Spring sports preview: Fryeburg Academy

BASEBALL CAPTAINS — Pictured left to right, Coach Steve Barker, Coach Stu Frost, Brandon Ludwig, Trevor Henschel, Hunter Day and Coach Gregg Corbin. (Photos by Rachel Damon/FA)

BASEBALL CAPTAINS — Pictured left to right, Coach Steve Barker, Coach Stu Frost, Brandon Ludwig, Trevor Henschel, Hunter Day and Coach Gregg Corbin. (Photos by Rachel Damon/FA)

VARSITY BASEBALL

Head Coach: Gregg Corbin, 2nd Year

Assistant Coach: Stu Frost

JV Coach: Steve Barker

Key returning players: Trevor Henschel (captain), Brandon Ludwig (captain), Nick L’Hereux-Carland, Matt Boucher, Keegan Jones, Ben Southwick and Henry Santana.

Players to watch: Hunter Day (captain), Trevor Henschel, Brandon Ludwig, Nick L’Hereux-Carland, Keegan Jones and Ben Southwick.

Strengths: Senior leadership. Good mix of experience and youth.

Weaknesses: The lack of confidence and belief in each other. Inexperience at various positions. Many players will be asked to play at positions they have not played at in the past.

Based on what you’ve seen thus far, what are you most encouraged by? Energy and attitudes are positives. Good practice habits. Nice respectful players to coach. (That is a big part of harmony and building success.)

What will it take for the team to be successful this season? “Talent wise, we may not be there with other teams, but I am trying to instill confidence and to play in the moment,” Coach Corbin said. “Don’t look ahead and play with focus. Take one game at a time and progress and develop so we can become a much better and complete team toward the end of the season.”

Three keys to the season: Offense, pitching and defense are the logical answers for every team. “My concerns for the season are to try to stay injury- and problem-free. Maintain focus and concentration,” Coach Corbin said. “As a team, encourage one another and to go out there and have fun. After all, it’s only a game! (No pressure.)”

Three goals? “I don’t use the word goals. I believe in standards and principles. The standard is to compete and try your best. (Results are irrelevant if these two standards are in place.) Be proud of who we are as a team. That ‘name’ on our shirts is who we represent and we want to do it in a professional, respectful manner. Sportsmanship means a lot to me and how we compete!”

Opening Day: The Raiders travel to Waynflete to take on the Flyers this Friday, April 17 at 4 p.m.

Home Opener: Wednesday, April 29 at 4 p.m. against Wells.

VARSITY SOFTBALL

Head Coach: Fred Apt, 13 years total

Assistant Coach: Chris Dutton

JV Coach: Jennifer Pelkie

Key returning players: Kristen Chipman, senior, third base; MacKenzie Buzzell, sophomore; Makayla Cooper, sophomore catcher; Amanda Gillette, senior; Lexi L’Heureux-Carland, junior.

Top newcomers: Nicole Bennett, sophomore, pitcher, Julia Quinn, junior.

Players to watch: At this point in the preseason, Coach Apt says he has “12 players to watch as hopefully they will all contribute.” If he had to pick out a couple of players, he would name Nicole Bennett and Makayla Cooper. “As sophomores, there is a lot of pressure on them as a battery (pitcher-catcher tandem),” the coach said.

Strengths: Willing to work as a team and athleticism; “we have very good athletes,” the coach said.

Weaknesses: Depth and softball experience. “We are a very young team, but that being said, that is high school sports. Players graduate and you as a coach expect to rebuild each and every year,” Coach Apt said.

What are you most encouraged by? Coach Apt is encouraged by the way the team has worked at being a team and willingness to learn the game.

Three keys to success? “The success part?  Well, we all measure success differently, but I feel this falls on the coaches’ shoulders. We need to teach the players the things they need to know and prepare them for the season. If we do that and we learn daily, I call that success,” Coach Apt said. “As a coach, I learn something every time we get on the field or, in this case, the gym. I need to share what I learn with my coaches and players.”

Keys to the season: Staying healthy. Coaches and players learning and applying what they learn each and every day.

Goals? Our goals do not change much over the years, and that is to be a better team in June than we are in April. If we do that, everything else takes care of itself, the coach said.

Opening Day: Thursday, April 23 at Greely, 4 p.m.

Home Opener: Friday, April 24 against Traip Academy at 4 p.m.

VARSITY TRACK & FIELD

Coaching Staff: Kevin McDonald, Bobby Collins, Stephanie Miller and Jim Cummings.

