Yarmouth Clippers Fall Sports Preview

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Fall promises to be a triumphant season for Yarmouth. Boys’ soccer was one step from the state game a year ago and could be a team without peer this autumn. The girls’ squad will also be in the Class B title hunt. Football has a new set of formidable foes in a newfangled Western Class C, but this proud program can’t be ruled out of another title run. Field hockey, coming off its best season in years, will play in Class C this fall and could be one of the last teams standing. Both cross country squads show promise. Golf had a superb season a year ago and behind one of the state’s finest female players, will make a run at postseason glory. Volleyball will give its Class A and Class B foes all they can handle in the weeks to come.

COACH: Mike Hagerty (17th year, 186-50-31 overall record, five state championships)
2012 Record: 12-2-3 (Lost, 2-0, to eventual state champion Falmouth in Western B Final)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: David Clemmer (Senior), Wes Crawford (Senior), Ben Decker (Senior), Travis Hamre (Senior), Wyatt Jackson (Senior), David Murphy (Senior), Chandler Smith (Senior), Max Watson (Senior), Adam LaBrie (Junior), Walter Conrad (Sophomore)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 10 GREELY, Sept. 18 YORK, Sept. 20 KENNEBUNK, Sept. 24 @ Waynflete, Sept. 27 CAPE ELIZABETH, Sept. 30 FALMOUTH, Oct. 2 @ York, Oct. 5 @ Cape Elizabeth, Oct. 8 @ Falmouth, Oct. 11 @ Kennebunk, Oct. 16 @ Greely
COACH’S COMMENT: “I’m as enthusiastic with our start as I’ve been in years. It’s such a great group. The 10 kids I put on the field are as good as any I’ve had here. We’ll go four, five, six deep off the bench and not drop a level. We’ll have a physically solid team down the middle. It’s the hardest schedule we’ve had. We have at least 10 very good games. The seniors were freshmen last time we won it. They’re excited. They know what winning can do for the community.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Yarmouth appears absolutely loaded for bear this fall, but some off-the-field maneuvering has made it harder for the Clippers to win it all. While at first glance the move of longtime tormentor Falmouth to Class A for the playoffs should help Yarmouth, the Clippers now have to deal with Cape Elizabeth and Greely in the postseason, as well as Kennebunk during the regular season, meaning there will very few breathers over the next couple months. While the schedule is daunting, this powerhouse is up for the challenge and if all goes well, this group could go down as one of the finest in program annals.
On offense, Clemmer, Hamre, Jackson, LaBrie and Murphy (an all-state selection in 2012) figure to score in abundance. Watson, a second-team all-star a year ago who will control the midfield, could factor into the scoring as well. Defensively, this team appears extremely formidable. Conrad (who had a strong freshman season), Crawford, Spring Male Athlete of the Year Decker (who will also run cross country this fall) and Smith (who served as a captain as a junior, when he was named to the all-region team) will hold the opposition at bay. Their skill and experience will be key as Yarmouth has to replace Andrew Fochler in goal. That task will go to junior Alex Lyon, who should become quite comfortable in that spot as the season progresses.
The Clippers appeared title-bound last autumn, but were beaten on their home field in the regional final by Falmouth in perhaps the final ever playoff game between the longtime powers. This year, the senior core of this squad won’t settle for anything short of a championship. Yarmouth will face multiple hurdles in the regular season and unlike years past, it’s likely that every playoff round will present a legitimate scare. This squad is up for the challenge. If the Clippers can avoid the injury bug, they’ll once again turn heads and steal headlines. A Gold Ball is a distinct possibility.

