Waynflete Flyers Fall Sports Preview

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Junior Askar Houssein hopes to lead Waynflete’s boys’ soccer team to an elusive Class C state title this fall.

File photos.

More photos below.

BOYS’ SOCCER

Coach: Brandon Salway (30th year, 261-115-41 overall record, four state championships)

2017 results: 10-4-2 (Lost, 2-1, in double OT, to Maranacook in Class C South semifinal) 

Top returning players: Mykel Henry (Senior), Thorne Kieffer (Senior), Miles Lipton (Senior), Ben Lualdi (Senior), Burr Rhoads (Senior), Luca Antolini (Junior), Oliver Burdick (Junior), Diraige Dahia (Junior), Askar Houssein (Junior), Ian McClure-Chute (Junior)

Pivotal games: Aug. 30 TRAIP, Sept. 15 GREELY, Sept. 20 @ Cape Elizabeth, Sept. 25 @ Traip, Sept. 27 NYA, Oct. 11 @ Yarmouth, Oct. 15 YORK

Coach’s comment: “We lost four starters, but we have a lot of returning kids and a couple new additions. It’s a pretty motivated group. We have the most challenging schedule we’ve had in my 30 years. We’re looking forward to it. Our focus is getting through the regular season and improving. I think we’ll be competitive with our schedule. We won’t judge our season on wins and losses. We’ll be battle-tested for the playoffs.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Waynflete fell just short a year ago, but with an abundance of talent returning, this could be the year the Flyers get back to the state final and win their first championship since 2011. It won’t be an easy road, as Waynflete plays as tough a schedule as you’ll find, which includes seven games against Class B foes, but that slate will help the squad in the long run.

While all-state selection Ilyas Abdi has graduated, his scoring touch can be replaced by a handful of sources. Leading the offense this fall will be all-stars Houssein and Antolini, a captain, who will also see time in goal, Kieffer, another captain, Burdick, Dahia, Henry, Lualdi, Rhoads and sophomores Joey Ansel-Mullen and Pat Shaw. Defensively, Lipton, a captain who is coming off a brilliant lacrosse season, and McClure-Chute will make life miserable for the opposition. Sophomores Ben Adey, Aidan Kieffer and Harry Millspaugh will also be in the mix. Junior Aidan Carlisle will be in goal when Antolini is in the field.

The Flyers have the pieces in place to give some of the state’s best teams fits. Ultimately, Waynflete just wants to get into the playoffs and if it can secure a home playoff game or two, that would help the cause dramatically. Regardless of who they play, or where, the Flyers will be up to the challenge in the postseason. After so many close calls, this could be the year that sees Waynflete return to the pinnacle.

GIRLS’ SOCCER

Co-Coaches: Carrie Earls and George Sherry (first year)

2017 results: 6-7-2 (Lost, 3-2, to St. Dom’s in Class C South quarterfinal) 

Top returning players: Sophie Sangster (Senior), Sophie Aronson (Junior), Clara Sandberg (Junior), Kilee Sherry (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Aug. 30 @ Traip, Sept. 11 SACOPEE, Sept. 18 @ St. Dom’s, Sept. 20 CAPE ELIZABETH, Sept. 22 @ Greely, Sept. 25 TRAIP, Oct. 6 @ Sacopee, Oct. 15 ST. DOM’S

Coach’s comment: “We lost six starters to graduation and our senior captain, Emi Boedecker, to injury. Despite that, our defense looks solid and we are confident in our ability to get to goal. We have a young, athletic and hungry team, eager to compete. We believe we’ll be competitive this fall and make a deep playoff run.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Waynflete has a relatively young team this fall, but there is plenty of talent on the roster, suggesting the Flyers could be very good by October. The program welcomes new coaches this year in Earls, who played at Deering High School and St. Joseph’s College and served as an assistant the past four years, and George Sherry, a Waynflete assistant a year ago, who played at the University of Maine and has also coached at the premier level. They’re excited about what they inherit.

Kilee Sherry will set the tone for the offense up top. In the midfield, Aronson and Sandberg will dictate tempo. Defensively, Sangster has experience. Sophomore Abby Shumway and freshman Devan Sherry are new to the team and will provide depth. The Flyers will debut a pair of new goalies this fall, two girls who are no strangers to lacrosse fans. Junior Avis Akers, who has been the lacrosse goalie the past two seasons, and freshman Jessica Connors both figure to see time in the cage.

Waynflete will be tested by a daunting schedule, which includes a pair of perennial Class B powers and several top Class C foes. The Flyers will take their time getting up to speed as new coaches put new players in new places, but the confidence is high that this squad’s finished product will be formidable. Expect a deeper playoff run this season and return to the big stage wouldn’t come as a shock.

CROSS COUNTRY

Boys’ Coach: Brian “Ziggy” Gillespie (14th year, three state championships)

Girls’ Coach: Steve Withers (first year)

2017 results:
(Boys) 3rd @ Class C state meet
(Girls) 5th @ Class C state meet 

Top returners:
(Boys) Liam Feeney (Senior), Henry Spritz (Senior), Ethan Armstrong (Junior), Nick Werner (Junior), Levi Lilienthal (Sophomore)
(Girls) Hannah Babcock (Senior), Anna Wildes (Junior), Maddie Landry (Sophomore), Ellie Simmons (Sophomore)

Coach Gillespie’s comment: “We’ll be young, but we’ll be strong. We have 24 kids, including nine freshmen, so we have depth. It’s hard to keep the kids under wraps the whole season, but we hope to run our best at the end of the year. We look to finish in the top three at regionals and top five at states.”

Coach Withers’ comment: “While we’re young and small in numbers, we’re building a strong base from the bottom up. We’re led by the experience and talent of our captains. We added a number of freshmen who will make an immediate impact. Look for us to strengthen and improve measurably as the season progresses. Come October, we plan to hit our stride and be competitive at the championship meets.”

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 produced its second-straight third-place state meet finish a year and could do as well this fall, if not better. The Flyers return Spritz, the defending Class C individual champion and Waynflete’s Fall Male Athlete of the Year, and he’ll look to repeat. Also returning this year are Lilienthal (22nd last season) and Feeney (41st). Armstrong and Werner also have experience. Mix in senior Owen Ardell, who came over from soccer, and promising freshman Eli Schair-Rigoletti, and Waynflete has enough depth to run with anyone. While Maine Coast Waldorf remains the favorite, the Flyers hope to be right there at the big meets. Another successful season is in store.

The girls’ team enjoyed its 13th consecutive top five state meet showing a year ago and should be strong again under Withers, the school’s swim coach, who previously served as a cross country assistant for three seasons. He inherits a squad which lost standout Abby Pipkin, but returns state meet scorers Wildes (20th), Simmons (41st) and Babcock (48th). Landry also has experience and freshmen Blythe Thompson and Julia Werner arrive to provide depth. The Flyers usually save their best for last and if that’s the case again this fall, look for a higher state meet finish.

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

Junior Oliver Burdick is dangerous with the ball on his foot.

Fresh off a dominant lacrosse season, senior Miles Lipton hopes to bring his magic to the soccer pitch.

Senior Burr Rhoads is a force on the ground and in the air.

Junior Clara Sandberg is a top midfielder for a Waynflete girls’ soccer team that should be in the title hunt.

Senior Harry Spritz is the reigning Class C boys’ cross country individual state champion. He looks to repeat this fall.

Junior Anna Wildes is a top returner for the Waynflete girls’ cross country team, which is always among the best in Class C.

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