Waynflete Flyers Fall Sports Preview

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Senior Abby Pipkin will threaten for an individual state title and hopes to lead the Waynflete girls’ cross country team to Class C glory along the way.

File photos.

More photos below.

BOYS’ SOCCER

Coach: Brandon Salway (29th year, 251-111-39 overall record, four state championships)

2016 results: 8-6-2 (Lost, 1-0, 6-4 in PKs, to Lisbon in Class C South semifinal) 

Top returning players: Ilyas Abdi (Senior), Christian Brooks (Senior), Hank Duvall (Senior), Max Winson (Senior), Mykel Henry (Junior), Thorne Kieffer (Junior), Miles Lipton (Junior), Luca Antolini (Sophomore), Askar Houssein (Sophomore), Ian McClure-Chute (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Sept. 12 NYA, Sept. 19 @ Sacopee, Sept. 23 @ NYA, Sept. 26 @ Freeport, Oct. 7 SACOPEE, Oct. 10 CAPE ELIZABETH, Oct. 17 @ York

Coach’s comment: “It’s a good group that’s working hard. We have good numbers this year. We only lost one starter from last season. This team won’t start where we left off, in penalty kicks of the semifinals. We have to reassert ourselves. These guys could take a step forward. It’s up to them.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Waynflete enjoyed another typically strong season in 2016 even if the Flyers were denied another trip to the state final. After losing just Jack Meahl from the starting rotation, Waynflete has the pieces in place to contend for a Gold Ball again, but it won’t be easy.

Abdi and Brooks return as reigning all-stars and captains. Abdi will be a top scoring threat up front, while Brooks will be a force in the midfield. Other scoring options include Houssein, who had a terrific freshman campaign, and Henry. Duvall and Kieffer add depth in the midfield. The Flyers pride themselves on strong defense and this year’s team should continue that tradition behind Winson (another captain), Lipton and McClure-Chute. Antolini is back for a second season between the pipes.

Waynflete will be tested by multiple Class B foes, as well as its usual Class C and D rivals, so victories will be tough to come by, but the Flyers should be able to post a winning record for the ninth consecutive autumn. The Class C South playoff field will be very tough and now includes Maranacook, which moved down from Class B. Waynflete could emerge, however, if it saves its best soccer for last. These Flyers aren’t picking up where they left off, they hope to enjoy an even deeper run when all is said and done.

GIRLS’ SOCCER

Coach: Jon Shardlow (first year)

2016 results: 11-5-2 (Lost, 2-0, to Orono in Class C state final

Top returning players: Izzy Burdick (Senior), Claire DuBois (Senior), Ava Farrar (Senior), Lydia Giguere (Senior), Clara Sandberg (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Sept. 1 ST. DOM’S, Sept. 22 NYA, Sept. 25 @ Freeport, Oct. 3 @ St. Dom’s, Oct. 10 @ Cape Elizabeth, Oct. 14 @ Greely, Oct. 17 YORK

Coach’s comment: “Some key pieces graduated and add into that a new coaching staff, so we’re getting acclimated. We’ll figure out where the kids go and we’ll maximize our athleticism. We want to continue to get better and hope to play the best we can at the end of the season.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Waynflete enjoyed another stirring playoff run a year ago, but again was stymied by Orono on the big stage. Following the season, Todd Dominski stepped down as coach and the program took a step back in time to Shardlow, who won 67 games and a pair of state titles as coach between 2004-08. He makes what he hopes is a triumphant return to his alma mater. While the Flyers have some work to do, they should be one of the region’s top squads yet again.

Waynflete graduated some top players, including reigning Fall Female Athlete of the Year Isabel Canning and all-star goalkeeper Ali Pope, and injuries add to the challenge, as senior Amelia Bertaska will miss the season with a knee injury and Dubois is sidelined for the early part of the slate with a knee injury of her own. Yet, there are reasons to believe the Flyers will be just fine in the long run. Giguere has scored many a key goal in her time and will contribute all over the pitch for this squad. Farrar has a flair for the dramatic goal and Burdick and Sandberg can play multiple positions. Freshman Kilee Sherry will be in the midfield and could soon become a household name. At press time, the goalie position was up in the air.

