Yarmouth Clippers Fall Sports Preview – The Forecaster
Coach: Jason Veilleux (second year)
2014 results: 6-4 (Lost, 30-6, to Leavitt in Western C semifinals)
Top returners: Norman Carver (Senior), Noah Colby-George (Senior), Cody Cook (Senior), Joey Fortin (Senior), Will Landry (Senior) Jack Snyder (Senior), Ricky Tillotson (Senior), Lucas Uhl (Senior), Jack Venden (Senior), John Thoma (Junior), Henry Venden (Sophomore)
Pivotal games: Sept.
18 @ Poland, Oct.
2 WELLS, Oct.
9 @ Spruce Mountain, Oct.
16 CAPE ELIZABETH
Coach s comment: Our numbers are in the 30s for the first time in a long time. We ve got plenty of talent in the senior class. I ve been with them since the seventh grade.
Their energy level is off the charts. They know what s on the line. Their goal is states.
We have to stay healthy and we need to develop wide receivers. We have to beat Wells to go somewhere. We ll have a target on our backs this year, but that s OK.
The Forecaster s forecast: Yarmouth returns a ton and is highly touted, but health will be paramount for this small roster.
After reaching the playoffs for the sixth year in a row in 2014, this senior-laden edition is thinking Gold Ball and the pieces are in place for that to happen.
This year s team will be led by four senior captains, Cook, Snyder, Tillotson and Jack Venden. Cook, a league all-star in 2014, is one of the most dangerous players in the state, whether he s handling the ball as a running back, receiver or returning a kick. His athleticism and desire sets him apart and he s due for a huge final high school season.
Snyder is another reigning league all-star. He ll see his share of carries and could also be involved in the passing game. Tillotson, an all-star last autumn, gets the job done in the trenches and opens holes for the talented running backs.
Venden, the other returning league all-star, is a top receiving option for Thoma, who became the first Yarmouth quarterback to ever throw for 1,000 yards last fall. Freshman Noah Eckersley-Ray will see some time at quarterback as well and could also be a threat at wide receiver. Uhl will also be heavily involved in the run game.
Tillotson is joined on the line by Carver, Fortin and Landry. Henry Venden is in the mix at running back and Colby-George is a tight end who will see some balls thrown his way. Freshman Caden Middleton is an emerging receiver to watch.
The Clippers will borrow from the school s defending state champion boys soccer program for its kicking game. Senior Andrew Beatty will do the placekicking and junior Michael Hagerty will punt.
Defensively, Yarmouth looks to remain strong after giving up just over 16 points a game last year. Up front, Carver, Fortin and Landry will try to overpower the opposition.
The linebacker corps includes Colby-George, Cook, Uhl, Jack Venden and the bruising Tillotson. Eckersley-Ray, Snyder and Henry Venden are reliable defensive backs.
The Clippers need to take care of business in September, because the October schedule is brutal and will go a long way toward determining playoff seeding. Yarmouth has shown it can win a postseason game away from home, but the Clippers would love to have a couple games on their turf.
Ultimately, Yarmouth will have to solve Wells to get where they want to go, a first state final since 2011. If the key players can stay healthy, the Clippers will be one of the last teams standing.
Coach: Mike Hagerty (19th year, 213-53-36 overall record, six state championships)
2014 results: 14-2-2 (Beat Ellsworth, 1-0, to win Class B state championship1)
Top returners: Andrew Beatty (Senior), Matthew Beatty (Senior), Walter Conrad (Senior), Nate Gallagher (Senior), Patrick Grant (Senior), Nick Kamra (Senior), Conor O Donnell (Senior), Henry Coolidge (Junior), Matt Dostie (Junior)
Pivotal games: Sept.
8 @ Greely, Sept.
12 CAPE ELIZABETH, Sept.
25 @ Waynflete, Sept.
29 @ Cape Elizabeth, Oct.
3 FALMOUTH, Oct.
13 GRAY-NG, Oct.
17 GREELY, Oct.
20 @ Falmouth
Coach s comment: I m jacked. This could be as good a team as we ve had.
It s a technically strong group with excellent team speed. We could start seven year-round soccer players. We could platoon in goal this year.
I think we were going to be a top team anyway, but adding John Groothoff and Luke Groothoff sealed the deal. I d much rather be the favorite. We re pretty optimistic.
The Forecaster s forecast: Yarmouth battled (in more ways than one) its way to its ninth state title a year ago and despite losing standout All-American, Class B Player of the Year and reigning Fall Male Athlete of the Year Adam LaBrie, goalkeeper Alex Lyon and several other key contributors, this edition is more than capable of giving the program a repeat championship for the first time in a decade.
