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Falmouth Yachtsmen Winter Sports Preview

Winter Sports Previews

Falmouth Yachtsmen Winter Sports Preview

Look for Falmouth's winter sports teams to be in the running for championships in several sports. The boys' basketball team, state champs in 2010, missed the playoffs a year ago, but the Yachtsmen are back in top contender mode. The girls' team also seeks a playoff berth after a year away. Boys' hockey welcomes a new coach and is again on the short list of title hopefuls. The girls' squad is very formidable as well. There are few track programs in the state that can match numbers and talent with Falmouth. The boys are seeking another crown, while the girls will be one of the league's best. In the pool, look for both teams to be competitive. The ski program has become as good as any. The boys look to repeat as Alpine and overall champions, while the girls look to move up one spot to win titles of their own as the Yachtsmen move up in class..

BOYS' BASKETBALL

COACH: David Halligan (25th year, 388-99)

2010-11 Record: 8-10 (no postseason)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Alex Cattell (Senior), Jack Cooleen (Senior), Matt Kingry (Senior), Jeremy Lydick (Senior), Matt Packard (Senior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 15 @ Greely, Dec. 17 (H) POLAND, Dec. 20 (H) YARMOUTH, Jan. 4 @ York, Jan. 14 (H) GREELY, Jan. 20 @ Cape Elizabeth, Jan. 27 @ Poland, Feb. 7 (H) YORK, Feb. 10 @ Yarmouth

COACH’S COMMENT: “There's a lot of enthusiasm and everything is positive. We have size this year, which is nice. We paid our dues last year and got experience. Hopefully this will be our year. We'll be in the middle of it..”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: The Yachtsmen might be at the top of it before all is said and done this winter. Last year, despite being competitive throughout, Falmouth lost a series of close games and wound up out of the postseason for the first time since the 1983-84 campaign. No way the Yachtsmen don't make the playoffs this time around. It's likely they'll make a deep run. Falmouth has an abundance of weapons and they were on display Friday in a season-opening 60-37 home win over rival Cape Elizabeth. The Yachtsmen produced eight different scorers (five who had seven points or more). Packard (a Western Maine Conference third-team all-star a year ago) sank four 3s and led all scorers with 14 points. Cooleen (also a third-team all-star in 2010-11) was his usual dominant self with 13 points and several blocked shots. He was third in the conference with 10.3 rebounds per game last season. Cattell added nine points, Lydick eight and Kingry seven. Juniors Charlie Fay (6-foot-5) and Jake Horning (6-6), along with 6-5 freshman Jack Simonds, join the 6-5 Cooleen to make up a formidable front line. In truth, this is one tall team. The roster lists just one player under six feet and that's Packard, who falls short by one inch. Packard does a great job running the offense (he was sixth in assists last winter with 3.7 a game) and doesn't often miss when he has an open look. Cattell, Kingry and Lydick also make the most of their offensive opportunities. Mix in senior guard Aaron Rogers, junior guard Grant Burfeind (last seen stealing the headlines in leading the Falmouth boys' soccer team to a Gold Ball) and new 6-4 sophomore Justin Rogers and it's clear that most foes are going to have a very difficult time matching up. Seniors Scott Jensen and Ryan MacDonald, junior Tom Wilberg and sophomore Matthew Tseng will also see minutes for a team that looks good to start and will only get better. While York is considered in some quarters to be the preseason favorite and teams like Cape Elizabeth, Greely, Poland and Yarmouth will pose obstacles, the Yachtsmen have a championship-caliber roster. Just how much this team grows between now and February will determine if another Gold Ball is in the program's future.

