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Falmouth Yachtsmen Spring Sports Preview

Spring Sports Previews

Falmouth Yachtsmen Spring Sports Preview

Springtime always seems to bring shiny trophies back to Falmouth High School and 2012 should be no exception. Boys' lacrosse, boys' tennis and girls' tennis have to like their chances to repeat as Class B champions. Girls' lacrosse might have the ingredients for a title run of its own. Based on the way that team started this season, it will be tough to stop. Baseball got to the semifinals in 2011 and should be one of the better teams in the league again. Softball hopes to make postseason again and enjoy a longer stay. Boys' track was runner-up in Class B a year ago and could be tops this June, while the girls feature some great athletes as well.

BASEBALL

Coach: Kevin Winship (third year, 21-14 overall record)

2011 Record: 11-7 (Lost 8-3 to Greely in Western Class B semifinals)

Top returning players: Grayson Beressi (Senior), Ryan Conley (Senior), Nate Dobson (Senior), Jeremy Lydick (Senior), Nick Spencer (Senior), Andrew Emple (Junior), Thomas Fortier (Junior), Connor Murphy (Junior), Seamus Powers (Junior), Drew Proctor (Junior), Will D'Agostino (Sophomore), Addison Foltmer (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 25 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, April 27 (H) FREEPORT, May 4 (H) GREELY, May 11 (H) WELLS, May 14 @ Yarmouth, May 21 @ Freeport, May 22 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 25 (H) YARMOUTH

Coach's comment: “We're returning a good nucleus of players from last year's team. We're going to be very good defensively and have a deep pitching staff. Once again, the league looks to be very competitive and we'll have to play at our best each and every game.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Falmouth graduated five seniors, four of whom were all-stars, including Co-League Player of the Year and Forecaster Spring Male Athlete of the Year Matt MacDowell, but returning is a group of hungry, experienced players, eager to reach the top of the standings. The Yachtsmen have several pitchers with experience. Conley, Foltmer, Fortier, Murphy and Spencer will all see time on the mound. New juniors Zak Lydick and Jon Walker and freshman Luke Velas will also pitch in. The offense is paced by outfielder Beressi, Lydick (who catches and plays first base), catcher and outfielder Dobson, second baseman Proctor, first baseman Emple, shortstop D'Agostino, outfielder Powers and Foltmer (an outfielder, when he's not pitching). Sophomore outfielder Patrick Lydon and freshman catcher Conner MacDowell are also on this deep squad. The Yachtsmen opened with an impressive 8-2 win at York last week, behind a two-hitter from Foltmer and a pair of hits each from Beressi and Proctor. While Greely is the league favorite, for good reason, Falmouth enters the season with a legitimate claim to the No. 2 spot. If this team pitches and hits as expected, the Yachtsmen could wind up No. 1 by June. Falmouth is well rounded and dangerous and will be fun to watch.

SOFTBALL

Coach: John Keyes (eighth year, 48-69 overall record)

2011 Record: 8-9 (Lost 2-1 to Greely in Western Class B preliminary round)

Top returning players: Alli Carver (Senior), Ashley Collins (Senior), Maddie Inlow (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 25 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, April 30 @ Fryeburg, May 4 (H) GREELY, May 14 @ Yarmouth, May 23 @ Cape Elizabeth

Coach's comment: “We have good experience at the key positions. While we will be young, we will be competitive and I believe we can be back in the playoffs. We have experience in key positions. We have to score runs. We can't afford to leave runners on base. We want to get better each game and have some fun.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Falmouth returned to the postseason a year ago, but the loss of five players, including 2011 Spring Female Athlete of the Year Kelsey Freedman, will be tough to replace. Junior Jade Bazinet and sophomore Amanda Carver will take over on the mound. Carver announced her arrival in emphatic fashion last week, throwing a five inning perfect game in a 15-0 win at York. She also hit a double. The pitchers will be aided by Alli Carver behind the plate. Carver, a second-team all-star a year ago and four-year starter, hit .320 with 14 runs batted in last season. She also picked off seven base runners. She's one of the league's most complete players. Collins is entering her second season at first base. She's dangerous with the bat as well, compiling a .340 average in 2011. The other veteran is Inlow at shortstop, now in her third season as a starter. She batted .344 and had 12 runs batted in last season. Freshman outfielder Elizabeth Walker is also expected to be potent at the plate. Sophomores Alyse Bazinet, Chelsea Fagan, Nicola Libby and Hayley Winslow are also on the roster and look to contribute. The Yachtsmen will compete every time they take the field and there's enough talent for them to approach or better last year's mark. If Falmouth gets into the playoffs, it will be a team that no one wants to face.

