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Falmouth Yachtsmen Spring Sports Previews

Sports

Falmouth Yachtsmen Spring Sports Previews

Falmouth's abundance of stellar athletes should make for an enjoyable spring across the board. Baseball wasn't far off from the top powers a year ago and could be one of Western Class B's best this season. The softball program stands to make a positive move and perhaps a run to the postseason. Boys' lacrosse is stinging from its heartbreak a year ago and seeks to make amends behind a powerful roster. The girls' team made history in 2010 and hopes to go even deeper this time around. What can you say about the unrivaled track program? Other than its participation and production are second to none. Expect the good times to continue, especially now that the Yachtsmen have a home track again. Boys' tennis should return to championship form, while the girls' team, once again, has no peer.

BASEBALL

Coach: Kevin Winship (second year)

2010 Record: 10-7 (Lost 10-7 to Lincoln Academy in Western Class B quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Joe Barns (Senior), Dillon Dresser (Senior), Brett Emmertz (Senior), Ben Goffin (Senior), Matt MacDowell (Senior), Nick Spencer (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 28 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, May 2 @ Gray-NG, May 4 @ Greely, May 13 (H) YARMOUTH, May 20 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 23 (H) GREELY, May 25 @ Yarmouth

Coach's comment: “We return a strong group of core players with great senior leadership. Our younger players gained valuable experience this summer playing Legion ball. The league looks to be very competitive this year, so we'll have to be at our best every day. Our pitching and defense will be strong and deep. If our offense can be consistent, then I like our chances at a playoff run.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Falmouth was very competitive a year ago, but dropped some tough games and then was outslugged in the playoffs by Lincoln Academy. This time around, if all goes well, the Yachtsmen could be one of the last teams standing in a balanced and competitive Western Class B. On the mound, Dresser is the top returner. He won four games, fanned 34 and had a 3.63 earned run average a year ago. Emmertz, sophomores Thomas Fortier and Conner Murphy and freshman Addison Foltmer will also see time on the hill. Pitching, along with defense, will take this team far. Offensively, Falmouth could be as potent as anyone. MacDowell, a Western Maine Conference first-team all-star in 2010, is back behind the plate. He hit .564, slugged .909, had 31 hits (including two home runs), drove in 19 runs and scored 27 times last spring. Shortstop Barns (.406, 26 hits, 25 runs, 13 RBI, 11 steals), first baseman Goffin and third baseman Spencer will anchor the infield. Junior Ryan Conley, sophomores Andrew Emple, Seamus Powers, Drew Proctor and Murphy and freshman Will D'Agostino will see infield duty also. Emmertz, when he isn't pitching, is in the outfield, along with Fortier and juniors Grayson Beressi, Jeremy Lydick and Ryan MacDonald. Graduation has brought defending regional champion Cape Elizabeth back to the pack. Yarmouth might be the gold standard and Greely's always tough, but Falmouth has reason to believe it can hang right in with those squads and the rest of the conference. There are a lot of new and younger players on the roster. If they develop and contribute as hoped, the Yachtsmen will be in for a very successful regular season and perhaps their best Class B playoff run to date, which would mean a trip to the regional final or beyond.

SOFTBALL

Coach: John Keyes (seventh year)

2010 Record: 6-10 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Sarah Collmus (Senior), Kelsey Freedman (Senior), Jessie L'Heureux (Senior), Lauren O'Donnell (Senior), Alli Carver (Junior), Maddie Inlow (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 25 @ Wells, April 28 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, May 4 @ Greely, May 13 (H) YARMOUTH, May 16 (H) FRYEBURG, May 20 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 23 (H) GREELY, May 25 @ Yarmouth, May 30 @ Fryeburg, June 1 (H) WELLS

