Falmouth Yachtsmen Fall Sports Preview

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Junior quarterback Jack Bryant and his Falmouth football teammates are coming off the best season in program history and are seeking to finish what last year’s team started.

More photos below.

FOOTBALL

Coach: John Fitzsimmons (10th year, 49-36 overall record)

2015 record: 9-2 (Lost, 48-22, to eventual champion Marshwood in Class B South Final)

Top returning players: Nico Ciraulo (Senior), Trey Fallon (Senior), Brandon Martin (Senior), Orlando Simmonds (Senior), Brock Welch (Senior), Garret Aube (Junior), Griffin Aube (Junior), Noah Barney (Junior), Jack Bryant (Junior), Coleman Allen (Sophomore), Jack Kidder (Sophomore), Riley Reed (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Sept. 2 @ York, Sept. 9 WESTBROOK, Sept. 16 @ Biddeford, Oct. 1 @ Leavitt, Oct. 14 MARSHWOOD, Oct. 21 GREELY

Coach’s comment: “I’ve been very happy so far. It’s a great team with terrific camaraderie. They’re fun to be around. This is the hardest working team I’ve had. Last year’s success has carried over. We have very good athletes. We have some tough road games this year. We’re in the tougher division of Class B, but that’s where we want to be. It will only help us. No question, there’s a desire to get back to the regional final. The question isn’t how we’ll do in September. By October, I expect we’ll be a very good team.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth is coming off the best season in program history, but the Yachtsmen are far from satisfied. This fall, they want to take another step and win the program’s first state championship. Certainly the loss of reigning Fall Male Athlete of the Year Connor Aube (the type of athlete Fitzsimmons says comes along every 10 years) will hurt, but this team has plenty of firepower in reserve and is very, very hungry.

Bryant is back for a second season under center. He broke all the school records as a sophomore (completing 106 of 186 pass attempts, good for 1,406 yards) and Fitzsimmons praises his football IQ. His top receiving options will be Welch, who has great vertical lift, and new senior Max Fortier. Falmouth will replace one Aube with another in the backfield, as Garret Aube will get an opportunity to gain back some of the yards that departed when his older brother graduated. Allen, Ciraulo (8 carries, 38 yards, 1 TD in limited action in 2015), Kidder, Martin (46-210-1) and Reed also will get a chance to tote the football. The Yachtsmen’s line boasts some behemoths, led by Fallon, who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 306 pounds. He’s getting a lot of looks from colleges. Griffin Aube, Barney and Simmonds also make up a powerful unit. Junior John Walker will handle the placekicking.

Defensively, Falmouth figures to be stout as well. Up front, Griffin Aube, Barney (44 tackles in 2015) and Simmonds (56 tackles) will wreak havoc. The linebacking corps boasts Allen, Ciraulo (84 tackles) and Martin (54 tackles). In the secondary, Garret Aube, Bryant, Fortier, Kidder, Reed and Welch will put the kibosh on opposing passing attacks.

The Yachtsmen face a lot of formidable foes, beginning Opening Night in York, but Falmouth learned how to win big games away from home a year ago and won’t be rattled. This is a team that will put up a lot of points and hold the opposition at bay. Two-time champion Marshwood remains strong and several other squads in the region are dangerous, but if the Yachtsmen play up to their potential, they’ll once again take part in meaningful November contests.

BOYS’ SOCCER

Coach: Dave Halligan (30th year, 345-92-43 overall record, 11 state championships)

2015 record: 11-4-1 (Lost, 3-0, to Scarborough in Class A South semifinal) 

Top returning players: Michael Lydick (Senior), John Mullin (Senior), Matt Polewaczyk (Senior), Olin Rhoads (Senior), Michael Sanzari (Senior), Jack Scribner (Senior), Jonah Spiegel (Senior), Ben Wuesthoff (Junior)

Pivotal games: Sept. 2 GREELY, Sept. 6 @ Cape Elizabeth, Sept. 13 @ York, Sept. 16 YARMOUTH, Sept. 17 WAYNFLETE, Sept. 20 @ Greely, Sept. 24 @ Yarmouth, Oct. 7 CAPE ELIZABETH, Oct. 18 YORK

Coach’s comment: “We have a lot of enthusiasm and positive vibes this year. We have 17 seniors and 15 will see a lot of time. It’s a veteran and strong team and we should be pretty balanced. We’ve been young and small, but this year, we’re looking forward to a deep run. Our outstanding schedule will help us. We’re heading in the right direction.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: After successive losses in the Class A quarterfinals, the Yachtsmen advanced a round further last year and this fall, they won’t be content with anything short of at least the regional finals. This is, on paper at least, the best Falmouth team since the back-to-back Class B champions in 2011 and 2012.