COACH: Rich Smith (27th year, 221-139-52 overall record, two state championships)
2012 Record: 5-7-4 (Lost, 2-0, to Falmouth in Western Class B quarterfinals)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Abby Belisle-Haley (Senior), Shannon Fallon (Junior), Lane Simsarian (Junior), Emma Torres (Junior), Lauren Bartlett (Sophomore), Lilly Watson (Sophomore)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 10 @ Greely, Sept. 16 FREEPORT, Sept. 18 @ York, Sept. 27 @ Cape Elizabeth, Sept. 30 FALMOUTH, Oct. 2 YORK, Oct. 5 CAPE ELIZABETH, Oct. 8 @ Falmouth, Oct. 16 GREELY
COACH’S COMMENT: “We have a good, energetic group. Great attitudes and work ethics. It’s a positive atmosphere. We only have three seniors, so it’s a young group. We’ll have some freshmen play varsity this year. It’s not going to be easy, but we’ll get better every week. There’s lots of potential. I’m excited about our possibilities. The playoffs are our goal.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Last fall, Yarmouth shook off a 1-3-2 start to its season to make the playoffs for the 21st year in a row. This year’s squad, although young, has talented players who have enjoyed success both on the pitch and in several other sports. The Clippers aren’t on the short list of Western B favorites (a region that just got much deeper as three-time champion Falmouth departed, but Cape Elizabeth and Greely moved in), but will be capable of beating anyone on a given night.
Torres is moving from back to forward this fall and Smith feels she’s due to break out and pace the offense. Torres, along with teammates Belisle-Haley and Simsarian, enjoyed a run to the state lacrosse game back in June. Those two standout athletes (Belisle-Haley was Yarmouth’s Winter Female Athlete of the Year last year for her swimming prowess, while Simsarian is one of the fastest players around, regardless of sport) will anchor the defense. Bartlett and Watson, who enjoyed solid freshman campaigns, will be in the midfield and will look to help the offense. Fallon is now in her third year in goal and she’ll be spelled at times by freshman Rachel Chille.
The Clippers are hoping to get off to a better start this year. They’ll definitely improve as they go along. Their athleticism and talent are obvious. This could be a squad that’s very dangerous come playoff time.

COACH: Chris Pingitore (second year, 2-7 overall record)
2012 Results: 2-7 (Lost, 50-22, to Winslow in Western C quarterfinals)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Rhys Eddy (Senior), Matt Klepinger (Senior), Tom Lord (Senior), Race Morrison (Senior), Brady Neujahr (Senior), Nate Shields-Auble (Senior), Matt Woodbury (Senior), Will Landry (Sophomore)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 12 LEAVITT, Sept. 27 @ Mountain Valley, Oct. 4 WELLS, Oct. 11 @ Cape Elizabeth, Oct. 18 @ Poland, Oct. 25 FREEPORT
COACH’S COMMENT: “We look fast and sharp. We’re two or three weeks ahead of where I thought we’d be. I’m happy with what I’ve seen. I have 27 really good athletes. We have experience, but our line is young. We hope to accomplish big things. Talent-wise, we’re up there with the teams from 2009-11. It’s a matter of staying healthy. We expect to make the playoffs. We have the potential.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Yarmouth wasn’t able to win a third straight Class C championship last fall, but the Clippers did conjure up one last piece of magic when they needed it most and rallied past rival Freeport in less than ideal conditions in the finale to earn a fourth straight playoff berth. That, as much as the Gold Balls, demonstrated the pride of this program. Now, several seniors who played an integral role in the glory days, come back for one last hurrah and face a much tougher Western C schedule with the addition of former Class B powers Cape Elizabeth, Leavitt, Mountain Valley and Wells.
Very few schools anywhere can boast a four-year starting quarterback and Neujahr (a league all-star last year) is something special. He looks to go out with a bang and should be in for a big season running and throwing the ball. Through the air, Neujahr will look for Eddy (all-conference in 2012), Morrison and freshman Grant DiBiase. On the ground, Yarmouth will look to pound the opposition with Klepinger, Lord (another reigning all-star) and Woodbury. Sophomores Cody Cook, Jack Snyder and Lucas Uhl had strong preseason performances and will see some carries. Landry, Shields-Auble (who will also see some passes thrown in his direction) and sophomore Noah Colby-George will open holes and protect the quarterback.
Defensively, Landry is the nose guard. He’s joined on the line by Colby-George, Lord and Shields-Auble. The linebacking corps includes DiBiase, Morrison and Woodbury. Eddy, Klepinger and Neujahr will see time in the secondary.
As usual, numbers are an issue for the team and with the quality of the opposition it will be imperative for the Clippers to stay healthy. They have the skill position talent to play with anyone and won’t be phased by making a trip to Rumford or hosting Leavitt or Wells. Yarmouth should be playoff-bound again and should improve on last year’s record. One last deep postseason run would be a fitting coda to these seniors’ stellar careers. Don’t bet against them.

