North Yarmouth Academy’s fall sports teams could be in for great things. Boys’ soccer has been a playoff regular and expects to contend again. The girls’ team has a new coach and hopes to make the postseason after falling short each of the past three seasons. Field hockey has set the standard in the region for the past five years and expects to be a major player again. Both cross country teams feature impressive athletes. Golf is coming off a trip to states and looks to go back. Volleyball has its sights set on a playoff berth.
COACH: Martyn Keen (fourth year, 27-19-4 overall record)
2012 Record: 8-6-1 (Lost, 7-1, to Waynflete in Western C quarterfinals)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Wes Bright (Senior), Jackson Cohan-Smith (Senior), D.J. Nicholas (Junior)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 30 FREEPORT, Oct. 2 @ Waynflete, Oct. 18 WAYNFLETE
COACH’S COMMENT: “With none of the big schools on our schedule this year, there appears to be a chance to accumulate more (Heal) points than normal and gain a higher seed than we’ve traditionally done. However, we’ll be happy to make it to the playoffs this year given our lack of depth and the limited soccer experience of many of our players. Hopefully, the sense of tradition and pride in the program will inspire the team to overachieve and that hard work will then see us quickly develop.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: NYA wasn’t able to embark on its accustomed deep postseason run of upsets last fall as rival Waynflete managed to easily oust the Panthers in the quarterfinal round. This year’s team is most notable for who’s missing, at least at the start, although NYA figures to put it together and be a factor by late October.
NYA does return all-conference and all-region selection D.J. Nicholas, who figures to pace the offense. Nicholas scored 37 goals in his first two varsity seasons. Also back is Cohan-Smith, a senior captain and reigning league all-star, who will control play in the midfield. Bright is another midfielder to watch, one who is capable of adding some offense. Junior Clayton Manchester will be the goalie this fall. He’s new to the role, but shows promise. Other players to watch include senior Mitch Rand (a transfer from the powerhouse Scarborough program) and freshmen Xander Bartone, Grayson Cohen and Jacob Sturgess.
The Panthers have a more favorable schedule than in years past and their annual showdowns with Waynflete don’t come until October. Look for NYA to take its time, but once again peak when it matters most. The Panthers should be able to extend their postseason streak to 18 years and are capable of shaking up the field once they get there.
COACH: Josh Thornton (first year)
2012 Record: 3-11 (no postseason)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Chloe Leishman (Senior), Jennifer Machin (Senior), Mel Regan (Junior), Emily Baker (Sophomore), Alex Wahlstrom (Sophomore)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 30 @ Freeport, Oct. 2 WAYNFLETE, Oct. 18 @ Waynflete
COACH’S COMMENT: “We want to qualify for playoffs and beat our record from the last few years.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: NYA has fallen short of the playoffs three years running, but this could be the season the Panthers return to form. NYA welcomes a new coach in Thornton, who played semi-pro soccer and coached for many years in England. He takes over a team ready to make a move up the standings.
Top returners include potential offensive stars Regan and Wahlstrom (a Western Maine Conference all-star last season), along with Baker (another all-star), Leishman (all-conference) and Machin. Mary Morrison, a transfer from Greely, will also make her mark.
The Panthers should be able to compete with virtually everyone on the schedule and if they perform as hoped, they’ll end their playoff drought.
COACH: Tracy Quimby (third year, 28-7 overall record, one state championship)
2012 Record: 14-3 (Lost, 1-0, to Lisbon in Western C Final)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Olivia Madore (Senior), Abby McKelvy (Senior), Kayla Rose (Senior), Emma Warren (Senior), Elizabeth Coughlin (Junior), Marina Poole (Junior), Juju Tardif (Sophomore)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 9 TRAIP, Sept. 13 YARMOUTH, Sept. 17 @ Waynflete, Sept. 25 @ Falmouth, Oct. 1 @ Traip, Oct. 7 @ Yarmouth, Oct. 9 WAYNFLETE, Oct. 15 YORK
COACH’S COMMENT: “This year’s team has 10 returning players. With six seniors and four juniors plus underclassmen, we have a seasoned group. That said, several players will be in new positions. Positive and upbeat, we’re dedicated and ambitious and enjoy challenges. It should be another great season.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: NYA has enjoyed its share of great seasons in recent years. Since 2007, the Panthers have posted 93 victories and have made the regional final or better each time (including three state titles in that span). NYA’s hope for more hardware was dashed by Lisbon last fall, but the Panthers, despite graduating five, including all-stater and 2012 Fall Female Athlete of the Year, Jen Brown, remain a powerhouse.
