Yarmouth Clippers Winter Sports Preview

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BOYS’ BASKETBALL

COACH: Adam Smith (11th year, 119-77 overall record, one state championship)

2013-14 record: 15-5 (Lost, 56-38, to Greely in Western B semifinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Jordan Brown (Senior), Adam LaBrie (Senior), Cote Sawyer (Senior), Cody Cook (Junior), Muss M’Bareck (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 9 FALMOUTH, Dec. 12 POLAND, Dec. 16 @ Greely, Dec. 20 @ Cape Elizabeth, Jan. 3 @ Gray-NG, Jan. 6 @ Waynflete, Jan. 10 CAPE ELIZABETH, Jan. 13 @ Falmouth, Jan. 16 GREELY, Jan. 27 @ York, Jan. 30 LAKE REGION, Feb. 3 GRAY-NG

COACH’S COMMENT: “We’ll be competitive this year. I think we’ll be in the top of the second tier, like last year. It’s a different group, but we’ll be fun to watch. Our scoring will be spread out. Any of our starting five could lead us in scoring on a given night. Adam will be tops in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals. He’s so unselfish. We have a good bench that can help us if we get in foul trouble. I see us playing more guys than we did last year. Ultimately, we have to play great defense and we have to knock down shots to win.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: In a league that appears very balanced, Yarmouth could be one of the last teams standing. This group will be fun to watch and has a lot of potential. For starters, there’s LaBrie, who, if his basketball season approaches the one he just enjoyed on the pitch, could end in a championship celebration. LaBrie (a third-team league all-star, who averaged 2.1 3-pointers per game a year ago) will look to fill the scoring void created upon the departure of David Murphy, but he’s much more than just a finisher. He’ll rebound, distribute (he was fifth in league in assists a year ago, 4.0 per game) and defend as well. M’Bareck will run the offense at point guard for the second year. He might increase his scoring as well. Cook showed glimpses of greatness a year ago and coming off an all-star football campaign, will be a scoring threat. Brown was the sixth man a year ago, but will play a key role at guard and forward in the weeks to come. Sawyer brings some muscle down low and will look to score as well. Seniors Adam Clark and Sam Morris will play key roles as well. The Clippers still don’t have much size to speak of and don’t appear to have the overall talent of preseason favorite Cape Elizabeth, but Smith has faced this type of challenge before and it ended quite happily. This squad will only get better between now and February. Don’t be surprised if there’s a lot of buzz around Yarmouth when tournament time rolls around.

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

COACH: Christina Strong (second year)

2013-14 record: 4-14 (No postseason)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Alison Clark (Sophomore), Johanna Hattan (Sophomore), Cory Langenbach (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 6 KENNEBUNK, Dec. 12 @ Poland, Dec. 20 CAPE ELIZABETH, Jan. 6 WAYNFLETE, Jan. 8 @ Traip, Jan. 10 @ Cape Elizabeth, Jan. 23 FREEPORT, Feb. 5 @ Freeport

COACH’S COMMENT: “It’s coming along. We did well in our scrimmages. We’ll be young and inexperienced, but I think we’ll be in games. Everyone is working hard. It’s a tightly-knit team. We have quick guards. We hope to turn some steals into points. We need more from our post players. They’re capable. I hope to have more wins than last year. We want teams to have to prepare for us. We want to grow the girls’ basketball IQ and to have fun.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: The first season of the Strong Era was one of growth and optimism. Expect that to continue this winter, even though the Clippers return almost no one with experience and will have to rely on several newcomers. This is a group that will have a steep learning curve, but once they get over the hump, look out. Langenbach is really the only returner with a lot of experience. She’ll be expected to carry the offense early in the season as everyone else gets up to speed. Clark and Hattan have limited varsity experience and will play down low. Freshman Sara D’Appolonia, the coach’s daughter, who excelled at center-mid during a terrific soccer season, will take over at point guard. This star of the future will not be phased by the challenge. While she’s not a big scorer, she’ll get points when needed and will get her teammates the ball in optimal position. Freshman Jessica Kirk is another guard to watch. It’s almost unheard of for a varsity roster to be this young and inexperienced and that would normally result in a long, challenging season, but don’t be so quick to write the Clippers off. There is some real talent here. It just needs seasoning. Anything Yarmouth accomplishes this year is gravy. The future is very bright. Teams better learn to respect this program. It’s oh so close to returning to contention.