Spiegel made the all-region team a year ago and projects to be a top scorer this autumn. Polewaczyk and Wuesthoff (a league all-star in 2015) are also top scoring threats. The offense continues with Mullin and Sanzari and a pair of newcomers, junior Nate Arrants and freshman Thomas Fitzgerald. The Yachtsmen’s defense is always strong and this year, that unit will be sparked by Lydick and Rhoads. Scribner (another reigning all-star) returns in goal. There’s plenty of talent in reserve as well.

To say Falmouth has a difficult schedule would be an epic understatement. The Yachtsmen’s first seven games come against Greely, Cape Elizabeth, York, two-time defending Class B state champion Yarmouth, reigning Class C South champion Waynflete, Greely and Yarmouth again. That’s half the season just playing the cream of the crop of the conference and some of the elite teams in the entire state. The second half of the schedule is much easier. Falmouth will take what it learns in September and should be very strong by the time the postseason rolls around. An interminable (for this program) championship drought could come to an end if all goes well.

GIRLS’ SOCCER

Coach: Andrew Pelletier (fourth year, 27-15-5 overall record)

2015 record: 8-5-2 (Lost, 1-0, to Thornton Academy in Class A South preliminary round) 

Top returning players: Adelaide Cooke (Senior), Grace Connolly (Senior), Mia Cooney (Senior), Meg Dye (Senior), Lucy Mahoney (Senior), Amelia Waite (Junior), Cali Wiberg (Junior), Delaney Goodell (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Sept. 2 GREELY, Sept. 6 CAPE ELIZABETH, Sept. 13 YORK, Sept. 15 YARMOUTH, Sept. 20 @ Greely, Sept. 24 @ Yarmouth, Oct. 8 @ Cape Elizabeth, Oct. 18 @ York

Coach’s comment: “We graduated four starters, but we bring back quite a bit. We’re going to be young on defense. We have a lot of injuries right now. If we’re healthy, we can play with most teams. We’re just not as deep as we normally are.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth isn’t generating much preseason buzz in Class A South. By the end of the season, however, the Yachtsmen, who lost all-region standout Tyler Spence, but who still boast a lot of firepower, could be a very dangerous team.

Mahoney and Waite were both league all-stars in 2015 and figure to be top scorers this fall. Connolly, Cooney, sophomores Sydney Williams and Madison Wolf are other scorers to watch and new junior Lauren Wendland, a transfer from Massachusetts who has already verbally committed to Wagner College in New York City, is very promising as well. On defense, Dye, Goodell and Wiberg make up a strong core. Cooke, the track superstar, is back in goal.

Falmouth needs time to get healthy and up to speed, but unfortunately, the schedule doesn’t allow for that. The first half of the season features showdown after showdown. If the Yachtsmen can simply tread water, they’ll be in position to be a serious factor down the stretch and in the playoffs. By the time the postseason rolls around, Falmouth could be the region’s dark horse.

FIELD HOCKEY

Coach: Robin Haley (22nd year, 185-122-18 overall record)

2015 record: 10-6 (Lost, 1-0, to Scarborough in Class A South quarterfinal)

Top returning players: Sydney Bell (Senior), Mary Budri (Senior), Kate Kelley (Senior), Bella Libby (Senior), Maddie Rouhana (Senior), Devon Sarazin (Senior), Lisa Smoluk (Senior), Olivia Stucker (Senior)

Pivotal games: Aug. 31 YARMOUTH, Sept. 2 @ Kennebunk, Sept. 12 @ Greely, Sept. 20 NYA, Sept. 24 @ Yarmouth, Sept. 26 YORK, Oct. 11 @ York

Coach’s comment: “The Scarborough loss is a motivating factor for this group. We have eight returning varsity seniors who are very competitive. It’s a very experienced group. We’ll work hard and get better. We have very good numbers this year. We have a very competitive schedule. We’ll have to do well to get into the Class A postseason. Hopefully, with our experience, we’ll have a good season.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth’s suffered some tough playoff losses since moving up to Class A, none more painful than last year’s ouster in the waning seconds. With most of their firepower returning, the Yachtsmen are expecting to be a top team not just during the regular season, but to also be a serious threat once the Class A postseason begins.