Coach's comment: “My hope is that the team plays to its ability and comes to play every day. We have a team that is ready to explode with a breakout season as long as the girls believe in themselves the way I believe in them.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Falmouth could be a darkhorse this year. The returning core is tested and talented and some key newcomers will add depth. Keyes has a couple of able assistant coaches this spring in Mike Robb, the former Greely head coach, and Amanda Aceto, who led South Portland High to its first regional championship back in 2005 before playing in college. Falmouth will certainly boast good, veteran pitching in Collmus (31 striekouts in 50 innings pitched last year) and Freedman (4-3 with a save, 56 Ks and a 2.85 earned run average in 2010). Carver will see time at both catcher and first base. She hit a solid .324 last year, drove in 13 runs and scored 11 times. Inlow will also catch when she isn't at third. She was a .320 hitter in 2010 with nine runs scored and 14 RBI. Collmus (.368, eight runs, six RBI) and L'Heureux (.339, eight runs, seven RBI) round out the infield, along with new junior Ashley Collins. Freedman plays outfield when she isn't on the mound. She batted .358 last spring with 11 runs and 10 RBI. O'Donnell will also see time in the outfield, along with junior Molly Nevins and sophomore Sarah Sparks. Western Class B will have several good teams this year, but none (other than save Fryeburg) that appear to be dominant. That will allow a team like the Yachtsmen to be serious contenders if they play well. Falmouth is eager to post its first winning record since 2005. The pieces are in place for the Yachtsmen to do that and perhaps even go on a playoff run.

BOYS' LACROSSE

Coach: Mike LeBel (fifth year)

2010 Record: 11-3 (Lost 7-6, in OT, to Cape Elizabeth in Western Class B Final)

Top returning players: Zach Alexander (Senior), Nick Bachman (Senior), Caleb Bowden (Senior), Brendan McDonnell (Senior), Cam Bell (Junior), Jack Cooleen (Junior), Abyn Reabe-Gerwig (Junior), Mike Ryan (Junior), Mitch Tapley (Junior), Will Sipperly (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 30 @ Scarborough, May 3 (H) NYA, May 7 @ Yarmouth, May 14 (H) BRUNSWICK, May 18 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 20 (H) YARMOUTH, May 25 (H) GREELY, May 27 @ NYA, May 31 @ Freeport

Coach's comment: “We have a lot of talent. We're probably as deep as we were last year. We have some really good players. Defense is probably our strongest unit. We're much stronger on defense this year. We can definitely score. I don't think we're that far off from Cape. We need to stay healthy and right mentally.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Falmouth made history a year ago, beating Cape Elizabeth for the first time and posting its best record ever. In fact, the Yachtsmen might have been the finest team in the state, but they never had a chance to prove it after the agonizing regional final loss to the Capers left them crestfallen. The loss of All-Americans Dan Hanley and Mike Kane to graduation led many to believe Falmouth would take a step back this spring, but Friday, in the regular season opener, the Yachtsmen made a powerful statement with an emphatic 12-4 home win over Cape Elizabeth. On display was what figures to make this edition so dazzling, balanced offense, staunch defense and clutch goalkeeping. Bell is on the short list of finest goalkeepers around. He was an honorable mention all-star a year ago and thrives on the big stage. Unlike the latter phase of last season, Bell has a healthy contingent of defenders in front of him. Senior Michael Bloom, a premier athlete, is healthy this year and teams with Bowden (who was hindered by illness last June) and Ryan to stymie opposing attacks. Sophomore A.J. Robison is also a force. When it comes to possessing the ball, Falmouth is adept at getting ground balls and with Reabe-Gerwig doing his unrivaled thing in the faceoff circle, the Yachtsmen are guaranteed to have the ball much more than their foes. On offense, even without Hanley and Kane, Falmouth can tickle the twine. In the opener, Cooleen had three goals, while Bachman, sophomore Charlie Fay and Tapley (three assists) all had two. Alexander, senior Johnny Goodrich, McDonnell and Sipperly provide great depth. The Yachtsmen once again face a brutal schedule, but this team can hold its own versus anyone. Obviously, Cape Elizabeth will be vastly improved by the time the rivals meet again. Falmouth knows after last year that it has to improve dramatically as well from start to finish. This team's upside is high. This is clearly an elite squad. The Yachtsmen will have to find a way to beat Cape Elizabeth in June for the first time, but that's a tangible goal. There's something about this group. Something if all goes well that might just provide a wild celebration on the Fitzpatrick Stadium turf come June 18.

