Team depth propels cross country to first outright win in six years
Competing on its home course for the first and only time this season on Friday afternoon, the boys’ cross country team did not disappoint, outlasting Hermon, Central, John Bapst, and Lee Academy to capture the school’s first meet victory since 2008. Gabe Piquette ran 19:21.36 to finish third out of 47 male runners, leading a brigade of seven Ponies in the top 20. Cooper Nelson (19:37.65) placed one spot behind Piquette while Nate Feleke (20:32.10–10th), Noah Simpson (20:59.83–13th), Kohei Kotani (21:01.64–14th), Liam Casey (21:05.95–16th), and Paul Birtwistle (21:28.24–20th) were major contributors.
The win was the first at FA for Coach Brett Almasi, who was elated with his team’s effort. “The team continues to come together more each week,” he said. “It is amazing to see how much they support each other, and that was apparent during Friday’s home meet. Winning our first meet in six years is great not only for the morale of the team, but also because it shows how much our hard work over the past five weeks has paid off.”
On the shorthanded girls’ side, Jen Clawson ran a solid 24:30.93 to place sixth out of 37 female competitors while Anna Sedlackova (27:43.86) also posted a top-20 finish.
The Ponies will next compete in Old Town at 1:00 on Saturday. Click here to see photos from Friday’s meet (courtesy of Matthew Kim ’15 and Youjin Choi ’15).
Unbeaten boys’ soccer team climbing the ranks of Class B East
Coach Luis Ayala’s soccer team pieced together a beautiful week of soccer, running the table against Dexter, PCHS, and Hermon to improve to 5-0 on the season. The Ponies, who will face some very stiff competition in the coming weeks, are now ranked seventh out of 19 teams in the Class B East Heal Point standings.
The Ponies exploded for 10 goals at Dexter on Tuesday, downing the Tigers 10-3. Justin Diamond led the way with a hat trick, Ryan Cary found the back of the net twice, and Tino Ayala, Fernando Caceres, Dylan Harmon-Weeks, Matt Baiamonte, and Nick Boyd added a goal each. Julian Zepeda assisted on three goals, Ayala had two of his team-leading five assists, and Caceres, Eli Olson, and Dylan Richards also had helpers. Logan Butera and Woojun Kim combined for 13 saves in net.
The boys hosted PCHS for their annual night game on Oakes Field Thursday and treated an enthusiastic home crowd to another offensive onslaught, defeating the Pirates 9-2. Cary netted a hat trick, Baiamonte scored twice, and Diamond added a goal and three assists. Ayala, Harmon-Weeks, and Boyd also scored for the Ponies while both Ayala and Nate Church had assists and Butera had seven saves. “We get to play on Oakes Field under the lights once a year,” said Ayala, “and this year our guys took full advantage of the opportunity. They were able to display their talents in front a great crowd.”
The Ponies capped a great week with a 4-1 victory on Saturday over the visiting Hermon Hawks, who dealt top-ranked Presque Isle its only loss of the season on September 6. Toiling against a stiff wind for the first 40 minutes, Foxcroft headed into the break down 1-0 but dominated play in the second half. Julian Zepeda notched his first two goals of the season, Diamond scored his team-leading seventh goal, and Ayala netted his fifth. Harmon-Weeks delivered a beautiful through ball to pick up an assist on Diamond’s breakaway goal while Caceres’s cross set up Ayala. Butera was excellent in net as usual, recording eight more saves.
The Ponies will host 1-5 John Bapst Tuesday at 4:00 and make the long trip to 1-2 MDI on Thursday.
Click here to see photos from Thursday’s game against PCHS and here for Saturday’s game against Hermon (both courtesy of Perry Wang ’17).
Football team picks up signature win in Belfast
Hunter Smith and Pete Boyer combined for 391 rushing yards and five scores to lead the football team to a season-changing 34-26 victory over the previously-unbeaten Belfast Lions on a very cold Friday night in Belfast. The Ponies, who forced four turnovers and controlled the ball for more than 28 of the game’s 40 minutes, improved to 2-1 and are right back in the thick of things in the ultra-competitive Big Ten Conference.
Smith was a dominant force in his second career start at quarterback despite not completing a single pass. The junior carried the ball 33 times for 252 yards and found the end zone four times while Boyer added 144 yards and a score on 20 carries. The dynamic duo combined for every one of the Ponies’ 391 yards from scrimmage. “The offensive line played by far its best game of the season,” said Coach Danny White, “and Hunter and Pete took advantage of the opportunities they were given. We were able to physically impose our will in a way that hasn’t happened against top-tier competition over the past year and a half.”
The defense yielded 260 yards on the ground, including an 88-yard touchdown run to the electric Stephen Davis on the game’s first play, but once again played opportunistic football, intercepting four passes after picking off five a week ago. Abe Simpson’s game-sealing interception at the six-yard line with 12 seconds left was his second of the game and third of the year while Caleb Edgerly added his third pick of the season and Clay Carroll notched his first. Carroll and Gaige Pleninger had seven tackles a piece for a balanced and improving unit that got sacks from Kaleb Faloon and James Smith and at least three tackles from 12 different players.
