Waynflete Flyers Fall Sports Preview

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Waynflete’s boys’ soccer team had a lot to celebrate last fall, but the Flyers’ dream of a Class C state title fell a goal short. This season, Waynflete hopes to finish the job.

More photos below.

(Note: Waynflete isn’t fielding a varsity golf team this year)

BOYS’ SOCCER

Coach: Brandon Salway (28th year, 243-105-37 overall record, four state championships)

2015 results: 14-3-1 (Lost, 1-0, in OT, to Washington Academy in Class C state final) 

Top returning players: Jack Meahl (Senior), Abdul Mohamed (Senior), Ilyas Abdi (Junior), Christian Brooks (Junior), Hank Duvall (Junior), Max Winson (Junior), Mykel Henry (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Sept. 15 @ Sacopee Valley, Sept. 17 @ Falmouth, Sept. 22 NYA, Sept. 27 YARMOUTH, Sept. 29 @ St. Dom’s, Oct. 6 @ NYA, Oct. 11 SACOPEE VALLEY, Oct. 15 ST. DOM’S

Coach’s comment: “We lost a pretty incredible group that was very competitive and really fun to coach, but having said that, I’ve already talked to this group about making their own mark. So far, the work ethic has been great. Our schedule is daunting, so we’ll be forced to get better. Hopefully we’ll be competitive out of our class and do well in Class C games to qualify for the playoffs. It’s wide open in the south. I see us having a high growth ceiling. We just need to stay healthy. Our goal never changes. We want to be playing on the last day of the season.”

The Forecaster’s forecast:  Waynflete came within a whisker of a Class C state title a year ago, surviving a more-dramatic-than-it-needed-to-be ride through its region before falling in overtime to Washington Academy in the finale. Graduation then claimed 11 players, including Class C Player of the Year, goalie extraordinaire and reigning Waynflete Fall Male Athlete of the Year Milo Belleau. The Flyers have a lot of holes to fill this autumn, but there is plenty of firepower in reserve.

Midfielders to watch include scoring threats Abdi, Brooks (who will replace Willy Burdick and take the team’s free kicks), Henry and Mohamed. Duvall, sophomores Thorne Kieffer (another free kick specialist) and Burr Rhoads and freshman Oliver Burdick provide depth. Up top, look for freshman Askar Houssein to be a top scorer. In the back, Meahl, Winson, sophomore Ben Lualdi and senior Tim Clifford will make life difficult for the opposition. Looking to fill Belleau’s big, clutch shoes will be freshman Luca Antolini.

There is no shortage of talent on the roster, it will just take some time to click. Last year’s team was a finished product. This fall, Waynflete will need to stay healthy and steadily improve. The Flyers don’t have many easy games on the schedule, so it will be difficult to approach last year’s record. Regardless, presuming Waynflete gets in the postseason, it will be a very dangerous foe. In a year where any of a number of teams could emerge as the regional champion, don’t write off the team defending the Class C South title.

GIRLS’ SOCCER

Coach: Todd Dominski (eighth year, 87-23-12 overall record, two state championships)

2015 results: 14-5 (Lost, 3-2, in 2OT, to Orono in Class C state final) 

Top returning players: Isabel Canning (Senior), Elizabeth Lualdi (Senior), Ali Pope (Senior), Amelia Bertaska (Junior), Izzy Burdick (Junior), Claire DuBois (Junior), Ava Farrar (Junior), Lydia Giguere (Junior), Sophie Sangster (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Sept. 13 @ Traip, Sept. 15 SACOPEE VALLEY, Sept. 17 @ Greely, Sept. 20 @ St. Dom’s, Sept. 27 OOB, Sept. 29 ST. DOM’S, Oct. 4 TRAIP, Oct. 7 @ OOB, Oct. 10 @ Sacopee Valley, Oct. 18 KENNEBUNK

Coach’s comment: “We’re working hard to get ourselves ready. The talent in Class C this year is pretty equal. We have a good, competitive schedule. We were inches away (from a state championship) last year. The girls are back and hungry. We want to get back and get over the top. I think we’re capable of getting there if we put the work in.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Waynflete enjoyed a spirited and memorable playoff run a year ago, but the storybook ending wasn’t to be and the Flyers fell one goal shy of a Gold Ball. While graduation depleted the roster somewhat (reigning Fall Female Athlete of the Year Arianna Giguere was among those who have left), this group is very capable once again and while the regular season will be very challenging, by the end of the year, Waynflete could once again be at the top of the heap.

Canning and Farrar were both league all-stars in 2015. Canning is back for her fourth season of anchoring the defensive unit, while Farrar (who tied Giguere for most goals last fall) will be a top scorer, operating either from the midfield or up top. Joining Canning on defense will be Burdick, Sangster and senior Annika Brooks, who returns to the Flyers after missing her junior season. Pope returns for her second year in goal. She comes up big in big spots. The midfield features plenty of athleticism, including Bertaska, DuBois, Lualdi, sophomore Emily Boedeker and freshman Clara Sandberg. Lydia Giguere figures to score some of the big goals her sister used to clean up.

