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North Yarmouth Academy Panthers 2010 Fall Sports Preview

Sports

North Yarmouth Academy Panthers 2010 Fall Sports Preview

NYA's fall sports teams never fail to impress. This year, boys' soccer will look to build on last autumn's surprise run to the regional final. The girls' team has enough talent to go all the way. Field hockey has been to the state game two years running and hopes to win it all, as it did in 2008. Cross country always makes the most of its numbers. Both teams will be strong Class C contenders. Golf boasts a standout individual and looks to become a powerful team as well. Volleyball hopes to become a contender in Class B.

BOYS' SOCCER

COACH: Martyn Keen (second year)

2009 Record: 8-7-1 (Lost 2-0 to St. Dom's in Western Class C Final)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Mohamed Dahia (Senior), Asad Dahia (Junior), Sam Leishman (Junior), Matt Michaud (Junior), Forest Milburn (Junior), Ryan Rousseau (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 8 @ Cape Elizabeth, Sept. 16 @ Waynflete, Sept. 28 @ Yarmouth, Oct. 2 (H) WAYNFLETE, Oct. 19 @ Freeport

COACH’S COMMENT: “It's a great group of kids. We have more talent this year all-around. We have good leadership and we're more confident. We're taking shape. We hope to improve gradually as the year goes along. We just need enough Heal Points to get in. We only have 12 countable games. If we get in, we have a chance to make some serious noise.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: The Panthers certainly peaked at the right time a year ago, going on an unexpected run to the regional final in Keen's first season. This year, for the first time since 2007, the program isn't starting from scratch with a new coach and should be much better equipped to compete from start to finish. Michaud and Rousseau are returning league all-stars. Both will be prime scoring threats, as will both Asad Dahia and Mohamed Dahia. A pair of freshmen, Jackson Cohan-Smith and Noah Seely, will make an impact at midfield. On defense, Leishman and Milburn have experience. They're joined by Finnish transfer student Niklas Nirvanmaa, a 6-foot-3 player, who will also see time at the midfield. Senior Jesse Holland, a transfer from Brunswick, is new in goal, but is highly touted by Keen, who knows a thing or two about keepers. NYA needs to win the games it's supposed to. Showdowns with perennial powers Cape Elizabeth and Yarmouth (both on the road) will be hard to win, so the Panthers must get Heal Points where they can. Once they're in the dance, they're capable of going all the way for the first time in five seasons. This should be a very intriguing and strong squad from start to finish.

GIRLS' SOCCER

COACH: Charles Fischman (second year)

2009 Record: 11-3-1 (Lost 2-1 to Waynflete in Western C quarterfinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Caroline Bowne (Senior), Lily Wellenbach (Senior), Lauren Nawfel (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 7 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, Sept. 16 @ Waynflete, Sept. 28 (H) YARMOUTH, Oct. 2 (H) WAYNFLETE

COACH’S COMMENT: “The kids are working hard and are improving. We're focused on being as prepared as we can be. Now that it's my second year, they know more about me and I have a better sense of what they're capable of. Players have a better sense of their roles. I'd like to believe that the team will be successful. It was a great experience last fall. It continues to be an exciting environment.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: While Fischman declined to get specific about his players prior to the season, we do know that the Panthers are always in the hunt and should be strong again in 2010, even after the departure of superstar Courtney Dumont. Nawfel and Wellenbach were all-stars a year ago. Bowne returns in goal. Other returners include seniors Sarah Burkey, Blair Haggett and Hannah Lolar, juniors Charlotte Briggs, Moira Lachance, Ally Morrison and Hannah Twombly and sophomore Molly Strabley. There are several players on the roster who won a first-ever lacrosse championship back in June. That experience will help this team. NYA faces rival Waynflete twice and also has games with Cape Elizabeth and Yarmouth, but the Panthers should be in good shape with the rest of the schedule and by season's end, will once again boast an impressive record. After being eliminated two straight postseasons by the Flyers, NYA would love to get a measure of revenge. If so, the Panthers have a great shot to get back to the pinnacle after a two-year absence.

FIELD HOCKEY

COACH: Julia Sterling (sixth year)

2009 Record: 17-1 (Lost 1-0 to Dexter in Class C Final)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Emily Harrison (Senior), Renee Lamoreau (Senior), Frances Leslie (Senior), Kylie Dalbec (Junior), Katherine Millett (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 1 @ Sacopee, Sept. 3 (H) FREEPORT, Sept. 17 (H) YORK, Sept. 23 (H) SACOPEE, Sept. 27 @ Freeport, Oct. 5 @ Falmouth

COACH’S COMMENT: “The kids are really excited. It could be a better team than last year. It's a tremendous group of girls who want to play field hockey in college. Things didn't work out at the end last year. The goal my girls gave me this year was to be the fastest team in the state. We'll play together.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: While last year's team was even more dominant than the 2008 Class C state championship squad, the Panthers couldn't find a way to score in the state final and saw their season end in agony. This time around, NYA looks to finish the job and return to the top. Sterling is coming off leading the girls' lacrosse program to its first-ever title and an abundance of talent to work with. Dalbec and Leslie were first-team league all-stars in 2009 and will be pace what figures to once again be a dynamic offense. Millett, new junior Sasha McLean and sophomore Hannah Hearn will also do their share of rattling the cage. Sophomores Jen Brown and Bailey Clock are also in the mix. Last year, the Panthers defensive players weren't kept very busy, but with a strong schedule, they'll have to be on their toes in 2010. Captains Harrison and Lamoreau lead that unit, along with junior Katie Cawley, new senior Sally LaPointe and junior transfer (from Falmouth) Megan Fortier. Junior Mariah Farrell, who saw time in the playoffs last year, is in goal. Games with perennial Western B powers York and Falmouth will ensure that the regular season is more meaningful than a year ago. NYA should be explosive once again and has a great shot to post another stellar record. If this group stays healthy and hungry, a third straight trip to states isn't out of the question. If the Panthers get back, they'll settle for nothing short of the big trophy this time around.