GIRLS' LACROSSE

Coach: Robin Haley (ninth year)

2010 Record: 10-4 (Lost 11-6 to Waynflete in Western Class B Final)

Top returning players: Caitlin Costello (Senior), Jess DiPhillippo (Senior), Laura Fay (Senior), Jen Greene (Senior), Alex Bernier (Sophomore), Molly Ryan (Sophomore), Geneva Waite (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 26 (H) WAYNFLETE, May 5 (H) NYA, May 7 @ Yarmouth, May 11 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, May 14 (H) BRUNSWICK, May 19 @ Waynflete, May 25 (H) YARMOUTH, May 31 @ NYA

Coach's comment: “We're where we should be at this time of year. Our defense is coming together. Our offense is strong. It's a great group. We're pretty athletic. Our schedule is much more competitive this year. We play all the top teams except for Cape twice. We've strived for this. Now we have to show why we're in this top tier. To get to the playoffs, we'll need Heal Points. The girls have a tangible goal after making the Western Maine Final last year.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Falmouth is coming off its best season to date, which culminated with a solid effort in a loss at perennial powerhouse Waynflete in the regional final. This year's team could be even better, but will have to navigate a schedule that features tough games nearly every night out. The Yachtsmen got off to a promising start Thursday, racing to an 8-0 lead en route to a 16-7 home win over Greely. In that one, Bernier, a revelation as a freshman last spring (she was a second-team league all-star), went off for seven goals and Ryan added five. DiPhillippo scored twice, while Fay (a first-team league all-star a year ago) finished with a goal and four assists. Those four, along with Costello and Waite, senior Rachel Bauer and juniors Vanessa Audet and Sam Smithwick will make life difficult for the opposition. Bernier, DiPhillippo and Fay will all handle draw controls. Defensively, senior Abbey Cavalero (a second-team league all-star in 2010), senior Elizabeth Carew and sophomore Katie Cooleen hold down the fort in front of Greene, who will get help in goal this spring from junior Moie Aaskov. Falmouth has proved it can contend. Now, the Yachtsmen must earn some wins against the state's elite teams, not only to build confidence, but also to earn enough Heal Points to ensure a playoff berth. If Falmouth can play well, it will be capable of doing special things. No one will want to draw the Yachtsmen in the postseason.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coach: Danny Paul (10th year)

2010 Results:

(Boys) Class B state champions

(Girls) 4th @ Class B State Meet

TOP RETURNING ATHLETES:

(Boys) Matt Goldstein (Senior), Justin Hovey (Senior), Andrew Kowalsky (Senior), Johnny Lake (Senior), Brian Prescott (Senior), Sam Walker (Senior), Will Wegener (Senior), Henry Briggs (Junior), Tom Edmonds (Junior), Evan Eklund (Junior), Tim Follo (Junior), Matt Kingry (Junior), Conor McGrory (Junior), Jimmy Polewaczyk (Junior), Reid Pryzant (Junior), Aaron Rogers (Junior), Brandon Tuttle (Junior), Jacob Buhelt (Sophomore), Azad Jalali (Sophomore), Shreyas Joshi (Sophomore)

(Girls) Sarah Abramson (Senior), Adrianne Michalakis (Senior), Maggie Parrish (Senior), Kate Sparks (Senior), Amy Webster (Senior), Catherine Hebson (Junior), Olivia Hoch (Junior), Jenna Mannette (Junior), Emily Rand (Junior), Jenna Serunian (Junior), Bri DiPhillippo (Sophomore), Summer Greenwood (Sophomore), Denali Nalamalapu (Sophomore)

Top foes: Greely and York

Coach's comment: “Hopefully the boys can repeat and win states. I expect the Western Maine Conference to be very competitive. We'll have to get by our league rivals and Old Town and Waterville as well. It's nice to have Will and Reid coming off strong indoor state meet performances. Getting Tim and a few other distance guys from Nordic skiing should be a boost as well. The girls have more depth from all the young newcomers. Overall, our league will challenge us. The girls were seventh indoors. I hope we can be top four outdoors.”

