Falmouth Yachtsmen Fall Sports Preview

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Falmouth competed quite nicely in its first year playing in the Class A postseason. This fall, the Yachtsmen will be chasing gold in several sports. Boys’ and girls’ soccer will make the most of their challenging regular season schedule to ensure they’ll be at their best in the playoffs. Football has the look of a squad which might not just make the playoffs, but could possibly stay awhile. Field hockey has some holes to fill, but will be in its accustomed contender’s role. Both cross country teams are again loaded. Golf welcomes a new coach as it seeks yet another championship. Volleyball, after several close calls, ascended to the pinnacle in 2013 and has the pieces in place to make a run at a repeat.

BOYS’ SOCCER

COACH: Dave Halligan (28th year, 323-86-40 overall record, 11 state championships)

2013 record: 9-5-2 (Lost, 3-0, to Portland in Western A quarterfinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Jake Grade (Senior), Ben Lydick (Senior), Gabe Mahoney (Senior), John McConnell (Senior), Aidan McGrory (Senior), Luke Velas (Senior), Nigel Dunn (Junior), Jack Engelberger (Junior), Jesse Melchiskey (Junior), Nick Sanzari (Junior), Michael Sanzari (Sophomore), Jonah Spiegel (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 13 GREELY, Sept. 19 @ Cape Elizabeth, Sept. 30 @ Greely, Oct. 4 @ Yarmouth, Oct. 7 CAPE ELIZABETH, Oct. 21 YARMOUTH

COACH’S COMMENT: “It’s a good group. We paid our dues last year. We were young, but we’ve learned from that experience. We have a good blend of veterans and new players. This year, our seniors are soccer players. We’re better equipped to contend in the playoffs. We’ll try to make some noise.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: For what it’s worth, Falmouth didn’t win a state title in its first year in Class B (1999) either, but then rattled off four in a row. After falling in the quarterfinals for the first time since 1991, the Yachtsmen expect a bounce-back season and the rest of the state would be wise to respect them.

For starters, Falmouth returns ever-dangerous scoring threat Velas, an all-state selection a year ago. He’ll pace the offense. Other Yachtsmen hoping to score on a regular basis include Dunn, Grade (the hockey hero), Lydick, Mahoney, Spiegel (a second-team Western Maine Conference all-star in 2013), Michael Sanzari, sophomore Matt Polewacyzk and freshman Ben Wuesthoff. Defensively, Falmouth looks to be stronger than a year ago. Engelberger, McConnell, McGrory and Nick Sanzari all have experience. The Yachtsmen did graduate all-state goalie Will D’Agostino and as of press time, three players are in the mix to fill his spot. The likely successor is Melchiskey, but junior Matthew Wulbrecht and sophomore Jack Scribner could also see time.

Falmouth will once again be faced with a challenging schedule, which includes a pair of games versus rivals Cape Elizabeth and Yarmouth and defending Class B champion Greely. Those contests will serve the Yachtsmen well in the long run. The thought of playing in the Class A postseason is no longer daunting. Falmouth has enough talent to hold its own. A longer playoff run is likely this time around. Perhaps even a run all the way to the state final.

GIRLS’ SOCCER

COACH: Andrew Pelletier (second year)

2013 record: 12-3-1 (Lost, 1-0, in 2OT, to Thornton Academy in Western A semifinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Georgia Babikian (Senior), Hannah Donovan (Junior), Emma England (Junior), Marcy Kittredge (Junior), Tyler Spence (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 13 @ Greely, Sept. 16 WAYNFLETE, Sept. 19 CAPE ELIZABETH, Sept. 23 @ York, Sept. 30 GREELY, Oct. 2 YARMOUTH, Oct. 7 @ Cape Elizabeth, Oct. 10 YORK, Oct. 20 @ Yarmouth

COACH’S COMMENT: “We’re young, but we have the drive to do really well. Our goal is to do better than we did last year. I think we’re on the right track. The pieces are coming together. Our schedule is crazy-tough, but as long as we keep improving, we’ll be a contender at the end.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Falmouth had a very successful season a year ago, but when your bar is set at winning championships, even an overtime loss in the semifinals can be disappointing. While the loss of several seniors, including all-stater Megan Miller, will pose problems, the Yachtsmen, as always, reload.

