Fri, Apr 18, 2014 ●
BathHarpswellTopshamBrunswickCumberlandNorth YarmouthFalmouthFreeportPortlandCape ElizabethScarboroughSouth PortlandChebeague IslandYarmouth

North Yarmouth Academy Winter Sports Preview

Winter Sports Previews

North Yarmouth Academy Winter Sports Preview

There are several changes this winter at North Yarmouth Academy. Boys' basketball and both hockey squads feature new coaches and the school won't have a swim team (juniors Ted Elliott and Emma Laprise will represent the school while practicing with Yarmouth). The Panthers should enjoy plenty of success. The boys' hoops squad will improve as the season progresses. The girls hope to build on last year's playoff berth. Both hockey teams are in the midst of another season at the prep level. Indoor track has promise, while the boys' Nordic ski team hopes to repeat as Class C champions and the girls' squad looks for a strong finish as well.

BOYS' BASKETBALL

COACH: Jackson Nadeau (first year)

2010-11 Record: 7-11 (no postseason)

TOP RETURNING PLAYER: Asad Dahia (Senior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 17 (H) TRAIP, Dec. 21 @ Waynflete, Jan. 14 @ GNG, Jan. 20 (H) OOB, Feb. 3 (H) WAYNFLETE, Feb. 7 @ OOB, Feb. 10 @ Traip

COACH’S COMMENT: “We have a very young team. I have an opportunity to mix and match and see where the players fit, although we need to develop a backup point guard. Rebounding and solid defense are top priority as we want to out-hustle other teams to be successful. It will take us time to develop but in a year or two, I believe we can make a strong showing in the playoffs.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: The Panthers are essentially starting from scratch this winter as only Dahia (who's currently the point guard) has seen major varsity minutes. He had 16 points in a season-opening 61-40 loss to Freeport Friday night. Other players showed some promise in that one as sophomore guard Ryan Hemenway and junior forward Burke Paxton both scored eight points. Sophomore forward Michael McIntosh (who stands 6-foot-3) projects to be a contributor as well to possibly help fill the void left when league all-star Andrew Esancy graduated. Nadeau will have the challenge of developing this inexperienced team as the season progresses. He played at Gray-New Gloucester and Central Maine Community College and also ran track at the University of Maine. He last coached varsity basketball at the high school level in 2000 at St. Dom's. While the Panthers don't have experience, they do have athleticism and drive. It will take some time, but as the season progresses, look for NYA to become more and more competitive. A best case scenario would be a playoff berth and from there, the future is very bright.

GIRLS' BASKETBALL

COACH: Liz Smith (second year, 10-9)

2010-11 Record: 10-9 (Lost, 54-32, to St. Dom's in Western Class C preliminary round)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Morgan Scully (Senior), Jen Brown (Junior), Mallory Ianno (Junior), Lillie Reder (Junior), Charlotte Esancy (Sophomore), Chloe Leishman (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 17 @ Traip, Dec. 21 (H) WAYNFLETE, Jan. 14 (H) GNG, Feb. 3 @ Waynflete, Feb. 10 (H) TRAIP

COACH’S COMMENT: “We graduated a significant portion of our scoring, but return our leading scorer from the second half of last season. Without a true post player, we'll struggle against teams with good taller players, but I think we'll adjust as the season goes on. We are young, but many of these girls are ready to step into more involved roles. I'm hopeful that if we can stay healthy and the younger girls can step up and gain confidence we can reach our goal and make the playoffs.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: NYA is coming off its best season in seven years and has the potential to make it back to the tournament. The loss of first-team all-star Blair Haggett to graduation will hurt, but there is plenty of talent in reserve. Scully really came on in the second half of last season, leading the team in scoring during that span and earning a second-team all-star mention. She'll be at point guard. Brown, Ianno, Leishman and Reder also return at the guard spot. Esancy could soon become a household name as she can shoot, rebound and handle the ball. She was hampered by injury a season ago, but if healthy, will help the Panthers immensely. Sophomore guards Maggie Bertocci and Emma Warren and freshman forward Sara Thompson join the team and look to make a quick impact. NYA fell in its opener, 62-31, to visiting Freeport. Scully led the way with nine points, while Reder had six. The Panthers have a schedule that is challenging yet manageable and they should compete most every time out. Building confidence will be the key in the early going. If this year's team can follow the lead of last, it has a legitimate shot at a winning record and another trip to the playoffs.

BOYS' HOCKEY

COACH: Brett Barrett (first year)

PLAYERS TO WATCH: C.J. Davis (Senior), Jeremy Doyle (Senior), Parker Howard (Senior), Jarno Mannisto (Senior), T.J. Daigler (Junior), Colton Ackerman (Sophomore), Colin Merrill (Sophomore)

COACH'S COMMENT: “The outlook for the season is to improve on last year's record and look to make progress into the postseason.”

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: NYA welcomes a new coach this winter in Barrett, who was the JV coach the past four seasons. The team will be paced on offense by Ackerman, Daigler, new senior Artem Savelyev and Merrill, who comes to the school from Portland High and has great upside. Defensively, Davis, Howard and Mannisto look to keep the opposition at bay in front of Doyle and new junior Jeremy Sylvain. The Panthers took part in the Holt Tournament last weekend. After falling, 10-0, to Berwick Academy, NYA hung tough with Worcester Academy before losing, 2-1. Look for this team to continue to get better and win its share of games as the season progresses.