BOYS' LACROSSE

Coach: Mike LeBel (sixth year, 46-23 overall record, one state championship)

2011 Record: 14-1 (Beat North Yarmouth Academy 15-4 to win first ever Class B state championship)

Top returning players: Cam Bell (Senior), Jack Cooleen (Senior), Andrew Murry (Senior), Mike Ryan (Senior), Abyn Reabe-Gerwig (Senior), Mitch Tapley (Senior), Charlie Fay (Junior), Will Sipperly (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 21 @ Cape Elizabeth, April 25 (H) YARMOUTH, April 30 @ Portland, May 7 @ NYA, May 12 (H) DEERING, May 16 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, May 25 @ Yarmouth, May 30 (H) NYA

Coach's comment: “On paper, it's hard to say we don't have the most talent. We have a lot of depth on defense, which I didn't think we would. We have a lot of guys who can score. The options we have are endless, which is great. I'm certainly optimistic. It's up to the kids. If we can stay out of trouble and stay eligible, we have a good shot at it. We'll have our hands full with Cape. I'm scared of Yarmouth. We can't get overconfident.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Falmouth finally got over the Cape Elizabeth hump and won the school's first title in emphatic fashion a year ago. As superb as that team was, this group has the potential to be even stronger. For starters, the Yachtsmen have the state's premier faceoff man, Reabe-Gerwig (who's going to Army next year), meaning they'll have possession much more than the opposition. Winter Athlete of the Year and reigning second-team all-star Cooleen (who will play at Tufts), Fall Athlete of the Year Murry and the highly touted second-team all-star Sipperly help control the midfield and will contribute their share of offense. On attack, Fay, All-American and first-team all-star Tapley (who will play at Endicott) and new senior Hunter Lafond will be tough to stop. When Falmouth does have to play defense it will do it well as All-American and first-team all-star Ryan (bound for Providence College) and senior Weston Scott help standout goalie Bell (who will play at Endicott), a second-team all-star a year ago, keep the opposition off the board. It's hard to find a weakness with this group, but overconfidence is a concern when you're so good. The Yachtsmen will get a good early idea of how good they are when they open at Cape Elizabeth, likely their top competition for state honors. Tests with Yarmouth, state final foe NYA and Class A contenders Deering and Portland are also on the slate, but Falmouth will win much more than it loses, if it loses at all. You can circle your calendar for June 13 when the Yachtsmen and Cape Elizabeth will likely meet for a fourth straight year to determine the regional champion. The survivor will be a heavy favorite to take home the state title. There's a very good chance that survivor will be Falmouth, which could be a team for the ages.

GIRLS' LACROSSE

Coach: Robin Haley (10th year, 54-64 overall record)

2011 Record: 7-6 (Lost 14-12 to Cape Elizabeth in Western Class B semifinals)

Top returning players: Moie Aaskov (Senior), Vanessa Audet (Senior), Ashleigh Burton (Senior), Sam Smithwick (Senior), Katie Ventura (Senior), Alex Bernier (Junior), Katie Cooleen (Junior), Angela Mallis (Junior), Molly Ryan (Junior), Geneva Waite (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 24 @ NYA, April 30 (H) YARMOUTH, May 4 (H) WAYNFLETE, May 12 (H) KENNEBUNK, May 22 @ Waynflete, May 24 (H) NYA, May 29 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH

Coach's comment: “I feel like we have a bulls-eye this year. We've always been athletic. This year, collectively, our lacrosse knowledge is pretty significant. The girls have a good understanding of the game. Starting out, things look good. I'm pleased with the progress we've made in the preseason. I'm excited for the girls. We've worked extremely hard. I feel really good about our chemistry and focus. We'll hope for the best and hopefully we'll get stronger as the season goes on.”

The Forecaster's forecast: This could be the year the Falmouth girls' program reaches the heights recently achieved by the boys. A year ago, the Yachtsmen were talented, but couldn't solve Waynflete and Yarmouth in the regular season, then were upset by visiting Cape Elizabeth in a frustrating playoff setback. This time out, Falmouth aims to take no prisoners and was that message ever delivered with a vengeance Thursday evening when the Yachtsmen dominated defending Class B champion Yarmouth, 12-2, on the Clippers' turf. In Falmouth's first ever win over Yarmouth, Bernier and Ryan each had three goals. Bernier (a first-team all-star a year ago) also had three assists, while Ryan won eight of 13 draw opportunities. That junior tandem will be impossible to stop this year, but the Yachtsmen also have many, many more weapons. This team is so talented that senior Megan Fortier (who returned to Falmouth this year from North Yarmouth Academy), fresh off a Winter Female Athlete of the Year hockey campaign, will see plenty of time on the defensive end. She will score her share of goals, however, as will Audet, Mallis, Smithwick, Waite and sophomore Mikey Richards. Burton, Cooleen and Ventura all are experienced defenders and sophomores Leika Scott and Caroline McKeon will just make that unit that much deeper. Aaskov is back in goal and she's the type of keeper around whom you build a championship team. Aaskov made seven saves in the opener. Falmouth has now defeated every team but Waynflete, its nemesis, and the Yachtsmen will almost certainly have to get past the Flyers to wind up where they want to be, in the state final. Falmouth gets two cracks at Waynflete in the regular season, then will have to not only deal with the Flyers, but also Cape Elizabeth and Greely in a brutally tough region come playoff time. The Yachtsmen have as much talent as any team in the state. They're off to a great start and are in for a fun ride, one which might not end until June 16 at Fitzpatrick Stadium for the state game.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coach: Danny Paul (11th year, three state championships)