GIRLS' BASKETBALL

COACH: Mari Warner (second year, 9-9)

2010-11 Record: 9-9 (no postseason)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Jackie Doyle (Senior), Nicole Rogers (Senior), Anna Hickey (Junior), Maddie Inlow (Junior

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 15 (H) GREELY, Jan. 4 (H) YORK, Jan. 6 (H) FREEPORT, Jan. 12 (H) LAKE REGION, Jan. 14 @ Greely, Jan. 21 @ Wells, Jan. 31 @ Lake Region, Feb. 3 (H) WELLS, Feb. 7 @ York

COACH’S COMMENT: “The conference will be strong from top to bottom. Due to injuries and the loss and gain of players, it will take some time for this team to reach its potential. Our style has changed and we should be exciting to watch. Rebounding and defense will be key.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Falmouth fell just shy of the postseason last winter, something which hadn't happened since the turn of the century. The Yachtsmen have been affected by knee injuries over the past year. Senior Laney Evers, a starting guard, missed the 2010-11 season, but is back, as is Doyle, another guard. Unfortunately, senior Jenna Serunian (who was sixth in the league in rebounds and ninth in blocks last winter during a second-team all-star campaign) suffered a knee injury during volleyball season and won't be able to play. Inlow has experience at the point and Evers will likely see time there as well. Rogers, at 5-foot-11, provides size down low while Hickey can play guard or forward. A couple freshmen, 5-11 Ally Hickey and Dayna Vasconcelos, will be called upon to see some key varsity minutes. Falmouth opened with a 48-38 win at Cape Elizabeth, getting better as the game went on. Ally Hickey had an auspicious debut with 14 points. Doyle added nine, Rogers eight and Evers seven. The Yachtsmen will be able to compete with everyone as the season goes on and could evolve into a very dangerous team by February. Don't be surprised if last year was an aberration and come tournament time, Falmouth is making noise once again.

BOYS' HOCKEY

COACH: Deron Barton (first year)

2010-11 Record: 10-7-3 (Lost, 3-0, to Biddeford in Western Class A semifinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Cam Bell (Senior), Mitch Tapley (Senior), Brandon Tuttle (Senior), Andrew Emple (Junior), Jack Pike (Junior), Kris Samaras (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 17 @ Brewer, Dec. 22 (H) TA, Jan. 4 @ Lewiston, Jan. 9 @ Scarborough, Jan. 12 (H) ST. DOM'S, Jan. 21 @ TA, Feb. 4 (H) BIDDEFORD, Feb. 11 (H) LEWISTON, Feb. 15 @ Biddeford, Feb. 18 @ St. Dom's, Feb. 20 (H) GREELY, Feb. 23 (H) SCARBOROUGH

COACH’S COMMENT: “This is a very young, skilled, hard working group with a big upside if we play as a team. I'm optimistic.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: For the second year in a row, Falmouth brings in a new coach in Barton, who played hockey in Massachusetts and at Merrimack and coached at several levels, including at Freeport a decade ago. He inherits a typically strong Yachtsmen squad. The offense will feature Bell, Samaras, Tapley and Tuttle, along with junior Alden Bohrmann and sophomores Ben Freeman and Alden Weller. Freshman Isac Nordstrom and sophomore Andrew Clement also look to get in on the scoring act. Emple and Pike anchor the defense and will be joined by freshman Connor MacDowell in front of talented sophomore goalie Dane Pauls. Falmouth faces its usual difficult slate (it rolled in the opener Saturday, 11-0, over Noble), but the Yachtsmen should be battle tested by the time the postseason rolls around. Falmouth has been consistently good for ages and is still looking to take that last step and win a championship. This year's team isn't viewed as the team to beat, but the Yachtsmen will be in the mix until the end.

GIRLS' HOCKEY

COACH: Rob Carrier (third year, 18-16-4)

2010-11 RESULTS: 8-10 (no postseason)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Monica Aaskov (Senior), Jayde Bazinet (Junior), Abby Payson (Junior), Gabby St. Angelo (Junior), Alyse Bazinet (Sophomore), Lucy Meyer (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 14 (H) LEWISTON, Dec. 21 (H) CHEVERUS, Dec. 30 @ Scarborough, Jan. 7 @ Portland, Jan. 14 (H) YORK, Dec. 16 (H) PORTLAND, Jan. 18 @ St. Dom's, Jan. 30 (H) GREELY

COACH'S COMMENT: “We have a nice balance of youth and experience on this year's team with five players having played in the regional final two years ago. The key to our success will be our defense. We have three talented defenders returning and one who's up and coming. They will control the tempo of the game. The smart, aggressive play of our defense in practice helps develop our forwards. By the end of the season, we should be a playoff-ready team ready to match up with any team in the state.”

