Fryeburg Academy spring sports previews

CAN THEY MAKE IT SIX STRAIGHT — With the return of All-Conference pitcher Sarah Harriman, the Raiders will be looking to win their sixth straight Western Maine title.

CAN THEY MAKE IT SIX STRAIGHT — With the return of All-Conference pitcher Sarah Harriman, the Raiders will be looking to win their sixth straight Western Maine title.

VARSITY SOFTBALL

Head Coach: Fred Apt, 12th year

Assistant Coaches: Chris Dutton, Wayne Rivet

JV Coach: Kristina Stevens

Last year: 15-1, won the Western Maine Conference title for the fifth straight year; lost in the Class B state finals; 16-2 overall

Top Returnees: Senior Maddie Pearson (center fielder, all-conference selection), junior Sarah Harriman (pitcher, all-conference), senior Carla Tripp, (catcher, WMC Player of the Year), Ellen Bacchiocchi (senior, left field), Sydney Charles, (junior, shortstop) and Kylie Locke (junior, first base).

Top Newcomers: Kristin Chipman (sophomore, third base), Makayla Frost (junior, utility), Elle Burbank (sophomore, utility) and Courtney Bartlett (senior, outfield).

Team strengths: Pitching, catching and team speed.

Question marks: Consistency, depth and mental toughness.

What has been the biggest surprise in preseason? This group has great overall work ethic, Coach Apt said.

What is your biggest concern? Depth and experience.

Team goals: “Get better each and every time we are on the field and be better in June than we are in April,” Coach Apt said. “Team communication is a key component. We need to communicate better on and off the field.”

And goal Number 3 is to make the playoffs. “It is always one of our goals,” the coach said.

Outlook: “We will have a successful season if…Great question, as we all measure success differently. To me, success is that we improve on the things we do as a team,” Coach Apt said.

Varsity Schedule

Friday, April 19, at Poland, 1 p.m.

Saturday, April 20, Wells, 11 a.m.

Monday, April 22, at Greely, 4 p.m.

Wednesday, April 24, Sacopee Valley, 4 p.m.

Friday, April 26, Lake Region, 4 p.m.

Monday, April 29, at Falmouth, 4 p.m.

Wednesday, May 1, at Sacopee Valley, 4 p.m.

Friday, May 3, at York, 4 p.m.

Monday, May 6, at Yarmouth, 4 p.m.

Wednesday, May 8, Gray-New Gloucester, 4 p.m.

Friday, May 10, Cape Elizabeth, 4 p.m.

Monday, May 13, Poland, 4 p.m.

Wednesday, May 15, at Gray-New Gloucester, 4 p.m.

Monday, May 20, at Lake Region, 4 p.m.

Monday, May 27, Freeport, 4 p.m.

Wednesday, May 29, Greely, 4 p.m.

VARSITY BASEBALL

Head Coach: Rich Ela, sixth season

Assistant Coach: Stew Frost

JV Coach: Todd Gallagher

Last year: 9-7; lost to Gray-New Gloucester in the prelims.

Top Returnees: Seniors Tyler Saunders (outfield), Walker Day (first base), Tanner Wentworth (second base) and Ian MacFawn (pitcher).

Top Newcomers: Sophomore Trevor Henschel (third base) and junior Liam LeConey (pitcher)

Undecided: Junior Nick Kiesman (outfield) and sophomore Brandon Ludwig (utility).

Team strength: MacFawn is one of top five pitchers in the Western Maine Conference. “He is the first player I have made captain and has earned it,” Coach Ela said. “He will be a good senior leader.”

Question marks: Team depth. “Although we have good numbers, we don’t have an abundance of varsity-ready ballplayers,” Coach Ela said. “Can our younger players learn new positions quickly enough to help us? Can Tanner Wentworth or Liam LeConey become the Number 2 in our pitching rotation that we need?”

Biggest surprise: “I am surprised at the way we have begun to swing the bats. In the past, we have lagged behind in offense especially when we don’t get outside early,” the coach reported. Players who have caught the coach’s attention during the preseason are Henschel and Day.