2011 Results:

(Boys) 2nd @ Class B State Meet

(Girls) 8th @ Class B State Meet

TOP RETURNING ATHLETES:

(Boys) Henry Briggs (Senior), Hudson Carr (Senior), Thomas Edmonds (Senior), Evan Eklund (Senior), Tim Follo (Senior), Colby Howland (Senior), Matt Kingry (Senior), Conor McGrory (Senior), Jimmy Polewaczyk (Senior), Reid Pryzant (Senior), Aaron Rogers (Senior), Ryan Tartre (Senior), Jacob Buhelt (Junior), Alex Gowen (Junior), Azad Jalali (Junior), Andy Roukey (Junior)

(Girls) Catherine Hebson (Senior), Olivia Hoch (Senior), Jena Mannette (Senior), Molly Paris (Senior), Emily Rand (Senior), Ali Schwartz (Senior), Jenna Serunian (Senior), Nevada Horne (Junior), Denali Nalamalapu (Junior), Hayley Simmons (Junior), Sarah Sparks (Junior), Charlotte Cutshall (Sophomore), Madeline Roberts (Sophomore), Jillian Rothweiler (Sophomore)

Top foes: Cape Elizabeth, Greely, York

Coach's comment: “We have good numbers, over 50 girls and 66 boys. The boys get our full complement of distance runners back from cross country, which helps. We still have Reid, Jacob and a strong group of returning scorers back. If we can develop some points out of the throws and jumps, we should battle for a state championship. Hopefully the girls can finish in the top third at the state meet. We have solid numbers and some outstanding returnees.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Falmouth doesn't just have huge numbers in its outdoor track program, there is an abundance of talent as well, something which should propel both Yachtsmen teams to great things in the weeks to come.

The boys fell just short of a third successive championship last spring, due in large part to an injury to Pryzant. This year's squad covers all the events. In the sprints, Buhelt (fifth in the 100 and 200 a year ago), Carr, Gowen, Kingry, Polewaczyk (sixth in the 400 last season), Pryzant and Rogers all return. They're complemented by new juniors Grant Burfeind, Andrew Thornton and Patrick Thornton and freshman Christian Ford. The distance contingent includes Briggs, Edmonds, Follo, Howland, Jalali and McGrory, along with freshmen Spencer Brown, Ethan Cantlin, Scott Lambert, Gabe Mahoney, John McConnell and Sam Pratico. Pryzant's the top hurdler. In the throws, Kingry, new senior Will Ryan and freshman Matt Edmonds look to score points. Jumpers to watch include Eklund, Kingry, Pryzant, Rogers, Roukey and Tartre, along with Andrew Thornton, Patrick Thornton, Burfeind and Ford. Good luck matching up with all of that talent and depth. While there are staunch foes in the conference and at the state level, the Yachtsmen have the pieces in place to get back to the pinnacle. Don't be surprised if it happens.

On the girls' side, Serunian is the top returner. She was runner-up in the shot put and third in the discus in 2011. Schwartz and freshman Kiersten Dyhrberg also throw. In the jumps, look for Horne (pole vault) and freshman Olivia Baranowski to contend. Hebson also scored at states a year ago, finishing seventh in the both the mile and two-mile. She's joined in the distance by Hoch, Nalamalapu, Paris, Roberts, Simmons and new senior Grace Dancoes and freshman Lizzie Cattell. Mannette and Sparks are middle distance runners. The sprinting contingent features Baranowski, Cutshall, Rand, Rothweiler and Sparks. Horne also competes in the hurdles. The Falmouth girls don't have the top end scoring that the boys' squad possesses, but the Yachtsmen have plenty of depth, will be very competitive throughout the league season and shouldn't be overlooked come the postseason.