While Class C South appears balanced this year and Waynflete will have very few breathers on its schedule, the Flyers will be battle tested and ready to make a run when the playoffs commence. Waynflete will likely have to win postseason games on the road, but it has followed that script numerous times. This is a talented and determined group. One that would like nothing more than to get that one additional goal and celebrate a championship. Don’t bet against these Flyers.

FIELD HOCKEY

Coach: Skylar Leo (first year)

2015 results: 1-13 (no postseason) 

Top returning players: Kiera MacWhinnie (Senior), Rahwa Michael (Senior), Semhar Yehdego (Senior), Ruth Connolly (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “I think with some hard work, the team can and will be more successful than last year. We have a strong young team, with some girls who never played before, so we’ve gone back to the basics, which can be helpful for the whole team. I feel that in the next few weeks, if we can accomplish getting our foundation built, there may be some possible playoff contention.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: For the second straight year, the “Flying Lions” will compete together, as Maine Girls’ Academy and Waynflete join up to play in Class B South. This fall, the team will be led by Leo, who was an all-star player at Windham High School and previously coached at middle school in Windham and at the assistant coaching level at Cheverus. She inherits a squad that will be heard from in the weeks to come.

The majority of the team is made up of Waynflete players. MacWhinnie was a league all-star a year ago and will cap her career as a top-notch goalie keeping her team in games. Freshman Charlotte Dean will see some time between the pipes as well and is the future of the program in goal. Michael is a top defender. Offensively, top scoring threats include Connolly, Yehdego (a second-team all-star in 2015) and freshman Gabby Eng.

Overall, look for the Flying Lions to improve their win-loss record and steadily improve. If all goes well, a playoff berth could be the end result.

CROSS COUNTRY

Coach: Brian “Ziggy” Gillespie (12th year, three state championships)

2015 results:
(Boys) 7th @ Class C state meet
(Girls) 3rd @ Class C state meet (regional champions)

Top returners:
(Boys) Joshua Lodish (Senior), Willson Moore (Senior), PD Silk (Senior), John Van Dyke (Senior), Andrew Clark (Junior), John Veroneau (Junior), Nick Wagg (Junior)
(Girls) Ellie Chidsey (Senior), Chloe Daikh (Senior), Sophia Mayone (Senior), Leeza Kopaeva (Junior), Abby Pipkin (Junior), Eloise King-Clements (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “We have 44 kids running this fall. The girls will try to win their fourth straight regional title. They return five from last year. The boys return the entire team which finished seventh at last year’s state meet. The boys will be exciting with a goal of winning regionals.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Waynflete has long excelled on the trails and this fall should be no different as both squads will make runs at regional championships.

The boys’ team will be paced by Moore, who was 12th at last year’s Class C state meet and will look to be among the top runners in the state this autumn. Veroneau (38th), Silk (49th), Van Dyke (66th) and Clark (73rd) also scored last fall. They’re supported by Lodish (who joins Moore and Silk as captains), Wagg and promising sophomore transfer Henry Spritz. There is plenty of depth and balance in reserve, as the team features five seniors, six juniors, six sophomores and five freshmen. The Flyers have the pieces in place for a special season.

On the girls’ side, four scorers from last year’s state meet return. Leading the way are Pipkin (19th) and Chidsey (20th). Mayone (39th) and King-Clements (49th) also made their mark on the big stage last fall. Kopaeva and Daikh look to move up. Freshman Anna Wildes could step right in and make an impact. This group is experienced (six seniors, seven juniors) and has a lot of promise as well (four sophomores and five freshmen). The Flyers once again are in position to be the best team in the region. They hope they also close the gap with defending champion Orono and powerhouse George Stevens Academy. This group has what it takes to steal headlines from start to finish.

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

Junior Ilyas Abdi figures to be a top scorer for Waynflete’s boys’ soccer team.

Junior Christian Brooks will also be in the scoring mix.

Mykel Henry had a strong freshman season for Waynflete and will play a bigger role this autumn.

Senior captain Jack Meahl will anchor the back for the Flyers.

Junior Max Winson will be in the middle of the action.

Junior Ava Farrar tied for team honors in most goals scored in 2015.

Junior Amelia Bertaska is another scoring threat for a Waynflete girls’ soccer team that fell one goal shy of a championship last season.

Senior Willson Moore will be one of the best male cross country runners in Class C this season.

Junior John Veroneau is coming off a 38th-place showing at last year’s Class C state meet and looks to move up this fall.

Senior PD Silk is another returning scorer for the Flyers.

Junior Abby Pipkin had a 19th-place finish at last year’s Class C state meet. She and her Waynflete teammates are eyeing another regional crown this fall.

Senior Ellie Chidsey came in 20th at last year’s state meet.

Senior Sophia Mayone also scored at last year’s state meet.

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