North Yarmouth Academy’s boys’ and girls’ soccer teams swept the Class D state titles last fall and are back for more this year. File photos. More photos below.

BOYS’ SOCCER

Coach: Tom Masters (first year)

2018 record: 16-2 (Beat Penobscot Valley, 3-1, to win Class D state title)

Top returning players: Cam Goodrich (Senior), Stefan Kulhanek (Senior), Mason Bull (Junior), Pierce Manchester (Junior), Reese Merritt (Junior), Chas Rohde (Sophomore)

Sophomore Chas Rohde is a top returner for NYA’s boys’ soccer team.

Pivotal games: Sept. 12 TRAIP, Sept. 14 SACOPEE, Sept. 18 RICHMOND, Sept. 21 @ Yarmouth, Oct. 1 Richmond, Oct. 3 WAYNFLETE, Oct. 8 @ Traip, Oct. 10 @ Sacopee,

Coach’s comment: “It’s a great group of kids. We have a strong freshman class to help replace the kids who graduated. We have a lot of talent and hunger. We shouldn’t have a lot of trouble scoring goals. A realistic goal for us is to keep finding out who we are and that should lead us back to the playoffs and beyond. This group is hungry to go back to the state championship game.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: NYA snapped a 13-year championship drought a year ago, setting the tone for what proved to be a memorable school year. With Martyn Keen moving on to coach at St. Joseph’s College, the program welcomes Masters as coach. Masters played at Lincoln Academy and at St. Joe’s and previously coached at the premier level. He takes over a squad that should once again compete for hardware.

This season, the offense will be led by Goodrich, Kulhanek and Rohde. Freshmen Rogers Crowley, Seamus Rohde and Aidan Skillman will make an impact as well. Bull is a top midfielder. The defense features Manchester, Merritt, sophomore Noah Skillman and freshman Wyatt Thomas. Freshman Alex Wignall takes over as goalkeeper.

The Panthers have to navigate a challenging schedule that includes top teams from Classes B, C and D. This group will take awhile to find its identity, but once it does, look out. NYA has the look of a squad that could once again go all the way.

GIRLS’ SOCCER

Coach: Ricky Doyon (third year, 16-15-1, one state championship)

2018 record: 14-3-1 (Beat Central Aroostook, 4-1, to win Class D state title)

Top returning players: Madison Argitis (Senior), Carly Downey (Senior), Serena Mower (Senior), Natalie Farrell (Junior), Rylie McIntyre (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Sept. 10 ST. DOM”S, Sept. 14 @ Sacopee, Sept. 18 @ Richmond, Sept. 28 TRAIP, Oct. 1 RICHMOND, Oct. 3 @ Waynflete, Oct. 8 WAYNFLETE, Oct. 15 @ St. Dom’s, Oct. 18 @ Traip

Coach’s comment: “With the loss of two starters to graduation and two due to injuries sustained in the spring, we’ll have to make some adjustments, but we’ve added some good players. I hope we can be competitive again. The girls will have to work hard to get back to the postseason. From there, anything can happen. Almost everything went our way last season and it’s a year we’ll never forget. It took the whole team to accomplish what they did. Last year’s accomplishments will be tough to replicate. The girls understand this is a new season. To be successful, the experienced players will need to work with the younger girls. All the girls will have to work hard, play as a team and the coaches must have a plan to help them accomplish their short- and long-term goals. If the girls work as a cohesive group and believe in the system, nothing is impossible. Our aim is to make playoffs and see where that can take us.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: NYA enjoyed a dream season in 2018, capping a dizzying rebuilding process. The Panthers didn’t even have a varsity team in 2016 and after going 2-12 in 2017, not much was expected last fall, but an infusion of talent from the erstwhile Maine Girls Academy, combined with some solid players already on the roster, spelled a magical campaign which culminated with the program’s first state championship in 11 years. This fall, NYA has some big shoes to fill, but there’s reason for optimism that a triumphant ending could once again be in store.

Downey was superb in goal in 2018, posting eight shutouts and making 108 saves while being named to the all-conference first-team, as well as the Southern Maine regional all-star squad. She’ll be the last line of defense and likely will frustrate the opposition all year. Defensively, Argitis is joined by sophomore Eliza Chance. In the midfield, look for McIntyre (six goals, six assists last season) to lead the way. Freshmen Angel Huntsman and Michaela Wallace are new and provide depth. The scoring punch will be led by Mower, who scored 16 goals last fall in an honorable mention all-star campaign, and Farrell, who had 13 goals and six assists en route to being named honorable mention in 2018. Huntsman and junior Naomi Reischmann also figure into the scoring mix.

While the schedule is challenging, with 11 games against Class B or C foes, and while Richmond remains a power in Class D South, NYA should once again be one of the last teams standing. A lot went the Panthers way in 2018 and they’d love to deliver a repeat performance this autumn. Don’t bet against them.