Biggest concern: “Our lack of depth. We can’t afford to lose any players for whatever reason,” Coach Ela said.

Goals: Make the playoffs again; develop the younger players; and have the seniors become good team leaders.

“We will have a successful season if we build team unity, if the players buy into the idea that they need to continue to work hard on fundamentals and if we can get quality playing time from our younger players,” Coach Ela said.

Varsity Schedule

Friday, April 19, at Poland, 1 p.m.

Monday, April 22, at Greely, 4 p.m.

Friday, April 26, Lake Region, 4 p.m.

Monday, April 29, at Falmouth, 4 p.m.

Wednesday, May 1, at Sacopee Valley, 4 p.m.

Friday, May 3, at York, 4 p.m.

Monday, May 6, at Yarmouth, 4 p.m.

Friday, May 10, Cape Elizabeth, 4 p.m.

Monday, May 13, Poland, 4 p.m.

Wednesday, May 15, at Gray-New Gloucester, 4 p.m.

Thursday, May 16, York, 4 p.m.

Monday, May 20, at Lake Region, 4 p.m.

Wednesday, May 22, Waynflete, 4 p.m.

Monday, May 27, Freeport, 4 p.m.

Wednesday, May 29, Greely, 4 p.m.

VARSITY GIRLS’ LACROSSE

Head Coach: Bob Cobb

JV Coach: Johanna Billington

Last year: 1-11

Overview: The snow has been slow to uncover practice fields, but this year’s edition of the Raider girls’ lacrosse team has made the best use of indoor practices.

The team is younger than previous groups. Sophomores dominate the team and will have to step up early if the team is to realize success.

The few seniors on the team have already shown great leadership during practices as the younger players are integrated into the system. “Tremendous leadership has come from tri-captains Kendra Fox, Kyra Hunsicker and Amber Dindorf,” Coach Cobb said. “Without them, coaches would have been stretched to the max. Through their efforts the team has made progress in basic skills, strategy and team cohesiveness.”

With hard work, newer players such as Samantha Sroi, sophomores Mackensie Hill, goalie Jasmine Ramsey, Allison Watson, Shelby Heelein, Mary Shea, Jordan Hikel, Cayle Johnson and freshman Molly Ekland have easily integrated with more experienced players.

At this moment, the work of the senior captains has brought the expectation of a much more balanced scoring attack than FA has had in the past.

Most of the defense returns from last year. Gabrielle Napolitan, Alexis Delacruz, Courtney Batchelor, Alexa Maddox, Eliza Neidlinger and Jenny Sundgren bring a steady feel to the defensive end of the field. New to her position, senior Kiley Joliceur is filling the need as a back-up goalie.

“In every practice, you can feel and hear the anticipation for this season,” Coach Cobb said. “At the same time, there is a sense of fun that pervades the group.”

A tough midseason set of games against last year’s playoff teams will provide excitement and a good measure of the post-season potential of this team.

Varsity Schedule

Friday, April 19, at Noble, 11 a.m.

Thursday, May 2, at Freeport, 4 p.m.

Tuesday, May 7, York, 4 p.m.

Thursday, May 9, Falmouth, 4 p.m.

Saturday, May 11, Biddeford, 9 a.m.

Tuesday, May 14, Yarmouth, 4 p.m.

Friday, May 17, at North Yarmouth Academy, 4 p.m.

Tuesday, May 21, Cape Elizabeth, 4 p.m.

Thursday, May 23, at Greely, 4 p.m.

Thursday, May 30, Wells, 4 p.m.

VARSITY BOYS’ LACROSSE

Head Coach: Scott Lees, third year

Assistant Coach: Luke Ray

Overview: Coach Lees has seen tremendous improvement in talent and dedication to the sport of lacrosse in his three years.

“Many players played throughout the fall and winter at different programs around Maine,” which Coach Lees believes will make a difference as the Raiders look to improve upon last year’s record.

