will be solid from start to finish and have a great shot at winning the program's first championship since 1994.

On the girls' side, the story is similar. Freeport returns Soule (fourth at last year's state meet), Easler (15th), Wellin (21st) and Roy (28th). Senior Brina Dillon and freshman Gabby Tilton are new to the team and will seek to help the pack. While Waynflete is the favorite and North Yarmouth Academy is strong, the Falcons will be able to hold their own. The team is small, but promising and should only get better between now and late-October.

GOLF

COACH: Jason Lemont (sixth year)

2009 Results: 2-8 (no postseason)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Nick Cartmell (Sophomore), Nick Tardif (Sophomore)

TOP FOES: NYA, Yarmouth

COACH’S COMMENT: “We come in with a young team, six new freshmen and four returners from last year. We will be building and learning as we go through the season. This year, I aim to have fun, teach the kids a lifelong sport and build for the future.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Freeport's golf team has its work cut out, but should have its moments. A pair of sophomores lead the way in Cartmell and Tardif. Six freshmen also seek to make an impact. Look for the Falcons to show steady improvement and compete against the non-powers in the conference. This year's experience should help Freeport be more of a factor in the seasons to come.

Photo: File photo

Senior Molly Curry will be a scoring threat for what figures to be a vastly improved Freeport girls' soccer team in 2010.

Photo: File photo

Senior Griffin Day placed second at last year's Class C state meet.

Photo: File photo

Junior Ellie Soule had the fourth-fastest time at last year's state meet.

Photo: File photo

Senior Lauren Easler (15th in 2009) is another top returner for the Falcons girls' cross country team.