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Coach: Brett Kapteina (second year)
2014 record: 1-12 (no postseason)
Top returning players: Brad Rockey (Senior), Haven Cutko (Sophomore), Joey Hogan (Sophomore)
Pivotal games: April 29 @ Sacopee Valley, May 4 @ OOB, May 9 WAYNFLETE, May 14 @ OOB, May 16 WAYNFLETE, May 20 SACOPEE VALLEY, May 26 @ OOB, May 27 @ Waynflete, June 1 @ Sacopee Valley
Coach’s comment: “We’re a year older and more experienced. The talent level is much improved. We hope to be a solid defensive team that will fight every at-bat.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: Last spring, the Panthers fielded a varsity team for the first time since 2011. This season, NYA looks to be more competitive.
Top pitchers figure to be newcomers Galen Arnold, Owen McCarthy and Dana Nichols. Hogan will see some time on the mound as well. Cutko (a first-team all-star in 2014) will play a key role in the field and at bat. Rockey (a second-team all-star) is a top returning hitter.
The Panthers should win more games than they did a year ago and if the newer players quickly get up to speed, a playoff berth might even be in the offing.
Coach: Peter Gerrity (third year, 11-16 overall record)
2014 record: 2-11 (Lost, 9-2, to Maranacook/Winthrop in Eastern B quarterfinals)
Top returning players: Ben Ambrose (Senior), Sumner Bright (Senior), Haley Cunningham (Senior), D.J. Nicholas (Senior), Nick Demers (Junior), Trevor Lachance (Junior), Jake Rasch (Junior), Patrick Mallett (Sophomore), Jeremy Thelven (Sophomore)
Pivotal games: April 28 GREELY, May 1 @ Falmouth, May 5 WAYNFLETE, May 12 @ Yarmouth, May 27 CAPE ELIZABETH, June 1 @ Greely, June 3 YARMOUTH
Coach’s comment: “Every year, our goal is to play in the state championship and traditionally, that has led us to a game against Yarmouth. At the very least, we hope to see Yarmouth in the playoffs, preferably in the regional final. We’ll be a young team again, but with a vastly different look than last year. Our defense will be new and less experienced except for DJ, and our offense has already started to generate some goals. We’re hoping to win games 15-12 this year, rather than lose them 4-3 or 4-2, and get our record above .500.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: NYA got off to a good start Saturday with a 5-3 win at Maranacook, in a game which saw Nicholas stand tall and make 25 saves. Nicholas, an honorable mention all-star in 2014 after posting a 58 percent save percentage with a 6.4 goals against average, figures to see a lot of shots this season, but is primed to carry the Panthers on his back. The defense features Mallett, along with Max Bueche and new sophomore Tom Pitts. In the midfield, Ambrose, Bright, Cunningham (8 goals, 3 assists last season), Demers (who takes faceoffs) and Thelven have experience. Twins Henry Farnham and Nick Farnham will also be heard from. The offense will be led by Lachance (7 goals, 4 assists in 2014) and Rasch (9 goals and 7 assists).
NYA should improve on last year’s win total. If it can generate consistent offense, the Panthers might even win more than they lose. They should be in a good position come playoff time and might get their wish of battling Yarmouth with a trip to the state final on the line, something the Clippers probably wouldn’t be too excited about.
Coach: Lucy Gerrity (second year)
2014 record: 5-9 (Lost, 9-7, to eventual state champion Yarmouth in Eastern B semifinals)
Top returning players: Scout Fischman (Senior), Izzy Munro (Senior), Mary Noyes (Senior), Mel Regan (Senior), Anna Laprise (Junior), Mackenzie Sangster (Junior), Emily Taylor (Junior)
Pivotal games: April 29 @ Greely, May 6 GREELY, May 21 @ Freeport, May 26 @ York, June 1 KENNEBUNK, June 4 YARMOUTH
Coach’s comment: “We have a lot of new girls, but we still have a lot returning. I’m excited about our senior leadership. I’m hopeful we’ll build on the foundation we established last year. We want to get back to the level where we played Yarmouth in the playoffs. I’m optimistic. I’m excited because we have so much to work with.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: NYA made great strides a year ago in Gerrity’s first season, so much that it gave eventual champion Yarmouth perhaps its biggest postseason scare.
The Panthers are hoping to be even stronger this spring, but it won’t come easily, as evidenced by Thursday’s 13-4 season-opening home loss to Waynflete. NYA fell behind, 8-0, at halftime and despite two goals apiece from Noyes and Regan, couldn’t respond. Munro also figures to play a key role in the offense, while Sangster and Taylor will be solid in the midfield. The defense is anchored by Laprise and new sophomore Kiersten Marr. Fischman returns in goal.
The Panthers will be tenacious and have a strong upside. NYA has the pieces in place to make the playoffs again. If this group improves the way last year’s team did, another strong postseason performance could be in store.
