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North Yarmouth Academy Spring Sports Preview

Spring Sports Previews

North Yarmouth Academy Spring Sports Preview

The varsity spring sports spectrum at NYA is a little lighter than last year as both baseball and softball will compete as junior varsity programs only. Boys' lacrosse made it to the state final last season and expects to be one of the top teams again. Girls' lacrosse has a lot of new faces, including a new coach, but you can never write the Panthers off. Track has some solid athletes of both genders. Girls' tennis hopes to get back to the Class C pinnacle after a year away, while the boys' squad is poised for its best campaign in years.

BOYS' LACROSSE

Coach: Chris Carpentier (fourth year, 23-22 overall record)

2011 Record: 8-8 (Lost 15-4 to Falmouth in Class B state championship game)

Top returning players: C.J. Davis (Senior), Charlie Gerrity (Senior), Parker Howard (Senior), Forrest Milburn (Senior), Jacob Scammon (Senior), Weston Nolan (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 21 @ Yarmouth, April 25 @ Cape Elizabeth, April 28 (H) SCARBOROUGH, May 7 (H) FALMOUTH, May 16 (H) YARMOUTH, May 18 @ Thornton Academy, May 25 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, May 30 @ Falmouth

Coach's comment: “I'm very excited. We have a very focused group of kids. We have a very solid defense. Staying healthy through the season will be the question. .Our competition will push us to the next level. I have very high expectations of this veteran team. Hopefully we can overcome the many challenges as a team and find ourselves where we left off last year.”

The Forecaster's forecast: NYA took advantage of a rare down year by Yarmouth and raced to the regional championship last spring before meeting its match against a juggernaut Falmouth squad in the state game. This year, the Panthers project to be very good once again and they certainly could make it once more to the last Saturday of the season. Milburn, a second-team all-star last year, paces the offense. Scammon looks to make a mark in the midfield. Defense will be this team's strength as Davis and Gerrity are both three-year starters and Howard is in his second season as a starter. The last line of defense is goalie Nolan, who received trial by fire as a freshman, but came up big. NYA opened with a 10-4 home win over Wells, thanks in large part to three goals from junior T.J. Daigler. As usual, Eastern Class B figures to come down to NYA and Yarmouth. The Clippers should be much stronger this time around, but the Panthers are up for the challenge. If NYA can get some consistent offense, the defense figures to keep them in most games. The Panthers will improve steadily as the season goes on, just as they did in 2011, and could have a similar finish.

Note: NYA will host a Wounded Warrior benefit game April 28 at 11 a.m., vs. defending Class A state champion Scarborough. Both teams will wear camouflage uniforms.

GIRLS' LACROSSE

Coach: Lynn Sullivan (first year)

2011 Record: 5-9 (Lost 6-5 to Yarmouth in Eastern Class B Final)

Top returning players: Katie Cawley (Senior), Katherine Millett (Senior), Hannah Twombly (Senior), Bailey Clock (Junior), Olivia Madore (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 24 (H) FALMOUTH, April 28 @ Cheverus, May 10 @ Yarmouth, May 15 (H) WAYNFLETE, May 18 @ Greely, May 24 @ Falmouth, May 30 (H) YARMOUTH

Coach's comment: “We're a young, energetic, enthusiastic team that is a mixture of some seasoned veterans and athletic newcomers. We lost a lot from last year. We have a lot of kids who haven't played before or have limited experience. It's a learning curve. We want to play the best lacrosse we can play. We want to execute the little things. There are some good athletes out there. We just have to work on stickwork.”

The Forecaster's forecast: NYA saw its reign as state champion and its three-year run as regional champion come to a close last spring, then, coach Julia Sterling retired. After losing several key players to graduation or transfer, new coach Sullivan has her work cut out this season. Sullivan is no stranger to NYA, having coached the program in 1997 and 1999 and serving as an assistant in recent years. She also coached at Hebron and Waynflete and played at Colby College. The Panthers opened with a 15-5 loss at Waynflete Friday, but played much better in the second half, outscoring the Flyers, 4-1. In that one, Cawley had a pair of goals. Cawley, NYA's 2011 Spring Female Athlete of the Year is a solid team leader and will be difficult for opposing defenses to stop. Millett, the field hockey standout, Madore (one goal versus Waynflete), Twombly, Abby McKelvey (one goal in the opener) and Mary Noyes (a goal Friday) also will be in the offensive mix. Noyes handled most of the draw controls in the opener. The defense features Clock (who missed the first game with injury) and juniors Jen Brown and Lillie Reder. Storey (10 saves against Waynflete) returns in goal. NYA will have its hands full against the elite teams, but there are several games on the schedule where the Panthers will compete. If NYA can earn enough victories to make it to the playoffs, anything's possible. This squad will be vastly improved by the end of the season.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coach: Chris Mazzurco (16th year, four state championships)

2011 Results:

(Boys) 7th @ Class C state meet

(Girls) 25th @ Class C state meet

Top returning athletes:

(Boys) Alex Coffin (Senior), Rudy Guiliani (Senior), Evan Kendall (Senior), Grant McPherson (Senior), Cam Rayder (Senior), Nick Rayder (Senior), Cam Regan (Senior), Jake Burns (Junior)

(Girls) Hillary Detert (Senior), Hadley Gibson (Senior), Moira Lachance (Senior), Morgan Scully (Senior), Kayla Rose (Sophomore)

Top foes: Sacopee Valley, Traip Academy

Coach's comment: “The boys' team returns many of last year's point scorers. We have a solid group of senior veterans who have been through many seasons together, in outdoor track, cross country, indoor track and Nordic skiing. We're looking to pull together a strong team for the conference and state championships. The girls' team has more newcomers than returners, but the strength of the returning athletes combined with the high potential in the newcomers could lead to some regular and postseason success. We are currently working hard to cover all the events, given a small team and just three weeks into the season, it looks like it may come together.”

