North Yarmouth Academy Panthers Fall Sports Preview

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Senior Xander Kostelnik is a returning league all-star for a NYA boys’ soccer team which could make a run at a Class D state title this year.

File photos.

More photos below.

BOYS’ SOCCER

Coach: Martyn Keen (seventh year, 56-34-5 overall record)

2017 record: 4-9-1 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Ryan Baker (Senior), Xander Kostelnik (Senior), Alasdair Swett (Senior)

Pivotal games: Sept. 13 @ Buckfield, Sept. 25 RICHMOND, Sept. 27 @ Waynflete, Oct. 9 BUCKFIELD, Oct. 11 @ Richmond

Coach’s comment: “I’m quite excited. We’ve got a nice little group. They’re working hard. Our starting lineup looks strong. We should be better than last year. If we can get in the Class D tournament, anything can happen.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: NYA fell just short of the playoffs last season for the first time since 1995, but that figures to be an aberration. This year’s Panthers edition is capable of doing some memorable things.

Baker and Kostelnik were both league all-stars in 2017 and will set the tone for this year’s squad. Each will see time in the midfield and up top and could be top scorers. Swett is another player with diverse skills who will see time at midfield or striker. Senior Finn Murray, who was injured a year ago, is another midfielder to watch. Junior Cam Goodrich, a transfer from Massabesic, will score his share of goals, as will freshman striker Chaz Rhode. Senior Matt Gagnon, a transfer from St. Dom’s anchors the back line. At press time, the team’s lone uncertainty was in goal. Juniors Miles Chapman, Samson Chen and Te’Andre King were all vying for playing time.

NYA’s focus this year will be winning enough games to get into the playoffs. If that happens, the Panthers could make a serious run at their first regional crown since 2010 and their first state title since 2005.

GIRLS’ SOCCER

Coach: Ricky Doyon (second year)

2017 record: 2-12 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Helen Hamblett (Senior), Madison Argitis (Junior), Natalie Farrell (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Sept. 11 RANGELEY, Sept. 13 @ Buckfield, Sept. 24 RICHMOND, Sept. 27 WAYNFLETE, Oct. 3 @ Waynflete, Oct. 6 @ Rangeley, Oct. 9 BUCKFIELD, Oct. 12 @ Richmond

Coach’s comment: “We have several freshmen on varsity and we’ve gained several very experienced upperclassmen who should take us to the next level. Combining the girls is exciting and I can’t wait to see how we grow into a competitive team. Everything has to fall into place. I just hope we can make it through the season with fewer injuries than we were challenged with last year.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: NYA returned to varsity play a year ago and struggled to get in the win column, but that experience will serve the Panthers well this fall as they figure to be more competitive.

Farrell was named a league all-star last year and will be a top scoring threat as either a striker or midfielder. Hamblett will also time in the midfield, as will Argitis, who could see some time on defense. NYA has many promising newcomers to the program as well. Seniors Catherine Reid and Ruth Reischmann come over from the former Maine Girls’ Academy, as does junior Serena Mower. They’ll help put the ball in the net, along with freshmen Maggie Holt, Jasmine Huntsman, Rylie McIntyre and Naomi Reischmann. Junior Maureen Grant and sophomore Elizabeth Goodrich provide depth on defense. Junior Carly Downey will be in goal.

The pieces are in place for the Panthers to enjoy some success, it just might take awhile for this team to hit its stride. By October, NYA will be a squad that no one will want to face.

FIELD HOCKEY

Coach: Annika King (first year)

2017 record: 7-8 (Lost, 3-0, to Dirigo in Class C South quarterfinal)

Top returning players: Amber Rose (Senior), Maya Davis (Junior), Katie Larson (Junior), Eliza Tod (Junior)

Pivotal games: Aug. 30 @ York, Sept. 6 SACOPEE, Sept. 12 @ St. Dom’s, Sept. 20 @ Yarmouth, Sept. 24 @ Sacopee, Sept. 28 ST. DOM’S

Coach’s comment: “This is a very exciting year as we’re off to a great start figuring out best placement for each player. The athletes have done a great job being flexible to having a new coach. I’ve been impressed with their ability to encourage and help each other out with different skills. They’ve created an atmosphere that is inviting, but also one that pushes each other to become better. I’m looking forward to seeing how the season progresses when our skills develop more.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: NYA extended its streak of making the postseason to 29 years last fall and the Panthers figure to be in the Class C South hunt again this season. The program welcomes a new coach in King, who played at Husson University and later served an assistant at her alma mater. King is joined by assistant Ashley Randlett, who has worked with the Panthers the past few years. They have some talent to work with.

Rose was a first-team league all-star a year ago. She’ll be a standout in the midfield and will garner a lot of attention from the opposition. Look for Rose to be one of NYA’s top scorers as well. Larson, who was named to the second-team a year ago, is another key offensive player. They’re joined by sophomore Tara Hefferman. On defense, Davis, a second-team selection last fall, returns. Senior Amelia Searfoss will provide depth on that side of the field. The Panthers are in good shape in goal. Tod, a first-team all-star in 2017 has experience. She’s joined by senior Kylie Rogers, who was Greely’s goalie last year.