Key returnees: Distance, Christian Bedell, Patrick Carty, Anna Lastra and TJ Rose; sprinters/jumpers, Syke Collins, Orianga Inirio, Emily McDermith, Spencer Thomas, Elijah Thompson and Liuke Yang.

Top newcomers: Colleen Bullard, Emily Carty, Brea Conder, Gage Fowler, Ryan Hewes, Meadow Kiesman, Max Kummer, Olivia Pelkie, Evans Wadsworth and Xiaoyu Yang.

Athletes to watch: Xiaoyu Yang, Anna Lastra, TJ Rose, Elijah Thompson and Skye Collins. These athletes have all represented the State of Maine at the New England level. FA coaches look for that success and more to continue.

Strengths: FA will be strong in the sprints, jumps and distance.

Weaknesses: At this time, throws, pole vault and the dash hurdles. “We do not have all events covered. There are 19 events in Outdoor Track and Field and it is difficult to have athletes in all events,” Coach McDonald said. “That being said, it is our goal to cover as many events as possible.”

Based on what you’ve seen thus far, what are you most encouraged by? “We have a fantastic group of athletes. A great blend of seasoned veterans and young newcomers,” Coach McDonald said. “It is our goal to have this group follow in the footsteps of Raider Track and Field teams of the past. We have a strong tradition of exceptional athletes and this group should keep that alive.”

Keys to the season: Stay healthy! If the Raiders can accomplish this, “we will be fine,” the coach said.

Goals for the season: To have all athletes improve throughout the season. Advance as many as possible to the State Meet. Icing on the cake to have as many as possible represent the State of Maine at the New England Championships.

“We are looking forward to a great season. We look forward to all the athletes exploring, improving, enjoying and experiencing Track and Field at its best,” Coach McDonald said.

Opening Day: Wednesday, April 22 at South Portland Red Riot Invitational, 10 a.m.

Home Opener: Friday, May 15 at 3:30 p.m.

VARSITY BOYS’ LACROSSE

Head Coach: Rick White, 25th year overall, first at FA

Assistant Coach: Hannes Schneider, Jeremy Angell, Dave Kenney

Key returning players: Seniors, Ed Grace, defense; Tommy Kane, defense; Colin McKeith, defense; Malik Mobley, goalie; Hannes Schneider, defense; Joe Schrader, middie; Corey Thibodeau, attack; AJ Worcester, middie.

Juniors: Ryan Caracciolo, attack; Jake Maidment, attack.

Sophomores: Owen Feider-Sullivan, middie; Huxley Lovering, niddie; Markus Schneider, middie; Jermiah Schrader, middie; Isaac Wakefield, defense.

Top newcomers: Freshmen, Evan Caracciolo, attack; Jared Charsi, middie; Caleb Eklund, middie; Ben Fraize, defense.

Players to watch: Malik Mobley, goalie, has great reflexes and stick skills. He communicates well to his teammates, as well.

Hannes Schneider: He is the heart and soul of the defense. He leads the team by example. Has natural ability playing crease defense.

Joe Schrader: Natural scorer inside with the ability to create plays on offense as well.

Ryan Caracciolo: Very hard worker with great stick skills. Has the ability to be a very good scorer and has the ability to see the open man for the assist.

All four players are captains of the team.

Strengths: The core group of players are back from a play-off team a year ago, which will help in the transition this spring. The team has great chemistry together. They have a very good knowledge of the game and respect it as well.

Weaknesses: Currently, the offense is behind where it needs to be. Mother Nature hasn’t been kind to the Raiders, and are still stuck inside the gym, which creates a huge problem when coaches talk about spacing on offense.

Based on what you’ve seen thus far, what are you most encouraged by? “I’m very encouraged about the work ethic of this team. Every player works hard in each drill and station that we have for them. They respect the game, their team mates and their opponent. This is a blue collar team,” the coach said.

What will it take for the team to be successful this season? Coach White believes if the team continues to work hard and improve with each practice they will have a lot of success this season. “We have to improve each time we have been able to get onto a field,” he said.

Three keys to the season? Fundamentals, work ethic and teamwork.

Three goals? Improve on last year’s success and make it further in the playoffs; win the sportsmanship banner again; play in a game with a “C” in the front of it.

Opening Day/Home Opener: Saturday, April 25 at home against Kennebunk at 4 p.m.