The offense will be paced by Rose, a first-team league all-star who scored 12 goals and added seven assists last season. Tardif had a breakout freshman season in 2012, posting the same number of goals and assists that Rose delivered. Poole (nine goals, four assists) is another all-star and top scorer to watch and Madore, despite missing half of last season with mono, scored four goals and had six assists and should be in line for even more production. Warren moves from the defensive end to midfield. McKelvy is the sweeper. Coughlin returns in goal. A two-year starter and standout who already has 179 saves to her credit, she’s a great last line of defense for this group (posting 10 shutouts during an all-star campaign in 2012).
NYA will earn its share of tests over the course of the season, but at this stage, the Panthers appear to be the best Class C squad in the conference. NYA would love to get another crack at Lisbon in the playoffs. This program is proud and hungry and has unfinished business. That could all add up to more headlines when the games matter the most.
(BOYS) Peter Sillin (ninth year, two state championships)
(GIRLS) Chris Mazzurco (14th year, one state champions)
(BOYS) 8th @ Class C state meet
(GIRLS) 9th @ Western C state meet (DNQ for states)
TOP RETURNING RUNNERS:
(BOYS) Haley Cunningham (Junior), John LeBlanc (Junior), Matt Malcom (Junior)
(GIRLS) Hannah Austin (Junior), Maddie Cutten (Junior), Abbie Hinchman (Junior), Kate Hilscher (Sophomore)
TOP FOES: Merriconeag, Waynflete
COACH SILLIN’S COMMENT: “Our team’s still quite young, so I think our main goal will be to build upon last year’s success. We did gain a lot of experience and I’m looking forward to seeing lots of individual and team improvement. Matt has some lofty goals. It will be fun to see what we can do if we stay healthy into November.”
COACH MAZZURCO’S COMMENT: “This could be the biggest team I’ve had. I have 14 girls, seven returning. It’s a young team, but we’re returning our entire regional force. We should be competitive. I’m excited to see what happens. Hannah’s had a great summer and looks as strong as ever. I’m excited to see what she’s capable of.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Both NYA teams feature a standout at the front of the pack and several other strong runners who should help the Panthers to a memorable season.
Malcom, a second-team league all-star and last year’s Fall Male Athlete of the Year, was ninth at the Class C state meet. He hopes for even bigger things as a junior. Other returning scorers include LeBlanc (39th) and Cunningham (42nd). NYA should manage to qualify for states for the fifth year in a row. Malcom will have his shot at individual glory and the Panthers will make some noise as a team as well.
On the girls’ side, Austin is the top returner. She was a league-all-star and qualified for states last year as an individual and had the third-best time in Class C. She’ll be chasing such lofty heights again this autumn. Hilscher (15th), Cutten (44th) and Hinchman (54th) scored at last year’s regional meet. That’s a solid core for this season. NYA hopes to get back to the state meet after a rare year failing to qualify. The Panthers should be able to do that and make their presence felt once they get there.
COACH: Charlie Hudson (second year)
2012 Results: 9-1 (8th @ Class C state match)
GOLFERS TO WATCH: Ben Ambrose (Junior), Dan Mahoney (Junior), Brad Potter (Junior), Nick Demers (Sophomore)
TOP FOES: Freeport, Yarmouth
COACH’S COMMENT: “Following last year’s surprise run, with a year of experience and promising play during the first week of preseason, the team hopes to contend for states. This year’s schedule adds the top teams in the conference. Hopefully that quality competition will help prepare the players for the pressure of a possible return to states. With no seniors and 15 players out, our future looks bright.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: NYA turned heads a year ago, winning every match but one, against Class B power Yarmouth, before claiming the conference title for its class. The Panthers got to the state match and are now looking to do even better this fall.
Potter (92 at the team state match and 95 at individual states) and Demers (101 at the team state match) scored a year ago. Ambrose and Mahoney also have experience. NYA adds four underclassmen who will help the cause. Sophomore Brad Rockey is the top newcomer. Freshmen Baron Becker, Owen McCarthy and Dana Nichols will also be heard from.
The Panthers face a tough slate this fall, but should be able to once again win the majority of their matches. NYA should wind up at Natanis for the state match and this time, don’t be surprised if the Panthers manage a higher finish.
COACH: Nora Krainis (eighth year)
2012 Results: 2-12 (no postseason)
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Charlotte Esancy (Senior), SoHyun Jeon (Senior), Adela McVicar (Senior), Lizzie Roche (Senior)
PIVOTAL MATCHES: Sept. 10 YARMOUTH, Sept. 28 MACHIAS, Sept. 28 WASHINGTON ACADEMY, Oct. 12 @ Sumner, Oct. 12 @ Narraguagus, Oct. 18 JONESPORT-BEALS
COACH’S COMMENT: “We look forward to continued growth all around. (Athletic director) Jack Hardy has worked to get us a competitive schedule and we are looking forward to some healthy competition. We will do everything we can to make the Class B playoffs.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: NYA is focusing on accomplishing big things this season and the Panthers have some talented players.