While defending champion St. Dom’s remains the team to beat in the region, NYA believes it could ultimately be the squad best equipped to end the Saints’ reign. The Panthers have some growing to do, but their nucleus is strong and their present and future appear bright.

VOLLEYBALL

Coach: Nora Krainis (13th year)

2017 results: 7-8 (Lost, 3-1, to Narraguagus in Class C quarterfinal)

Top returning players: Sydney Plummer (Senior), Afton Morton (Junior)

Pivotal matches: Sept. 25 @ Yarmouth, Sept. 29 JONSEPORT-BEALS, Sept. 29 NARRAGUAGUS, Oct. 5 @ Lee Academy, Oct. 6 @ Washington Academy, Oct. 6 @ Bucksport

Coach’s comment: “We’re very happy to have six new girls on the varsity team this year and nine new JV players. We’re working to find and build our strengths and are excited about the team’s potential. Our ultimate goal is to make some real noise in playoffs and challenge some of those top Class C teams.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: NYA has made the playoffs three years running and the Panthers hope to be in Class C contention again this fall. While the program graduated some key contributors, other talented players remain and there are some promising newcomers as well.

Morton, the experienced setter, and Plummer, a middle hitter, are top returners. Senior Holly Akey is new and will set as well. Senior Elizabeth Kennedy will be formidable at the net. If some other players can get up to varsity speed, NYA will be able to hold its own against most foes.

The Panthers have a schedule that will allow them to measure themselves against some of the best teams in Class C. If they can compete in those matches, they’ll gain confidence and could make some noise when the postseason arrives.

CROSS COUNTRY

Coaches:
(Boys) Peter Sillin (12th year, two state championships)
(Girls) Chris Mazzurco (18th year, one state championship)

2017 results:
(Boys) 13th @ Class C state meet
(Girls) DNQ for Class C state meet

Top returners:
(Boys) Spencer Barton (Junior), Chris Hamblett (Sophomore)
(Girls) Emma Collins (Sophomore)

Coach Sillin’s comment: “We graduated a lot of senior leadership last year and it looks like a big fraction of our team will be freshmen. Chris is going to run really well as our standard-bearer, but after that it really remains to be seen.”

Coach Mazzurco’s comment: “We have a full compliment of runners this year after a few seasons off from fielding a full squad. Runners from all grades are represented and we are hoping to gain valuable experience over the course of the season while preparing to field a full varsity squad for the regional championships. So far this preseason, we have come a long way in just two short weeks and I look forward to seeing this trend continue.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: NYA has small numbers, but big hopes this fall.

The boys reached states for the second year in a row last season and look to get back there again. Hamblett is the top returner. He was 21st at last year’s state meet. Barton (90th) also has big meet experience. It’s hoped that a pair of freshmen, Noah Hallward-Rough and James Tourigny, will step right in and strengthen the pack. Nothing will come easily for the Panthers, but if all goes well, they’ll extend their season to the final Saturday.

On the girls’ side, after falling short of qualifying for the state meet two years running, NYA has the necessary numbers to get to the final Saturday this time around. Collins is the proven commodity. She placed 42nd at the regional meet a year ago and hopes to move up this season. After that, several girls have a chance to form a pack which could keep the Panthers competitive throughout the regular season. If NYA peaks at the optimal time, it will achieve its goal of making it to the state meet.

GOLF

Coach: Charlie Hudson (seventh year)

2017 results: 4-5 (6th @ Class C state match)

Top returners: Connor Millett (Senior), Reed Silvers (Senior), Brendan Bolduc (Junior), Jared Buckner (Junior), Mason Parks (Junior)

Coach’s comment: “We have good numbers and we have five girls this year. We should have a strong season. It’s likely we’ll qualify for states. We hope to do a little better than last year.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: NYA had a solid season a year ago and should be one of the top Class C teams again this fall.

Buckner (who had an 18-hole round of 89 at last year’s state match), Millett (91) and Silvers (97) are top returners and make up a strong nucleus. Parks also has big match experience and Bolduc hopes to play a bigger role this time around. Sophomores Cal Davie and Anders Jonsson provide depth and junior Nicole Pappas, a transfer from Vermont, will lead a strong girls’ contingent.

The pieces are in place for the Panthers to be strong throughout the regular season, to qualify again for the state match and there, to move into the top five if they save their best for last.

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

Senior Ryan Baker is another talented returner for NYA’s boys’ soccer team.

Senior Amber Rose is back for one final season to lead NYA’s field hockey team on a playoff run.

Junior Katie Larson is another top returner for the Panthers.

Junior goalie Eliza Tod has made some big saves for the Panthers in recent years.

Chris Hamblett came in 21st at the Class C boys’ cross country state meet as a freshman. He’ll look to move up this fall, as well as lead the Panthers to a strong team finish.

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