BOYS' TENNIS

Coach: Bob McCully (41st year, 453-151 overall record, six state championships)

2011 Results: 16-0 (Beat Ellsworth 5-0 to win Class B state championship)

Top returning players: Hutch Hurwitz (Senior), Eric Sanderson (Senior), Sam Holland (Junior), Tom Wilberg (Junior), Justin Brogan (Sophomore), Brendan McCarthy (Sophomore)

Pivotal matches: April 24 @ Waynflete, April 27 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 7 (H) WAYNFLETE, May 11 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH

Coach's comment: “We graduated three outstanding veterans last year, but our players have all worked hard in the offseason and this is a very deep team with high aspirations.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Falmouth was a juggernaut last season, dropping just two points in the regular season and two more in the playoffs. Despite losing Connor Burfeind, Harlan Cutshall and Taylor Dimick to graduation, the Yachtsmen will be right at the top of the heap again in 2012. Brogan, Holland and McCarthy were all all-stars a year ago and will play key roles in this team's success. Also returning are Hurwitz, Sanderson and Wilberg. As usual, there's plenty of incoming firepower, which will provide depth this season and set the stage for future dominance. Senior Will Robinson, sophomores Russell Barnard, Matt Hutcheon, Matt Klemperer and Joe Lesniak and freshman Aiden McGrory could all see varsity action. Falmouth will dominate most of its foes, except for rival Cape Elizabeth and defending Class C state champion Waynflete. Both of those squads will give the Yachtsmen a welcome test. Come playoff time, Falmouth will likely battle with Cape Elizabeth for regional supremacy. When the dust settles, the Yachtsmen could very well earn the hardware once more.

GIRLS' TENNIS

Coach: Sandra Stone (10th year, 123-14 overall record, six state championships)

2011 Results: 16-0 (Defeated Waterville 5-0 to win fourth straight Class B state championship)

Top returning players: Annie Criscione (Senior), Analise Kump (Senior), Steffi Rothweiler (Senior), Abby Payson (Junior), Katie Ryan (Sophomore)

Pivotal matches: April 24 (H) NYA, April 25 @ Waynflete, May 7 @ NYA, May 14 @ Yarmouth, May 21 (H) WAYNFLETE

Coach's comment: “We're pleased to have 23 players on the combined varsity/JV team, with 18 returning players. The talent is certainly there. With a fun team spirit and determined work ethic, we feel this team will definitely make a strong and deep run in the playoffs. The team looks extremely strong again this year.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Falmouth has become so dominant in recent seasons that opposing coaches admit they're playing for second place. Stone, along with longtime assistant, Prisca Thomson, has established a program that is second to none and is among the finest in state history. The next championship chapter figures to come this June. First-team all-stars Criscione and Kump are back to play first and third singles, respectively. The No. 2 spot goes to freshman Olivia Leavitt, which reminds everyone that while every year the Yachtsmen graduate star players, there's always more in reserve. Payson and Rothweiler, both first-team all-stars last year, play first doubles. They won the league doubles title and have no peer. Ryan is back at second doubles and will team with either senior Marlena Lautos, senior Abbie Pratico or sophomore Riley Burfeind, another potential star of the future. Even after the loss of Libby Voccola (who transferred to the Holderness School) and Katie Carew (out with an ACL injury), Falmouth likely won't skip a beat. As long as the team avoids overconfidence and stays healthy, more glory awaits.

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

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Senior Nick Spencer will be a key pitcher for the Yachtsmen.

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Junior Drew Proctor is one of several top returners for a dangerous Falmouth baseball team.

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Senior Alli Carver is a four-year starter and a huge contributor for the Falmouth softball team.

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Falmouth's offense starts with senior Abyn Reabe-Gerwig's unrivaled ability to win faceoffs.

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Senior Mitch Tapley was an All-American last season and will look to lead his team to another championship this spring.

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Junior Charlie Fay is one of many scoring threats on the Falmouth offense.

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Junior Will Sipperly will be difficult to contain.

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Senior Mike Ryan is a reigning All-American and will play at Providence College next year.

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Senior Weston Scott is another top returning defender for the Yachtsmen.

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Senior Cam Bell is one of the state's premier goalies. He'll play at Endicott College next season.

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Senior Katie Ventura is one of the defensive anchors for the Falmouth girls' lacrosse team.

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Sophomore Caroline McKeon is a new addition to the Yachtsmen this spring.

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Junior Molly Ryan will be involved with a lot of scoring this season.

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Junior Geneva Waite is another scoring option for the Yachtsmen.

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Senior Moie Aaskov returns in goal for the Yachtsmen.

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Senior Tim Follo is one of the state's best distance runners.

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Senior Jimmy Polewaczyk finished sixth in the 400 at last year's state meet.

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Senior Reid Pryzant could take home state titles in the sprints and hurdles if all goes well this spring.

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Senior Catherine Hebson is one of many strong distance runners this spring.

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Senior Olivia Hoch is another top distance runner for the Yachtsmen.

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Senior Jena Mannette will vie for top honors in the 400.

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Senior Jenna Serunian was runner-up in the shot put and third in the discus at last year's state meet. This spring, she'll aim for the top spot.