Freeport’s fall sports teams took part in the postseason almost across the board a year ago. Big things are in store again this season. Boys’ soccer is looking for another trip to the playoffs and to perhaps make some noise once there. The girls’ squad is coming off its best season this century and boasts plenty of talent. Football always struggles with low numbers, but the quality outweighs the quantity on the roster. Field hockey won a playoff game a year ago and hopes for a longer stay this autumn. Both cross country teams again feature several runners who will be among the best in the region. Golf welcomes back an old friend and hopes to compete.
COACH: Joe Heathco (17th year, 120-109-24 overall record)
2013 record: 4-9-2 (Lost, 1-0, in 2OT, to Fryeburg in Western B preliminary round)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Caleb Abbott (Senior), Shawn Anthony (Senior), Blake Enrico (Senior), Callum Gould (Senior), Parker Masison (Senior), Brendan Qualls (Senior), Nick Wilson (Senior), Jack Davenport (Junior), Nate Smail (Junior)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 5 CAPE ELIZABETH, Sept. 16 @ Yarmouth, Sept. 26 GREELY, Oct. 3 @ NYA, Oct. 14 @ Falmouth, Oct. 21 WAYNFLETE
COACH’S COMMENT: “It’s been a good preseason so far. I’m pretty optimistic. I like the seniors we have coming back. We have a good goalie and talented midfielders. I’m excited to see how we come together. We’ll compete. I think we can get to the playoffs and hopefully we’ll get a higher seed.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Freeport reached the postseason for the third year in a row last fall, but the Falcons aren’t content just getting into the playoffs, they want to make a deep run and this group could be capable.
Freeport returns Davenport, last year’s leading scorer, who will pace the offense. Wilson figures to do his share of scoring as well. In the midfield, the Falcons are steady behind Abbott, Anthony, Gould and Smail. Enrico and Masison anchor the defense in front of Qualls, who is back in goal.
Freeport will be challenged by some of the best teams in the state, so a winning record might be a stretch, but this is a senior-laden group which won’t be starry eyed if it can get to the postseason. Every few years, the Falcons catch fire and go on a playoff run. Don’t be surprised if this group pulls off that feat.
COACH: Elayna Girardin (sixth year, 32-41-3 overall record)
2013 record: 10-6 (Lost, 3-1, to eventual state champion Cape Elizabeth in Western B semifinals)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Lauren Cormier (Senior), Emily Johnson (Senior), Lizzy Martin (Senior), Alyssa Richardson (Senior), Julia Smith (Senior), Courtney Broderick (Junior), Maddie Squibb (Junior)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 5 @ Cape Elizabeth, Sept. 9 @ Sacopee, Sept. 16 YARMOUTH, Sept. 27 @ Greely, Oct. 2 @ NYA, Oct. 14 FALMOUTH, Oct. 20 @ Waynflete
COACH’S COMMENT: “We’re still figuring things out. We lost six players: two wings, two center-mids, a striker and our goalie. Others will need to step up. We’re trying to find the right combinations in the midfield. We need to find our voice as a team. We’ll get better. We do have a strong defense. We’re in a tough conference. I’m still looking at making playoffs.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Last season, Freeport won 10 games and reached the semifinal round of the playoffs for the first time since 1990. The Falcons’ season was made by a quarterfinal round upset at Yarmouth and they played very well in the second half of their loss to eventual champion Cape Elizabeth. There are some holes to fill this time around, however. Eight seniors, including four-year standouts Brooke Heathco and Ashley Richardson and goalkeeper Livvy Dimick, have departed. There’s still talent to be found. However, it might take Freeport a little while to hit its stride.
On offense, Broderick, Martin, Smith and Squibb will look to do a lot of the scoring, while Alyssa Richardson anchors the midfield. Four-year starter Johnson and third-year starter Cormier will help protect new goalie, junior Izzy Qualls. Sophomore defender Jessie Gray and freshman midfielder Becca Cameron look to step in and make an immediate impact on the squad.
The Falcons’ schedule won’t allow for them to take their time getting up to speed. Matching last year’s win total will be tough, but this is a team that if it finds its stride, could be a potential spoiler in the playoffs.
COACH: Rob Grover (sixth year, 17-25 overall record)
2013 record: 4-5 (Lost, 42-13, to Spruce Mountain in Western C quarterfinals)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Jacob Farmer (Senior), Tyler Julian (Senior), Pete Lamagna (Senior), Eli Fox (Junior), Jeffrey Goldrup (Junior), Brady LaFrance (Junior), Bryan Lee (Junior), Ed LeFebvre (Junior)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 5 @ Spruce Mountain, Sept. 19 @ Poland, Sept. 27 WELLS, Oct. 4 @ Cape Elizabeth, Oct. 25 YARMOUTH
COACH’S COMMENT: “We only have 18 kids, but there are eight returning starters. We started a lot of sophomores last year and made the playoffs. We have a shot to get in again if we stay healthy and eligible. We have the right players in the right positions. We hope spreading teams out will help us on offense this year.”
FORECASTER’S FORECAST: A small roster doesn’t leave much margin for error for a program which always plays hard. Despite a slow start to the season, the Falcons regrouped and got to the postseason a year ago and this fall, Freeport could play into November again, but good health will be paramount.
Lamagna will play quarterback in a new spread offense. He’ll keep the ball often, or can hand off to LaFrance and Lee. Through the air, Lamagna will look for Fox and Julian. Farmer, Goldrup and LeFebvre are all experienced offensive lineman. The Falcons’ ability at the skill positions will make the opposition take notice.