VARSITY GIRLS’ LACROSSE

Head Coach: Bob Cobb, seven years

Assistant Coach: Anthony Cabral, first year

Key returning players: Kenzie Hill, center, senior; Mary Shea, midfield, senior; McKenna Gerchman, attack, junior; Mariah Davis, defense, junior; Jasmine Ramsey, goalie, senior; Ali Fraize, mid, sophomore; Bridget Tweedie, defense, sophomore; Hanna Frye, attack, sophomore.

Top newcomers: Hard to say after only a week.

Players to watch: Ali Fraize, natural attacker; Hanna Frye, learning to play at X; Bridget Tweedie, loves to play defense.

Strengths: Speed and experience. This is the first year the starting lineup does not have a first-year player.

Weaknesses: Game understanding. Most of the players do not have more than three years playing experience. The game isn’t natural to them yet.

Based on what you’ve seen thus far, what are you most encouraged by? The hardwork and enthusiasm. “I have never seen a team more hungry or more enthusiastic,” Coach Cobb said.

What will it take for the team to be successful this season? Continued work outside of practice. WALL BALL!

Three keys to the season? Staying healthy, improving shooting accuracy, midfield defense

Three goals? Being competitive with the traditional leaders in our division, making the playoffs.

Opening Day: Wednesday, April 29 at Falmouth, 6:30 p.m.

Home Opener: Friday, May 1 against Lake Region at 3:30 p.m.

SET TO SERVE — Left to right, Nacho Calleja, Tristin Rother, Teddy Antelj and Jonathan Burk.

SET TO SERVE — Left to right, Nacho Calleja, Tristin Rother, Teddy Antelj and Jonathan Burk.

VARSITY TENNIS

Head Coach: Chris Chaffee, girls’ coach sixth year, boys’ coach first year.

Assistant Coach: Richard Valliere, first year.

Key returning players: Boys returning in the starting lineup as of now, Number 1 doubles position Jonathan Burk, Number 3 singles Nacho Calleja, and Number 1 doubles spot Nikola Vuleta.

Girls returning in the starting lineup as of now, Number 1 singles is Catherine Ashley, Number 3 singles is Gulsen Oztosun, Number 1 doubles spot is Lucy Kneissler and her partner Trishala Manandhar.

Top newcomers for the boys is Number 1 singles player Teodor Antelj and Number 2 singles player Tristan Rother.

For the girls, Elizabeth Grzyb and her sister, Emily Grzyb, are Number 2 doubles spot and Number 2 singles player Nevena Mitic,

Players to watch: For the boys, Teodor Antelj and Tristan Rother. They are great ball strikers. They are both going to be the top players in the state. Teodor (Teddy) is from Serbia and Tristan is from Germany. They bring experience and talent to the team and are going to be a great 1-2 punch and will be tough to beat. They know what it takes to play hard and win.

Nacho Calleja is returning to the team this year and will play an important spot for third singles. He has worked pretty hard in the gym in the off-season, which has made him better on the court. He has prepared well so as long as he can stay healthy and focus the results will come.

The Number 1 doubles team Jonathan Burk and Nikola Vuleta will be returning. Jonathan is the team captain with Nikola as the co-captain.

“They play well together, which is so important to doubles. They motivate each other and are good at analyzing their opponents and executing a game plan. Jonathan is a great kid who is very mature, responsible, and shows dedication,” Coach Chaffee said. “Nikola has the passion and will to win. Together, they are team-oriented which represents the team well to follow.”

The girl to watch is Number 1 singles player Catherine Ashley, who is returning this year. She has a lot of heart and grit. She is also the team’s captain.

“She wears her heart on her sleeve and shows great sportsmanship. Those qualities make her valuable to the team and a great person to represent the team,” Coach Chaffee said.

Gulsen Ozotsun, who is returning this year and is a co-captain, is going to be great in her singles position. She is very consistent and very knowledgeable on how to beat and play her opponent. She can figure out their strengths and weaknesses pretty well.

Newcomer Number 2 singles player Nevena Mitic is a nice surprise.