Question mark: The Raiders’ biggest problem is depth. “We have a strong starting lineup,” Coach Lees said. “We are young and talented.”

Sophomore Malik Mobley is one of the best goalies in the state. Captains Tyler Legoff, Jared Schrader and Hanness Schneider will lead FA through a promising season. AJ Worcester, Ryan Carrocciolo and Mike Legoff will also add to the Raider strong attack.

In the season opener, the Raiders lost a 6-5-overtime decision to Bonny Eagle. The Scots scored the game winner with 1:22 left. Fryeburg had goals from Tyler Legoff (two goals) and Worcester in the final three minutes to force overtime.

Outlook: “It looks good for the future of our program with only three seniors,” Coach Lees said.

Varsity Schedule

Monday, April 22, Lake Region 4 p.m.

Wednesday, April 24, at Wells, 5 p.m.

Friday, April 26, Marshwood, 4 p.m.

Monday, April 29, North Yarmouth Academy, 4 p.m.

Wednesday, May 1, Freeport, 4 p.m.

Tuesday, May 7, at Waynflete, 4 p.m.

Saturday, May 11, at Westbrook, 10 a.m.

Monday, May 13, at Yarmouth, 6 p.m.

Thursday, May 16, at Lake Region, 4 p.m.

Tuesday, May 21, Cape Elizabeth, 4 p.m.

Thursday, May 23, Wells, 4 p.m.

VARSITY TRACK & FIELD

Head Coach: Kevin McDonald, first year

Assistant Coaches: Stephanie Miller (middle distance), Joe McMurdo-Minnich (throws) and Bobby Collins (sprints, relays and jumps).

Overview: The Raiders have 62 athletes out for the team and the coaching staff is very pleased with the numbers. The Raiders appear strong in throws, middle distance and distance, relays and pole vault. FA needs work in the dash hurdles, high jump and sprints.

“We lost a lot from last year, but I see this team as one that could be very successful,” Coach McDonald said. “We are very young with strong leadership. I believe we’re headed in the right direction.”

Athletes to watch: Distance competitors include Eric Hannes, TJ Rose, Patrick Carty, Felix Oldin, Tyler O’Keefe, Liz Gryzb, Anna Lastra, Juliet Fink and Sarah Welch.

Throws: Will Price, Bailey Friedman, Andrew Lyman, Walker Mallory and Winston Richards.

Sprints and jumps: Jamie Gullikson, Oriagna Inirio, Forrest Stearns, Nico Mauer, Bright Amoako, Luka Tesan and Elijah Thompson.

Outlook: “We look to have as good, if not better, team at states this year with the points coming from a wide variety events,” Coach McDonald said.

Varsity Schedule

Friday, April 26, at Poland (Greely, York), 3:30 p.m.

Friday, May 3, Traip, Freeport, Yarmouth, 3:30 p.m.

Monday, May 6, at Lake Region (Falmouth), 3:30 p.m.

Friday, May 10, at Cape Elizabeth (Waynflete, NYA), 3:30 p.m.

Friday, May 17, Waynflete, Lake Region, Sacopee Valley, 3:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 25, WMC Championships at Lake Region, 9 a.m.

Saturday, June 1, State Championships

VARSITY GIRLS’ TENNIS

Head Coach: Chris Chaffee, fifth year

Last year: The Lady Raiders reached their team goal of making the playoffs and winning one round in the playoffs to finish with an even 7-7 record. “We had a strong team last year. This year, we have some returning players, but it is about preparing well this year and just keep working that will make the difference this year,” Coach Chaffee said.

Top Returnees: Returning this year is Number 3 singles player and most improved player Chelsea Abraham (junior), who will be playing #1 this year. “Moving two spots up from number three shows great improvement from Chelsea,” Coach Chaffee said. “Chelsea has the challenge of facing the number one singles players on each team we face. She will gain a lot of experience playing number one and will develop a better understanding on how to construct points and the importance of focusing and fighting for every point out there. It will make her improve each match as a tennis player, which is the most important thing. Chelsea is a positive player and wants to progress every year as a player. She is very athletic so she won’t have a problem grinding out some wins.”