FIELD HOCKEY

Coach: Annika King (second year)

2018 record: 7-8 (Lost, 7-2, to Spruce Mountain in Class C South quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Maya Davis (Senior), Katie Larson (Senior), Eliza Tod (Senior), Emelia McKenney (Sophomore)

Senior Katie Larson is a top returner for NYA’s field hockey team.

Pivotal games: Sept. 7 @ St. Dom’s, Sept. 13 YARMOUTH, Oct. 1 ST. DOM’S

Coach’s comment: “Our goal is to always become better every day. We are focused on one game at a time and are hopeful in being able to participate in the postseason.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: NYA made it 30 straight postseason appearances by qualifying a year ago, but fell in the quarterfinal round for the third consecutive year. This season, the Panthers will likely be a top contender again.

McKenney (a first-team league all-star in 2018) and Larson (second-team) will pace the offense. Junior Lilly Weinrich will be in the scoring mix as well. Davis (a first-team all-star last season) anchors the defense in front of Tod, who is back in goal. Several other players will step up and fill key roles.

NYA has its share of challenges during the regular season, but this squad will score goals and be strong defensively. The Panthers hope the end result is a better record and a longer playoff stay. That’s a distinct possibility.

VOLLEYBALL

Coach: Nora Krainis (14th year)

2018 results: 10-6 (Lost, 3-0, to Calais in Class C state semifinals)

Top returning players: Sydney Billings (Senior), Liz Gagnon (Senior), Afton Morton (Senior), Hannah Dow (Junior), Taylor Hemenway (Junior), Samantha Babbitt (Sophomore)

Pivotal matches: Sept. 18 YORK, Sept. 28 CALAIS

Coach’s comment: “We have eight varsity returners, who will be the core of the team. A couple of new swing players will be key to helping fill out our court presence and we are looking forward to another competitive year in Class C.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: NYA is coming off another strong season, which saw the Panthers get to the state semifinal round. With several top players returning, the Panthers should be right back in the title hunt again this fall.

Morton will be the setter. Babbitt and Dow are top returning hitters. Billings and Hemenway will block shots in the middle. Gagnon is the libero. That group has ample experience and will be poised and confident in all matches.

NYA has the pieces in place to again post a winning record and be a playoff team. The Panthers would love to avoid a long bus ride come playoff time, but regardless of where they play, they’ll have what it takes to give every opponent fits.

CROSS COUNTRY

Coaches:
(Boys) Peter Sillin (14th year, two state championships)
(Girls) Chris Mazzurco (19th year, one state championship)

2018 results:
(Boys) 7th @ Class C state meet
(Girls) DNQ for Class C state meet

Top returners:
(Boys) Chris Hamblett (Junior), Noah Hallward-Rough (Sophomore), James Tourigney (Sophomore)
(Girls) Emma Collins (Junior)

Junior Chris Hamblett will be one of the best runners in Class C this year and hopes to lead NYA’s boys’ cross country team to big things.

Coach Sillin’s comment: “We have a young team with only one senior. I think we can expect some real growth from our top returners as they gain crucial racing experience. The new guys look like pretty good athletes, but it will take some time to train them into distance runners. The team culture is developing quite well and I’m hopeful we can make a strong run at a return to the state meet this year.”

Coach Mazzurco’s comment: “This season has started out well on the tails of a strong summer of preparation. We are hoping to see significant individual and team improvement this season by drawing on that prep work and the experience gained last year.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: North Yarmouth Academy boasts some talent on the trails this fall.

The boys’ squad is led by Hamblett, who was ninth at last year’s state meet. Tourigney (24th) and Hallward-Rough (45th) also scored a year ago. Sophomores Caleb Waterman and Logan Welch look to step right in and help the cause. The Panthers will be strong in regular season competition and should be able to make it to the state meet for the fourth year in a row.

On the girls’ side, Collins returns after coming in 33rd at the regional meet. She looks to move up and lead a small squad in the weeks to come.

GOLF

Coach: Charlie Hudson (eighth year)

2018 results: 5-4 (3rd @ Class C state match)

Top returners: Will Jackson (Junior), Anders Jonsson (Junior), Bryce Poulin (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “It’s a good group. We don’t have the experience we had last year. We just want to improve every day. We’ll probably be .500 in conference. We have a couple guys who have a good chance to qualify as individuals.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: NYA qualified for states last year and has a good chance to do so again.

This year’s team could be paced by a freshman, Carson Gall, who projects to be number one. Poulin, who had a strong freshman season, returns and will be number two. Jackson and Jonsson also have experience. Juniors Cal Davies (who was injured last year) and Derek Wolverton, along with sophomores Henry Bergeron and Elliott Oney, round out a strong squad.

The Panthers, who already have wins this year over Poland, Wells and Yarmouth, should be competitive throughout the season and will look to be at their best at the qualifier. Don’t be surprised if NYA makes it back to states and impresses again.

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


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