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Falmouth Yachtsmen Fall Sports Previews

Sports

Falmouth Yachtsmen Fall Sports Previews

The overstuffed Falmouth High trophy case figures to get even more full this autumn as the Yachtsmen have the pieces in place for several title runs. Boys’ soccer has won Class B eight times since 2000 and will be one of the best teams in the state, regardless of class, this year. The girls’ squad has been just as prolific, winning the past two titles and seven since 2001. Don’t be surprised if that team is raising another Gold Ball as well come Nov. 3. Football has been a regular playoff participant and hopes to contend again. Field hockey figures to be one of the best squads in Western Class B. Both cross country teams, including the defending Class B champion boys, will make be among the best around. Golf has had no peer, whether in Class B or Class A, and seeks more hardware. Volleyball should also be among the last teams standing.

BOYS' SOCCER

COACH: Dave Halligan (26th year, 301-78-36 overall record, 10 state championships)

2011 Record: 13-3-2 (Beat Camden Hills, 2-1, to win Class B state championship)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Luke Andrews (Senior), Grant Burfeind (Senior), Cooper Lycan (Senior), Jack Pike (Senior), J.P. White (Senior), Will D'Agostino (Junior), Luke Velas (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Aug. 31 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, Sept. 11 @ Greely, Sept. 18 @ Freeport, Sept. 22 @ Yarmouth, Sept. 29 (H) YARMOUTH, Oct. 2 @ York, Oct. 9 @ Cape Elizabeth, Oct. 13 (H) GREELY, Oct. 16 (H) YORK

COACH'S COMMENT: “We’re in a good spot. The kids are working hard. I’m pleased with their progress. The kids are serious about the game, but are also having fun. It’s a veteran group. We had 12 one-goal games last year. We gained a lot of valuable experience that will help us this year. We’re ahead of where we were last year.”

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Several Falmouth championship teams over the years were juggernauts from the get-go. The 2011 Yachtsmen were just the opposite, but they wound up where so many previous squads did, at the top of the heap, thanks to a late surge and a trio of scintillating playoff victories, highlighted by the goal scoring heroics of Burfeind (a second-team league all-star). This year’s squad is starting from a better place than it did a year ago, which is a scary thought for the rest of the region as Falmouth has the pieces in place to make it nine Class B titles in 13 seasons if all goes well. Despite the graduation departures of players like 2011 Fall Male Athlete of the Year and all-state selection Andrew Murry and regional all-star Brandon Tuttle, as always, the Yachtsmen boast special talent. This year’s crew is led by the highly-touted White, who was named to the all-conference, all-region and all-state teams a season ago. His athleticism and finishing touch will cause fits for the opposition. Burfeind has shown he can finish and stands to do plenty of scoring also. Expect additional offense to come from the likes of Andrews, Lycan, sophomore Ben Lydick and Velas. Falmouth’s defense is also superior thanks to Pike and seniors like Ian McBrady, Billy Mullin and Tom Wilberg. D’Agostino (a second-team all-star last year) returns in goal. Only a junior, he’s already viewed as one of the state’s finest. There aren’t many holes to be found with this team. The Yachtsmen will be a force on offense and will stymie the opposition. It’s likely they'll find Yarmouth waiting for them in the playoffs (the Clippers were upset in the quarterfinals last season) and York could also present problems. In the end, Falmouth will have one of the finest teams in the state, regardless of class, will post double digit victories for the 13th year in a row and should go deep into the playoffs. Quite likely into November where yet another Gold Ball could await.

GIRLS' SOCCER

COACH: Wally LeBlanc (second year, 13-4-1 overall record, one state championship)

2011 Record: 13-4-1 (Beat Presque Isle, 1-0, to win Class B state championship)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Alex Bernier (Senior), Caitlin Bucksbaum (Senior), Cassie Darrow (Senior), Bri DiPhillippo (Senior), Maddie Inlow (Senior), Caroline Lucas (Senior), Angela Mallis (Senior), Mary Catherine Kowalsky (Junior), Megan Miller (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Aug. 31 @ Cape Elizabeth, Sept. 11 @ Greely, Sept. 22 @ Yarmouth, Sept. 29 (H) YARMOUTH, Oct. 2 (H) YORK, Oct. 9 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, Oct. 13 (H) GREELY, Oct. 16 @ York

COACH'S COMMENT: “With so many returning starters, we have high expectations, but we also understand that this is a new season with new challenges. We understand that we’ll have to work hard, stay focused and constantly improve in order to meet our expectations.”

