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Freeport Falcons Fall Sports Previews

Sports

Freeport Falcons Fall Sports Previews

Freeport High athletics have been trending upwards and this fall should see the Falcons continue that climb. Boys’ soccer could be a sleeper in Western B. The girls’ team won a playoff game last fall for the first time this century and are aiming for even bigger things this time around. Football enjoyed a first ever playoff berth in 2011 and should be solid again. Field hockey is always in the mix and is seeking a deeper playoff run this autumn. Both cross country teams are viewed as dangerous. Golf hopes to be competitive in many of its matches.

BOYS' SOCCER

COACH: Joe Heathco (15th year, 112-90-20 overall record)

2011 Record: 7-8-1 (Lost, 1-0, to York in Western Class B quarterfinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Connor Dietrich (Senior), Landon Easler (Senior), Parker Matheson (Senior), Nick Nelsonwood (Junior), Ethan Roney (Junior), Harry Stivers (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 4 (H) GREELY, Sept. 13 @ Gray-NG, Sept. 15 @ Waynflete, Sept. 18 (H) FALMOUTH, Sept. 21 @ NYA, Oct. 2 @ Yarmouth, Oct. 5 @ Cape Elizabeth, Oct. 9 (H) YORK, Oct. 15 (H) GRAY-NG

COACH’S COMMENT: “We’re having a great time. It’s a young team, but it’s a good group of kids. We lost eight starters, so it’s a very different team this year. We have six sophomores and three freshmen on the varsity. Those kids will play. We’ll compete. We’ll get stronger and hopefully be in the playoff hunt and be strong at the end. As the young kids develop, we’ll develop.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: After falling short two years running, Freeport got back to the playoffs last fall for the 12th time in 14 seasons. Qualifying this autumn won’t come easily after heavy graduation losses are combined with a most challenging schedule. The Falcons do like their chances, however, and will give everyone their all. Matheson is a reigning league all-star. He’ll likely be a top scorer, along with Dietrich and Easler. Roney will also help the offense. Defensively, Freeport boasts some strong players, most notably Nelsonwood, Stivers and senior Cole Harrison. Sophomore Brandon Qualls will be in goal. Freeport should only get stronger as the season progresses, but its slate won’t necessarily allow it to post a lot of wins. The Falcons do hope to triumph enough to earn the necessary Heal Points to make it to the postseason where they could be a very dangerous out. No one will want to face this club in October.

GIRLS' SOCCER

COACH: Elayna Girardin (fourth year, 15-27-2 overall record)

2011 Record: 8-8 (Lost, 3-1, to York in Western Class B quarterfinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Jocelyn Davee (Senior), Naomi Otis (Senior), Aubrey Pennell (Senior), Brooke Heathco (Junior), Jess Perry (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 4 @ Greely, Sept. 15 (H) WAYNFLETE, Sept. 18 @ Yarmouth, Oct. 2 (H) YARMOUTH, Oct. 5 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, Oct. 9 @ York

COACH’S COMMENT: “This is going to be a tough year. All the teams are close and really most anyone could win on any given day. Many of the girls are experienced at the varsity level and this provides us with the experience we need to compete against the best schools. I think that the experience of making it to the playoffs last year and winning our first game has provided fuel for the team to make another appearance. This motivation will help us be successful.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Freeport made history last season, winning its first playoff game since 2000, and looks to build on that success this fall. Davee is a returning league all-star. She’ll be in the midfield, but could also be the team’s top scorer. Otis, Pennell and sophomore Julia Smith will also be factors on offense. Heathco leads the defensive side of the ball. Perry is in goal. The Falcons are no longer trying to catch up with the established powers. They’ve proved they can compete with the best of the best. Now, Freeport has to find a way to get over the hump and knock off a Cape Elizabeth, Greely, Yarmouth or York (two-time defending Class B champion Falmouth is not on the schedule this year). The Falcons will win their share of games, but if they can crack the elite, they’ll be in position to post a first winning record since 2004 and advance even deeper in the playoffs. Freeport could be primed to take the next step in the weeks to come.

FOOTBALL

COACH: Rob Grover (fourth year, 9-16 overall record)

2011 Record: 5-4 (Lost, 30-6, to Maranacook in Western Class C quarterfinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Dan Burke (Senior), Jared Polley (Senior), James Purdy (Senior), Cam Buthlay (Junior), Ben MacMillan (Junior), Joe Nixon (Junior), Darnel Strothers (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Aug. 31 @ Boothbay, Sept. 15 @ Traip, Sept. 22 @ Lisbon, Oct. 20 (H) YARMOUTH

COACH'S COMMENT: “I had a five-year plan and we did it in three. I hope we can continue that success. Defensively, I think we’ll be one of the top teams. We’re inexperienced on the line on offense. I think we’ll get stronger as the season goes on. We have quick backs. I think we can make another playoff run. We want to host a playoff game this year.”

FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Freeport won just four games total in its first two varsity seasons and eclipsed that total in just seven games last fall. The Falcons have gone from one win to three to five and made the playoffs in year three, which bodes well for future success. Several returning players have received trial by fire as youngsters and hope to continue to improve this season. Purdy is in his fourth season with the program. An all-star last year, he’ll be at quarterback. The offense will be run-heavy once again. Look for Burke (another four-year starter and reigning all-star) to handle the ball on a regular basis, along with Nixon and Polley. MacMillan and Strothers anchor the offensive line. Buthlay could be a lead receiving threat from his tight end position. On defense, Strothers will look to hold opposing runners in check on the line. The linebacking corps features Burke, MacMillan, Nixon and Purdy. Buthlay and Polley will be mainstays in the secondary. Freeport hopes to rely on its speed to score points. The defense is used to matching up with the best players in Class C. After last year’s postseason appearance, the Falcons are looking for even more this autumn. There are some tough games on the slate, but Freeport’s hopes of a winning record and another playoff trip are realistic.

FIELD HOCKEY   

COACH: Sara Dimick (fifth year, 26-31-2 overall record)

2011 Record: 8-7 (Lost, 4-1, to Traip in Western Class C quarterfinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Lorin Martens (Senior), Reiley Parker (Senior), Meagan Peacock (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Aug. 29 (H) NYA, Aug. 31 (H) WAYNFLETE, Sept. 4 @ Sacopee, Sept. 20 (H) NYA, Sept. 24 @ Waynflete, Sept. 28 @ Sacopee, Oct. 4 @ Yarmouth

COACH’S COMMENT: “This year we have a very defensive-minded team. We have eight returning seniors and they play mostly in the midfield and the defensive positions. It is nice to have the experienced players lead the midfield and defense. There is some great potential in our offense as well and the older players are stepping up to take on new leadership roles in our offense. The team has been working very hard to prepare for the regular season and we are looking forward to another exciting season.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Freeport has been as consistent as any program anywhere over the past quarter century. Since 1985, the Falcons have only missed the playoffs on three occasions (1994, 2006 and 2008). This year’s team will likely be very competitive again. Martens and Parker anchor the defense, which figures to be the team's strong suit. Rebecca Harrison and Tallie Martin will both see time in goal. While strong defense is great, you have to score to win and replacing graduated all-stater Kayla Thurlow’s production won’t be easy. Peacock will help that cause in the midfield. Several others will have a chance to rattle the cage as the season progresses. If Freeport hopes to take the next step and not just contend, but be one of the best squads in the region, it will have a chance to make an early statement when it hosts North Yarmouth Academy, which has won three of the past four titles, in the opener Wednesday. If the Falcons get some offense, look out. They could be a team ready to climb the ladder and turn some heads in the postseason.

CROSS COUNTRY

COACH: Brian Berkemeyer (sixth year)

2011 Results:
(BOYS) 6th @ Class B state meet
(GIRLS) 13th @ Class B state meet

TOP RETURNING RUNNERS:
(BOYS) Abrin Berkemeyer (Senior), Mason Cyr (Senior), Mark Donahue (Junior)
(GIRLS) Ciera Wentworth (Senior), Elly Bengtsson (Junior), Nina Davenport (Junior), Emily Jennings (Junior), Bethany Knighton (Junior), Hayley Steckler (Senior)

TOP FOES: Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, Greely, York

COACH’S COMMENT: “The girls have a very strong core of junior talent. They got the last spot at regionals and have had a taste of the state meet. They now want more and are willing to work. We need to keep everybody healthy and running to their potential. If all goes well, they could be a top contending team. Our boys have a lot of seniors. We will need a couple of frontrunners to go along with the depth. If they all finish strong, then they could be the team to beat. Our goal is to get a strong seven for both boys and girls. We have the talent to get to states, so that race will be the focus for the year. It should be a very exciting season. As I tell the kids, 'You don't know how fast you can run.' Hopefully we will find out this fall.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Both Freeport teams made it to the state meet last year and hope to make history repeat this autumn.
The boys return state meet scorers Berkemeyer (30th) and Cyr (49th). Donahue scored at the regional meet. Senior Vinnie Zolla, injured last year, returns to help the cause. The roster features 11 seniors, four juniors, four sophomores and six freshmen, so there is plenty of depth. The Falcons have proved they can compete at the Class B level. While there are several top foes in the conference, Freeport should be one of the top teams and will be in position to return to the state meet and post another high finish.
On the girls’ side, after barely qualifying for states in 2011, this group is aiming for a higher finish. Returning scorers include Wentworth (45th), second-team all-star Davenport (52nd), Bengtsson (68th) and Jennings (74th). Knighton and Steckler are other strong runners. Senior Lia Wellen and juniors Emma Egan, Tess Gallagher and Gabby Tilton also have experience. Sophomores Katie O’Neil and Margo Ruby and freshmen Kayla Belanger, Hannah Schnyder and Lucy Zachau round out the team. The Falcons are regular state meet qualifiers and should be back again in 2012. Look for a higher finish from this group this time around.