The Forecaster's forecast: NYA features several runners, jumpers and throwers to watch this season.

The boys' team has made the top 10 at states eight years running and has the pieces in place to be quite potent again. Coffin was fourth in the 800 and fifth in the mile last spring. Guiliani was seventh in the two-mile. They'll be joined in the middle and long distance events by Kendall, McPherson and freshman John LeBlanc. Sprinters include Burns, Nick Rayder and Regan. Burns will also compete in the hurdles. Nick Rayder scored his share of points on the field side last June, placing fifth in the shot put and seventh in the high jump at states. He's joined in the throws by Cam Rayder. Kendall and Regan will pole vault. The Panthers have the ability to score in several different events. They'll be competitive in league action and should be among the top teams at states once again.

On the girls' side, Detert had all her team's points last year at states, placing fourth in the two-mile and fifth in the mile. She has company in the distance from Gibson and freshman Hannah Austin. Lachance and Winter Female Athlete of the Year Scully sprint, as will new sophomore Jillian Bjorn-Caron, who also competes in the hurdles. Rose, Scully and freshman Muriel Adams will throw. Lachance, along with freshman Meaghan O'Leary, will compete in the jumps. There's plenty of promise on this roster. NYA should show steady improvement and it wouldn't be surprising to see the Panthers produce more points at the postseason meets.

BOYS' TENNIS

Coach: Charlie Hudson (34th year, 165-165 overall record since 1987, two state championships)

2011 Results: 3-9 (no playoffs)

Top returning players: Burke Paxton (Junior), Dean Walters (Junior), Ryan Walters (Junior), Ian Moore (Sophomore), Mac Morse (Sophomore), Bryce Tetreault (Sophomore)

Pivotal matches: April 24 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, April 25 @ Freeport, April 30 @ Greely, May 2 @ Yarmouth, May 3 (H) FREEPORT, May 9 (H) GREELY, May 11 (H) WAYNFLETE, May 16 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 23 @ Falmouth

Coach's comment: “Our five matches against Yarmouth, Greely and Freeport will likely determine the season and possibly a trip to the playoffs where Waynflete is the one strong opponent. With a largely veteran team, we hope for wins in close matches. We had six 3-2 matches last season..”

The Forecaster's forecast: NYA is on the brink of getting back to its accustomed place as a top contender in Western Class C. The Panthers could make the jump this season. Paxton will be in the top singles spot. Dean Walters projects to play second singles and Tetreault will be in the No. 3 spot. Ryan Walters will be on the top doubles tandem. Moore, Morse and freshman Brad Potter (who was a top middle school player) are also in the doubles mix. Can NYA take care of business against evenly matched foes? If it does, a .500 or better record and a first trip to the playoffs since 2007 will likely ensue.

GIRLS' TENNIS

Coach: Lorena Coffin (sixth year, 70-8 overall record, four state championships)

2011 Results: 12-2 (Lost 3-2 to Winthrop in Western Class C semifinals)

Top returning players: Sarah Jordan (Senior), Cathy Li (Senior), Maggie Meixell (Senior), Ally Morrison (Senior), Jessica Powers (Senior), Emma Randall (Sophomore)

Pivotal matches: April 24 @ Falmouth, April 25 (H) YARMOUTH, May 3 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 7 (H) FALMOUTH, May 14 (H) WAYNFLETE, May 22 @ Yarmouth

Coach's comment: “My goals for this year are for each player to improve and enjoy the sport of tennis and for the team to have a competitive match record and hopefully qualify for the tournament.”

The Forecaster's forecast: NYA has had no trouble qualifying for the tournament in recent years, having won four of the past five state championships. Morrison and Powers were first-team all-stars in 2011. Jordan made the second-team. All three will play big roles again this season. Li, Meixell and Randall also have experience and figure into the mix. Juniors Shanna Gu and Carly Lappas and freshman Marina Stam look to make a mark as well. With the exception of untouchable Falmouth, the Panthers can expect to compete with all of their foes and they should rack up another impressive mark. There's a good chance that a showdown with Waynflete (something NYA wasn't able to achieve last spring) will await in the playoffs and the winner will likely represent the region. The Panthers have a great chance to be that team.

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

Photo: File photo

Senior Forrest Milburn is one of the Panthers' top scoring threats.

Photo: File photo

Senior Katie Cawley is a top talent and team leader for the Panthers. She was NYA's Spring Female Athlete of the Year in 2011.

Photo: Brian Beard / For The Forecaster

Senior Katherine Millett remains a daunting foe on the lacrosse field.

Photo: File photo

Senior Alex Coffin will be a factor in the middle distance races this season.

Photo: File photo

Senior Hillary Detert will run distance one final season for the Panthers.