Bell has been a star since her freshman season and is Falmouth’s reigning Fall Female Athlete of the Year, as well as being an all-state selection in 2015. Bell has one more season of high school field hockey and you have to believe that she’ll be dominant from her midfield position, creating offense. There should be a lot of goals to be scored this fall and the scoring figures to be balanced. Kelley, Libby, Rouhana (a second-team league all-star in 2015), Sarazin and Smoluk all project to be in the mix. The Yachtsmen will be formidable on defense too, as Budri and Stucker return. Junior Shannon Staples and sophomore Caitlin Bell were vying at press time to replace Elizabeth Amadei in goal.

Falmouth has what it takes to be one of the best. The Yachtsmen will be tested by several teams in the regular season, but should make a run at double digit victories. Playoff success might have to come on the road, but this group will be up for the challenge. In the postseason, no one will want to see Falmouth, which could wind up being one of the last teams standing.

VOLLEYBALL

Coach: Molly Northway (second year)

2015 results: 11-5 (Lost, 3-2, to Greely, in Class A semifinal

Top returning players: Alaina Birkel (Senior), Madi Tait (Senior), Amanda Watson (Senior), Malia White (Senior)

Pivotal matches: Sept. 2 CAPE ELIZABETH, Sept. 13 @ Biddeford, Sept. 15 GREELY, Sept. 29 @ Scarborough, Oct. 11 @ Yarmouth

Coach’s comment: “After significant reflection on the 2015 season, we’re eager to seek revenge for the loss in the semifinals. With seven seniors and seven juniors on varsity this year, we aim to be more disciplined in mental toughness, skill and strategy.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: For the second year in a row, Falmouth’s playoff run ended with an agonizing playoff loss after letting a 2-0 set lead slip away. This year, the Yachtsmen look to finish the job and they have enough talent to get that done.

Watson will make the offense go from her setter position. She had 414 assists and 190 digs a year ago and also led the team in aces (62). Birkel (the defensive specialist) will also see time at setter. Tait (37 aces in 2015) and White (45 aces and 59 kills last season) are top hitters. They’re joined by senior Victoria Burton (20 kills last year) and juniors Lydia Abbott and Danielle Casavant (25 kills a season ago). Junior Kayla Warner is a serving and defensive specialist.

Falmouth has to go up against the best teams in Class A on a regular basis, but this is a program that has become accustomed to success and one that is hungry to get back to the top after the frustrating way the past two seasons have ended. The Yachtsmen will be heard from early September right through late October. With a little good fortune, a second state championship could ensue.

CROSS COUNTRY

Coaches: Jorma Kurry and Danny Paul (13th year, one state championship)

2015 results:
(Boys) 2nd @ Class A state meet
(Girls) 4th @ Class A state meet 

Top returners:
(Boys) Ben Rudnick (Senior), Jeremiah Sands (Senior), Ben Wyman (Senior), Charlie Henning (Junior), Alex Kinley (Junior), Conner Piers (Junior),  Jared Troubh (Junior), John Auer (Sophomore)
(Girls) Maddy Adams (Senior), Hannah Berzinis (Senior), Paige Chamberlain (Senior), Gabby Farrell (Senior), Riley Finley (Senior), Antoinette Lambert (Senior), Ally Schimelman (Senior), Mira Wyman (Senior), Malaika Pasch (Sophomore)

The Forecaster’s forecast: Both Falmouth cross country teams again project to be very strong, not only in the Western Maine Conference, but in the regional and Class A state meets.

