Falmouth Yachtsmen Spring Sports Preview

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Falmouth’s girls’ lacrosse team shocked many by winning its first state title a year ago. This time around, the Yachtsmen will surprise no one, as they’re favored to repeat.

File photos.

More photos below.

BASEBALL

Coach: Kevin Winship (10th year, 127-42 overall record, one state championship)

2018 record: 10-9 (Lost, 5-4, to Cheverus in Class A South semifinals)

Top returning players: Jack Kidder (Senior), Garrett Tracy (Senior), Connor Coffin (Junior), Ike Kiely (Junior), Josh Lefevre (Junior), Sam Kidder (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 23 @ South Portland, April 25 SCARBOROUGH, April 27 @ Portland, April 30 WINDHAM, May 4 TA, May 9 DEERING, May 21 @ Cheverus

Coach’s comment: “I think we’re going to be OK. We could surprise some teams. We’re hitting really well, getting good pitching and playing good defense. I think it’s wide-open this year with a lot of parity. There’s good pitching in the league this year. We want to get into the playoffs. We’d love a top four seed, but we showed last year when we were a nine-seed that it didn’t mater. Once you get in, anything can happen. We want to get hot in the end.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: After back-to-back trips to the state final, little was expected of the Yachtsmen last June, but they sprung the upset of the tournament, knocking off top-ranked South Portland in the quarterfinals, before forcing Cheverus to rally late to beat them in the semifinals. Falmouth has talent all over the diamond this spring and they’ll be in the title mix in a deep and balanced Class A South.

The Yachtsmen have several top arms they can rely on. Tracy (an honorable mention all-star last year) will be the ace. Jack Kidder, junior Nick Mancini (the football team’s quarterback), sophomores Ryan Curran and Ben Wilson and freshman Bennett Smith will also see innings. Kiely returns behind the plate and will make noise with his bat. Sam Kidder was an SMAA all-star as a freshman and he returns as one of the Yachtsmen’s top hitters and their centerfielder. Senior Sam Manganello, who was a platoon player in 2018, will play first base, junior Brady Coyne will play second and hit leadoff, Coffin moves over from second base to shortstop and Lefevre is at third base. Tracy (when he’s not pitching) and sophomore Gus Ford join Sam Kidder in the outfield. Junior Jackson Quinn (first base/designated hitter) will play a key role as well.

There will be some potholes over the course of the season, but this is a group that will only get better in the weeks to come. Falmouth might not be atop the list of favorites, but when June arrives and the games matter most, no one will want to see the Yachtsmen on the other side of the field.

SOFTBALL 

Coach: James Coffey (first year)

2018 record: No varsity program

Top returning players: Liberty Ladd (Senior), Liz Fortier (Junior), Cameron Birks (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 22 @ Portland, May 8 CHEVERUS, May 15 @ Deering

Coach’s comment: “We have 16 kids, but we’re very young. We have four sophomores and 10 freshmen. It’s almost like hitting the re-set button on the program. The preseason has gone well. We’re just trying to improve every day.

The Forecaster’s forecast: After two seasons as a co-op team with Maine Girls’ Academy, Falmouth is its own program again and while there will be some growing pains against a very difficult schedule, the Yachtsmen will position themselves to contend down the road.

Falmouth will be led this spring by Ladd, the superb catcher, who wields one of the most potent bats around. Look for Ladd to put up big offensive numbers while playing strong defense as well. Birks is back on the mound. Fortier will play in centerfield. The infield features four freshman: Emily Charest at first base, Maddie Cooney playing second, Emily Chace at shortstop and Acadia Gee (who will also see some time on the mound) at third. Sophomore Natalie Fortier is another outfielder to watch.

Falmouth will be young and enthusiastic and there will be games that the Yachtsmen play well and others where they might struggle, but the good news is that the program is back and it will only get stronger in the years to come.