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Falmouth fell short of the playoffs in 2010-11, but this year's team has sparkled. The Yachtsmen won their first three outings, 5-0 over visiting Yarmouth, 6-0 at Gorham and 5-1 at Edward Little/Leavitt, then really made a statement with a 4-1 triumph over a Greely squad which hadn't surrendered a goal in its first five outings. The Yachtsmen have been bolstered by the return of senior Megan Fortier, who played for Falmouth before transferring to NYA for her junior year. Fortier had four goals in the opener, three more against Gorham, a goal and four assists versus Edward Little/Leavitt, then scored three times against Greely. Aaskov (a regional first-team all-star in 2010-11), Payson (a second-teamer last year) and St. Angelo (honorable mention) have also been involved in the scoring. Jayde Bazinet and Meyer have to be accounted for as well. Aaskov and Fortier are actually defenders, but you wouldn't know it the way they're scoring goals. Alyse Bazinet, along with freshman Meg Pierce, will also be key on the defensive side in front of sophomore goalie Kirsten Mazur, who's stood tall in the early going. Falmouth will face several good teams in the regular season, but that will help it be ready for the playoffs. Three, the Yachtsmen have the potential to make a serious run.

INDOOR TRACK

COACH: Jorma Kurry (13th year)

2010-11 Results:

(BOYS) Class B state champions

(GIRLS) 7th @ Class B state meet

TOP RETURNING ATHLETES:

(BOYS) Henry Briggs (Senior), Thomas Edmonds (Senior), Jimmy Polewaczyk (Senior), Reid Pryzant (Senior), Jacob Buhelt (Junior), Azad Jalali (Junior), Andrew Roukey (Junior)

(GIRLS) Jena Mannette (Senior), Emily Rand (Senior), Sarah Sparks (Junior), Charlotte Cutshall (Sophomore), Mary Catherine Kowalsky (Sophomore), Madeline Roberts (Sophomore), Maggie Seitz (Sophomore)

COACH’S COMMENT: “We have our biggest team ever with over 80 kids, The girls are a relatively young team, but have lots of potential. Our strength will be in the long sprints and distance and our relays will be competitive. The key for the girls will be developing field event points after losing some top athletes to graduation. We should be competitive in the regular season and if we can improve at the top end, we should do well at states. The boys need to develop more depth to compete with the bigger teams, but have the potential to be very strong at big meets. The distance team is deep. We need to develop in the field events. We should be competitive at the conference and state meets.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Jorma Kurry and longtime sidekick Danny Paul have created one of the best and most popular athletic programs in the state, one that keeps raising the bar. The 2011-12 season should provide more memories.

The boys will be bolstered in their repeat bid by returning state scorers Pryzant (champion of the 55 hurdles and long jump and third in the triple jump), Briggs (third in the two-mile), Buhelt (fifth in both the 55 and 200), Edmonds (sixth in the 800 and Jalali (seventh in the 800). Polewaczyk was on a champion 800 relay team, along with Buhelt and Jalali. Buhelt and Pryzant are battling back from injury. They and Polewaczyk are top sprinters and hurdlers. Senior Andrew Murry (Falmouth's Fall Male Athlete of the Year) also competes in the sprints. Briggs, Edmonds and Jalali will all be factors in the distance, as will freshman Spencer Brown. Roukey and Evan Eklund, along with senior strongman Will Ryan, lead the way in the field events. Seniors Toby Aicher, Sean Hodgdon and Hudson Carr, along with Tristan Tucker, will also be heard from. Falmouth will miss the graduated Will Wegener, but there's enough firepower in reserve for the Yachtsmen to excel all season long.

On the girls' side, Falmouth returns Roberts (sixth in the two-mile) and Sparks (seventh in the 400 and part of a scoring 800 relay team) as state meet scorers. This year, the sprinters feature Sparks, Cutshall, Kowalsky, Rand and Seitz, along with freshman Olivia Baranowski and Charlotte Cutshall. In the middle distance, look for Mannette, new junior Cassie Darrow (the soccer standout) and freshman Lizzie Cattell to vie for a high finish. Roberts, senior Molly Paris and Hayley Simmons are top distance runners. The field events are where the Yachtsmen need to find some points. Seitz hopes to be a factor in the jumps. The throws are a question mark unless senior Jenna Serunian can come back from an ACL injury she suffered during volleyball season. Falmouth's depth and athleticism will keep it among the best teams in the always-strong Western Maine Conference, then allow it to make a run at a high finish in states.