COACH: Mandy Lewis (seventh year, 24-59-5 overall record)
2012 Record: 8-7-1 (Lost, 2-0, to Lake Region in Western B quarterfinals)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Lily Daggett (Senior), Katie Overhaug (Senior), Emma Peterson (Senior), Kallie Hutchinson (Junior)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 9 @ Waynflete, Sept. 13 @ NYA, Sept. 17 WELLS, Sept. 25 @ Cape Elizabeth, Oct. 1 WAYNFLETE, Oct. 7 NYA, Oct. 9 @ Wells, Oct. 15 FREEPORT
COACH’S COMMENT: “This should be a great season for us. For the past two seasons, this group of athletes has worked to move farther in the playoffs than in recent Yarmouth history. Two years ago, we earned a prelim. Last year, we made it to the quarterfinals. This season, we hope to go beyond and earn at least a semifinal game. This is a driven group of young women and with the hard work I’ve seen so far, it will be an exciting season.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Yarmouth has been steadily improving and last year really arrived, winning a playoff game for the first time since 2004 and posting a winning record for the first time since 2000. Now, the Clippers move to Class C, restore a one-time great rivalry with crosstown rival North Yarmouth Academy (the schools had some fierce playoffs battles in the previous century) and have a great shot to go deep into the postseason.
The offense will be led by reigning league all-stars Hutchinson and Peterson. Daggett and Overhaug have plenty of experience as well. Freshman Taylor Robison looks to step right in and make a mark. Yarmouth does have a big hole to fill in goal after Nicole Hickey graduated. Sophomores Victoria Messina and Hannah Sanborn are vying for that role.
For years, this program hoped to make the playoffs. Now, the Clippers expect to be a factor. This squad should be able to produce a lot of offense and has solid athletes up and down the roster. If Yarmouth gets off to a fast start, it could earn a home playoff game or more, which will help the cause in the postseason. The last time the Clippers advanced past the quarterfinal round was in 2000 when they reached the Western B Final. This year’s squad has the potential to reach such lofty heights. It should be a fun season for this program.

COACH: Bob Morse (33rd year, two state championships)
2012 Results:
(BOYS) 11th @ Class B state meet
(GIRLS) 6th @ Class B state meet
(BOYS) Braden Becker (Senior), Colin Kerner (Senior), Andrew Kolodgie (Senior), Sam Gerken (Junior)
(GIRLS) Madison Hynes (Senior), Kartine Laukli (Senior), Ihila Lesnikova (Senior), Molly Maguire (Senior), Caitlin Teare (Junior), Ellie Teare (Junior)
TOP FOES: Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth Freeport, Greely, York
COACH’S COMMENT: “The boys’ team is growing. We’re led by two great captains, who set high standards. We’d like to win the WMC Division II title, qualify better than sixth for regionals and be in the top half of teams at states. We have a shot at being a contender. The boys are motivated and have put in their miles over the summer. We must stay healthy, dedicated and motivated and be mentally tough during races.
“The girls’ team has a great core of motivated runners, along with a couple additions. The girls are motivated by their four great captains. The team has set goals to repeat as WMC Division II champs, challenge for a top three slot at regionals and make the top five in the Class B state meet. I’m very excited and impressed with the motivation, spirit and improvement with many of the runners. With continued hard work and some luck, the girls have a great opportunity to reach their goals.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Yarmouth is primed for another strong season and Morse (with help from assistants Mike Griffin, John Rogers and Chuck Thorp) is optimistic about what’s to come.
The boys’ team’s top returner is Becker, a first-team league all-star and all-state selection, who was fifth at the Class B state meet a year ago and qualified for New Englands. He’s joined by experienced teammates Gerken (83rd) and Kerner (85th), along with Kolodgie (like Becker, a captain) and senior Sam Steinbock. A pair of newcomers, senior Ben Decker (Yarmouth’s Spring Male Athlete of the Year for his outdoor track dominance, who is also playing soccer this fall) and freshman Jake Griffin, make the team that much stronger. Several other veterans will also be heard from. The Clippers have to battle some of the best teams in the state and it won’t be easy to qualify, but Yarmouth has managed to do so in five of the past six years and has the type of talent that could produce another top 10 state meet finish. Or better.
On the girls’ side, the loss of standout Sarah Becker (12th at states a year ago) will be felt, but the Clippers have plenty of talent in reserve. Returning state scorers include first-team league all-star Caitlin Teare (24th) and second-teamer Ellie Teare (27th). Senior captains Hynes, Laukli, Lesnikova and Maguire provide depth and leadership. Several other promising runners return and newcomers Campbell Dorsett and Emma Glessner will help the cause. Matching last year’s results, one of the finest seasons in program history, will be tough, but Yarmouth will be in the mix again and should once again be a force come the postseason.