The Forecaster's forecast: As always, Falmouth's track program sets the bar for participation. There's plenty of quality here for both teams.

The boys have won each of the past two Class B championships and certainly boast enough talent to do it again. Returning state meet scorers include Wegener (runner-up in the 100 and 400 and a member of a champion 1,600 relay team), Follo (fourth in the two-mile, sixth in the mile), Pryzant (fifth in the triple jump), Kowalsky (fifth in the javelin, seventh in the shot put), Buhelt (400 relay), Edmonds (3,200 relay) and Jalali (3,200 relay). That's only the beginning. Joining Buhelt and Wegener in the sprints will be Kingry, Polewaczyk, Prescott, Rogers and Tuttle. Edmonds, Follo and Jalali have distance company from Briggs, Lake, McGrory and Walker. Junior Colby Howland and sophomore Jay Lesser add depth in the longer races. Goldstein is the top racewalker. Hovey, Joshi and Pryzant are lead hurdlers. In the jumps, Hovey, Kingry, Pryzant and Rogers, along with sophomore Andy Roukey will look to score. Eklund and Hovey will pole vault. Throwers to watch include Kowalsky and Tuttle. While the Western Maine Conference boasts plenty of strong athletes and Falmouth figures to get stern tests from Greely and York, you have to think that come June, the Yachtsmen have a great shot at bringing home the hardware once again.

On the girls' side, after back-to-back top five showings, Falmouth is looking to keep the good times rolling. A year ago, Serunian was runner-up in the discus and third in the shot put. She's joined by Sparks (third in the shot put) as the team's top throwers. Rand is the lead jumper. She's joined by freshman Maggie Seitz as a potential scorer. Webster (fifth in the pole vault) is another girl who can score in the field events. On the track, Hebson, Hoch and Manette all scored in the relays a year ago. This season, all three will be key cogs in the distance races, along with Greenwood, Nalamalapu and Parrish, new senior Molly Paris, juniors Cameron Harrod-Clark and Sarah Hemphill and freshman Madeline Roberts. Abramson will be heard from in the racewalk. Top sprinters include Michalakis, Rand, Seitz Sparks, Webster and freshmen Charlotte Cutshall and Mary Catherine Kowalsky. Greenwood and freshman Nevada Horne pace the hurdlers. As is the case with the boys, the girls will contend with Greely and York in the league and have enough firepower to hang tough. Come state meet time, the Yachtsmen project to do very well once again and perhaps be one of the finest teams in the state.

BOYS' TENNIS

Coach: Bob McCully (40th year)

2010 Results: 10-3 (Lost 3-2 to York in Class B quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Tommy Bazarian (Senior), Connor Burfiend (Senior), Harlan Cutshall (Senior), Taylor Dimick (Senior), Hutch Hurwitz (Junior), Sam Holland (Sophomore), Tom Wilberg (Sophomore)

Pivotal matches: April 29 @ Greely, May 4 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 6 @ Yarmouth, May 9 (H) GREELY, May 11 (H) WAYNFLETE, May 19 @ Waynflete, May 23 (H) YARMOUTH

Coach's comment: “I graduated last year's No. 1, but have two standout freshmen. I have some very talented doubles players. Any of these players might emerge as singles players. It will take some time to sort out a lineup. I have a good mix of younger players and veterans and expect to field a very competitive team. The Western Maine Conference is always challenging in tennis.”