CROSS COUNTRY

COACH:

(BOYS) Peter Sillin (fifth year)

(GIRLS) Chris Mazzurco (ninth year)

2009 Results:

(BOYS) 3rd @ Class C state meet

(GIRLS) 2nd @ Class C state meet

TOP RETURNING RUNNERS:

(BOYS) Eliot Daniels (Senior), Rudy Guliani (Junior), Evan Kendall (Junior), Grant McPherson (Junior), Cam Regan (Junior), Brian Trelegan (Junior)

(GIRLS) Hillary Detert (Junior), Sarah Jordan (Junior), Maggie Meixell (Junior), Morgan Scully (Junior)

TOP FOES: Freeport, Lisbon, Waynflete

COACH SILLIN’S COMMENT: “I'm very much looking forward to the season. We only graduated one of our top seven, so we're still a young team, but the guys are growing in experience and maturing as runners, so I'm sure our best days are ahead of us. The guys have competitive personalities, but the best part is the friendly and fun way they all get along. I'm hopeful that if we stay injury-free, we can be in the mix again at the end of the year.”

COACH MAZZURCO'S COMMENT: “Our numbers are back to normal. The majority of last year's runners return. We hope to get five healthy to the line. If we do, we'll be pretty good. The girls are excited. I'm looking forward to watching this group”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: NYA consistently produces strong cross country teams despite low numbers and 2010 should see both Panthers squads battle for the top spot in the region and state.

The boys return all five of their scorers from states last year. Regan was eighth, Kendall 14th, Guliani 19th, McPherson 29th and Daniels 34th. Trelegan also ran and came in 46th, but did not score. That's a pretty solid nucleus. This pack shows great promise and barring injury, should be very strong in the regular season and especially come the big meets at the end. NYA has what it takes to ascend to the top of Class C for the first time since 2002.

On the girls' side, the team returns four scorers from last year's state meet which fell a point shy of dethroning Waynflete and winning it all for the first time in eight years. This year's squad will be chasing the Flyers as well and can't be overlooked. Top returners include Detert (third at states a year ago), Meixell (seventh), Jordan (10th) and Scully (12th). Junior Hadley Gibson, who was injured a year ago, adds depth. There aren't a lot of girls on the team so staying healthy is paramount. The Panthers want to be at their best at the end, like they were a year ago. If all goes well, NYA will battle Waynflete down to the wire once again.

GOLF

COACH: Mike Dutton (second year)

2009 Results: 10-1 (3rd @ Class C state match)

TOP RETURNING PLAYER: Tim Millett (Senior)

TOP FOES: Freeport, OOB, Waynflete

COACH'S COMMENT: “We're not as deep as last year. We lost much. We'll need to rely on newcomers to improve and contribute.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: The 2010 Panthers figure to be the Tim Millett Show, but if some other players step up, a return to states is realistic. Millett tied for the individual Class C crown in 2008, won it a year ago, was a league all-star and earned NYA Fall Male Athlete of the Year honors. He shot a 71 to win the individual title, a week after posting a 76 at the team competition. NYA lost its other state match scorers to graduation and will hope that senior Finn Hadlock, juniors Parker Howard and Jake Landry and sophomore Ryan Walters can step up to pick up the slack. The Panthers should win their share of regular season matches and will hope to be at their best at state meet qualifying. While all eyes will be on Millett as he looks to win another individual crown, his teammates could make for a special season all around if they can find a way to make it back to Natanis for states.

VOLLEYBALL

COACH: Nora Krainis (sixth year)

2009 Results: 2-12 (no postseason)

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Alicia Hoffman (Senior), Jenny Sharp (Senior), Danielle Smith (Senior), Chelsea Muller (Junior), Grace Gilbert (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL MATCHES: Sept. 9 @ Gorham, Sept. 17 (H) SCARBOROUGH, Sept. 30 (H) YARMOUTH

COACH’S COMMENT: “This is an exciting year as it is the first that we have scheduled games against Class B teams. We are the only Class B team in the West Region, so we'll be traveling east for a few matches. We're excited about the prospect of playing teams closer to our caliber, after having won a couple of Class A matches last year.”

FORECASTER'S FORECAST: NYA is assigned to Class B along with many Down East schools, most of which have played volleyball for years. The Panthers appear to be on the rise and if they get a few breakthrough wins, could be in line for a trip to the playoffs. Hoffman is a setter. Sharp plays middle hitter. Outside hitters include Gilbert and Hoffman and Smith is a hitter as well. For NYA, it's all about getting confidence early and perhaps a few wins under its belt. Several long road trips loom, but if the Panthers can get some wins in faraway places, the season will be an unmitigated success.

Photo: File photo

Sophomore Molly Strabley and her teammates are hoping for great things in 2010.

Photo: File photo

Junior Hannah Twombly is another returning player of note for the NYA girls' soccer team.

Photo: File photo

Junior Katherine Millett will score her share of goals this season.

Photo: File photo

NYA junior Cam Regan finished eighth at last year's state meet.

Photo: File photo

Junior Rudy Guiliani is another top returner for the Panthers.

Photo: File photo

Juniors Hillary Detert (left) and Maggie Meixell were both top 10 finishers for the Panthers at last year's Class C state meet where NYA fell one point shy of Waynflete.