Sasha Azel (senior) and Alicia McDonald (senior) are both in their final year of the team.

“They have played number one doubles all four years and are the captains on the team. Sasha and Alicia have also have improved each year in their tennis abilities and their tennis IQ,” Coach Chaffee said. “They are very good strategic doubles players and really know how to win. I have never seen them ever give up in their four years. They will always fight till the end and try to figure out their opponents. It has been awesome to see them progress the four years as a coach.”

Junior Morgan Bullard Hodge was the Number 2 doubles player last year and will play Number #2 singles this year. “Morgan is a very knowledgeable player. She isn’t overpowering, but is able to outsmart her opponents,” the coach said. “She understands how to use variety of spins and pace. Morgan is able to set up and work the points and stay more consistent then her opponents.  She plays with an ‘old school’ style of play that will win her a fair amount of matches.”

Senior Hanlin Xu (Norlin) returns, but is starting this year at Number 2 doubles with her freshman partner Catherine Ashley. “Cat” and “Norlin” were a surprise as the number two doubles players because of how they clicked as partners, Coach Chaffee said. “They never played a match or practiced together before, but when I paired them up it seemed like a pretty good fit. Like any good doubles team, they have great teamwork skills that improves every practice,” the coach said. “Cat has a solid forehand and has some easy power on her shots. Norlin has the ability to flatten out her forehand in the mid court. I look for them as a team to provide some of those much-needed deciding match wins, when it comes down to second doubles deciding the outcome of the match. For them, it is about getting comfortable up at the net and being aggressive, because they have good strokes from the backcourt. I am confident they can do it.”

Becca Mann and Megan Vitters are returning from last year. Although they are the swing players, they play a vital role as players on the team. Their support and showing up everyday doing the work, shows great heart commitment, the coach said. “The whole team and I appreciate their loyalty,” he said.

Sophomore Gulsen Oztosun is a first year player on the team. “She is always looking forward to the next challenge and really wants to achieve. I like her attitude and outlook. Her will and dedication is important to have with the team on and off the court. She is another important swing backup player,” Coach Chaffee said.

Freshman Emery O’Connell is new to the team this year. “Emery is not only a great athlete, but shows great anticipation to the ball. She picks up things very fast and will be a key role in the future for the team,” Coach Chaffee said.

Lucy Kneissler is also new this year as a sophomore. “Lucy shows great eagerness to learn and improve each day. Emery’s and Lucy’s commitment to improve is greatly respected and shows a great example to the team,” the coach said.

Senior Jovana Jeremic is also new to the team. “She has a lot of power in her shots, that once she can control can be a tough Number 2 and 3 singles player,” the coach said. “Currently at Number 3, Jovana has powerful flat ground strokes that she can hit for winners at any time. Jovana has a great positive attitude to give her best on and off the court. She is in the gym working on the hard yards and on the court always looking to improve and be better than last session.”

Team strengths: This year’s girls’ varsity team strength is their attitude, teamwork and ability to improve.

“The girls have a great positive attitude. They are always willing to find and take the positives. They are able to know and understand what they need to work on and are willing to improve,” Coach Chaffee said. “Finally, they really get along very well with each other. This is important because they aren't only out there to play for themselves, but for their school, and their teammates and you can really see how much that means to them. It is great to see.”

Biggest surprise: The new players that made the team. “I wasn’t sure what to expect after having our Number 1 and Number 2 singles players not return from last year. It is always great to have girls that not only can hit the ball, but can think their way and analyze their way through the matches.”

Question marks: Some of the question marks and concerns will be a little bit of experience. Some of the girls have never played in certain pressure or match situations, which you can only really get great at by match play and those match situations. It will be challenging also, against the teams that have more depth than the Raiders.

