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North Yarmouth Academy Panthers Fall Sports Previews

Sports

North Yarmouth Academy Panthers Fall Sports Previews

North Yarmouth Academy doesn’t just have a new athletic director in Jack Hardy this fall, but also ample hope that it will be a strong contender in several sports. Field hockey has won three of the past four Class C state championships and has to be taken seriously once more. Boys’ cross country is seeking another Class C championship, while the young girls’ squad will also be in the mix. The boys’ soccer team has produced its share of drama in recent years and hopes to finish the job this fall. The girls’ squad welcomes a new coach and looks to work its way back to contender status. Volleyball aspires to make the Class B playoffs. Golf returns to varsity status and can’t be overlooked.

BOYS' SOCCER       

COACH: Martyn Keen (fourth year, 27-20-4 overall record)

2011 Record: 9-7-2 (Lost, 3-1, to Waynflete in Western Class C Final)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Jacob Scammon (Senior), Oliver Silverson (Senior), Wes Bright (Junior), Jackson Cohan Smith (Junior), Austin Kidder (Junior), Duncan George (Sophomore), D.J. Nicholas (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Aug. 31 (H) YARMOUTH, Sept. 4 @ Falmouth, Sept. 13 (H) WAYNFLETE, Sept. 21 (H) FREEPORT, Oct. 5 @ Waynflete, Oct. 9 @ Gray-NG

COACH’S COMMENT: “We're looking forward to another nailbiting season. We only have four 'soccer players,' with the rest of the squad comprised of kids who in many cases have little experience but who are athletic. Naturally, we're desperate to accrue enough (Heal Points) to get into the tournament again, where of course Waynflete will be our greatest rival. Though it may be a long shot this year, we would love to line up against them for a third successive regional final. Overall, while we are most certainly not the most talented team in the area or even in Class C for that matter, I have a very tight and enjoyable group. My job will be to get them believing in themselves and playing as an effective and cohesive unit.

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: NYA has certainly shown a flair for the dramatic and has demonstrated that regular season records and playoff seeding mean little during the course of the past two years. After its stunning run to the 2010 Class C state final, the Panthers again sprung upset after upset last fall before finally meeting their match at the hands of eventual champion Waynflete in the regional final. This season could produce a similar script as NYA has some big holes to fill. Those who write off the Panthers will do so at their peril. This year’s team has scoring punch, led by Nicholas (17 goals as a freshman), and a talented midfield crew, featuring Bright, Cohan-Smith (a league all-star in 2011), George and Silverson. Defensively, Scammon leads the way. Kidder is battling for the goalkeeping spot with freshman Camden Spear, who recently earned a slot on the U.S. Olympic Development Program Region 1 team, suggesting the Panthers will be in good shape at that position. NYA will face several stern tests early in the year, including the Yarmouth-Falmouth gauntlet to start and a first of two showdowns versus Waynflete. Four Class B foes are also on the schedule. While the Panthers will suffer some setbacks, they’ll also grow and improve due to the quality of competition. Keen has written the book on how to make his team successful when it matters most. NYA is only concerned with making the playoffs, not with its won-loss record. Once they get there, the Panthers have shown they can beat anyone, anywhere. It’s likely Western C will come down to NYA and Waynflete for a third year in a row. By late October, the Panthers could be ready to pass that test, then one more.

GIRLS' SOCCER

COACH: Colin Reilly (first year)

2011 Record: 2-12 (no postseason)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Mallory Ianno (Senior), Jillian Bjorn-Caron (Junior), Chloe Leishman (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Aug. 31 @ Yarmouth, Sept. 4 (H) FALMOUTH, Sept. 13 @ Waynflete, Sept. 24 @ Freeport, Sept. 27 @ Sacopee, Oct. 2 (H) SACOPEE, Oct. 5 (H) WAYNFLETE