The Forecaster's forecast: The Falmouth program has reloaded and should be right back at the top of Western Class B this spring, which is a landmark for McCully, now in his 40th season at the helm. The Yachtsmen will miss the graduated Nick Polko, but stepping up to replace him at No. 1 will be one of the program's two dynamic freshmen, Justin Brogan or Brendan McCarthy. Dimick (a second-team WMC all-star last spring) is also in the singles mix. Bazarian (another second-team all-star in 2010), Burfiend, Cutshall, Holland, Hurwitz, freshman Matt Klemperer and Wilberg are vying for doubles spots. As usual, McCully has an abundance of other athletes waiting their turn. Falmouth will be formidable for years to come. This season, they'll likely vie with Cape Elizabeth (and possibly Yarmouth) for Western B honors. It's a safe bet that the Yachtsmen will go much deeper than the quarterfinals. Probably to the regional final and possibly beyond. This team is championship caliber.

GIRLS' TENNIS

Coach: Sandra Stone (ninth year)

2010 Results: 16-0 (Defeated Camden Hills 5-0 to win third straight Class B state championship)

Top returning players: Annie Criscione (Junior), Analise Kump (Junior), Steffi Rothweiler (Junior), Abby Payson (Sophomore), Libby Voccola (Sophomore)

Pivotal matches: May 2 @ York, May 4 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, May 6 (H) YARMOUTH, May 11 @ Waynflete, May 13 @ NYA, May 24 (H) YORK

Coach's comment: “Having lost only two varsity players to graduation, our prospects are strong for a deep run into the team playoffs if everyone can stay focused and healthy enough to play their best. We have 24 players and good depth of varsity caliber player. We look forward to having fun bonding as a team and to the start of matches.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Falmouth has been the premier girls' team in the state the past six seasons, winning five championships. The Yachtsmen haven't lost a match since May 2, 2008 and are riding a 45-match win sreak. While the graduation of last year's first doubles team, Amanda Gallagher and Emma Wilberg, to graduation will hurt, Falmouth returns enough firepower to extend its reign. Stone and longtime assistant Prisca Thomson, avid players in their own right, return their sensational singles triumvirate of Criscione, Kump (Falmouth's Spring 2010 Female Athlete of the Year) and Voccola. Criscione and Kump were first-team WMC all-stars last spring, while Voccola was named to the second squad. Payson and Rothweiler are now the first doubles team. Sophomore Katie Carew and freshman Katie Ryan project to be No. 2. Senior Rebecca Howell and junior Marlena Lantos are also in the mix. At this point, Falmouth appears so far ahead of everyone else, but it's too early to crown the Yachtsmen. Injuries and other factors could come into play. If the team stays healthy, you can expect 16 more matches of solid tennis. By June, Falmouth will likely be leading the way to greatness once more.

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

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Senior Matt MacDowell is one of the finest players in the Western Maine Conference and will play a key role on a top contender this season.

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Ben Goffin is another senior hoping to end his high school career with a great season.

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Senior Joe Barns is a defensive stalwart at shortstop and has plenty of pop in his bat.

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Senior Nick Bachman is an electrifying presence for the Falmouth boys' lacrosse team.

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Junior Mitch Tapley is off to a hot start for Falmouth, which crushed rival/nemesis Cape Elizabeth in the opener Friday night.

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Sophomore Will Sipperly could be due for a breakout season.

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Sophomore Charlie Fay is a player to watch for the Yachtsmen this spring.

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Junior Mike Ryan is a top defender for the Yachtsmen.

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Junior Cam Bell is recognized as one of the best goalies in the state.

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Sophomore Geneva Waite will look to do some damage on offense this season.

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Senior Rachel Bauer will be a key cog in Falmouth's success this spring.

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Senior Elizabeth Carew is a top defender for the Yachtsmen.

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Senior Jen Greene will be Falmouth's last line of defense this season.

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Senior Will Wegener returns as one of the top sprinters around.

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Senior Kate Sparks will be one of the conference's top throwers this spring.