COACH: Gregg Baker (second year)
2012 Record: 9-1 (3rd @ Class B state match)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Monica Austin (Senior), Grace King (Senior), Spencer Olsen (Senior), Ian Guiney (Junior), Tyler Hall (Junior)
TOP FOES: Cape Elizabeth, York
COACH’S COMMENT: “It’s a rebuilding year a little bit after losing (three top players). It’ll be tough, but my top four look good. We look forward to the freshmen and sophomores coming along. I have six incoming freshmen, so it’s a good upcoming class. Monica’s always a threat. She’s a quality player. She works as hard as anybody I’ve seen. I like the chemistry of this team already. We’d love to quality for states and make a good showing.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Yarmouth had a spectacular season in 2012, winning a conference title, but ultimately, the Clippers weren’t able to achieve their goal of winning a state championship. All-stars Cal Cooper and Nick Lainey and 2012 Fall Male Athlete of the Year Red DeSmith have graduated, so there is some work to do, but Yarmouth (which moved its home course to Toddy Brook this season) should be very competitive once again.
Austin leads the way. She’s coming off  a superb summer and is in the running for the title of finest female golfer in the state. She was an all-star last fall, shot an 88 at the team state match, then shot an 85 at the girls’ individual match, finishing one shot shy of the top. She’s joined by another top female, King (fifth last year with an 87), and reigning all-star Olsen (95 at states a year ago, even though his score wasn’t factored in). Guiney and Hall look to crack the top of the rotation, while a pair of freshmen, Nate Bealaman and Grant Workman, show promise.
The Clippers will again win the majority of their matches and should find their way back to the state match where they figure to be among the best teams. Austin has a great shot at individual glory the following week. It should be another memorable campaign.

COACH: Jim Senecal (seventh year, 51-41 overall record, one state championship)
2012 Results: 10-5 (Lost, 3-1, to Machias in Class B quarterfinals)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS:  Kristina Borderia (Senior), Hannah Elrick (Senior), Emma Maierhofer (Senior), Grace Mallett (Senior)
PIVOTAL MATCHES: Sept. 28 WASHINGTON ACADEMY, Sept. 28 MACHIAS, Oct. 12 @ Bucksport, Oct. 12 @ Sumner, Oct. 19 JONESPORT-BEALS
COACH’S COMMENT: “I have to say I’m very excited about our chances this year. This is by far the deepest team we’ve featured in several years. We have nine seniors who all have extensive playing experience either for Yarmouth or the Maine Juniors program. Our seniors are determined to erase the memory of last year’s loss to Machias. We’re not a big team. I think we’ll be outsized by most, if not all of the teams on our schedule. We play eight of 14 matches against Class A teams. That experience will help if we’re able to make the playoffs.
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Yarmouth wasn’t able to repeat as state champions, but could find itself back atop Class B if all goes well this season. The Clippers have some solid returners and several promising additions.
This year’s team will be paced by captains Maierhofer (a defensive standout) and Mallett (a setter). Elrick returns at outside hitter for a second season. She’s viewed as one of the top hitters in Class B. Borderia, a middle hitter, led the team with 33 blocks a year ago. She was also second on the team with 71 kills. She’s due for a strong campaign. Three sophomores, Liz Clark, Morgan Hamre and McKenzie Sheehan, look to step in and make their mark. Clark will be an opposite hitter or defensive specialist. Hamre is known for her athleticism. Sheehan will see time on the front row and Senecal calls her serve the best on the squad.
The schedule features a lot of games against Class A foes, but not against the traditional powerhouses. The Clippers will also see quite a bit of Class B teams that might be standing in their way come playoff time. That schedule will help the squad improve and be at its best when the postseason begins. Yarmouth figures to have a longer playoff stay this time around. If everything comes together, the Clippers might just find themselves the last team standing for the second time in three years.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Senior David Murphy has foot skills that border on the unstoppable.

Junior Adam LaBrie has enjoyed the flair for dramatic goals in recent seasons.

Senior Chandler Smith will serve as the Minister of Defense for the Clippers once again this season.

Walter Conrad saw a lot of time as a freshman and will be a key contributor this fall as a sophomore.

Senior Wes Crawford will be in the middle of the action all season.

Senior Ben Decker won’t just be starring on the pitch this fall, he’ll also be one of the top cross country runners in the area.

Junior Wyatt Jackson is a matchup nightmare for the opposition, which would be wise to trod softly when he’s in the area.

Junior Emma Torres will spark the Yarmouth offense in the weeks to come.

Senior Abby Belisle-Haley is one of the region’s top three-sport athletes and she will be a strong defender for the Clippers this season.

Junior Shannon Fallon returns in goal for the Clippers.