Waynflete will be tested by a typically grueling schedule and to make a playoff run, it will likely have to come from a low seed, but that’s old hat for this program. Despite the uncertainty and the changes, by late October, expect the Flyers to once again be flying high and making life miserable for the opposition.

FIELD HOCKEY

Coach: Skylar Leo (second year)

2016 record: 0-13-1 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Gabby Begos (Senior), Gabby Eng (Junior), Amelia Searfossi (Junior), Zahria McLean (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “We came close a few times toward the end of the season with walking away with a tie or win. I feel if the girls take those successful moments and perfect them even more this season, they can be as successful as they want. It just comes down to mental toughness and making sure we’re in the best of shape.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: For the third straight year, the “Flying Lions” will compete together, as Maine Girls’ Academy and Waynflete join up to play in Class C South. This fall, the squad hopes to break into the win column and be competitive throughout.

This year’s offense will be led by Begos and McLean. Eng is a key cog in the midfield. Searfossi will be heard from as a midfielder and on defense in front of sophomore Charlotte Dean, who replaces all-star Kiera MacWhinnie in goal. 

Look for MGA/Waynflete to show steady growth in the weeks to come and earn that elusive victory. That will just be a beginning as more triumph is likely in store down the road.

CROSS COUNTRY

Coach: Brian “Ziggy” Gillespie (13th year, three state championships)

2016 results:
(Boys) 3rd @ Class C state meet
(Girls) 4th @ Class C state meet 

Top returners:
(Boys) John Veroneau (Senior), Henry Spritz (Junior), Ethan Armstrong (Sophomore)
(Girls) Leeza Kopaeva (Senior), Abby Pipkin (Senior), Mollie Stone (Senior), Eloise King-Clements (Junior), Anna Wildes (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “In some respects, our boys’ team is stronger than last fall. We have great depth. If we can stay healthy, we could be a huge factor at regionals. Henry is the top returning runner in Class C and we added two top freshmen. The girls return Abby, who has the ability to win regionals and states. If we can develop two girls into strong 5-6 runners, we can win regionals and finish second in the state.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Waynflete’s cross country program remains proud, strong and poised to accomplish great things on the biggest stage.

The boys’ squad is coming off its best state meet finish since 2011 and can look forward to another very competitive campaign, both in the regular season and in the postseason. Returning state meet scorers include Spritz (fourth) and Veroneau (19th). Armstrong is expected to move up this fall and freshmen Connor Feeney and Levi Lilienthal could quickly make a name for themselves. The Flyers have good reason to look forward to the season. They should again be among the very best teams in the region and in Class C.

The girls’ squad could be on the verge of great things. Pipkin, Waynflete’s Spring Female Athlete of the Year after taking the 800 at the state meet, looks to build on her 11th-place state meet finish from last fall. She’s likely going to move way up. Wildes (28th) and Kopaeva (35th) also scored last season. They’re joined by veterans King-Clements and Stone and a host of other promising runners eager to make the Flyers’ pack second-to-none in this part of the state. Waynflete is eyeing a regional title and a 13th straight top four finish at the state meet appears to be a near certainty.

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

Askar Houssein had a terrific freshman season for Waynflete’s boys’ soccer team. Houssein’s scoring touch should help the Flyers contend for a title again this autumn.

Senior captain Ilyas Abdi will be another top scorer this fall.

Junior Mykel Henry’s speed will help generate offense.

Junior Miles Lipton will be a top defender for the Flyers.

Ian McClure-Chute made an impact as a freshman and as a sophomore, will play center-back.

Senior Ava Farrar has scored some big goals for Waynflete’s girls’ soccer team, which lost in the Class C state final last season and hopes to go a step further this time around.

Senior Lydia Giguere hopes to cap her Flyers career with another trip to the state final and a Gold Ball.

Clara Sandberg had a solid freshman campaign for the Flyers and will likely see action all over the field this fall.

Junior Henry Spritz came in fourth at last year’s Class C state cross country meet and will again be among the top runners in the region this season.

Senior John Veroneau also scored (19th) at last year’s state meet and is a key returner.

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