“Her will to win and to try her best is going to help her grind out some matches this year. She has a pretty good forehand and a good head on her shoulders will give her an edge to stay strong and not give up,” the coach said. “Sisters Elizabeth and Emily Grzyb are in the Number 2 doubles spot and are great athletes. They have picked up tennis and how to play doubles so fast. They are quick around the court and are a dynamic duo out there on the court. They play well together. They are multiple sport athletes so they have that hard work ethic and never give up attitude, which is what makes greatness.:

Strengths: The boys and girls mentioned are going to be the strengths of the teams. The boys having top two singles players at their ability and experience is huge. The boys have some depth this year, which could lead the Raiders into the playoffs this year. Weaknesses: A weakness for the boys is second doubles, which is fairly new to the team this year. But, they are improving fast just after a few days playing. As long as the boys can stay healthy, they are contenders this year.

The girls’ weakness is their lack of high level or competitive player or players that bring a lot of match and competitive tennis experience to the team. Their strength is they are willing to improve each and every practice. They are a team and are supportive and encouraging to each other.

Based on what you’ve seen thus far, what are you most encouraged by? “I am encouraged by how the boys will do this year and how Teodor and Tristan will impact the team,” Coach Chaffee said. “For the girls, I am encouraged on how much they are willing and eager to come to practice and give 100%.”

What will it take for the team to be successful this season? For both teams to be successful this year is pretty simple. “Work hard off the court and on the court. If you prepare well and do all the hard yards and give your best than that is so powerful. If they can train with a purpose and want to improve and show dedication that is everything,” Coach Chaffee said. “Having a strong will with goals every day is very motivating. As a coach, tennis pro and competitive tennis player, my philosophy is just that. Train with a purpose. Have your hopes and dreams. Do all the hard work and it will pay off. Dedication is power and you may be outgunned, out-talented, or out-smarted on the court, but if you give 100% you will never be out-hearted. That is my philosophy on and off the court. It has made me successful on and off the court. If you believe in yourself and just keep grinding and keep going. That’s key.”

Opening Day: Tuesday, April 28 at North Yarmouth Academy at 4:30 p.m.

Home Opener: Wednesday, April 29 against Greely at 4 p.m.

ULTIMATE FRISBEE players (left to right) Sydney Andreoli, Abby Davis, Erin Friberg and Bridget Bailey.

ULTIMATE FRISBEE players (left to right) Sydney Andreoli, Abby Davis, Erin Friberg and Bridget Bailey.

ULTIMATE FRISBEE

Head Coaches: Chris and Emily Strahler, seven years.

Assistant Coach/JV Coach: Coreen Hennessy (first year) and JD Lichtman (second year).

Boys, key returning players: Rodrigo Araujo, (handler/senior). Rodrigo is a four-year player and is an essential element to both offense and defense. He is acting as a second-year captain and the coaches are expecting him to be a great leader again this year. He motivates others with his efforts on and off the field.

Dat Vu, (handler/senior). Dat is another four-year player and captain. He has shown incredible growth as an athlete over his four-year career. He has a high level of focus and drive and makes major contributions on offense.

Ben Darling, (cutter/junior). Ben is an excellent cutter, who sees open spaces and makes big plays in the air. He works well with the handler line and knows what they are capable of throwing. He has excellent defensive skills and we will look to him to stop deep looks.

Players to watch: Several returning players have really impressed the coaches with how much they’ve improved their game in the off-season. On the cutting side, Nabeel Ghadfa and Baha Demir have both improved their catching skills by leaps and bounds. They push themselves very hard at practice and will continue to make great strides.

“We’re looking for continued dominance of the field by Ben LeConey and Dominic Malia, two excellent cutters,” the coaches said. “On the handling side, we’re very excited to see what Will Davis and Dominic Orlando can bring to the table. They are both very good at studying the game and they play with a conservative style that will help us value disc possession.”

Top newcomers: There are many excellent new recruits to the team. Two players that have really impressed coaches so far during the early season are Addison Schwartz and Alex Ouellette. Addison is a new student in the district who has some experience with ultimate. He works incredibly hard and asks a lot of questions. Alex is a junior and comes to the team with some experience throwing and is making great strides to learn the game.

Strengths: “We have a lot of talent on the team and athletes who are very good about thinking about the game. Several players have long throws, but more importantly most of our players have accurate throws. Historically we have had a very good defense and we should have that yet again,” Coach Strahler said.

Weaknesses: The Raiders have a relatively young team that doesn’t have a lot of experience playing together. “We will be working on team chemistry throughout the season, making it so we win games with a team effort rather than having all-stars dominate the game,” the coach said.

Three goals: Build great team chemistry that allows all players to have a role. Reach the finals in the state tournament. Instill a genuine love of the game.

Schedule: To be announced.

 

 

 

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