COACH’S COMMENT: “We have a young team with a lot of potential. We look to improve upon last year’s season and begin to set the tone for seasons to come. We have great player leadership and work ethic.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: NYA has a third coach in as many seasons this fall in Reilly, who played at the University of Southern Maine and went on to compete with the Maine Sting and Seacoast United Mariners. Reilly served as Falmouth’s first team coach and currently is the director of youth programs at Seacoast United. He inherits a team that could be poised to return back into the hunt for a top spot in Western C. Leishman is the top returner. She was a league all-star in 2011. She’ll pace the offense at her forward spot. Also looking to score will be midfielder Bjorn-Caron and a pair of freshmen, Emily Baker and Alex Wahlstrom. Ianno has experience and will pace the defense, with help from freshman Taylor Leech. Fischman returns in goal after getting playing time as a freshman. NYA should have no trouble improving on last year’s win total and has the capacity to make a run at the postseason. Without a clear favorite this fall, the Panthers might even be able to do some damage come playoff time. Look for this program to only improve going forward. It won’t be long until NYA is back at championship caliber.

FIELD HOCKEY

COACH: Tracy Quimby (second year, 14-4 overall record)

2011 Record: 14-4 (Beat Winthrop, 1-0, in two rounds of penalty corners, in Class C state final)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Jen Brown (Senior), Bailey Clock (Senior), Carly Lappas (Senior), Lillie Reder (Senior), Olivia Madore (Junior), Kayla Rose (Junior), Elizabeth Coughlin (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Aug. 29 (H) FREEPORT, Sept. 4 @ Traip, Sept. 8 (H) GREELY, Sept. 10 @ OOB, Sept. 12 (H) YORK, Sept. 18 (H) SACOPEE, Sept. 20 @ Freeport, Sept. 22 (H) OOB, Sept. 24 (H) TRAIP, Oct. 1 @ Falmouth, Oct. 10 @ Sacopee

COACH’S COMMENT: “This year’s team has 12 returning varsity players. They are a positive and upbeat group who work together to improve as a unit. They are dedicated and ambitious and enjoy challenges. It should be a great season and I look forward to watching them grow.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: NYA wasn’t supposed to repeat and make it three state titles in four seasons last fall, but even after a coaching change and losing several key players from the prior year, the Panthers again saved their best for last, rode the brilliance of 2010 and 2011 Fall Female Athlete of the Year Katherine Millett (who was an all-conference and all-state selection) and upset Sacopee in the regional final before outlasting Winthrop in a palpitating state game. Again, NYA will have to replace some key contributors, as Millett and the underappreciated Katie Cawley (another all-conference and all-state player) have graduated, but the pieces are in place for yet another title run. Several players can help fill Millett’s scoring shoes. Madore had eight goals in 2011, including the one that gave the Panthers the state title. She also had eight assists. Rose (five goals, including two in the Western C Final, and and four assists), Lappas (two goals and two assists), Brown (three goals and three assists in an all-star season) and Clock (one goal, four assists in an all-star campaign) will also figure into the mix. Lappas and Reder anchor the defense. Coughlin, who made 103 saves as a freshman, including a ton in key spots, returns in goal. NYA in 2012 has a nice balance of five seniors, four juniors and three sophomores, along with a couple freshmen who look to add depth. The schedule will be challenging. It includes showdowns with Western B powers Falmouth and Greely and reigning Western B champion York. Sacopee, Freeport, Old Orchard Beach, Traip and Waynflete won’t be pushovers either in Western C. The Panthers have averaged 16 victories a season since 2007. While their win-loss mark might not be at that lofty level this year, by the postseason, NYA will once again be loaded for bear. It won’t come easily, but the Panthers are the champs until someone declares otherwise. NYA has no intention of being dethroned.

CROSS COUNTRY

COACHES:
(BOYS) Peter Sillin (seventh year, two state championships)
(GIRLS) Chris Mazzurco (12th year, one state championship)

2011 Results:
(BOYS) Class C state champions
(GIRLS) 4th @ Class C state meet

TOP RETURNING RUNNERS:
(BOYS) Jake Burns (Senior), Aldis Gamble (Senior), John LeBlanc (Sophomore), Matt Malcolm (Sophomore)
(GIRLS) Hannah Austin (Sophomore), Ellis Mistell (Sophomore)

TOP FOES: Merriconeag, Waynflete

COACH SILLIN’S COMMENT: “After graduating six of our top seven from last year, this year's team will definitely have a new look. Matt came to preseason in pretty good shape, so it will be fun to see what he can do this year. Jake and John have also matured and I think have a lot of potential. We have a number of new and young runners as well, so I think this year's goals will be mostly about personal improvement and gaining experience. If the guys stay healthy, I think they'll surprise themselves with what they're able to accomplish. Despite losing a strong senior class from last year, we are fortunate that we have retained the culture of the team. The guys are so positive and fun, I think we'll have a great year together.”