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Falmouth once again showed a flair for the dramatic last season, riding its opportunism to a seventh Class B state title this century. Another Gold Ball could await at the end of this year’s journey as the Yachtsmen boast an abundance of special players. Bucksbaum was Falmouth’s Fall Female Athlete of the Year and the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year. She’s capable of controlling the midfield, has pinpoint passing touch and is capable of tickling the twine herself. Bernier has had as many big goals as anyone, including the winner in the state game last fall. Darrow has a deadly foot as well and has scored her share of key goals in big situations, including a pair against Morse in the Western B Final last season. All three players were conference and regional all-stars in 2011. Kowalsky and Miller, along with new juniors Maggie Bohrmann and Taylor Russell, will also be in the scoring mix. Lucas returns in goal. She’s faced her share of trial by fire and has passed with flying colors. Lucas will be aided defensively by DiPhillippo, Inlow and Mallis. Newcomers Marysa Alexander and Laura Bauer will also be factors on defense. The Yachtsmen’s strengths are their balance and depth. There are several teams with a few good players, but this whole roster is dangerous. Falmouth will be tested by its tough schedule, but should be able to pass most of its tests. Ultimately, this program is judged by what it does in the postseason and more often than not, the Yachtsmen pass with flying colors. Don’t be surprised to see this season end as so many have before. With a Falmouth coronation.

FOOTBALL

COACH: John Fitzsimmons (sixth year, 26-21 overall record)

2011 Record: 6-3 (Lost, 12-7, to Westbrook in Western Class B quarterfinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Alex Derhagopian (Senior), Jon Walker (Senior), Joe Goodrich (Junior), Justin Rogers (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 21 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, Oct. 12 (H) WESTBROOK, Oct. 19 @ Greely

COACH'S COMMENT: “The guys have been terrific in the weight room. We’re a young team. We’ll get better every week. We hope to be strong by the end. I wouldn’t trade this team for any in the league. They’re hard working and cohesive and they want to get better. We just need more game experience, but I believe we’ll make the playoffs.”

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Falmouth has been able to consistently make it to the postseason, but is still seeking its first playoff win. The program was hard hit by graduation as wide receiver Jack Cooleen, quarterback Matt Kingry and running back/linebacker Ryan McDonald departed (running back Willy Sipperly also left the program, to attend prep school), but the Yachtsmen could be near the top of the Western B heap again. Replacing Kingry behind center will be either junior Storm Covens or sophomore Noah Nelson. Derhagopian (an honorable mention league all-star last year), senior Jacob Buhelt (the track star who missed 2011 with injury) and senior Seamus Powers will do the bulk of the ball carrying. Rogers (another honorable mention all-star last season) is a top receiving threat, along with sophomores Matt Edmonds and Jack Simonds. The offensive line is paced by Walker, who stands 6-foot-2 and weighs in at 275 pounds. Goodrich will do the punting and kicking. Defensively, senior Pat Thornton will be a key member of the line. The linebacking corps includes Edmonds and Walker. Buhelt, Derhagopian, Rogers and Simonds will be in the secondary. Falmouth gets a break with the schedule as it doesn’t face reigning champion Wells or perennial powerhouse Mountain Valley. While there are still several stern tests on the schedule, the Yachtsmen should once again be able to post a winning record and make it to the playoffs. This squad has the potential to do what its predecessors couldn’t. Earn a postseason win. Or perhaps even more.

FIELD HOCKEY

COACH: Robin Haley (18th year, 142-103-16 overall record)

2011 Record: 9-5-1 (Lost, 3-2, to Spruce Mountain in Western Class B quarterfinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Katie Cooleen (Senior), Sarah Sparks (Senior), Hillary Nash (Junior), Mikey Richards (Junior), Jillian Rothweiler (Junior), Leika Scott (Junior), Hayley Winslow (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Aug. 29 (H) GREELY, Sept. 10 @ York, Sept. 18 @ Greely, Sept. 20 (H) YORK, Oct. 1 (H) NYA