It’s hard to believe, but Brady Neujahr is now in his fourth season as Yarmouth’s starting quarterback.

The bruising running of senior Matt Klepinger will keep the chains moving this fall.

Senior Thomas Lord will also make the Yarmouth offense go.

Senior Matt Woodbury has been through his share of big games and is hoping for a strong final season.

Senior Nate Shields-Auble is one of Yarmouth’s top receivers and he’s not easy to bring down.

Senior Braden Becker qualified for New Englands a season ago and hopes to bow out with another series of superb performances.

Junior Caitlin Teare came in 24th at last year’s Class B girls’ state cross country meet.

Senior Kristina Borderia was one of the statistical leaders on last year’s Yarmouth volleyball team.

2013 schedules

Fri., Sept. 6 H GRAY-NG
Thurs., Sept. 12 H LEAVITT
Fri., Sept. 20 @ Lake Region
Fri., Sept. 27 @ Mtn. Valley
Fri., Oct. 4 H WELLS
Fri., Oct. 11 @ Cape Elizabeth
Fri., Oct. 18 @ Poland
Fri., Oct. 25 H FREEPORT

Sat., Sept. 7 H POLAND
Tues., Sept. 10 H GREELY
Mon., Sept. 16 @ Freeport
Wed., Sept. 18 H YORK
Fri., Sept. 20 H KENNEBUNK
Tues., Sept. 24 @ Waynflete
Mon., Sept. 30 H FALMOUTH
Wed., Oct. 2 @ York
Sat., Oct. 5 @ Cape Elizabeth
Tues., Oct. 8 @ Falmouth
Fri., Oct. 11 @ Kennebunk
Wed., Oct. 16 @ Greely
Mon., Oct. 21 H GRAY-NG

Tues., Sept. 10 @ Greely
Mon., Sept. 16 H FREEPORT
Wed., Sept. 18 @ York
Fri., Sept. 20 @ Kennebunk
Tues., Sept. 24 H WELLS
Fri., Sept. 27 @ Cape Elizabeth
Mon., Sept. 30 H FALMOUTH
Wed., Oct. 2 H YORK
Tues., Oct. 8 @ Falmouth
Fri., Oct. 11 H KENNEBUNK
Wed., Oct. 16 H GREELY
Sat., Oct. 19 @ Poland
Mon., Oct. 21 @ Gray-NG

Fri., Sept. 6 @ OOB
Mon., Sept. 9 @ Waynflete
Wed., Sept. 11 H SACOPEE
Fri., Sept. 13 @ NYA
Tues., Sept. 17 H WELLS
Fri., Sept. 20 @ Traip
Mon., Sept. 23 H OOB
Wed., Sept. 25 @ Cape Elizabeth
Tues., Oct. 1 H WAYNFLETE
Thurs., Oct. 3 @ Sacopee
Mon., Oct. 7 H NYA
Wed., Oct. 9 @ Wells
Fri., Oct. 11 H TRAIP
Tues., Oct. 15 H FREEPORT

Wed., Sept. 4 @ York (Frye, GNG)
Fri., Sept. 13 @ Lake Region (Cape, Greely)
Fri., Sept. 20 @ Wells (Falm, Poland, Traip)
Sat., Oct. 5 @ Belfast Invitational
Fri., Oct. 11 @ NYA (Freeport)
Fri., Oct. 18 @ WMC Championships
Sat., Oct. 26 @ Western B Regionals
Sat., Nov. 2 @ Class B State Meet

Wed., Sept. 4 @ Cape Elizabeth
Thurs., Sept. 5 H YORK
Tues., Sept. 10 H WELLS
Thurs., Sept. 12 @ Wells
Mon., Sept. 16 @ York
Wed., Sept. 18 H NYA
Mon., Sept. 23 @ Freeport
Wed,. Sept. 25 @ Fryeburg
Thurs., Sept. 26 @ Poland

Tues., Sept. 10 @ NYA
Thurs., Sept. 12 @ Lake Region
Wed., Sept. 18 @ Cheverus
Wed., Sept. 25 @ Kennebunk
Sat., Sept. 28 H MACHIAS
Wed., Oct. 2 H CONY
Thurs., Oct. 10 H SP
Sat., Oct. 12 @ Bucksport
@ Sumner
Tues., Oct. 15 H WINDHAM
Thurs., Oct. 17 @ TA

Sidebar Elements

Senior Max Watson is one of several returning standouts for a Yarmouth boys’ soccer team viewed by some as having the potential to be the best in the state this fall.

More photos below.

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