BOYS’ LACROSSE

Coach: Dave Barton (third year, 25-4 overall record)

2018 record: 13-2 (Lost, 14-12, to Thornton Academy in Class A state final)

Top returning players: Kai Berry (Senior), Zach Dubinsky (Senior), Riley Reed (Senior), Gibson Scott (Senior), Iyendae St. Louis (Senior), Reilly Tucker (Senior), Tommy Fitzgerald (Junior)

Pivotal games: May 3 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 8 @ South Portland, May 10 YARMOUTH, May 17 @ Brunswick, May 28 TA

Coach’s comment: “We lost guys who meant a lot to the program, but we have no time to hang our heads. It’s a fun group to work with. Class A will be very good and the SMAA is loaded. We’re lucky to play most of the teams. We came up two goals short last year and that’s certainly on the guys’ minds, but our mantra this year is, ‘Well done is better than well said.’”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth could easily be riding a three-year championship streak, but the Yachtsmen lost a taut, one-goal contest to eventual Class B champion Cape Elizabeth in the 2017 regional final, then last year, despite holding a second half lead, dropped a two-goal decision to Thornton Academy in the Class A state game. The program lost several key contributors, but the cupboard is far from bare and Falmouth is primed to make another run at the title. A run that might just result in a celebration.

Reed was an SMAA first-team all-star, as well as the SMAA Co-Player of the Year in 2018 and before taking his talents to Merrimack College in Massachusetts, Reed is in line for one final huge season. He’s well known for his defensive abilities, but he’ll see time in the midfield as well and don’t be surprised if he tickles the twine on occasion. Tucker, a second-team all-star last spring, led the team in points last spring and will help pace the offense, along with the ever-dangerous Fitzgerald (who had four goals in Friday’s season-opening 9-3 win over Kennebunk), St. Louis (the faceoff specialist) and sophomore Wyatt Kerr. Junior Macklin Williams, who was sidelined with injury a year ago, and sophomore Jonah Eng are top middies. Defensively, Dubinsky and Scott have experience. Junior Max Orestis will also help fluster the opposition. Berry saw quite a bit of time in goal last spring. He’ll be back between the pipes this season with sophomore A.J. Noyes also getting an opportunity. 

The Yachtsmen are loaded for bear, but Class A South is challenging. Not only do defending champion Thornton Academy and longtime rival Cape Elizabeth stand in the way, but squads like South Portland and Scarborough will also be difficult to beat and Class B power Yarmouth is also on the slate. When all is said and done, Falmouth will find itself in the biggest games and this time, it’s quite possible that the Yachtsmen will finish the job.

GIRLS’ LACROSSE

Coach: Ashley Pullen (second year)

2018 record: 13-2 (Beat Massabesic, 10-7, to win Class A state title)

Top returning players: Natalie Birkel (Senior) Caitlyn Camelio (Senior), Christina Oakes (Senior), Kayla Sarazin (Senior), Jo Stucker (Senior), Gretchen Barney (Junior), Hannah Dubinsky (Junior), Emily Hamilton (Junior), Sarah Wentworth (Junior), Eva Clement (Sophomore), C.C. Cohen (Sophomore), Avi Fishman (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 24 KENNEBUNK, May 2 @ Windham, May 6 @ Waynflete, May 14 @ Cheverus, May 30 MASSABESIC

Coach’s comment: “We’re looking good. We return almost all of last year’s championship team. I don’t know if I’ve ever coached a team this deep. It’s an extremely different challenge to come in as defending champs and wear the bulls-eye. Our focus is to not be concerned with what others think of us, but what we think of ourselves and being the best we can be. Obviously, we have our sights set on defending our state title.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth enjoyed a magical 2018 campaign, as Pullen took over, led the Yachtsmen to the state final in the program’s first season in Class A, then shocked Massabesic on the big stage to win a championship for the first time. Reigning Spring Female Athlete of the Year Chelsey Smithwick graduated, but everyone else is back and that makes Falmouth prohibitive favorites to go back-to-back. The Yachtsmen could very well get there, but there’s work to do, especially against a formidable schedule.