GIRLS' HOCKEY

COACH: Mike Hebert (first year)

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Alexandra Hebert (Senior), Katherine Millett (Senior), Alexandra Morrison (Senior), Katherine Perry (Senior), Olivia Madore (Sophomore), Kayla Rose (Sophomore), Nikolle Story (Sophomore), Alexandra Barnes (Freshman), Elizabeth Coughlin (Freshman), Scout Fischman (Freshman), Marina Poole (Freshman)

COACH'S COMMENT: “This will be a rebuilding year, but with a new coaching staff, the return of four senior impact players and strong, seasoned younger players, we'll still be very competitive. I'm very fortunate as a coach, where every time I'm on the ice with these young ladies, I'm surrounded by athletes who consistently display hard work, grit and character. We've pushed these ladies very hard and they've responded well.”

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: NYA should be in for a competitive season under its new coach. Hebert has 17 years of experience. He's assisted by NYA alumna Allie Tocci, former Tampa Bay Lightning goalie coach Cap Raeder, Brooks Boucher and Peter Morrison. The Panthers opened with a strong effort in a 7-1 loss to Governor's Academy. They also fell against Tilton School (2-0) and Kents Hill School (5-0). Moving forward, look for Alexandra Hebert, Madore, Millett and Perry to lead the scoring parade. Freshmen Coughlin, Fischman and Poole will contribute as the season progresses. On defense, Morrison, Rose and Story have experience. Another freshman, Barnes, will receive trial by fire in goal. She's impressed in the early going. NYA expects to be improved from last year and play all of its foes tough. This team features some great athletes who have won titles in other sports. The Panthers will be a squad that is fun to watch.

INDOOR TRACK

COACH: Chris Mazzurco (15th year)

2010-11 Results:

(BOYS) No score @ Class B state meet (seventh @ WMC Championship meet)

(GIRLS) Tie-16th @ Class B state meet

TOP RETURNING ATHLETES:

(BOYS) Alex Coffin (Senior), Cam Rayder (Senior), Brian Trelegan (Senior), Jake Burns (Junior), Nick Rayder (Junior)

(GIRLS) Hillary Detert (Senior), Sarah Jordan (Senior), Moira Lachance (Senior), Hannah Twombly (Senior)

COACH’S COMMENT: “The boys have a small team, but a solid core. We have some athletes with top-in-the-state potential. Our relays look to be strong. The girls have lots of new faces. Events are still being sorted out. Relays also have potential and there's some strong potential in the field events, which should help us at the big meets. We have individuals with state potential..”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: NYA has a small group, but there are some athletes to watch.

The boys are hoping to score at states after failing to do so last year for the first time since 2004. Coffin and Trelegan were part of the cross country repeat championship in the fall. Burns is a top sprinter and hurdler. Cam Rayder will throw the shot put and Nick Rayder leads the jumpers. The Panthers have the pieces in place for success from start to finish.

On the girls' side, Twombly finished sixth in the mile at last year's state meet and was also a part of a fourth place 3,200 relay team (along with Detert). They'll lead this year's distance corps. Jordan and Lachance are top sprinters. Jordan also will run the middle-distance. There's enough quality here for NYA to be a factor well into February and score at states for a 14th straight season.

NORDIC SKIING

COACH: Kalie Dunn (third year)

2010-11 Results:

(BOYS) Class C state champions

(GIRLS) no score @ Class C state meet

TOP SKIERS:

(BOYS) Robert Field (Senior), Rudy Guliani (Senior), Evan Kendall (Senior), Grant McPherson (Senior), Cam Regan (Senior), Jake Susla (Senior), Ian Moore (Sophomore)

COACH'S COMMENT: “We hope to continue our impressive finishes from last year, both at the individual and team level. It would be great to take home another championship, especially with the majority of the boys' team being seniors coming off a successful cross country running season. I'm looking forward to coaching some new faces and having a girls' team for the first time in two years. We have four girls, just enough to score as a team, so I'm looking forward to seeing how we'll stack up against other local teams. We're looking forward to another fun and exciting season.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: NYA made history a year ago and looks to build on it this winter.

The boys had one of the best teams in the state regardless of class last winter and return much of their firepower. Leading the way will be Moore, an elite talent, who was named NYA's Winter Male Athlete of the Year after winning the freestyle and placing runner-up in the classic last season. Then, there's Regan, who was the champion of the classic and 10th in the freestyle. If that's not enough, also returning are Field (sixth in the classic), Kendall (eighth freestyle, ninth classic), Guliani (12th freestyle) and Susla (11th classic, 13th freestyle, even though his finish didn't count toward the team score). McPherson also has experience. The Panthers will be loaded for bear again this season and have to be viewed as not only the Class C favorite, but one of the finest programs in the state. Look for this senior group to out with a blaze of glory.

Unlike last season, they'll have some female company. That group is paced by freshman Isabella Munro. The Panthers will seek individual improvement and could be a factor come February.

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

Photo: File photo

Senior Katherine Perry is a top scoring threat for the Panthers.

Photo: File photo

Junior Jake Burns looks to score in the sprints and hurdles this winter.

Photo: File photo

Senior Brian Trelegan is part of a solid distance contingent for the NYA boys' indoor track team.

Photo: File photo

Senior Hannah Twombly scored at the state meet a year ago and will be a top distance runner for the Panthers.