Esancy is now in her fourth year as a middle hitter/blocker. She had an 87.5 serving percentage last season, posted 108 attacks, 31 kills and 31 digs. McVicar plays the same positions and is in her second year on varsity. She had 123 attacks, 34 kills and 12 blocks a season ago. Roche, now in her fourth season, can do a little of everything. She had 140 receives and 102 digs in 2012. Jeon enters her third year as libero. She had 143 receives and 62 digs last season. A pair of new junior outside hitters, Nina Babbitt and Hannah Carr, will help the cause.
NYA faces several Class B foes during the season and also has some tests from local schools. If this team comes together as hoped, it should be able to eclipse last year’s win total and make a run for the rareified air of the postseason.
Junior Matt Malcom was ninth at the Class C state meet a year ago and could be even more formidable this time around.
Juju Tardif, coming off a breakout freshman campaign, will be in the middle of the action this autumn.
Senior Olivia Madore, healthy this fall, should be another top player to watch for the Panthers.
Senior Kayla Rose will key NYA’s high-powered offense this season.
Junior Mel Regan is a key returner for the NYA girls’ squad.
Junior D.J. Nicholas will likely be NYA’s top scorer this fall.
The spector of senior captain Jackson Cohan-Smith will loom large during the Panthers’ run at a playoff spot this season.
Fri., Sept. 6 @ Traip
Tues., Sept. 10 @ Gray-NG
Thurs., Sept. 12 @ Wells
Mon., Sept. 16 H TRAIP
Fri., Sept. 20 H WELLS
Tues., Sept. 24 @ Richmond
Sat., Sept. 28 H SACOPEE
Mon., Sept. 30 H FREEPORT
Wed., Oct. 2 @ Waynflete
Fri., Oct. 4 @ Fryeburg
Tues., Oct. 8 H POLAND
Fri., Oct. 11 H LAKE REGION
Wed., Oct. 16 @ Sacopee
Fri., Oct. 18 H WAYNFLETE
Fri., Sept. 6 H TRAIP
Tues., Sept. 10 H GRAY-NG
Mon., Sept. 16 @ Traip
Wed., Sept. 18 H OOB
Tues., Sept. 24 H BUCKFIELD
Wed., Sept. 25 H FRYEBURG
Fri., Sept. 27 H SACOPEE
Mon., Sept. 30 @ Freeport
Wed., Oct. 2 H WAYNFLETE
Tues., Oct. 8 @ Poland
Fri., Oct. 11 @ Lake Region
Mon., Oct. 14 @ OOB
Wed., Oct. 16 @ Sacopee
Fri., Oct. 18 @ Waynflete
Fri., Sept. 6 @ Wells
Mon., Sept. 9 H TRAIP
Wed., Sept. 11 @ OOB
Fri., Sept. 13 H YARMOUTH
Tues., Sept. 17 @ Waynflete
Thurs., Sept. 19 H SACOPEE
Wed., Sept. 25 @ Falmouth
Sat., Sept. 28 H WELLS
Tues., Oct. 1 @ Traip
Thurs., Oct. 3 H OOB
Mon., Oct. 7 @ Yarmouth
Wed., Oct. 9 H WAYNFLETE
Fri., Oct. 11 @ Sacopee
Tues., Oct. 15 H YORK
Fri., Sept. 6 @ Greely
Fri., Sept. 13 @ Sacopee
Fri., Sept. 20 H CAPE, FRYE, WAYN
Sat., Sept. 28 @ Manchester Invitational
Sat., Oct. 5 @ Belfast Invitational
Fri., Oct. 18 @ WMC Championships
Sat., Oct. 26 @ Western B Regionals
Sat., Nov. 2 @ Class B State Meet
Tues., Sept. 3 @ Cape Elizabeth
Mon., Sept. 9 @ Waynflete
Wed., Sept. 11 @ Sacopee
Mon., Sept. 16 H WAYNFLETE
Wed., Sept. 18 @ Yarmouth
Tues., Sept. 24 H YORK
Thurs. Sept. 26 H SACOPEE
Tues., Sept. 10 H YARMOUTH
Thurs., Sept. 12 H CHEVERUS
Mon., Sept. 16 @ Cony
Wed., Sept. 18 H KENNEBUNK
Wed., Sept. 25 @ TA
Fri., Sept. 27 H GARDINER
Sat., Sept. 28 H MACHIAS
Wed., Oct. 2 @ Lake Region
Tues., Oct. 8 H SP
Sat., Oct. 12 @ Sumner
Tues., Oct. 15 @ Cape Elizabeth
Thurs., Oct. 17 H WINDHAM
Sat., Oct. 19 H JONESPORT-BEALS
Junior Hannah Austin will be one of the state’s top female runners, regardless of class, this season.
More photos below.