North Yarmouth Academy Panthers Fall Sports Preview

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Coach: Martyn Keen (fifth year, 42-20-4 overall record) 

2014 record: 7-6-2 (Lost, 1-0, to Sacopee Valley in Western C preliminary round)

Top returners: Xander Bartone (Junior), Bobby Murray (Junior), Thomas Pitts (Junior), Jeremy Thelven (Junior), Michael Pitts (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Sept. 8 @ Gray-NG, Sept. 12 SACOPEE, Sept. 21 WAYNFLETE, Sept. 24 WELLS, Sept. 29 @ Sacopee, Oct. 2 FREEPORT, Oct. 10 @ Waynflete, Oct. 13 @ Richmond, Oct. 15 @ Wells

Coach’s comment: “It’s good to be back. It’s an interesting blend of kids this year. We could be very exciting offensively. Defensively, we still need to get it right. We’ve got talent, but it’s about how the supporting cast does. I’m very hopeful we’ll be competitive against most teams. We don’t go very deep, but we have a lot of potential.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: The best news for the program this fall is the return of Keen, who coached for four very successful seasons between 2010-13 before taking last year off. He inherits a squad which was quickly ousted from the playoffs last fall, but has the potential to win Class C this season.

NYA scored 49 goals in 2014 with 24 coming from reigning Fall Male Athlete of the Year D.J. Nicholas, who has graduated, but this year’s squad has the potential to score even more prolifically. Keen is excited about the addition of junior Henry Quesada, who will make life miserable for the opposition. Murray (a WMC all-star in 2014), Michael Pitts and Thomas Pitts (who missed much of last season with a knee injury) are other scorers to watch. Defensively, Bartone (a league all-star last fall) and Thelven will be the anchors. They’re joined by senior Dan MacVicar and freshman Finn Murray, who will also see play in the midfield. The Panthers were deciding on a goalkeeper at press time and Keen was giving senior Trevor Lachance, junior Henry Briggs and freshman Zack Woods a chance to earn the job. 

NYA’s last state championship is now a decade in the rearview mirror, but this has the looks of the team which could end the drought. The Panthers won’t have to contend with two-time defending champion Maranacook because the Black Bears are now in Class B. They will have to get past rival Waynflete and some other tough squads, but if the goaltending situation gets resolved and the defense is staunch, NYA will be right there. November could be a time of great celebration.


Coach: Josh Thornton (third year, 8-17-4 overall record)

2014 record: 1-11-2 (no postseason) 

Top returners: Emily Baker (Senior), Lindsay Tufts (Junior)

Pivotal games: Sept. 11 @ Sacopee, Sept. 22 @ Waynflete, Sept. 29 SACOPEE, Oct. 2 @ Freeport, Oct. 10 WAYNFLETE

Coach’s comment: “We’re a small team, but we have five seniors, so we have some experience. We’re hoping to better last year’s record and hopefully we’ll make the playoffs.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: NYA has fallen short of the playoffs in four of the past five seasons, but there are positive signs this autumn.

For starters, Baker, a league all-star in 2014, is back. She’ll play center back and will spend a lot of time around the ball. Tufts returns in goal. Newcomer Isabelle Coleman could make some noise in the midfield. Several other players are hoping to step up and make a mark as well.

The Panthers could use some early success to gain some confidence. They’ll improve on last year’s record and if they develop as hoped, a return to the postseason is quite possible.


Coach: Julia Sterling (seventh year, 83-17-1 overall record, two state championships)

2014 record: 11-5 (Lost, 4-0, to Oak Hill in Western C semifinals)

Top returners: Keeley Bartolini (Senior), Jenna Block (Senior), Linnea Hull (Senior), MacKenzie Sangster (Senior), Kiersten Marr (Junior)

Pivotal games: Sept. 4 @ Sacopee, Sept. 12 YORK, Sept. 16 @ Falmouth, Sept. 22 SACOPEE, Oct. 7 CAPE ELIZABETH, Oct. 10 @ Greely

Coach’s comment: “I’m excited. It’s fun to be back. We’ll have 11 players. We’re blending and bonding. We have a very talented group of girls. We’ll become much more skilled. It’s going to take a little time and getting to know each other. I feel like we have a good chance in the league, but we have a tough schedule.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: NYA played shorthanded throughout the 2014 season, but again produced a terrific campaign, reaching the playoffs for the 26th year in a row. This fall, the Panthers take a step back into their illustrious past as Sterling, who led them to a pair of Class C titles, replaces Tracy Quimby as coach (after Quimby replaced Sterling a few years back). While All-State goalie, Class C Player of the Year and reigning Fall Female Athlete of the Year Elizabeth Coughlin, All-Stater Marina Poole and other key contributors have graduated, the cupboard isn’t bare and teams will overlook NYA at their peril.

At press time, the Panthers had enough players on the roster to compete as a full team, but there are no subs and the team has become conditioned to playing a full 60 minutes (if not more). There is a solid veteran core, led by tri-captains Hull, Marr and Sangster, who endured the same circumstances in 2014. Hull and Marr will pace the offense, with help from a couple promising freshmen, Emma Cohen and Amber Rose (the younger sister of former program standout, Kayla Rose). Hull is a top defender, along with Bartolini and Block. Senior Kallie Sturgeon, junior Savannah Shaw and freshman Hannah Gagne are other defenders to watch. Freshman Alex Markonish has the daunting task of filling Coughlin’s shoes in goal. Look for this group to be a lot stronger in October than they are at the start of the season.

The Panthers had their seven-year streak of reaching at least the regional final snapped last fall, but could start a new one this autumn. There are a lot of questions to answer, but by October, no one will want to play NYA with their season on the line.