COACH MAZZURCO'S COMMENT: “We graduated just about everybody. It’s a very young team, all freshmen and sophomores. We want to get everyone on board and healthy. We have a chance at some individual success. Qualifying for states will be dependent on health and progression rates. We need to think of the future.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Both NYA cross country teams are doing their share of starting over, but both could be factors at the conference and state levels.
The boys have gone back-to-back years with no peer in Class C, but a three-peat appears to be a daunting task. Malcolm is the lone returning state meet scorer (placing 20th) and he could primed to be one of the finest runners in the region. Burns, Gamble and LeBlanc also have experience. Junior Jin Yao and sophomore Ian Bennett look to figure into the mix. The Panthers will improve as the season goes on and if healthy, could make noise at the big meets in October. This group still hopes to accomplish big things.
On the girls’ side, Austin (22nd at states in 2011) is the top returner. Mistell also has some experience. Freshman Kate Hilscher is a new runner to watch. The Panthers have several other newcomers who will help the pack. This team will be a work in progress, but it too should show steady improvement. Qualifying for states won’t come easily, but it is possible. Whatever happens this fall will help NYA be that much stronger in 2013.

GOLF

COACH: Charlie Hudson (first year)

2011 Results: No varsity program

GOLFERS TO WATCH: Ryan Walters (Senior), Ben Ambrose (Sophomore), Danny Mahoney (Sophomore), Brad Potter (Sophomore), Mark Snyder (Sophomore)

TOP FOES: Freeport, OOB, Waynflete

COACH'S COMMENT: “We had a large turnout this year. It’s a good group. We have a large group of underclassmen with ability. Several sophomores played as freshman on a non-competitive team. We should be competitive. I think we’ll improve during the year. We might have some individuals who could qualify for states.”

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: After not fielding a varsity team in 2011, NYA returns to the fold this fall. The traditional contender has a new coach in Hudson, who is well known at the school as a longtime coach in cross country, hockey and boys’ tennis. An avid golfer, Hudson hopes to mold this squad into a contender in the weeks to come. Walters is a veteran and is joined by a solid sophomore core of Ambrose, Mahoney, Potter and Snyder. Several freshmen are also waiting their turn and could become factors during the course of the season. The Panthers look to be competitive in most of their matches. Just one Class C team from the conference qualifies for states, so NYA will have to have a lot go right that day. Anything’s possible, but this squad is building for what looks to be a promising future.

VOLLEYBALL

COACH: Nora Krainis (seventh year)

2011 Results: 2-12 (no postseason)

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Grace Gilbert (Senior), Charlotte Esancy (Junior), Sydney Garcia (Junior), SoHyun Jeon (Junior), Lizzie Roche (Junior), Diana McLeod (Sophomore), Anya Siviski (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL MATCHES: Aug. 31 @ Yarmouth, Oct. 9 (H) YARMOUTH, Oct. 13 @ Sumner, vs. Jonesport-Beals

COACH’S COMMENT: “In our third year as a Class B team, we have three first-year players, nine second-year players, four third-year players and two fourth-year players. We love healthy competition, improving our skills, laughing and gaining valuable experience in teamwork, family, perseverance, and risk-taking. We’ll make a showing in Class B stats for hitting and hope to make some noise in some other areas. We are looking forward to our Downeast Class B matches. It’s our favorite weekend.”

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: NYA has strong numbers, girls who enjoy the sport and enough talent to suggest the Panthers could be a dark horse and contend this fall (at least one rival coach feels they’re ready to make the jump). Gilbert is a returning all-star at middle hitter/blocker. She was second in Class B last year in hitting, third in kills and fifth in blocks. She also serves at an 81 percent clip. Esancy, a basketball standout, is also a middle hitter/blocker. She was third in Class B in hitting and seventh in kills a year ago. Garcia (middle hitter) and Jeon made marks at the JV level in 2011. Roche can do a little of everything. McLeod and Siviski (setter) seek to play a bigger role as sophomores. NYA opens at defending Class B champion Yarmouth, which proved last year that the Downeast teams don’t have a monopoly on the sport. The Panthers have their share of tough matches, but there are several favorable matchups as well, which suggests they can improve on last year’s win total and perhaps make it to the postseason. That would certainly be a huge accomplishment for this up-and-coming program.