SWIMMING

COACH: Dave Cox (second year)

2010-11 Results:

(BOYS) 8th @ Class B state meet

(GIRLS) 8th @ Class B state meet

TOP RETURNING:

(BOYS) Sam Bruni (Senior), Ryan Conley (Senior), Patrick Coyne (Senior), Jack Kilbride (Senior), Elijah Dewey (Junior), Shaun Lamoureux (Junior), Josh McGovern (Junior)

(GIRLS) Marley Dewey (Senior), Bri Esposito (Senior), Nicola Mancini (Senior), Alison Rand (Senior), Victoria Sabol (Senior), Emma Perron (Junior), Laura Bauer (Sophomore), Stephanie Sands (Sophomore)

COACH’S COMMENT: “The boys are poised to improve again this year. The girls look to be in great position to improve on last year's state meet finish after graduating only one state meet qualifier. We have an enthusiastic senior group and a deep and talented group of underclassmen”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Both Falmouth swim teams feature their share of firepower and welcome back old friend John Keyes (who turned the program into a power earlier this century). Keyes will assist along with Steve Cox, Dan Edwards and Betsy Perron.

The boys are coming off their best state finish in four seasons and could be even better this winter. Conley is the reigning Class B diving champ. He was named all-conference, all-state and the Class B Diver of the Year. Lamoureux was fourth in the 200 free and fifth in the 100 free last year and was also an all-conference and all-state selection. Also returning are Bruni (who swims the breaststroke, backstroke and individual medley), Coyne (sprint freestyle and backstroke), Dewey (distance freestyle and breaststroke), Kilbride (sprint freestyle and backstroke) and McGovern (sprint freestyle). They're joined by freshman Jake Perron, who stands to become a top distance freestyler. Ben Rogers and Jason Wotton will also be heard from. The Yachtsmen will be very good this winter and will continue to climb up the ladder in February.

On the girls' side, Mancini is the defending Class B diving champion (and was a conference and state all-star, as well as Falmouth's 2010-11 Winter Female Athlete of the Year). She and Esposito make up as formidable a diving tandem as you'll find. Rand was eighth in the butterfly a year ago. She also swims freestyle. Bauer (freestyle and backstroke), Dewey (a state meet scorer who competes in the distance freestyle, backstroke and IM), Perron (distance and breaststroke), Sabol (a state meet scorer who competes in the fly and backstroke) and Sands (backstroke, IM and freestyle) also return. Senior Hadley Bracken (breaststroke and freestyle) and freshmen Alana Braley (IM, backstroke and freestyle) and Kate Lannon (freestyle and backstroke) look to make their mark and junior distance freestyler Melissa Keene is back after missing last season with injury. The Yachtsmen will have their hands full catching the elite Class B teams, but will enjoy a successful season and should be able to move up at states.

SKIING

2010-11 Combined Results:

(BOYS) Class B combined state champions

(GIRLS) 2nd @ Class B state meet

ALPINE SKIING

COACH: Tip Kimball (ninth year)

2010-11 Results:

(BOYS) Class B state champion

(GIRLS) 2nd @ Class B state meet

TOP RETURNING SKIERS:

(BOYS) Weston Scott (Senior), Luke Andrews (Junior), Alex Gowen (Junior), Sam Hamilton (Junior), Ben Hilfrank (Junior), Cooper Lycan (Junior), Austin Couch (Sophomore), Joe Lesniak (Sophomore)

(GIRLS) Sierra Baker (Senior), Sara Jacobson (Senior), Mckenzie Myers (Senior), Katie Carew (Junior), Leika Scott (Sophomore)

COACH’S COMMENT: “The pressure is on for the boys to repeat as state champs, only this time, they're determined to take the Class A title. The girls' team is training hard and is gunning for the win as well after finishing runner-up last year. ”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: The Falmouth Alpine program bowed out of Class B at the top of the mountain and now competes in Class A. Regardless of the new classification, the Yachtsmen should have no trouble excelling again.