Yarmouth s hopes took a hit last week when Conrad, a captain, who was a conference first-team all-star and All-Region selection a year ago, went down with a serious ankle injury.
Hagerty hopes Conrad can return late in the season, but in the meantime, not only his skill, but more importantly, his leadership will be missed. If Conrad does return, don t be surprised if he takes on more of an offensive role. Replacing LaBrie s goal scoring will be done by committee and what a committee it is.
Grant (a captain who produced the decisive goal in the state final) has a penchant for tickling the twine at the critical time. Coolidge has shown the ability to create offense. Don t be surprised if he finishes more regularly this fall.
Kamra will score his share and will also see time at outside back. Dostie and Gallagher could also be in the scoring mix. Then there s the Groothoff brothers, whose addition will likely be a Christmas present come early for Hagerty and his coaching staff.
Senior forward John Groothoff is a finisher in the mold of Grant. Sophomore midfielder Luke Groothoff played for the top-ranked Premier team in the country in northern California before making the move east. He ll make life miserable for the opposition as they try to chase him around the field.
Senior Henry Becker provides depth. Defensively, the Clippers are traditionally sound (they only surrendered 17 goals in 18 games en route to the crown in 2014) and that will remain the case this autumn. Andrew Beatty, Matthew Beatty, Dostie and O Donnell are all formidable defenders.
Juniors Billy Jacobs and John Lane will also stymie the opposition. Three players, senior Noah Grondin, junior Michael Hagerty and sophomore Cal Owen, were looking to replace Lyon at press time. Yarmouth doesn t traditionally share time in goal, but all three players could get an opportunity in the weeks to come.
Add it all up and you can see why the Clippers title dreams are alive and well.
First things first, Yarmouth will make the playoffs. The Clippers last missed the postseason in 1972, around the time the hirsute Oakland A s won their first World Series and Richard Nixon was re-elected as President. Even though it will have to navigate a typically brutal regular season schedule, Yarmouth figures to once again enjoy a high seed, perhaps the No.
1 seed for the fourth year in a row, then will likely be seen as the team to beat once more. If this group comes together as hoped and can avoid further injuries, the Clippers could have a lot to celebrate again in November.
Coach: Rich Smith (29th year, 238-147-58 overall record, two state championships)
2014 results: 9-4-3 (Lost, 1-0, to Cape Elizabeth in Western B semifinals)
Top returners: Lauren Bartlett (Senior), Eavan O Neill (Senior), Lilly Watson (Senior), Ella Antolini (Junior), Gretchen Barbera (Junior), Katie Clemmer (Junior), Abby Condon (Junior), Cory Langenbach (Junior), Hannah Corey (Sophomore), Sara D Appolonia (Sophomore)
Pivotal games: Sept.
8 @ Greely, Sept.
12 CAPE ELIZABETH, Sept.
18 @ York, Sept.
21 @ Kennebunk, Sept.
29 @ Cape Elizabeth, Oct.
3 FALMOUTH, Oct.
6 YORK, Oct.
8 KENNEBUNK, Oct.
17 GREELY, Oct.
20 @ Falmouth
Coach s comment: I feel really good about this group coming back. We have a lot of really good players.
We have a lot of girls who can score and we have good speed and strength on the outside. I feel like the senior captains have come into the season focused and committing to moving us forward. We ve improved every year they ve been on the team.
With their strong leadership and our young talent, all the pieces are there. It s just a matter of playing well against very good teams. I do see us as a very strong team capable of doing great things.
The Forecaster s forecast: The Clippers were every bit the equal of regional finalists Cape Elizabeth and Greely a year ago (they beat both of them in the regular season), but they just couldn t find the net in the gutwrenching playoff loss to the two-time regional champion Capers.
Yarmouth graduated three special seniors, Lane Simsarian, Emma Torres and goalkeeper Shannon Fallon, but a lot of younger players have gotten trial by fire in recent years and are ready to shine into late October and possibly even November. Yarmouth has been a consistent contender, but it has now been a dozen years since the program s last title. This group is ready to end that drought and is this roster ever loaded.
Offensively, D Appolonia was a revelation as a freshman, playing center-mid with more poise and skill than girls several years her elder.
She can finish with the best of them, but is always looking to set up her talented teammates in optimal spots. Clemmer, an All-Region selection in 2014, Langenbach and O Neill also figure to score on a regular basis. Barbera and Condon look to play bigger roles this time around and sophomore Hannah Merrill, who has recovered from knee surgery, will also be in the mix.