COACH’S COMMENT: “We have a lot of players in different positions this year. We have some huge shoes to fill. We don’t have one go-to person. It’ll have to be a collective effort. I think we’ll be in the mix. We have a lot to do to get there. The girls have a competitive spirit. Last year’s disappointing playoff loss lit a fire under them.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Falmouth was, as usual, one of the most exciting teams to watch in 2011. While the season ended with a disappointing playoff loss, the Yachtsmen managed to reach the postseason for the 15th year in a row. That string figures to continue this fall as Falmouth is viewed as one of the region’s top squads. The offense has several weapons, led by Scott, who made the Western Maine Conference all-star team a year ago. Other players looking to rattle the cage include Richards, Rothweiler, Sparks, Winslow and junior Youngjin Kim. Cooleen has plenty of experience and leads the defense in front of Nash, who returns in goal. The Yachtsmen will need to replace graduated standout Megan Fortier, but have enough depth to do so. It might take this team a little while to hit its stride, especially with early tests versus regional champion York and rival Greely. Falmouth is always tenacious and seems to be at its best in the biggest games. Look for the Yachtsmen to once again boast a winning record and be near the top of the list of playoff qualifiers. Falmouth has come close on so many occasions. This could be the year that the Yachtsmen break through and leave the rest of the region in their wake.

CROSS COUNTRY

CO-COACHES: Jorma Kurry and Danny Paul (ninth year, one state championship)

2011 Results:
(BOYS) Class B state champions
(GIRLS) 11th @ Class B state meet

TOP RETURNING RUNNERS:
(BOYS) Eric Britton (Senior), Azad Jalali (Senior), Jay Lesser (Senior), Tristan Tucker (Senior), Spencer Brown (Sophomore), Scott Lambert (Sophomore)
(GIRLS) Summer Greenwood (Senior), Denali Nalamalapu (Senior), Meg Palombo (Senior), Abby Payson (Senior), Molly Ryan (Senior), Hayley Simmons (Senior), Madeline Roberts (Junior), Lizzie Cattell (Sophomore) Olivia Ring (Sophomore)

TOP FOES: Cape Elizabeth, Freeport, Greely, York boys, Cape Elizabeth, Greely, York girls

COACH PAUL’S COMMENT: “We have 70 or more runners out. I am optimistic after seeing the group for a couple of days that there is much potential in the newbies. It will be a challenge to keep the program among the best and the fun this fall will be seeing who among several new boys and girls will contribute. Last years crop of freshmen boys is deep even after Spencer and Scott.”

COACH KURRY'S COMMENT: “The boys will rely on new leadership for the first time in recent memory. Jay had a strong year last year and if he continues improving, will give us the strength we need up front. If Azad is healthy, he'll continue with Scott and Spencer for a tough pack. The key will be the emergence of a consistent number five. Eric and Tristan are experienced competitors and are training well. The boys have high expectations and are eager to take on the best in the conference and state. The girls will be looking to improve significantly on last year. The top runners came back in good shape and are working well. If they stay healthy and work together, a strong finish is likely. Our goal is to be among the best come postseason and aim for a top finish at regionals. The Eastern girls are strong, but we'll give everything we have at the state meet. Madeline will be a strong frontrunner and the other girls are fit and should be a model of good pack running.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: After several close calls, Falmouth’s boys returned to the pinnacle in 2011. This autumn, both teams are eyeing the top spot.
The boys were unbeatable last year and even after graduating all-state runner Tim Follo, still return state meet scorer Lesser (13th), as well as Brown, who was 26th, but didn’t score because six teammates were faster. Also back are experienced runners Britton, Jalali and Tucker, along with Lambert, who hopes to move up the ladder. Sophomore Bryce Murdick, who comes to Falmouth from New Hampshire, and freshmen Josh Simensky and Sean Soucy, add depth. The Yachtsmen are used to facing stern competition in the conference and will have that again. They’ll be true to the task. While Falmouth isn’t the powerhouse it was last fall, it will still be very formidable. By the time the regional and state meets roll around, the Yachtsmen will be in position to do great things once again. Don’t be surprised if they reach the top of the heap once more.
On the girls’ side, Roberts (25th), Payson (51st) and Ryan (57th) were all state meet scorers last year. Greenwood, Nalamalapu, Palombo and Simmons provide senior leadership and depth, as do Cattell, new senior Geneva Waite and sophomores Alta Farrell and Ania Wright. Roberts (a first-team all-star a year ago) could be one of the conference’s best runners. There’s quite a potential pack waiting to back her up. Last season’s state finish (the first time Falmouth finished out of the top 10 since 2004) was a disappointment and likely an aberration. Look for this group to be near the top during the regular season and at the big October meets. Regionals and states should feature memorable performances from the Yachtsmen.