The boys, who won every time out in 2010-11, will be led by Gowen (third in last year's slalom), Lesniak (fourth in both the slalom and giant slalom), Couch (sixth in the GS and 13th in the slalom), Scott (sixth in the slalom), Andrews (10th in the GS) and Hamilton (15th in the GS). Hilfrank and Lycan provide depth. If this team stays healthy, it will once again rule the slopes. While running the table for a second straight year might be difficult, this group isn't going to rest on its laurels. By February vacation week, don't be surprised if this premier program is celebrating another crown.

On the girls' side, while the graduated Allie Lycan will be missed, there's plenty of star power in reserve. Scott is the top returner. She was second in the skimeister standings last winter and could finish the job this time around. Scott placed second in both the slalom and GS last season and has her sights set on state titles. She's joined by Jacobson (11th in the GS), Carew (18th in the GS and 30th in the slalom) and Myers (17th in the slalom and 19th in the GS) as top threats. Baker brings experience and new junior Caitlin Bucksbaum (Falmouth's Fall Female Athlete of the Year for her soccer prowess) and freshman Maggie Coster add depth that most teams can only dream about. The Yachtsmen have to deal with their traditional Western Maine Conference foes in the regular season, then have some unfamiliar opposition (with the exception of Greely) in February, but this group has what it takes to steal the show at states.

NORDIC SKIING

CO-COACHES: James Demer and Jeff Walker (third year)

2010-11 Results:

(BOYS) 3rd @ Class B state meet

(GIRLS) 2nd @ Class B state meet

TOP RETURNING SKIERS:

(BOYS) Tim Follo (Senior), Jamie McCatherin (Senior), Ryan Tartre (Senior), Jay Lesser (Junior)

(GIRLS) Catherine Hebson (Senior), Olivia Hoch (Senior), Dana Bloch (Junior), Jessica Abramson (Sophomore)

COACH’S COMMENT: “We want to ski hard, have fun, make friends and gain confidence.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: The Falmouth Nordic program is also top notch and will make the most of its first season at the Class A level.

The boys lost Jackson Bloch and Matt Goldstein, but return state meet scorers Follo (seventh in the freestyle, 12th in the classic), Lesser (14th freestyle, 20th classic) and McCatherin (21st classic). Tartre hopes to move up the standings and freshmen Iain Kurry and Sam Pratico will be heard from. This team will be one of the best in the conference and will make its presence felt at the Class A state meet.

On the girls' side, the departure of freestyle state champion Sarah Abramson hurts, but Hebson (sixth in the classic, eighth freestyle), Jessica Abramson (13th freestyle), Hoch (23rd classic) and Bloch (25th classic) all return after solid seasons. Freshmen Georgia Babikan, Ava Demer, Camille Dunwoody and Anna Morin join the squad and hope to make immediate impacts. Like the boys, this will be a very competitive squad that figures to get better and better as the big meets approach..

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter @foresports

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Senior Thomas Edmonds is a top distance threat for the defending Class B champion Falmouth boys' indoor track squad.

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Senior Megan Fortier has returned to Falmouth after a year at NYA and has led the Yachtsmen to a superb start this winter.

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Senior captain Brandon Tuttle will difficult for any defense to contend with.

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Senior Mitch Tapley is another weapon for the Yachtsmen.

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Sophomore Dane Pauls returns as the Falmouth boys' hockey goalie.

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Junior Kris Samaras will help pace the Falmouth offense this winter.

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Senior Matt Packard is one of the most dangerous perimeter shooters in Western Class B.

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Senior Matt Kingry is a returning starter for the Yachtsmen.

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Senior Jack Cooleen will be a force at both ends of the floor.

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Junior Grant Burfeind is coming off a heroic effort during Falmouth's run to a boys' soccer title this fall. Now, he and his teammates are seeking their second boys' basketball Gold Ball in three seasons.

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Sophomore Charlotte Cutshall hopes to be a scorer in the sprints this season.