The Clippers appear solid on defense too behind captains Bartlett and Watson (last seen playing the hero s role in the girls lacrosse team s memorable state championship win). Watson also takes free kicks and corner kicks for the squad. Antolini has played solid minutes as an underclassman and joins that tandem, as does Corey.
Freshman Lydia Guay will replace Fallon in goal. She shows promise and could be a four-year solution for the program if all goes well.
Despite having to battle the likes of Cape Elizabeth and perennial contenders Falmouth, Greely and York, Yarmouth will make it to the playoffs for the 24th consecutive season. The Clippers would love to get homefield advantage, which won t come easily considering their schedule.
Regardless, Yarmouth will be battle tested by late October and if the Clippers can produce more consistent offense, this could finally be the year a Gold Ball comes home to roost.
Coach: Mandy Lewis (ninth year, 48-66-6 overall record)
Top returners: Tori Messina (Senior), Sammy Middleton (Senior), Bre Morrill (Senior), Cara Ricciardi (Senior), Ally MacLeod (Junior), Abby McDowell (Junior), Nicole McDowell (Junior), Taylor Robison (Junior), Emilie Martin (Sophomore)
Pivotal games: Sept.
8 @ Greely, Sept.
12 FREEPORT, Sept.
22 @ Cape Elizabeth, Sept.
26 @ Falmouth, Sept.
28 CAPE ELIZABETH, Oct.
1 YORK, Oct.
Coach s comment: Our numbers are probably the biggest we ve ever seen. There s been some excitement around the program. We developed quite a bit in Class C the past couple years and now I m excited to see what we can do against Class B teams.
It will be tough to replace Kallie Hutchinson s strength and vision. Our goals is to be competitive throughout the season and make a run for the playoffs.
The Forecaster s forecast: Yarmouth is coming off yet another successful and enjoyable season as it certainly made the most of its two-year stint in Class C, reaching the semifinals two years in a row after not playing in that round for a dozen seasons. The Clippers are back in Class B this fall and are without one of the program s finest players ever, Kallie Hutchinson, Yarmouth s reigning Fall Female Athlete of the Year and an All-State player, who is now playing at Colby College.
While there are some question marks, look for the Clippers to be very competitive again this season as an abundance of players look to step into bigger roles.
The best news for the program came just recently when Morrill, a first-team all-star in 2014, who had to miss the playoff loss with a knee injury that eventually cost her a chance to be on a state champion softball team as well, was cleared for action. She s back with a vengeance and will be a captain, a top scoring threat and will take over Hutchinson s role on long hits. She ll also wreak havoc in the midfield.
Ricciardi scored some big goals a year ago and should do so again this season. She s also a captain. MacLeod, Martin, Abby McDowell and new junior Eliza Lunt, an athletic standout, are other players who figure to factor into the scoring mix.
Defensively, Yarmouth should be stingy again after allowing just seven goals in 16 games in 2014. Messina, a captain and an All-State selection last fall, is back for her third year in goal. She s one of the best keepers around.
She s protected by the tenacious Nicole McDowell, spirited Middleton and Robison, who has been shifted to the defensive zone this season. Junior Tessa Houston will also be a part of the defense.
Yarmouth has all the ingredients to compete again, even though it has moved up in class. The Clippers, seeking a fifth straight playoff berth, are eager for a new set of challenges, but believe they re a postseason-caliber squad regardless of where they play.
Just how quickly this group comes of age will determine if Yarmouth can turn heads again in October.
Coach: Jim Senecal (ninth year, 81-43 overall record, three state championships)
2014 results: 15-1 (Beat Machias, 3-0, to win second consecutive Class B state championship)
Top returners: Heather Clark (Senior), Liz Clark (Senior), Morgan Hamre (Senior), Makenzie Sheehan (Senior), Rachel Chill (Junior), Alison Clark (Junior), Andrea St. Pierre (Junior)
Pivotal matches: Sept.
4 GORHAM, Sept.
12 SCARBOROUGH, Sept.
21 GREELY, Sept.
25 MDI, Sept.
29 @ Scarborough, Oct.
1 @ Gorham, Oct.
8 @ Falmouth, Oct.
13 @ Biddeford, Oct.
17 CAPE ELIZABETH
Coach s comment: Having lost only one senior last year, the core of our team remains the same. Our girls really wanted the opportunity to play against the larger schools in Class A.