Camelio and Sarazin are captains, league all-stars and midfielders with speed and skill who will give opposing coaches nightmares. Camelio is heading to play at the University of Michigan, but first, she’ll transition the ball with the best of them, set up her teammates and do her share of scoring as well. Sarazin, Falmouth’s Winter Female Athlete of the Year after a terrific hockey campaign, is tenacious in the draw circle, scoops up loose balls and will also be involved all over the field, scoring plenty of goals herself. Fishman is a rising star in the midfield and Clement is back after a breakout freshman campaign (she also made the Maine team). Clement will be even stronger this season. Up top, look for Hamilton, Oakes and Stucker to play a bigger role in the offense this spring. The defense is also strong, as Barney and Birkel (a second-team all-star last season) return and are bolstered by two other members of the Maine team, junior Sarah Wentworth and speedy sophomore C.C. Cohen. Dubinsky, who made so many big saves a year ago, returns in goal. 

It’s easy to see why this team is so highly touted. The talent is unquestionable. If Falmouth can stay healthy and hungry enough to hold off teams like Cheverus, Portland and Windham in its region and potentially Kennebunk or Massabesic at states, this brand new winning a state championship thing is going to become a repeat occurrence.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coach: Jorma Kurry (20th year, six state championships)

2018 results:

(Boys)  Co-Class A state champions

(Girls) 5th @ Class A state meet

Top returning athletes:

(Boys) Ethan Ali (Senior), John Auer (Senior), Kyle Bouchard (Senior), Doug Cooke (Senior), Josh Bradford (Junior), Joe Dye (Junior), Adrian Friedman (Junior), Ben Potter (Junior), Michael Smoluk (Junior), Alvaro Fuentes-Cantillana (Sophomore), Ben Greene (Sophomore), Aidan Hoffman (Sophomore), Faran Igani (Sophomore), John Peelen (Sophomore)

(Girls) Annie DeCastro (Senior), Emma Harrington (Senior), Maddie Marks (Junior), Abbie Ryer (Junior), Hillary Bouchard (Sophomore), Shannon Dye (Sophomore), Sofie Matson (Sophomore), Maria Neuhauser (Sophomore), Karley Piers (Sophomore), Summer Staples (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “The boys’ team returns a large and talented group. If we prepare well and stay healthy, the team can put up great performances in a wide range of events. Performing at our best at the championship meets will be our goal in a year filled with many championship-caliber teams. The girls are in a rebuilding year. We have some very strong athletes returning, but we’ll rely largely on a young group developing and covering new events to reach our potential. The girls are enthusiastic and working hard and we will see good things.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth’s outdoor teams are poised for another strong season.

The boys’ squad shared the Class A title with Thornton Academy in 2018 and hopes to own it outright this spring. Ali, Bouchard, Friedman and Fuentes-Cantillana all return from a first-place 4×100 relay team and will anchor a strong sprint crew, which also includes Cooke (second in the 400 last season), Dye and Smoluk. Freshmen Will Addison, Luke Ford and Jake Rand are new sprinters to watch. Auer (second in the mile and third in the 800 last spring), Greene (sixth in the mile), Hoffman, Imani and Potter make up a solid distance contingent. Freshman Logan Ross and Joey Rouhana add depth. On the field side, Bradford was sixth last year in the shot put and along with Peelan, hopes to score in the throws. Addison, Ford, Friedman and Rand are jumpers to watch. Look for the Yachtsmen to battle Thornton Academy, Scarborough and Cheverus for top honors during the regular season and at the postseason meets and if all goes well, bring home more hardware.

On the girls’ side, Falmouth is poised to remain a power at the conference and state levels. Piers (fourth in the two-mile last season) heads up a deep distance contingent which also includes DeCastro, Matson, Staples, sophomore Isabella Borduas and freshman Viviana Griffin. Sprinters to watch include Marks (who also competes in the hurdles), Neuhauser, Ryer and sophomore Maggie O’Brien. Harrington (third in the discus last season) is a top thrower, along with Bouchard and Dye. Ryer will contend in the jumps. This will be a competitive team all season and very dangerous squad come June.