Coach White was thrilled with his team’s performance against a squad that came in on the heels of a 48-6 win over Hermon and a 36-14 win at MDI. “This was a complete team effort,” he said. “We played with high energy and high emotion, which allowed us to play at a level we had yet to reach this year. This is the type of win that any team with high expectations hopes for.”
The Ponies head to Old Town next Friday for a 6 pm kickoff before returning home for three straight home games, beginning with the Homecoming game vs Hermon October 3.
Photo taken by Cathy Cody. Click here to see more of her excellent work in Belfast, and click here to see the game film (courtesy of Coach Tom Nason).
Field hockey team reels off three wins, moves to 6-1
Coach Stephanie Smith’s field hockey team bounced back beautifully from last weekend’s loss to Dexter, outscoring Mattanawcook, Hermon, and Central by a combined score of 16-0 to improve to 6-1 on the season. The Ponies are currently ranked third in Class C East behind 7-0 Dexter and 5-0-1 Winslow.
Madison Fadley scored twice off assists from Julia Annis to lead the Ponies to a 3-0 win over visiting Mattanawcook Academy on Tuesday. Fern Morrison assisted Alli Bourget to open the scoring while Abby Simpson and Madison Chadbourne combined on the shutout.
Back at home on Thursday, Annis erupted for four goals while both Morrison and Alli Bourget had hat tricks to lead the Ponies past Hermon 10-0. Annis had three assists, Morrison had two, and Fadley, Abbi Bourget, Emma Tetlow, and Becca Anderson added one a piece. Simpson and Chadboure again split the game in the net.
The Ponies took to the road on Saturday and downed Central 3-0 behind goals from Abby Simmons, Annis, and Fadley. Simmons carried the ball 50 yards before depositing a shot in the right corner post and also assisted on Annis’s team-leading seventh goal. Annis picked up her ninth assist (also good for the team lead) on Fadley’s sixth goal of the season. Simpson and Chadbourne combined on their sixth shutout.
“The girls had a good week,” said Smith, whose team will host John Bapst Tuesday and travel to Hermon Wednesday. “They played more consistently, moved the ball up the field very well, and were much more aggressive in the offensive circle.”
Golf team picks up seventh win, eyes PVC Tournament
Coach Pete Caruso’s golf team traveled to the coast to play at the historic Kebo Valley Golf Club in Bar Harbor on Tuesday and split matches with Bucksport (203-209 win) and MDI (191-203 loss). Nick Decker fired a 49 on the very difficult course and was followed by Freddy Libby (51), Henry Chase (51), and Emily Turner (52). On Friday, the Ponies returned home for a rematch with MDI and were defeated 171-197. The Ponies’ contributing scores came from Libby (46), Turner (47), Chase (50), and Racquel Bozzelli (51).
“We are looking to step up our game as we head towards the PVC Tournament on October 2 at Jato,” said Coach Caruso, whose team’s record now stands at 7-4. “The top four teams in Class B qualify for the state tournament. Our goal is to be one of the qualifiers.”
The Ponies will compete at Hermon on Monday and at Bucksport on Wednesday.
Girls’ soccer team prepared for rematch with John Bapst on Wednesday
The girls’ soccer team is still in search of its first win but has shown steady improvement and has high hopes for Wednesday’s game against visiting John Bapst. “The ladies have worked hard in practice all week,” said Coach Chris Wesley. “They are improving each game and continue to grow as a team.”
The Ponies fell to powerhouse Hermon 8-0 on Monday. They trailed 6-0 at halftime but buckled down in the second session after being challenged by Coach Wesley, who was pleased with the way his team responded: “After the game, I told them, ‘You did yourselves, your teammates, and your school proud in how you played in the second half, and my respect for you continues to grow.’” Kiara Prescott had more than 30 saves for the Ponies, and Kayla McCorrison had a quality shot on net that just missed.
The girls lost a tight one to Dexter under the lights of Oakes Field on Wednesday, falling 1-0. After conceding a goal early in the contest, the Ponies controlled play for much of the game but were again unable to find the back of the net. The offensive attack was balanced, with six players–Shayla Bickmore, Kayla McCorrison, Jo Panciera, Jenna Clukey, Avery Nelson, and Grace Bickford–recording at least one shot on net. Defensively, the Ponies received strong play up the middle from Kendra Ewer, Emily Sprecher, Des Brawn, and Annie Rich. Prescott repelled 19 of 20 shots to keep the game tight.
On Friday, the Ponies lost to PCHS 3-0 despite outshooting the Pirates 17-13 and playing them to a scoreless tie in the first half. Bickmore had a shot hit off the post and roll across the goal line, and Bickford added four shots on goal.