I d have to say that if ever there was a year where Yarmouth could compete at this level, this would be the year. Our team has more experience and talent than we ve ever had, but to be honest, that only puts us in the mix with the other strong programs in the league. How we respond when things are going really well and when they are not is just as important as anything else at this level.
I d point to Cape Elizabeth last year as a prime example of that. We know we have the talent to compete. If we can get all of our players, whatever their roles may be, to focus on the same goals and support each other, then win or lose, it will be a successful season.
The Forecaster s forecast: After dominating Class B to the tune of three championships in four seasons, Yarmouth has moved up to Class A this fall to battle the best teams the state has to offer.
The Clippers will be in for a struggle almost every night out, but this group has what it takes to prove it belongs at the top level.
Liz Clark returns at setter. She led the team in 2014 with 192 assists and was second with 107 points off serve. She can also attack and block when necessary.
Heather Clark, an All-State selection last fall, is a force at the net. A 6-foot-1-inch middle hitter, Clark led the team in blocks (67) and kills (123) a season ago. Sheehan also made All-State last autumn.
The middle hitter led the Clippers in service points (166) and aces (89) and was second in kills (75). Chill moves from libero to outside hitter this fall. She ll make her presence felt at the net.
Alison Clark is another hitter to watch. She was third last year in kills (61). Hamre is a top blocker and server.
Andrea St. Pierre was third on the team last season with service aces (41) and will join her twin sister, junior Sydney St. Pierre, as the team s standout defensive specialists.
It s doubtful anyone in Yarmouth has forgotten, but the St. Pierre twins were last seen turning the double play that clinched the softball team s first ever state title back in June. The Clippers appear to have the court covered.
Yarmouth, which takes a 15-match win streak into the season, has grown accustomed to winning and isn t willing to sit back and wait its turn in Class A.
While defending champion Cape Elizabeth is the rightful favorite and traditional powers like Biddeford, Falmouth, Gorham, Greely, Mt, Desert Island and Scarborough also stand in the way, the Clippers believe they should be in the discussion as well. The time for talking is over. Yarmouth has a chance to prove itself against the best on the court night in, night out.
It should be a fascinating and enjoyable journey. Don t be surprised if the Clippers post another impressive record and make a name for themselves at the highest level once the playoffs begin.
Coach: Bob Morse (35th year, two state championships)
(Boys) DNQ for Class B state meet (9th @ regionals)
(Girls) 2nd @ Class B state meet (regional champions)
(Boys) Ethan Peters (Senior), Caelan Pike-Meter (Senior, Devin Shields-Auble (Senior), Ben Slayton (Senior), Luke Laverdiere (Sophomore), Sammy Potter (Sophomore)
(Girls) Lucy Alexander (Senior), Campbell Dorsett (Senior), Emma Glessner (Senior), Meredith Hawkins (Senior), Danielle Laverdiere (Senior), Lydia Sullivan (Senior), Grace Cowles (Junior), Abigail Hamilton (Junior), Anneka Murrin (Sophomore)
Top foes: Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, Freeport, Greely, York
Coach s comment: The boys will have two top runners returning in Luke and Sammy, but the rest of the team is an unknown entity at this point. The great news is that we have numbers and we hope that this will generate internal competition.
The goal this year is do improve on last year s regional results and qualify for states.
The girls have three top runners in Grace, Abby and Anneka. The team has openings for freshmen and sophomore runners. We want to improve on last year s performance at states.
The Forecaster s forecast: Both Yarmouth cross country teams have a lot to look forward to in the weeks to come.
The girls had a sensational season in 2014, winning the Western B regional title for the first time before finishing a close second to Greely at states.
The Clippers return three top-10 state scorers in Murrin (sixth), Cowles (eighth) and Hamilton (ninth). Alexander (28th) also scored a year ago and Sullivan was one spot from scoring. Laverdiere will also be a key part of the team s success in the weeks to come.
Dorsett, Glessner and Hawkins provide depth. Hamilton came in first individually at last week s preseason Laliberte Invitational, hinting that big things are in store. The Clippers are seeking their first ever state title.
This group, if it stays healthy and hungry, will be right there where they want to be on the final day of the season.
The boys missed the state meet last year after qualifying in 2012 and 2013. This fall, don t be surprised if the Clippers get there and make some noise. The top returner is Laverdiere, who dazzled as a freshman, finishing seventh as an individual at the state meet and fourth at regionals.
He ll make a run at the top spot this time around and has already turned heads by winning the preseason Laliberte Invitational. Potter also qualified for states as an individual last season and had the 28th-best time. Peters, Pike-Meter, Shields-Auble and Slayton are veteran returners.