GOLF

COACH: Spike Herrick (22nd year, six state championships)

2011 Results: 8-2 (Class A state champions)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Drew Proctor (Senior), Russell Barnard (Junior), Brad Gilbert (Junior), Matt Hutcheon (Junior), Joe Lesniak (Junior), Alden Weller (Junior)

TOP FOES: Cheverus, Scarborough

COACH’S COMMENT: “We lost four kids who played at states. They’ll be hard to replace. I’m happy with the squad we have. I’d call it a rebuilding year for us, but we have very good raw material. Best of all, they’re really good kids.”

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Falmouth took its Class B title from 2010 and parlayed it into a a Class A crown last fall. With nothing left to prove, the 2012 Yachtsmen could rest on their laurels, but don’t be surprised if this group makes a run at more hardware. It won’t come easily as per usual, Falmouth was hard hit by graduation, but the cupboard isn’t exactly bare. Lesniak is the only returning scorer from last year’s state meet, where he shot an 83. Lesniak, a second-team all-star last fall, will lead this team, with help from the strong junior core of Barnard, Gilbert, Hutcheon and Weller and senior Proctor, last seen helping the Yachtsmen win a baseball championship in June. Freshman George Gilbert could make an immediate impact. Falmouth will get a stern test from Cheverus and Scarborough in the regular season, but should find itself once again in the state championship match. If the Yachtsmen can once again be at their best on the biggest day of the year, they have the necessary ingredients to win it all once more. You can never count this program out.

VOLLEYBALL

COACH: Gary Powers (sixth year, 56-24 overall record)

2011 Results: 10-6 (Lost, 3-0, to Greely in Class A semifinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Marian Bergkamp (Senior), Dana Bloch (Senior), Anna Hickey (Senior), Natalie Kuhn (Senior), Danielle Li (Senior), Katrina Meserve (Junior)

PIVOTAL MATCHES: Aug. 31 @ Gorham, Sept. 10 @ Greely, Sept. 21 (H) BIDDEFORD, Oct. 1 (H) YARMOUTH, Oct. 5 (H) SCARBOROUGH, Oct. 12 (H) GREELY

COACH'S COMMENT: “The difference in the strength of the top teams continues to decrease and all seem capable of winning. After graduating seven seniors, we'll be rebuilding. We should be in the mix if we can win a couple of matches against some of the top teams. We are hoping to crack that top five. Depending on how quickly the younger kids adapt to the system, we could be in the mix. The younger kids bring some height and athletic ability. All the kids are working hard. I would consider us a dark horse. If everyone stays healthy, we could surprise a few teams.”

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: After back-to-back appearances in the state championship match, Falmouth didn’t make it quite that far a year ago, but the Yachtsmen were still competitive and should be again in 2012. This season, Falmouth has an experienced group, along with some promising newcomers who should keep it hot on Greely’s heels for the top spot. Bloch is a setter. Li is a middle hitter. Meserve is at the outside hitter position. Bergkamp plays a little of everything, outside, middle, opposite. Hickey can play middle or opposite. Kuhn is a defensive specialist. Juniors Riley Burfeind (outside hitter) and Katie Ryan (opposite and libero) join the team this fall. They’ll make an impact, as should sophomores Leigh Bernardy (middle), Ally Hickey (middle), Callie McMahon (setter) and Megan Tammaro (outside/opposite/libero). There figures to be plenty of parity in Class A this year. Greely, as usual, is the favorite, but the Rangers suffered some key graduation losses. Biddeford, Gorham, MDI and Scarborough will also be heard from. If the Yachtsmen can avoid last year’s costly injuries, they’ll be right there as well. This program has shown it can play with the best. Expect that to be the case again in 2012. When all is said and done, Falmouth might have no peer.

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

Photo: File photo

Billy Mullin is one of several key seniors on the Falmouth roster this fall.

Photo: File photo

Senior Jack Pike will be a key cog on the Falmouth defense this autumn.

Photo: File photo

Luke Velas made an impact as a freshman and will help the Yachtsmen to great things again in 2012.

Photo: File photo

Alex Bernier had a flair for the dramatic last season. She hopes to cap her high school soccer career with another state title.

Photo: File photo

Senior midfielder Cassie Darrow is one of the Yachtsmen's top returners in 2012.

Photo: File photo

Senior Alex Derhagopian is a top returner for a Falmouth football team which made the playoffs again last season.

Photo: File photo

Junior Jillian Rothweiler figures to be right in the middle of the action again this season.

Photo: File photo

Senior Abby Payson and her teammates are shooting for a top finish in girls' cross country.

Photo: File photo

Junior Madeline Roberts will be one of the conference's fastest runners this fall.