This year, the offense will be paced by reigning league all-star Kittredge, Babikian and Spence, who always has a nose for the goal. Freshman Amelia Waite promises to step right in and make her presence felt. On defense, Donovan and England have experience. They’re joined by freshman Cali Wiberg. Cooke replaces Maggie Seitz in goal. Sophomore Adelaide Cooke, a standout multi-sport athlete, saw some limited time a year ago and will keep her team in every game.

This program never has a shortage of depth. It will just take a little while to put the pieces together. While playing more than half its games against powerhouses like defending Class B champion Cape Elizabeth, Greely, Yarmouth, York and two-time Class C champ Waynflete, Falmouth won’t buckle. The Yachtsmen will be ready to take their chances when the Class A playoffs roll around and after coming so close a year ago, can’t be overlooked. No one will want to square off with Falmouth come late October.

FOOTBALL

COACH: John Fitzsimmons (eighth year, 32-32 overall record)

2013 record: 5-4 (Lost, 57-0, to Marshwood in Western B quarterfinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Cal Inlow (Senior), Storm McGovern (Senior), Aidan Murphy (Senior), Noah Nelson (Senior), Grant Smith (Senior), Connor Aube (Junior), Drew Chamberlain (Junior), George Gilbert (Junior), Logan Herodes (Junior), Austin Wheeler (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 19 @ York, Oct. 3 WESTBROOK, Oct. 24 @ Greely

COACH’S COMMENT: “Our line averages 252 pounds. That’s a good-sized high school line. We’re multi-dimensional on offense. Noah is very efficient passing and we have speed with our running backs. Our talent will show as the season progresses. Some years you just want to be competitive. Just being competitive would be disappointing for us this year. We have the kind of talent to go deep into the playoffs.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Falmouth had a very competitive campaign in 2013 and expects even bigger things this time around. For good reason. There’s a lot of talent on this roster.

Nelson, a captain and reigning Campbell Conference all-star, is back under center and is capable of moving the offense with his arm, his legs, or handing the ball off to Aube, who could emerge this year as one of the league’s best backs. Gilbert, Murphy and junior Sean Bryant will also get some carries. Through the air, Nelson will look for Inlow, Wheeler and sophomore Brock Welch. The offensive line features Chamberlain, a captain and all-star, Herodes, McGovern, Smith (also a captain) and sophomore Trey Fallon. Good luck grappling with those behemoths.

Defensively, the Yachstmen should be stronger than last year. The line includes Chamberlain, Herodes, McGovern and Smith. In the secondary, look for Bryant, Gilbert, Inlow, Murphy, Welch and Wheeler to wreak havoc.

Falmouth had some encouraging results in the preseason and won’t have to face consensus favorite Marshwood in the regular season. The Yachtsmen should be able to post a winning record and perhaps get a home playoff date. By November, everyone will know that this team is a serious contender.

FIELD HOCKEY

COACH: Robin Haley (20th year, 164-111-18 overall record)

2013 record: 13-3 (Lost, 2-0, to Massabesic in Western Class A semifinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Morgan Allen (Senior), Elle Fitzgerald (Senior), Kate Lannon (Senior), Dayna Vasconcelos (Senior), Sydney Bell (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 6 CAPE ELIZABETH, Sept. 9 @ Greely, Sept. 11 KENNEBUNK, Sept. 15 YORK, Sept. 17 LAKE REGION, Sept. 24 @ NYA, Sept. 26 @ York, Oct. 1 @ Cape Elizabeth, Oct. 13 GREELY

COACH’S COMMENT: “We’ve had a good preseason. We have enthusiastic girls who are hungry and excited for the opportunity. We graduated a lot of starters, so we need to fill some shoes. The girls realized last year that they certainly can compete in Class A. We hope to get back to the playoffs.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Falmouth certainly can hold its own in Class A. Last year, the Yachtsmen posted the best record in program history. Unfortunately, several standouts then graduated, so this year’s team will be a work in progress.

One of the biggest holes to fill will be in goal, after the departure of Hillary Nash. Senior Caroline Dyhrberg will step into that role. Defensively, Lannon and sophomore Maddie Rouhana will look to hold off the opposition. Bell, who had a terrific freshman year, and Fitzgerald, who has shown an ability to score clutch goals, will pace the offense. Senior Ruth Smith and junior Keunjoo Kim will see more time this fall and should rattle the cage as well. Allen and Vasconcelos are top returning midfielders.

It might take awhile for Falmouth to hit its stride, but that’s okay, by mid October, the Yachtsmen should be quite formidable. Another promising season awaits. One which could culminate with yet another deep playoff run.