BOYS’ TENNIS

Coach: Bob McCully (48th year, 11 state championships)

2018 record: 16-0 (Beat Camden Hills, 5-0, to win Class A state title)

Top returning players: Nick Forester (Senior), Jake Leavitt (Senior), Calvin Spencer (Senior), Jack Forester (Sophomore), Matt Ray (Sophomore) 

Coach’s comment: “We are hoping to be strong enough to repeat as Class A champion, but we anticipate that Kennebunk and Thornton Academy will be very challenging for us.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth enjoyed another memorable and triumphant campaign in 2018, winning yet another state title. There are some new faces this time around, but once again, the Yachtsmen have what it takes to go all the way.

Nick Forester returns as the reigning state singles champion and he’s poised to repeat and do big things to help his team as well. He’ll be in the number one singles spot with Ray (a league all-star last season) playing number two singles. Spencer has played doubles for three years, but he projects to move into the third singles spot this spring. Leavitt and Jack Forester will likely make up the top doubles tandem. Sophomores Henry Armstrong, Marcus Goodbody, Chris Hoffman and Willie Parker and freshman William Caminiti are vying for the other spots. 

There might be some opposition on the road to another state title, but this group will be up for the challenge. 

GIRLS’ TENNIS

Coach: Lori Poulin (first year)

2017 record: 16-0 (Defeated Lewiston, 3-2, to win fifth straight Class A title and 11th consecutive overall state championship)

Top returning players: Emma Cohen (Senior), Maddy Joyce (Senior), Sydney Pearl (Senior), Sara Fallon (Junior), Meredith Kelley (Junior)

Coach’s comment: “Our goal is to stay in the present and look at each match one point, one game at a time. It’s a very short season, so we want to enjoy the journey.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: For more than a decade, the surest bet in Maine high school sports has been Falmouth’s girls’ tennis team winning every match (the Yachtsmen enter the year on an unfathomable 173-match streak) and capturing a state title the second Saturday in June. There’s a change at the top this year, as Poulin, a former assistant with the program, replaces Bill Goodspeed, but plenty of talent remains and Falmouth will be the team everyone is chasing yet again.

Kelley was a first-team league all-star in 2018 and she returns to lead the singles contingent. Fallon (a second-teamer last year) and Joyce will also play singles. Cohen and Pearl are experienced at doubles. Seniors Alex Burton and Daisy Parker, juniors Lucy Holland and Mia McHugh and sophomores Ella Holland and Nina Woodbury are looking to fill the other spots and give the Yachtsmen depth.

Falmouth figures to be tested by several teams in the weeks to come and even if the Yachtsmen stumble along the way, expect them to be at their best when the playoffs begin. Another title celebration can’t be ruled out.

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

Senior Garrett Tracy will be the ace for Falmouth’s baseball team this season.

Junior Ike Kiely is back behind the plate for the Yachtsmen.

Before taking off to play at Merrimack College, senior Riley Reed will again be one of the state’s elite defensemen for a Falmouth boys’ lacrosse team that should be one of the very best in Class A again this season.

Junior Tommy Fitzgerald will be a top scorer for the Yachtsmen.

Senior Reilly Tucker led Falmouth in points in 2018.

Senior Kai Berry returns in goal for the Yachtsmen.

Before taking her show to the University of Michigan, senior Caitlyn Camelio hopes to use her speed and stick skills to lead Falmouth’s girls’ lacrosse team to the pinnacle once more.

Senior Kayla Sarazin returns as one of the league’s top players, be it in the draw circle or going to goal.

Senior Natalie Birkel is a top returner on defense.

Senior Christina Oakes is another top returning scorer for Falmouth.

Eva Clement was a revelation as a freshman and her speed and skill will again be on display this spring.

Junior Hannah Dubinsky will again be a rock in goal for the Yachtsmen.

Senior John Auer will vie for state titles in distance races this season for Falmouth’s always-competitive boys’ outdoor track team.

Senior Doug Cooke was second in Class A in the 400 last season and will be a top contender again this spring.

Senior Nick Forester is back to defend his singles state title and try to lead the Falmouth boys’ tennis team to another championship as well.

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