Photo: File photo

Senior Danielle Li and her teammates expect to remain among the best in the state.

Photo: File photo

Junior Katrina Meserve will be one of the state's top outside hitters.

Fall Schedules

FOOTBALL

Fri., Aug. 31 @ Gray-NG

Fri., Sept. 7 H SPRUCE MTN.

Fri., Sept. 14 @ Marshwood

Fri., Sept. 21 H CAPE ELIZABETH

Fri., Sept. 28 H LAKE REGION

Fri., Oct. 5 @ Fryeburg

Fri., Oct. 12 H WESTBROOK

Fri., Oct. 19 @ Greely

BOYS' SOCCER

Fri., Aug. 31 H CAPE ELIZABETH

Tues., Sept. 4 H NYA

Fri., Sept. 7 @ Poland

Tues., Sept. 11 @ Greely

Tues., Sept. 18 @ Freeport

Thurs., Sept. 20 H GRAY-NG

Sat. Sept. 22 @ Yarmouth

Tues., Sept. 25 @ Traip

Sat., Sept. 29 H YARMOUTH

Tues., Oct. 2 @ York

Tues., Oct. 9 @ Cape Elizabeth

Thurs. Oct. 11 H POLAND

Sat., Oct. 13 H GREELY

Tues., Oct. 16 H YORK

GIRLS' SOCCER

Fri., Aug. 31 @ Cape Elizabeth

Tues., Sept. 4 @ NYA

Sat., Sept. 8 H POLAND

Tues., Sept. 11 @ Greely

Sat., Sept. 15 @ Gray-NG

Tues., Sept. 18 H FREEPORT

Sat., Sept. 22 @ Yarmouth

Thurs., Sept. 27 H WELLS

Sat., Sept. 29 H YARMOUTH

Tues., Oct. 2 H YORK

Tues., Oct. 9 H CAPE ELIZABETH

Thurs., Oct. 11 @ Poland

Sat., Oct. 13 H GREELY

Tues., Oct. 16 @ York

FIELD HOCKEY

Wed., Aug. 29 H GREELY

Fri., Aug. 31 @ Cape Elizabeth

Tues., Sept. 4 @ Yarmouth

Thurs., Sept. 6 H LAKE REGION

Mon., Sept. 10 @ York

Fri., Sept. 14 H FRYEBURG

Tues., Sept. 18 @ Greely

Thurs., Sept. 20 H YORK

Sat., Sept. 22 @ Gray-NG

Tues., Sept. 25 @ Wells

Fri., Sept. 28 @ Fryeburg

Mon., Oct. 1 H NYA

Thurs., Oct. 4 H CAPE ELIZABETH

Wed., Oct. 10 H WELLS

CROSS COUNTRY

Fri., Aug. 31 H LR, NYA, YORK

Fri., Sept. 7 @ GNG (Merriconeag)

Sat., Sept. 15 @ Freeport (Fryeburg)

Fri., Sept. 21 H POLAND, SACOPEE, TRAIP, WELLS YORK

Sat., Sept. 29 @ Belfast

Fri., Oct. 5 @ Greely (Cape, Wells, Yarm)

Fri., Oct. 12 WMC Championships

Sat., Oct. 20 Western B Regionals

Sat., Oct. 27 Class B States

GOLF

Thurs., Aug. 30 H SCARBOROUGH

Tues. Sept. 4 @ Deering

Thurs., Sept. 6 @ Cheverus

Mon., Sept. 10 @ Portland

Mon., Sept. 17 @ Scarborough

Wed., Sept. 19 H DEERING

Fri., Sept. 21 H CHEVERUS

Tues., Sept. 25 H PORTLAND

Wed., Sept. 26 H SP

Thurs., Sept. 27 @ SP

VOLLEYBALL

Fri., Aug. 31 @ Gorham

Tues., Sept. 4 @ Cheverus

Thurs., Sept. 6 H CONY

Mon., Sept. 10 @ Greely

Fri., Sept. 14 H CHEVERUS

Wed., Sept. 19 H WINDHAM

Fri., Sept. 21 H BIDDEFORD

Mon., Sept. 24 @ Lake Region

Thurs., Sept. 27 @ Cape Elizabeth

Fri., Sept. 28 @ NYA

Mon., Oct. 1 H YARMOUTH

Wed., Oct. 3 @ Kennebunk

Fri., Oct. 5 H SCARBOROUGH

Fri., Oct. 12 H GREELY

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