Coach: Nora Krainis (10th year)

2014 results: 3-11 (no postseason)

Top returners: Suzanna Butterfield (Junior), Zelda Clegg (Junior), Jordan Ackerman (Sophomore)

Pivotal matches: Sept. 26 MACHIAS, Sept. 26 WASHINGTON ACADEMY, Oct. 2 @ Jonesport-Beals, Oct. 3 @ Sumner, Oct. 3 @ Bucksport

Coach’s comment: “We graduated 12 seniors last year, so this year’s team is mostly new. The team is looking good, moving well and getting some great touches and plays for this early in the season. We are looking forward to meeting some new teams like Wells, Bonny Eagle, Deering and Portland and continuing to improve our game.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: NYA is basically starting from scratch this fall, but a favorable schedule will allow the Panthers to be competitive and maybe even make a run at a playoff berth.

Butterfield is the top returner. The outside hitter had 51 kills, 23 aces, nine digs, four assists and four blocks in 2014. Clegg, a middle hitter, had 12 kills, 11 aces, five digs, two assists and a block last fall and will also be heard from. Ackerman is a setter, who is also an efficient server. Sophomore Tessa Quattrucci joins the team and will be a setter/libero. Three freshmen, Maggie Larson (setter), Sydney Plummer (middle hitter) and Lithia Sevigny (libero/outside hitter), add depth. 

NYA should have some very good matches against the new programs and versus Down East powers who could be potential playoff foes in a best case scenario. Look for this team to show steady growth and set itself up nicely for the future.


(Boys) Peter Sillin (10th year, two state championships)
(Girls) Chris Mazzurco (16th year, one state championship)

2014 results:
(Boys) 8th @ Class C state meet
(Girls) 5th @ Class C state meet

Top returners:
(Boys) Jack Kostelnik (Junior), Parker Elkins (Sophomore), Justin Guo (Sophomore), Kieran Rowe (Sophomore), Jack Sillin (Sophomore)
(Girls) Sarah Cooper (Senior), Kate Hilscher (Senior), Claire Maurer (Senior), Sarah Austin (Junior), Megan Alberding (Sophomore), Lea Webster (Sophomore)

Top foes: Maine Coast Waldorf School, Waynflete

Coach Sillin’s comment: “With the graduation of some top seniors and the departure of a couple other guys to other sports, we find ourselves in a rebuilding year. Our team is quite young, but they’re smart, friendly and have great attitudes. I’m looking forward to a season of steady improvement and the continuation of our tradition of a fun ‘work hard, play hard’ team culture.”

Coach Mazzurco’s comment: “Our numbers are down a little bit, but it’s a positive group. They put in a lot of time over the summer. We have a tight pack. They’re training well together. We have our normal goals of getting to the state championship meet and pushing each other to get better.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Both NYA teams appear primed for strong seasons.

The boys reached the state meet for the sixth straight year in 2014 and another trip appears likely even after standout Matt Malcom and three other state meet scorers departed. Kostelnik (55th a year ago) is the lone returning state meet scorer. He’s joined by the four sophomores, Elkins, Guo, Rowe and Sillin, who look to make their mark, and a pair of new sophomores, Brennan Flatt and Rick Hilscher, who provide depth. This group will only get better the more they run and could make some noise in the postseason.

The girls graduated Hannah Austin (third a year ago), but return Sarah Austin (24th), Alberding (28th), Cooper (34th) and Hilscher (56th). Webster also took part at states a year ago. Maurer is a seasoned veteran and sophomore Daniella Crane joins the team. The Panthers are hoping for a fifth top five state meet finish in seven seasons. They’ll be competitive throughout.


Coach: Charlie Hudson (fourth year)

2014 results: 8-3 (6th @ Class C state match)

Top returners: Gaelan Arnold (Junior), Haven Cutko (Junior), Owen McCarthy (Junior), Dana Nichols (Junior)

Top foes: Fryeburg, OOB, Waynflete, York

Coach’s comment: “We have a huge turnout this year. Golf has become quite popular with the hockey players. Seven juniors are the core of the team. We have 11 freshmen. It’s a good group to work with. I’m excited about our potential. We have a very good shot to get to states again and our core will all return.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: NYA enjoyed a very good season a year ago and that trend should continue this fall as it looks to not only boast a strong regular season mark, but move up at the Class C state match.

Nichols (92 last year at states), Cutko (103) and McCarthy (104) are all back. McCarthy and Nichols were league all-stars in 2014. Arnold is another veteran who returns. New junior Jake Malcom and freshman Connor Millett, younger brother of former individual state champion, Tim Millett, join the team and should make an immediate impact. 

Another strong regular season is in store. NYA is the prohibitive favorite to be the Class C representative from the Western Maine Conference and if the returning Panthers can improve on their scores at the state match and the new players develop as hoped, this is a team that could be among the best in all of Class C and next year’s squad could be even stronger.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Bobby Murray came to NYA from Yarmouth a year ago and made quite an impact. He figures to be a top player again as a junior.

Sophomore Michael Pitts will be in the middle of the action for an NYA boys’ soccer team seeking to make a run at the top of Southern Class C.

Junior Jeremy Thelven is another key returner for NYA.

Emily Baker is back for her senior season and hopes to help the Panthers compete for a playoff spot.

Senior Keeley Bartolini hopes to help NYA’s field hockey team make another deep playoff run.

Linnea Hull will make life difficult for the opposition in the weeks to come.

Junior Kiersten Marr will be in the scoring mix for the Panthers this fall.

MacKenzie Sangster is a key returning senior for the Panthers.

Sidebar Elements

Dana Nichols returns to lead what should be another strong NYA golf squad.

Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.