Coach: Chris Mazzurco (19th year, four state championships)
(Boys) 3rd @ Class C state meet
(Girls) 10th @ Class C state meet
Top returning athletes:
(Boys) Chase Gendron (Senior), John LeBlanc (Senior), Matt Malcom (Senior), Clayton Manchester (Senior), Xander Bartone (Sophomore)
(Girls) Muriel Adams (Senior), Hannah Austin (Senior), Emily Baker (Junior), Linnea Hull (Junior), Sonia Lin (Junior), Liz McIntosh (Junior)
Coach’s comment: “The boys’ team has a good number of younger athletes who are new. With such a strong group of senior leaders, this is the perfect time to have a team of veteran performers start to teach the next generation. There are several strong returning athletes and when we factor in some of the talent we’re already starting to see in training, this has the potential to be another strong season. The girls’ team has state level experienced athletes in almost every event. They’re well positioned in the league and state to compete both individually and as a team. Our focus and challenge will be to make it to the end of May strong, fit and healthy and see what can happen.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: NYA will once again get the most out of numbers.
The boys will miss Michael McIntosh, who won the 100 a year ago, but several state meet scorers return. Bartone, who finished second in the 400, fourth in the 200 and was part of a state champion 400 relay squad, leads the way. He’ll be a threat in the sprints and the middle distance. Malcom (third in the mile, third in the two-mile) and LeBlanc (part of a second-place 1,600 relay last season) will be top distance threats. Sophomore Henry Quesada joins the ranks and could be heard from as well. On the field side, Gendron and Manchester are throwers to watch. Manchester will also compete in the pole vault. If the Panthers can find a way to replace McIntosh’s production, they’ll be right there again in June. A 10th top five state meet finish in 11 seasons is a likely conclusion.
On the girls’ side, the top returner is Austin, who came in second in the two-mile and third in the mile last season. She’ll look to bow out as a champion. The sprints feature Baker, Lin and McIntosh. Adams has been a throwing standout throughout her career and after finishing runner-up in the discus, she’ll look for a state title. Hull (seventh in the pole vault in 2014), Lin and McIntosh are top jumpers. This team’s frontline talent could take it a long way. Several girls have the opportunity to make headlines in the postseason meets.
Coach: Charlie Hudson (37th year, two state championships)
2014 record: 8-7 (Lost, 5-0, to eventual champion Waynflete in Western Class C Final)
Top returning players: Griffin Cady (Senior), Brad Potter (Senior), Hunter Mahoney (Sophomore)
Pivotal matches: April 29 CAPE ELIZABETH, May 8 @ Waynflete, May 11 YARMOUTH, May 14 @ Yarmouth, May 15 WAYNFLETE, May 20 @ Falmouth
Coach’s comment: “Last year was a surprising season. We have some new athletes who are a pleasant surprise. I think we’ll be hard pressed going against the teams in our conference. We hope to improve and get better as we go.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: Last spring, NYA reached the regional final for the second year in a row. That came as a shock to many. This year’s team faces an even bigger uphill climb after graduating Spring Male Athlete of the Year Bryce Tetreault.
Potter, coming off Winter Male Athlete of the Year honors for his hockey excellence, will be in the number one singles spot. He was a second-team all-star in 2014. Mahoney is in the No. 2 spot. Cady will play either third singles or doubles. Sophomore Henry Briggs could slip into that third spot. Junior Dan McVicar and freshman Parker Elkins figure to play doubles.
While the Panthers will have a tough time against the iron of the league (Falmouth is the Class A champion, Cape Elizabeth has won Class B two years in a row and Waynflete is the seven-time reigning Class C champion), they will be competitive almost every time out. If NYA finds its way back to the playoffs, another surprising run could be the end result.
Coach: Lorena Coffin (ninth year, four state championships)
2014 record: 7-6 (Lost, 4-1, to eventual champion Waynflete in Western Class C quarterfinals)
Top returning players: Hannah Hungerford (Senior), Livy Stam (Senior), Mina Stam (Senior), Hannah Chapman (Junior), Corinne Poitras (Junior), Lena Rich (Junior)
Pivotal matches: April 29 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 8 WAYNFLETE, May 11 @ Yarmouth, May 14 YARMOUTH, May 15 @ Waynflete, May 20 FALMOUTH, May 22 @ Greely
Coach’s comment: “With a roster full of upperclassmen, we’re preparing for another competitive year and we’re hoping to qualify and compete well in the playoffs.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: NYA’s title dreams were once again denied by Waynflete last season. A pair of all-stars are back to help this year’s cause.
Rich made the WMC first-team a year ago and will be a force in singles. Mina Stam, a second-teamer, will also be in the singles rotation. Other veteran players in the mix will be Chapman, Hungerford, Poitras and Livy Stam. Seniors Diana McLeod and Mary Morrison and junior Taylor Leech are new and will make an impact.
The Panthers will be tested by some top-notch teams in arguably the state’s best league, but another winning season and playoff trip is a likelihood. One of these years, NYA will solve Waynflete in June. Why not 2015?
Brad Rockey played a key role last year when NYA reintroduced varsity baseball. As a senior, he hopes to lead the Panthers to several victories.
Haley Cunningham projects to be a difficult matchup in the midfield.
D.J. Nicholas is one of the state’s premier goalies.
Scout Fischman is back in goal for NYA’s girls’ lacrosse team.
Anna Laprise is a versatile contributor for the Panthers.
Mary Noyes will be a top contributor for the Panthers.
Melanie Regan had a couple goals in the opener.
Xander Bartone is a top sprinter, who can also run middle distance.
Brad Potter is a top returner for NYA’s boys’ tennis team, which made a surprise run to the regional final last season.
More photos below.