“We don’t have a clear Number 1 or 2 player on the team. They are all around the same ability or so. I believe that our singles players will be challenged and will compete, but that could be a concern against the better teams with more depth and experience,” Coach Chaffee said. “The doubles this year will be our strengths. I think Sasha and Alicia set a great example to everyone on the team how to compete well and how to communicate as a doubles team.”

Team goals: Keep building as tennis players technically and tactically, but also enjoy the experience.

“I want them to work hard, improve, and enjoy the experience. Because there will be some matches where it will be going good and when that happens we have to stay humble and hungry. And there will be matches when it isn’t going as well,” the coach said. “We just have to keep training and stay level headed by not getting too low or too high (Win or lose). We will just always prepare the best we can and try our best. No one can take that away from us.”

Varsity Schedule

Monday, April 22, Greely, 4 p.m.

Wednesday, April 24, York, 4 p.m.

Friday, April 26, at Waynflete, 4 p.m.

Wednesday, May 1, North Yarmouth Academy, 4 p.m.

Friday, May 3, Yarmouth, 4 p.m.

Monday, May 6, at Lake Region, 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, May 8, at Freeport, 4 p.m.

Friday, May 10, Cape Elizabeth, 4 p.m.

Monday, May 13, Old Orchard Beach, 4 p.m.

Wednesday, May 15, at York, 4 p.m.

Friday, May 17, at Falmouth, 4 p.m.

Monday, May 20, at Cape Elizabeth, 4 p.m.

VARSITY BOYS’ TENNIS

Head Coach: Justin Chaffee, third year

Last Year: 0-12

Top Returnees: Jonathan Burk (sophomore), Kevin Yeh (senior) and Brandt Xiang (senior).

Top Newcomers: Jamie Berned (sophomore), Pavle Bulatovic (junior), Alex Lazic (junior), Milos Mitic (junior), Ki-Ho Noh (sophomore) and Kevin Tang (senior).

Team strengths: Every year is a fresh start, and this year, the Raiders have a great blend of new additions and returning players.

“Our depth has improved a lot. We have a solid singles line up, that I think can challenge any team,” Coach Chaffee said. “With the return of Kevin Yeh and Brandt Xiang at doubles along with the new pairing of athletic duo of Milos Mitic and Jonathan Burk at doubles, I think we can rise to the challenges that the season will present us.”

Coach Chaffee says he has “a great group of kids, they get along well, and are passionate about the game.” He added, “Everyone on the team has the desire to improve. This, with their desire to be out here, is a huge strength. Something that is great to see.”

Question marks: “We want to stay healthy physically. Going from inside to outside and the shifting weather conditions sometimes gets tricky,” Coach Chaffee said. “This goes along with the first, but we want to make sure we have a full roster. We don’t have a large team like some other sports, which is a positive, but if something happens to the starters it makes things tougher.”

Another question is how the Raiders will match up against the tougher teams in the league.

Biggest surprise: The amount of depth. “I think we will surprise a lot of teams,” Coach Chaffee said.

Biggest concern: A full roster at all times. Last year, the Raiders struggled with this. “I don’t think it will be a problem this year, but it’s still something once you’ve experienced it, you hope it doesn’t happen again,” he said.

Team goals: To compete and give it the best each and every match; to develop mental strategy of the game; and to have fun.

Outlook: “We will have a successful season if we are able to stay healthy and positive, by taking it one match at a time,” Coach Chaffee said.

Varsity Schedule

Monday, April 22, at Greely, 4 p.m.

Wednesday, April 24, at York, 4 p.m.

Friday, April 26, Waynflete, 4 p.m.

Wednesday, May 1, at North Yarmouth Academy, 4 p.m.

Friday, May 3, at Yarmouth, 4 p.m.

Monday, May 6, Lake Region, 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, May 7, at Freeport, 4 p.m.

Wednesday, May 8, Freeport, 4 p.m.

Friday, May 10, at Cape Elizabeth, 4 p.m.

Wednesday, May 15, York, 4 p.m.

Friday, May 17, Falmouth, 4 p.m.

Monday, May 20, Cape Elizabeth, 4 p.m.

 

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