The boys graduated state meet scorers Josh Simensky and Sean Soucy, but return Sands (11th last year), Piers (21st) and Auer (22nd). Rudnick and Wyman are seasoned veterans and Henning, Kinley and Troubh provide depth. Freshman Nolan Anderson is primed to make an impact as well. In a preseason race against Lewiston and Marshwood, Sands, Auer, Wyman and Piers garnered the top four spots, which bodes well for a dominant campaign. Greely and Yarmouth loom during the regular season, but Falmouth will be up for the challenge. After placing runner-up in Class A last season, don’t be surprised if the Yachtsmen make the leap to the top spot this fall.

On the girls’ side, Gina Pardi and Kaleigh Wimert graduated from the top five, but Wyman (19th a year ago), Berzinis (32nd) and Lambert (34th) are state scorers who return. They’re joined by Farrell, who had the 51st-best time at last year’s state meet, seniors Adams, Chamberlain, Finley and Schimelman, juniors Maria Kuhn and Heidi Meyer and a sophomore, Pasch (who came in first in a preseason meet against Lewiston and Marshwood). Junior Chelsey Smithwick, sophomore Kayla Sarazin and freshman Delaney Wimert are new to the team and make it that much stronger. Falmouth will have to get past teams like Cape Elizabeth, Greely, York and defending Class B champion Yarmouth in a challenging conference and will have its hands full at the Class A state level as well, but another top five finish is within reach.

GOLF

Coach: John Mullen (third year)

2015 results: 6-4 (7th @ Class A state match)

Top returning players: Jack Hepburn (Senior), Reed Lonsdale (Senior), Matt Adamowicz (Junior), Dex Dremann (Junior), Charlie Emple (Junior), Riley Lonsdale (Junior), Louis Mainella (Junior)

Coach’s comment: “With both Reed and Riley returning, along with Dex and Louis, who both played in state tournament, we look to have a strong 2016 season. I believe our depth will be a strength this season. Add Charlie, Matt, Jack and freshman Tyler Baker and I expect we will be very competitive ”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth continued the program’s longstanding tradition of excellence a year ago, once again posting a winning mark in the regular season and making it to the Class A state match. This season, the Yachtsmen could be even better, despite being in the same division as potentially very good squads from Cheverus, Portland and Scarborough.

Reed Lonsdale (85), Riley Lonsdale (87) and Mainella (87) all scored at last year’s team state match. Reed Lonsdale also shot an 83 at the Class A individual match. Both Lonsdales were second-team league all-stars in 2015. Mainella and Dremann (who shot 97 at the state match) round out a solid top four. Adamowicz, Emple and Hepburn also have experience. Freshman Tyler Baker is a promising addition.

Falmouth should do very well in the regular season, but it will measure itself by what it does in October. Don’t be surprised if the Yachtsmen move up at states and have multiple individuals impress with their play as well.

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

Junior Noah Barney is a three-year starter and will make an impact on both sides of the line.

Senior Brandon Martin will see his share of carries and was also second on the team in tackles in 2015.

Senior Brock Welch will be a top receiving option.

Senior Matt Polewaczyk and his Falmouth boys’ soccer teammates are hoping for their deepest Class A playoff run to date this season.

Senior Jonah Spiegel is a top scoring threat.

Fresh off a lacrosse All-American and state championship spring season, senior Jack Scribner will look to star in goal for the Yachtsmen.

Senior goalkeeper Adelaide Cooke looks to lead Falmouth’s girls’ soccer team deep into the playoffs.

Senior Lucy Mahoney figures to be a top scorer for the Yachtsmen.

Junior Kali Wiberg will make her presence felt in the weeks to come.

Senior Sydney Bell, one of the state’s transcendent players, is back for her final season, hoping to lead Falmouth’s field hockey team to Class A glory.

Senior Maddie Rouhana made the all-star team a year ago.

Senior Devon Sarazin is back for another season of top-notch play.

Senior Lisa Smoluk hopes to score some big goals this season.

Senior Olivia Stucker will be a top defender this season.

Senior Alaina Birkel is a top returner for a Falmouth volleyball team which lost a heartbreaker in last year’s state semifinal.

Senior Amanda Watson is a top setter.

Senior Ben Wyman is a veteran runner for Falmouth’s boys’ cross country team, which was second in Class A a year ago.

Senior Mira Wyman came in 19th at last year’s Class A state girls’ cross country meet, helping Falmouth come in fourth.

Senior Hannah Berzinis also scored last year, coming in 32nd.

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.