Yarmouth has what it takes to be very strong both in the powerhouse Western Maine Conference and on the two biggest Saturdays of the season.
Coach: Brad Leighton (first year)
2014 results: 5-5 (no postseason)
Top returners: Nate Dealaman (Junior), Mac Leahy (Sophomore)
Top foes: Cape Elizabeth, Wells, York
Coach s comment: Our strength as a team this year is our numbers. It s the largest group we have had since I started with the program. We have young 6 through 10 players, backed up by a large JV group that should allow us to develop a competitive program for the years to come.
The Forecaster s forecast: Yarmouth welcomes a new coach this fall in Leighton, who played at Greely, has coached the Clippers junior varsity the past four seasons and formerly served as the assistant golf pro at Val Halla Golf Course in Cumberland.
Leighton inherits a team that has been very competitive in recent seasons and he has some promise on his squad.
Leahy (who shot a 94 at last year s conference qualifier) and Dealaman (99) have experience. Senior Erik Salmon looks to play a bigger role this fall and senior Joe Defusco is new and should make an impact. Several other players are jockeying to make their mark.
While Cape Elizabeth is head and shoulders the team to beat in the league, Yarmouth should be competitive in its matches and will hope to improve to the point where it can qualify for the state match.
If the Clippers can get there, they will have accomplished a lot this fall.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports4.
Senior Cody Cook is explosive and determined to lead Yarmouth s football team deep into November this season.
Senior Jack Snyder figures to be around the ball all season.
Junior John Thoma is back under center for the Clippers.
Senior Lucas Uhl is back for his senior season. He ll be a matchup nightmare at running back and linebacker.
Senior Matthew Beatty is one of several talented returners for the defending champions.
Junior Henry Coolidge is poised to score his share of goals in the weeks to come.
Junior Matt Dostie will be a force in the midfield.
Senior sparkplug Patrick Grant scored the winning goal in last year s state final and is poised for a huge final high school season.
Senior Nick Kamra has quietly played great soccer for Yarmouth the past couple seasons.
Don t be surprised if he emerges as a star in the weeks to come.
Senior Conor O Donnell does what it takes to stymie the opposition.
Junior Ella Antolini will play a key role on Yarmouth s defense this season.
Junior Gretchen Barbera will take advantage of her scoring opportunities in the weeks to come.
Junior Katie Clemmer has a booming foot and a nose for the goal.
Junior Abby Condon is another member of Yarmouth s talented junior class.
To say Sara D Appolonia had a transcendent freshman campaign would be an epic understatement. She ll be an ever bigger matchup nightmare for the opposition as a sophomore.
Junior Cory Langenbach does it all and is an integral component for the talented Clippers.
Junior Eliza Lunt played a key role in helping Yarmouth s girls lacrosse team win a state title in June. This fall, she ll try and help the girls soccer team do the same.
Senior Eavan O Neill returned from injury and scored some timely goals in 2014.
Look for more production from her this fall.
Recovered from a knee injury, senior Bre Morrill will be an impact player for a Yarmouth field hockey team which has reached the semifinals in successive years.
Emilie Martin produced some memorable moments as a freshman.
Abby McDowell had a breakout season as a sophomore and should be right in the scoring mix again this fall.
Junior Nicole McDowell is a seasoned defender.
Senior goalie Tori Messina is a very effective last line of defense.
Senior Sammy Middleton returns to anchor the Yarmouth defense.
Senior Cara Ricciardi has shown the ability to score key goals at key times.
Junior Taylor Robison will also be looking to rattle the cage.
Senior Heather Clark is a dominant force at the net.
Senior setter Liz Clark led the Clippers in assists last year.
Senior Morgan Hamre is a top threat as a server and a defensive presence at the net.
Senior Makenzie Sheehan is another top returner for the two-time defending champs.
Junior Sydney St. Pierre will play a bigger role on this year s squad.
Luke Laverdiere had a standout freshman season, finishing seventh as an individual at the Class B state meet. He hopes to lead his team to the state meet this fall.
Sammy Potter also had a strong freshman campaign a year ago.
Junior Grace Cowles is one of several talented returning runners for a Yarmouth girls cross country team which fell just short of a state title a year ago.
Abigail Hamilton was ninth in Class B as a sophomore.
She hopes to move up this season.
Anneka Murrin was sixth at the Class B state meet as a freshman and will be among the best runners around this fall.
Yarmouth s boys soccer team raised the Gold Ball to the heavens last November and the Clippers are bound and determined to do it again this season.