Defensively, Freeport will be challenged by bigger squads, but will show plenty of heart. On the line, Goldrup and LeFebvre will try to create havoc. The linebacking corps includes Farmer, Julian, Lamagna and Lee. Fox and LaFrance are top defensive backs.
There are some heavyweights on the Falcons’ schedule, but if they can take care of business against the other squads, matching last year’s record is attainable. If that happens, another playoff trip could be in store.
COACH: Marcia Wood (second year)
2013 record: 6-10 (Lost, 4-0, to York in Western B quarterfinals)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Dani Foster (Senior), Taylor Schenker (Senior), Abby Smith (Senior), Chloe Whittaker (Senior), Hannah Williams (Senior), Morgan Karnes (Junior), Lexi Peacock (Junior), Bailey Coffin (Sophomore)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 3 @ York, Sept. 17 CAPE ELIZABETH, Sept. 19 FALMOUTH, Sept. 23 @ Lake Region, Oct. 9 @ Greely, Oct. 15 YARMOUTH
COACH’S COMMENT: “I have five impressive seniors leading the charge. We’ll need new players and freshmen to fill in spots. The girls are really excited. We got compliments on our speed at a playday. Playoffs is the goal and avoiding a prelim would be nice. We hope for a better seed this time. ”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: A new coach always hopes her team comes together and peaks at the end of the year and that’s exactly happened to the Falcons a season ago, as they won a Class B playoff game for the first time. Several key contributors return this autumn and Freeport should be in the hunt all year.
Smith and Williams are captains and could be the team’s top scorers. Coffin is certainly capable of making her presence felt and Foster and Schenker will also be in the mix. Freshman Chloe Davidson is a newcomer to watch. On defense, Peacock and Whittaker have experience. They’ll be joined by junior Bailey Karnes, whose sister, Morgan, was a revelation in goal a season ago, playing her best in the biggest games.
The learning curve won’t be as steep this year for the Falcons. They should be able to compete with pretty much everyone they face. If Freeport shows steady improvement like it did a year ago, it will be a very tough out when the playoffs roll around.
COACH: Brian Berkemeyer (eighth year)
(BOYS) 4th @ Class B state meet
(GIRLS) 2nd @ Class B state meet (qualified for New Englands)
TOP RETURNING RUNNERS:
(BOYS) Matt Francis (Senior), Tyler Frey (Senior), Eric Brobst (Junior), Liam Gallagher (Junior), Chandler Vincent (Junior), Henry Jaques (Sophomore)
(GIRLS) Chloe Hight (Junior), Ella Russell (Junior), Hannah Schnyder (Junior), Lucy Zachau (Junior)
TOP FOES: Cape Elizabeth, Gray-New Gloucester, Greely, Yarmouth, York
COACH’S COMMENT: “They boys could possibly put it together this year to improve on our finishes from last year. It’s nice having a frontrunner in Vincent, but the rest of the pack will have to pick up the pace if they want to contend. We lost nine senior girls and had no junior girls on last year’s squad. This year’s junior girls have proven themselves and with a few key additions we look to be back in the mix at the state meet.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Both Freeport cross country teams have shown that they can compete at the Class B level and that trend should continue this fall.
The boys boast one of the state’s special runners in Vincent, who was 10th at last year’s state meet and qualified for New Englands in the process. Frey (24th at states in 2013) and Brobst (39th) also return. Francis, Gallagher and Jaques provide depth. Vincent will look to make a run at the top spot individually and the team should be able to get back to the state meet for the sixth year in a row.
On the girls’ side, no state meet scorers return from a team which made it to New Englands in 2013, but several athletes are ready to make their mark. Hight, Russell, Schnyder and Zachau will make up a strong pack. If a few other runners can step up, the Falcons can extend their streak of qualifying for states to 12 years.
COACH: Peter Tilton (first year)
2013 results: 0-11 (no postseason)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Wynne Cushing (Senior), Alexis Erlandson (Senior), Molly Kennedy (Senior)
TOP FOES: Cape Elizabeth, NYA, Wells, Yarmouth
COACH’S COMMENT: “We have very few people returning. I’m trying to put together a starting lineup. There are a lot of good teams in the conference. This team is a work in progress which I expect will get better with more experience.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Freeport welcomes back Tilton as coach. He served in that position for several years before stepping down in favor of Jason Lemont. Tilton is back with the program and will rely heavily on female players.
Cushing is one of the area’s best players regardless of gender. She tied for 11th at the girls’ qualifier a year ago, then tied for 16th at the girls’ individual state match. She’s done very well over the summer also. Erlandson and Kennedy are other players with experience. The cavalry arrives by virtue of seniors Zach Merrill and R.J. Niles, junior Jeremiah Theberge-Frick and freshman Scott Donahue.
Tilton has some pieces to put together, but the Falcons should be able to compete with several of the teams on the schedule. Keep an eye on Cushing. She could be one of the top finishers at the girls’ state match.
Junior Brady LaFrance will be a force on both sides of the ball for Freeport’s football team this season.
Senior Alyssa Richardson will be a third-year starter and play a key role in the middle of the field for a Freeport girls’ soccer team coming off its best season this century.
Senior Julia Smith is another key returner for the Falcons. She’ll be a scoring threat.
Junior goalie Morgan Karnes has made her share of key saves for Freeport’s field hockey team and will look to lead the Falcons back to the playoffs this fall.
Senior Dani Foster returns at forward for the Falcons.
Senior captain Abby Smith projects to be a top scorer this fall.
Senior Chloe Whittaker is a top returner on defense for the Falcons.
Junior Chandler Vincent qualified for the New England cross country championships last season and could be even better this fall.
Senior Tyler Julian will make his presence felt this fall for a Freeport football team which hopes to make a run at the postseason.
More photos below.