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

Photo: File photo

Sophomore D.J. Nicholas will be a top scoring threat for the NYA boys' soccer team.

Photo: File photo

Senior Jacob Scammon is a top defender for a team which fell one win shy of the state final last autumn.

Photo: File photo

Senior captain Jen Brown will anchor NYA's defense this season.

Photo: File photo

Elizabeth Coughlin was huge in goal for NYA as a freshman. She returns in 2012.

Fall Schedules

BOYS' SOCCER

Fri., Aug. 31 H YARMOUTH

Tues., Sept. 4 @ Falmouth

Fri., Sept. 7 @ Wells

Tues., Sept. 11 @ A.R. Gould

Thurs., Sept. 13 H WAYNFLETE

Sat., Sept. 15 @ Fryeburg

Wed., Sept. 19 H WELLS

Fri., Sept. 21 H FREEPORT

Thurs., Sept. 27 H SACOPEE

Sat., Sept. 29 H TRAIP

Tues., Oct. 2 @ Sacopee

Fri., Oct. 5 @ Waynflete

Tues., Oct. 9 @ Gray-NG

Thurs. Oct. 11 @ Traip

GIRLS' SOCCER

Fri., Aug. 31 @ Yarmouth

Tues., Sept. 4 H FALMOUTH

Fri., Sept. 7 H OOB

Thurs., Sept. 13 @ Waynflete

Sat., Sept. 15 H FRYEBURG

Wed., Sept. 19 @ OOB

Mon., Sept. 24 @ Freeport

Thurs., Sept. 27 @ Sacopee

Sat., Sept. 29 H TRAIP

Tues., Oct. 2 H SACOPEE

Fri., Oct. 5 H WAYNFLETE

Tues., Oct. 9 @ Traip

Sat., Oct. 13 @ Wells

Mon., Oct. 15 H BUCKFIELD

FIELD HOCKEY

Wed., Aug. 29 H FREEPORT

Tues., Sept. 4 @ Traip

Sat., Sept. 8 H GREELY

Mon., Sept. 10 @ OOB

Wed., Sept. 12 H YORK

Fri., Sept. 14 @ Waynflete

Tues., Sept. 18 H SACOPEE

Thurs., Sept. 20 @ Freeport

Sat., Sept. 22 H OOB

Mon., Sept. 24 H TRAIP

Fri., Sept. 28 @ Poland

Mon., Oct. 1 @ Falmouth

Thurs., Oct. 4 H WAYNFLETE

Wed., Oct. 10 @ Sacopee

CROSS COUNTRY

Fri., Aug. 31 @ Falmouth

Fri., Sept. 7 @ Greely

Sat., Sept. 22 @ Manchester Inv.

Sat., Sept. 29 @ Belfast Inv.

Fri., Oct. 12 WMC Championships

Sat., Oct. 20 Western C Regionals

Sat., Oct. 27 Class C States

GOLF

Wed., Aug. 29 H YARMOUTH

Thurs., Aug. 30 @ Sacopee (Fryeburg)

Tues., Sept. 4 H OOB

Thurs. Sept. 6 H FREEPORT

Wed., Sept. 12 @ OOB

Thurs., Sept. 13 @ GNG (Lake Region)

Wed., Sept. 19 @ Lake Region

Thurs., Sept. 20 H WAYNFLETE

Thurs., Sept. 27 H SACOPEE

VOLLEYBALL

Fri., Aug. 31 @ Yarmouth

Thurs., Sept. 6 H CHEVERUS

Mon., Sept. 10 @ Windham

Fri., Sept. 14 H GREELY

Wed., Sept. 19 H CONY

Sat., Sept. 22 @ Kennebunk

Mon., Sept. 24 @ Cape Elizabeth

Fri., Sept. 28 H FALMOUTH

Wed., Oct. 3 H TA

Tues., Oct. 9 H YARMOUTH

Fri., Oct. 12 @ Lake Region

Sat., Oct. 13 @ Sumner (Jonesport-Beals)

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