BOYS’ HOCKEY

COACH: Dave St. Pierre (fourth year, 29-25-4 overall record)

2013-14 record: 11-7-1 (Lost, 4-1, to Kennebunk in Western B quarterfinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Nick Allen (Senior), Tyler Hall (Senior), Connor Lainey (Senior), Matt Madrid (Senior), Sam Rouda (Senior), Brian Travers (Senior), Dylan Tureff (Senior), Walter Conrad (Junior), Patrick Grant (Junior), Bill Jacobs (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 6 FALMOUTH, Dec. 17 @ Lewiston, Dec. 23 CHEVERUS, Jan. 3 @ Greely, Jan. 7 YORK, Jan. 19 CAPE ELIZABETH, Jan. 24 KENNEBUNK, Jan. 31 GORHAM, Feb. 9 @ York, Feb. 11 GREELY, Feb. 14 @ Gorham, Feb. 16 CAMDEN HILLS

COACH’S COMMENT: “We’re older this year, which is nice. We have 10 seniors and four juniors. I think we’ll have a balanced attack. We’ll need scoring from all three lines. We have a tough schedule. The whole month of December is tough. The league is as wide open as I’ve seen in awhile. I think we’ll be in the mix. If we can stay healthy and find that lunchpail mentality, that’s the key to getting us to the right place.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Yarmouth once again reached the playoffs in 2013-14, but once again fell short of their ultimate goal, a state title. This season, the Clippers have the experience, balance and hunger to go a long way. The offense is paced by Grant, a second-team all-star, who scored nine times a year ago, but more impressively produced 28 assists. He’ll make this offense go with help from Conrad (3 goals, 8 assists in a second-team all-star campaign in 2013-14), Jacobs (5 goals, 5 assists), Tureff (5 goals, 5 assists) and Travers (1 goal, 6 assists). Hall, Lainey, Rouda and freshman Cooper May will also be in the mix. Conrad is the top defender, with help from Madrid and Travers. Allen returns in goal. He had a 3.37 goals against average last winter. Western Class B is as balanced as it’s been in recent memory. Any of a half dozen teams could come out and play for a state title and the Clippers are certainly one of them. They have a very tough regular season slate, but this squad wants to be at its best in late February. If this group develops and peaks at the right time, it might just wake up the echoes.

GIRLS’ ICE HOCKEY

COACH: Jeff Haley (third year, 20-16-2 overall record)

2013-14 record: 14-5-1 (Lost, 6-1, to EL/Leavitt in East Region semifinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Katie Brown (Senior), Emily Johnson (Senior), Michelle Robichaud (Senior), Hannah Williams (Senior), Lilly Watson (Junior), Katie Clemmer (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 6 FALMOUTH, Dec. 17 @ Lewiston, Dec. 20 @ EL/Leavitt, Dec. 22 GREELY, Dec. 31 @ Falmouth, Jan. 2 EL/LEAVITT, Jan. 17 @ Capeflete, Jan. 19 @ Greely, Jan. 21 @ St. Dom’s, Jan. 24 LEWISTON

COACH’S COMMENT: “We have a team with plenty of experience, leadership and character that has learned how to compete and succeed. We look to capitalize on those traits and our added depth to help be a strong contender in our conference and to hopefully make a deep run into the playoffs.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Yarmouth/Freeport, which now includes players from Gray-New Gloucester, had its breakthrough season a year ago, turning heads early, then making a run all the way to the semifinals. This winter, the team won’t be able to sneak up on anyone, but it won’t have to, as it’s loaded with talent. The squad got off to a fast start with a 9-0 win over Brunswick. Johnson, a first-team all-star a year ago, is the top returning scorer, producing 13 goals and 20 assists in 2013-14. Second-team all-stars from last season, Brown (9 goals, 10 assists) and Clemmer (5 goals, 8 assists), will also light the lamp, as will a pair of offensive minded defenders, Robichaud (11 goals, 14 assists in a first-team all-star season last winter) and Watson (3 goals, 1 assist). Two juniors from Gray-New Gloucester, Keeley Arnold, a forward, and Jenny Holmquist, a defender, help the cause. Williams returns in goal. She was 14-5-1 during an honorable mention campaign last year with six shutouts and a 1.65 goals against average. Yarmouth/Freeport turned the corner a year ago and now can legitimately think about making a title run. It won’t come easily, as the opposition is now gunning for this group, but the pieces are in place for greatness.

INDOOR TRACK

COACH: Mike Griffin (second year)

2013-14 results:

(BOYS) tie-11th @ Class B state meet

(GIRLS) tie-7th @ Class B state meet

TOP RETURNERS:

(BOYS) Sam Gerken (Senior), Darren Shi (Senior)

(GIRLS) Brooke Hornney (Senior), Maddie Mitchell (Senior), Emma Egan (Junior), Annabelle Elvidge (Junior)

TOP FOES: Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, Greely, York

COACH’S COMMENT: “We have a solid group of returning athletes. Many returnees have their sights on placing at the Western Maine championships and qualifying for states. We have a very strong group of juniors who will support a talented senior class. The new team members will have a lot of veteran leadership to guide them to a successful season.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Both Yarmouth teams boast several strong athletes this winter.