CROSS COUNTRY

CO-COACHES: Jorma Kurry and Danny Paul (11th year, one state championship)

2013 results:
(BOYS) 4th @ Class A state meet
(GIRLS) 3rd @ Class A state meet

TOP RETURNING RUNNERS:
(BOYS) Spencer Brown (Senior), Ethan Cantlin (Senior), Peter Henning (Senior), Iain Kurry (Senior), Scott Lambert (Senior), Bryce Murdick (Senior), Matt Simmons (Senior), Josh Simensky (Junior), Sean Soucy (Junior, Liam Tucker (Sophomore), Ben Wyman (Sophomore)
(GIRLS) Lizzie Cattell (Senior), Alta Farrell (Senior), Maggie Lento (Senior), Emily Rioux (Senior), Ania Wright (Senior), Vishva Nalamalapu (Junior), Gina Pardi (Junior), Eleanor Roberts (Junior), Kaileigh Wimert (Junior), Paige Chamberlain (Sophomore), Gabby Farrell (Sophomore), Antoinette Lambert (Sophomore), Mira Wyman (Sophomore)

TOP FOES: Cape Elizabeth, Greely, York

COACH KURRY’S COMMENT: “The season looks good. Our team came back strong and healthy for the most part. Both the boys and girls have an experienced core. We expect to be among the top teams at the conference, regional and state meets. Our goal will be to work together as a team and mature as athletes and team members. If we can grow and learn as the season goes on, both teams should be among the best in the state.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Falmouth’s cross country teams will once again be very strong in regular season competition and will be in the hunt for postseason glory.

The boys return four state meet scorers: Lambert (12th), Soucy (23rd), Simmons (46th) and Wyman (47th). That’s just the beginning. Brown, Cantlin, Henning, Kurry and Murdick are senior leaders. Simensky and Tucker also return from last year. Mix in newcomers Charlie Henning and Conner Piers and the Yachtsmen will be hard to keep up with. Just three years ago, Falmouth won a state title in Class B. This year’s team will try to duplicate that feat in Class A. Don’t bet against it.

On the girls’ side, three scorers are back, led by Nalamalapu, who came in 15th a year ago. Lambert was 19th, while Wyman placed 31st. Several seniors, Cattell, Farrell, Lenton, Rioux and Wright, provide experienced leadership. Chamberlain, Farrell, Pardi, Roberts and Wimert also return. Newcomers Maddy Adams, London Bernier and Hannah Berzinis will look to make their mark. Another strong campaign, a high finish at regionals and a top five placement at the Class A state meet are possible.

GOLF

COACH: John Mullen (first year)

2013 results: 10-0 (Class A state champions)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Chris DeWolf (Senior), Charlie Hepburn (Senior), Bryce Kuhn (Senior), Craig Smith (Senior), Matt Barnard (Junior)

TOP FOES: Cheverus, Portland, Scarborough

COACH’S COMMENT: “We hope to continue the great tradition that Coach Herrick has built. Our captains will lead the newcomers in what I believe will be another successful season.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Falmouth wrote a storybook script a year ago, winning every regular season match, then capturing a state title for the eighth time, providing a perfect coda to the storied coaching career of Spike Herrick, who retired. This fall, the Yachtsmen have a new coach in Mullen, who has spent 18 years as the golf professional at the Woodlands and was named in 2012 as a US kids top 50 instructor, becoming the first from the state. Mullen takes over a team that once again could be in the mix for glory.

While reigning Fall Male Athlete of the Year Joe Lesniak, Matt Hutcheon and Russell Barnard all graduated, Smith is back. He was an SMAA first-team all-star in 2013 and shot a 77 at the team state match and tied for fourth at the Class A individual match with a 78. He’ll lead the way. DeWolf has taken part on the big stage before. He’ll be up for the challenge. Matt Barnard, Hepburn and Kuhn look to play bigger roles, while as usual, there are several promising newcomers. That list includes senior Tim Pratico, junior Alex Whitmore, sophomore Reed Lonsdale and freshman Riley Lonsdale.

The beat goes on for this program. Some faces and names have changed, but in October, look for Falmouth to be a team that everyone is once again talking about.