GOLF

COACH: Jason Lemont (eighth year)

2011 Results: 3-9 (no postseason)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Nick Cartmell (Senior), Jonathan Mervine (Senior), Clayton Morrison (Senior), Nick Tardiff (Senior), Spencer Drake (Junior)

TOP FOES: NYA, Wells, Yarmouth

COACH’S COMMENT: “We want to go out, improve every day and have fun. We’ll probably be middle-of-the-pack in the conference. Wynne (Cushing) has a chance to qualify for the girls’ tournament. She’s our first varsity girl. Nick Cartmell is the most likely qualifier for the guys.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Freeport hopes to win as many matches as possible this year. Cartmell is the top golfer and could make some noise as an individual. Drake, Mervine, Morrison and Tardiff all have experience. Sophomore Wynne Cushing, the first girl to play for the varsity team, will add some depth. She hopes to make some noise in the girls’ individual state match as well. The Falcons should compete with several of its foes and could exceed last year’s win total if all goes well.

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

Photo: File photo

Senior Jared Polley will be a two-way standout this autumn.

Photo: File photo

Senior Jocelyn Davee could be one of Freeport's leading scorers this season.

Photo: File photo

Junior Liam Wade is one of many seasoned runners for the Freeport boys' cross country squad.

Fall Schedules

FOOTBALL

Fri., Aug. 31 @ BBR

Sat., Sept. 8 H SACOPEE

Sat., Sept. 15 @ Traip

Sat., Sept. 22 @ Lisbon

Sat. Sept. 29 H OOB

Sat., Oct. 6 @ Telstar

Sat., Oct. 13 H WINTHROP

Sat., Oct. 20 H YARMOUTH

BOYS' SOCCER

Fri., Aug. 31 H TRAIP

Tues., Sept. 4 H GREELY

Thurs., Sept. 6 @ Lake Region

Sat., Sept. 8 H FRYEBURG

Thurs., Sept. 13 @ Gray-NG

Sat., Sept. 15 @ Waynflete

Tues., Sept. 18 H FALMOUTH

Fri., Sept. 21 @ NYA

Wed., Sept. 26 H POLAND

Tues., Oct. 2 @ Yarmouth

Fri., Oct. 5 @ Cape Elizabeth

Tues., Oct. 9 H YORK

Thurs. Oct. 11 @ Fryeburg

Mon., Oct. 15 H GRAY-NG

GIRLS' SOCCER

Tues., Sept. 4 @ Greely

Sat., Sept. 8 H LAKE REGION

Tues., Sept. 11 @ Fryeburg

Thurs., Sept. 13 H GRAY-NG

Sat., Sept. 15 H WAYNFLETE

Tues., Sept. 18 @ Yarmouth

Fri., Sept. 21 @ OOB

Mon., Sept. 24 H NYA

Wed., Sept. 26 @ Poland

Sat., Sept. 29 @ Wells

Tues., Oct. 2 H YARMOUTH

Fri., Oct. 5 H CAPE ELIZABETH

Tues., Oct. 9 @ York

Sat., Oct. 13 H POLAND

FIELD HOCKEY

Wed., Aug. 29 H NYA

Fri., Aug. 31 H WAYNFLETE

Tues., Sept. 4 @ Sacopee

Sat., Sept. 8 H OOB

Tues., Sept. 11 @ Poland

Fri., Sept. 14 H GRAY-NG

Tues., Sept. 18 @ Traip

Thurs., Sept. 20 H NYA

Sat., Sept. 22 H POLAND

Mon., Sept. 24 @ Waynflete

Fri., Sept. 28 H SACOPEE

Tues., Oct. 2 @ OOB

Thurs., Oct. 4 @ Yarmouth

Wed., Oct. 10 H TRAIP

CROSS COUNTRY

Fri., Aug. 31 @ Poland (Wayn, Yarm)

Fri., Sept. 7 @ Cape Elizabeth

Sat., Sept. 15 H FRYEBURG, NYA

Fri., Sept. 28 @ Poland (GNG, York)

Fri., Oct. 5 @ NYA

Fri., Oct. 12 WMC Championships

Sat., Oct. 20 Western B Regionals

Sat., Oct. 27 Class B States

GOLF

Wed., Aug. 29 @ Wells

Thurs., Sept. 6 @ NYA

Tues., Sept. 11 @ Yarmouth

Wed., Sept. 12 (H) WAYNFLETE

Wed., Sept. 12 (H) WELLS

Mon., Sept. 17 @ Sacopee

Thurs., Sept. 18 (H) OOB

Thurs., Sept. 18 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH

Thurs., Sept. 20 (H) YORK

Mon., Sept. 24 @ York

Tues., Sept. 25 (H) YARMOUTH

Thurs., Sept. 27 @ Cape Elizabeth

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