The boys’ team returns Shi, who was runner-up in the shot put at states (he won the conference crown). Gerken will be a scoring threat in the middle distance and distance. Freshman Luke Laverdiere, coming off a stellar cross country campaign, will be one of the league’s top distance runners. This group will ride those three a long way and should be competitive throughout the league season and could move up at states.

On the girls’ side, the top returner is the multi-talented Egan, who was runner-up in both the 55 and the high jump and placed fifth in the long jump a year. She’ll look to win a couple state titles this time around. Elvidge, Hornney and Mitchell return from a state meet scoring 800 relay team. They’ll be heard from as well. Egan alone could place the Clippers in the top 10. If she gets some help, this group could be even better than last year.

SWIMMING

COACH: Lenora Felker (second year)

2013-14 results:

(BOYS) 9th @ Class B state meet

(GIRLS) 6th @ Class B state meet

TOP RETURNERS:

(BOYS) Brandon Felker (Senior), Jack Snyder (Senior), Barelen Creswell (Sophomore)

(GIRLS) Eliza Oliver (Senior), Cara Ricciardi (Junior), Eliza Lunt (Sophomore), Amanda Murray (Sophomore)

COACH’S COMMENT: “After a season under my belt, I have a good perspective of this team’s talents and surprises. We’re a small team and always have been, but we still make huge impacts in our meets. You can never count us out. We might not win the big meets where numbers matter, but we come out swinging in the smaller meets and go for best times and best places for ourselves and the team. The kids have great attitudes and are willing to work hard and do what it takes to improve.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Yarmouth posted some solid results a year ago and turned heads at states. This winter, the Clippers, who add a new assistant in Sarah Hirschfield, a former swimmer at Bowdoin College, expect to turn heads again.

The boys graduated top scorer Ethan Nightingale, the Class B runner-up in the backstroke, but talent returns in the form of Creswell (distance freestyle), Felker (freestyle, breaststroke, individual medley) and Snyder (freestyle, butterfly), the team’s captain. Newcomer Michael Hagerty adds depth. Look for steady improvement from this group, one that should be quite formidable by February.

On the girls’ side, the graduation of Abby Belisle-Haley hurts, but the cupboard isn’t bare. Lunt had a terrific freshman season (fourth in the breaststroke) and could be even stronger this winter (she also swims the freestyle).Oliver and Ricciardi were part of scoring relay teams in 2013-14 and are captains this winter. Oliver competes in the freestyle, while Ricciardi does the freestyle and backstroke. Murray (freestyle and butterfly) also has experience, while three newcomers: Jenna Elliot, Kacie Middleton and Emily Parker, arrive to help the cause. Yarmouth has long been about quality over quantity and this year will be more of the same. Look for several girls to put up strong performances as the Clippers will be among the best teams in the conference and the state again.

SKIING

2013-14 results:

(BOYS) 3rd @ Class B state meet

(GIRLS) Class B combined state champions

ALPINE

COACH: Sam Eddy (second year)

2013-14 results:

(BOYS) 7th @ Class B state meet

(GIRLS) 2nd @ Class B state meet

TOP RETURNERS:

(BOYS) Jack Inger (Senior), Jack Diggins (Junior)

(GIRLS) Anna Bouton (Junior), Abby Condon (Sophomore), Chloe Noack (Sophomore), Hannah Van Alstine (Sophomore)

TOP FOES: Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth

COACH’S COMMENT: “Going into the season, we’ll focus on fundamentals and mechanics to arc clean carves and ski clean lines. I think the girls will do well and have an exciting season. The boys will have to scrap for every finish to put themselves in the hunt. I’m looking forward to a great season.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Yarmouth is always in the thick of things on the slopes and this winter should be no different. The program has added two new assistant coaches: Jack Gross (a former Yarmouth standout) and Jill Thomas (a former middle school coach).

The boys’ squad returns a pair of state meet scorers: Inger (22nd in the slalom and 35th in the giant slalom a year ago) and Diggins (29th in the slalom and 29th in the GS). They’ll be expected to have strong performances again and carry an unheralded group through the season. Sophomore George Jutras looks to make his presence felt as well. By February, the Clippers should be in the hunt for a high finish again.