VOLLEYBALL

COACH: Gary Powers (eighth year, 80-32 overall record, one state championship)

2013 results: 15-2 (Beat Scarborough, 3-1, to win Class A state championship)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Leigh Bernardy (Senior), Ally Hickey (Senior), Megan Tammaro (Senior), Julia Treadwell (Junior)

PIVOTAL MATCHES: Sept. 11 SCARBOROUGH, Sept. 23 @ Greely, Sept. 26 CAPE ELIZABETH, Oct. 1 @ Biddeford, Oct. 9 GREELY, Oct. 14 @ Gorham, Oct. 16 @ Scarborough

COACH’S COMMENT: “We graduated two terrific players, but I think we’re deeper this year. The girls are still hungry. We’ve had very competitive practices. The kids are pushing each other. It’s going to be a more competitive year. You can’t take teams lightly. I think we’ll be in the mix. It’s all about fitting the pieces together and finding out who fits where. We know we have a target on our backs, but I think the kids are ready for the challenge.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: After five straight seasons of close calls, Falmouth got over the hump last fall in glorious fashion, erasing two regular season losses to Scarborough with a nearly flawless performance in the Class A state match, which brought home a Gold Ball for the first time. The Yachtsmen only graduated two players, but what a tandem it was. Katrina Meserve was named the Gatorade Player of the Year, while Riley Burfeind, who was exceptional throughout Falmouth’s playoff run, was chosen as the school’s Fall Female Athlete of the Year.

The good news is that there are several terrific athletes returning, several of whom are hoping to step into bigger roles as the Yachtsmen go for the repeat. Tammaro is as good a setter as you’ll find. Bernardy, Hickey and Treadwell can make things happen at the net. Senior Sophie Emple and junior Lydia Farmer will also be heard from. Senior Callie McMahon returns from an injury. Freshman Keegan McMahon and sophomore Alaina Birkel, a libero, are new players of note.

For the first time, Falmouth will have to wear a bulls-eye, but it welcomes the opportunity. Class A is as talented as ever and very few matches will be won easily, but the Yachtsmen should once again post a good record and be in position to do big things in the playoffs. If the hunger remains and a few breaks go Falmouth’s way, that first Gold Ball could get some company.

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

When the ball is in the hands of junior Connor Aube, good things happen for the Falmouth football team.

Senior Ben Lydick will play a leading role in what promises to be a strong season for the Falmouth boys’ soccer team.

Senior Luke Velas figures to be one of the most prolific scorers in the conference this season.

His greatest fame came last winter when he scored the state championship game winning goal in overtime in hockey, but senior Jake Grade is pretty good on the pitch too.

Senior Gabe Mahoney figures to be around the ball a lot this season.

Junior Jesse Melchiskey will move into the goalkeeper position this season.

Senior John McConnell will play an important role on Falmouth’s back line.

Junior Hannah Donovan will help stymie the opposition this fall as the Falmouth girls’ soccer team makes a run at a Class A title.

Junior Emma England is another top returning defender for the Yachtsmen.

Junior Marcy Kittredge is coming off an all-star season and will be in the middle of the action in the weeks to come.

Junior Tyler Spence has made life miserable for opposing defenses her first two seasons and should be one of the league’s top scorers this fall.

Senior Morgan Allen is one of several key returners for a Falmouth field hockey team which made it to the semifinals in its first Western A postseason trip a year ago.

“Syd the Kid,” Sydney Bell had a strong freshman season and will be in the middle of Falmouth’s success this fall.

Senior Kate Lannon returns to help anchor the Falmouth defense.

Senior Elle Fitzgerald will be a top scoring threat for the Yachtsmen this fall.

Senior Dayna Vasconcelos returns at midfield for the Yachtsmen.

Senior Scott Lambert placed 12th at last year’s Class A boys’ cross country state meet and will look to lead the Yachtsmen to a strong finish this fall.

Senior Bryce Murdick is a veteran runner who will help the Falmouth boys to great things this fall.

Antoinette Lambert was 19th at the Class A girls’ cross country state meet as a freshman and hopes to do even better this time around.

Junior Vishva Nalamalapu was a top scorer at last year’s Class A state meet. She’ll be near the top again this fall.

Senior Leigh Bernardy will be an imposing force at the net for the defending champions.

Senior Ally Hickey will soar over the net and competition in the weeks to come.

Senior Megan Tammaro is another key returner for the Yachtsmen.

Look for junior Julia Treadwell to once again play a pivotal role in Falmouth’s success.

Sidebar Elements


Last fall, for the first time, Falmouth’s volleyball team got to celebrate a state championship. This season, the Yachtsmen hope to do it again.

File photos.

More photos below.

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