On the girls’ side, standouts Chapin Dorsett and Julia Primeau have graduated, but two scorers are back. Bouton was 11th in the slalom and 17th in the GS a year ago. Van Alstine placed 12th in the slalom and 14th in the GS. They’re joined by Condon and Noack, who have experience, sophomore Abby Diggins and some promising freshmen: Greta Elder, Cate Ralph and Emi Ruth. Yarmouth was runner-up last winter and hopes to take the next step this time around. Don’t bet against this perennial power.

NORDIC

COACH: Bob Morse (33rd year)

2013-14 results:

(BOYS) Class B state champions

(GIRLS) Class B state champions

TOP RETURNERS:

(BOYS) Tim Pietropaoli (Senior), Henry Becker (Junior), Henry Jones (Junior), Ethan Humphries (Sophomore), John Lane (Sophomore)

(GIRLS) Sarah Myers (Senior), Caitlin Teare (Senior), Emma Torres (Senior), Lucy Alexander (Junior), Meredith Hawkins (Junior), Lydia Sullivan (Junior), Gretchen Barbera (Sophomore), Grace Cowles (Sophomore)

TOP FOES: Falmouth, Freeport, Fryeburg, Merriconeag

COACH’S COMMENT: “The boys will try to build a strong team identity after losing the top four skiers from last year’s championship team. We’ll focus on the five returners and four freshmen. The goal will be to get into skiing shape and working on developing correct classic and freestyle techniques. The girls’ team will contend to repeat as state champions. The team will be led by our three strong seniors with a strong core of eight to 10 skiers ready to challenge them. We’ll place a strong emphasis on team support in developing skiing balance, endurance and fast skiing.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Another year, another title sweep. That was Yarmouth’s story last winter and the Clippers are hoping history repeats come February. It’s certainly possible. Morse is assisted this season by Kalie Dunn, JB Sullivan, Megan Toussaint and Mike Yeo.

The boys’ squad is starting from scratch after graduating state meet scorers Sam Alexander, Braden Becker, Carter Hall and Jasper Houston. With that said, what the program had waiting in reserve is pretty special and is just waiting for a chance to prove it. Yarmouth will be paced by veterans Henry Becker, Humphries, Jones, Lane and Pietropaoli and four freshmen: Max Coury, Sean Moore, Sammy Potter and Justin Reaman, will be heard from as well. There’s a lot of competition, but the Clippers will be ready for it. By the end of the season, look out.

The girls’ squad is starting from a better place as state meet scorers Torres (third in the freestyle, fifth in the classical), Alexander (fourth in the freestyle, 10th in the classical), Teare (ninth in the freestyle) and Myers (ninth in the classical) all return. Barbera, Cowles, Hawkins and Sullivan have experience, while newcomers Hannah Corey, Sophia Laukli and Ellie Purgavie will be heard from as well. This squad’s depth will lead to excellence during the regular season and will put it in optimal position to bring home more hardware at states.

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

Junior Muss M’Bareck will lead the Yarmouth offense for the second year in a row.

Senior Jordan Brown was first off the bench last winter, but will be a starter this season.

Senior Cote Sawyer will be a force in the post for the Clippers.

Sophomore Cory Langenbach had a strong freshman campaign and enters the 2014-15 season as the most experienced Clipper.

Senior Nick Allen returns in goal for the Clippers.

Junior Patrick Grant will likely lead the Clippers in scoring this winter.

Senior Sam Rouda is a top scoring threat for the Clippers.

Senior Brian Travers will help protect Yarmouth’s defensive zone.

Senior Dylan Tureff will help pace the Yarmouth offense.

Senior Katie Brown is one of many potential big scorers for Yarmouth/Freeport this season.

Sophomore Katie Clemmer is an unstoppable force who will give opposing goalkeepers nightmares this season.

Senior Emily Johnson has enjoyed a terrific career on the ice and hopes to lead Yarmouth/Freeport deep into the playoffs again this winter.

Senior captain Michelle Robichaud will light the lamp on a regular basis this winter.

Junior Lilly Watson is a top defender, who has a potent shot as well.

Emma Egan is one of the state’s best indoor track athletes, capable of scoring in several events.

Junior Jack Diggins is a returner for the Clippers.

Sophomore George Jutras looks to have a breakout season.

Sophomore Abby Diggins brings depth to the Yarmouth girls’ Alpine ski squad.

Captain Anna Bouton is a top returner for the Yarmouth girls’ Alpine ski team.

Sidebar Elements


Coming off a championship soccer season, senior Adam LaBrie looks to lead Yarmouth’s boys’ basketball team to a title as well.

File photos.

More photos below.

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