Boys Soccer outscores opponents 45-10 in preseason play and looks to carry momentum into regular season
Coming off of three straight Class B playoff berths, the FA boys soccer team has high expectations for the 2015 season. Coach Luis Ayala, who is entering his 14th season as coach could not emphasize playoff experience enough, stating that one of the team’s greatest strengths is that, “We have a veteran group coming back and a senior class that has a lot of experience playing together.”
Team unity and experience were evident throughout the preseason as the Ponies seem in midseason form early on. The Ponies suffered just one loss in nine preseason games and outscored their opponents 45-10.
Key players for the Ponies are captains Antonio Ayala, who led last year’s team in assists and goals and was named to the Class B All-Eastern Maine Team, and Nathaniel Church, a lockdown defender and returning 1st team All-PVC player. Other key returners are Logan Butera, one of the state’s premier goalkeepers, Chandler Rockwell, one of the fastest forwards in Eastern Maine, and Tobias Hogfeldt, who joins the team from Denmark and looks to make an immediate impact on the pitch.
“Class B is a very competitive league,” said Ayala, “but I don’t think there’s a clear favorite this year like in past years. The teams are so close and equal. I like our chances, though. This year we are going to make some noise not only in the regular season but also in the playoffs. I think this is the year of the PONY! Fear the Stampede!”
The Ponies’ first regular season test is this Saturday at John Bapst at 7:30, and they will host Caribou for their first home game on Monday at 3:00.
Golf team jumps into regular season with solid opener
Coach Peter Caruso’s golf team split their season opener at Hidden Meadows Golf Course on Friday, August 28. The Ponies defeated Dexter 221-289 but fell to home team Old Town 168-221. Leading the way for the Ponies was returning state qualifier Raquel Bozzelli, who shot a 50.
Bozzelli is set to lead the Ponies this season along with fellow senior Michael Wang. Poised to join Bozzelli and Wang in the scoring places are juniors Akira Tanabe, Sammy Libby, Henry Chase, and Caleb Buerger.
The team is in a rebuilding phase, but coach Caruso is confident that with work the team will improve with each match and make a playoff run into October. “We’re looking to improve with each match and peak at the end of the season,” said Caruso. “The team goal is to qualify for the state tournament.”
The girls soccer team enters its second year under the supervision of coach Chris Wesley looking for more than just their first win in recent years. Coach Wesley is confident that the team, which boasts nine returning starters, has the necessary pieces to turn the corner and make a run at a playoff berth in the very competitive Class B North region.
In preseason play, the Ponies travelled to Hampden Academy for Hampden Play Day, where they split games with the host and fought to a competitive 2-0 loss to Messalonskee. The results of the Play Day are impressive considering the Ponies faced only Class-A competition. “Our attitude as a whole is extremely positive, and good things are happening, “ said Coach Wesley, who attributed the team’s 2-1 victory over Hampden to great communication and good ball efficiency.
The Ponies’ regular season begins Saturday at John Bapst at 5:30, and they will host Caribou in their home opener Monday at 1:00. Coach Wesley will be looking for strong contributions from a core of experienced players. Senior Desirae Brawn and junior Emily Sprecher are set to anchor a strong and physical back line, while junior Grace Bickford and sophomore Jenna Clukey provide the speed and firepower to finish on offense. Controlling the midfield for the Ponies are juniors Kendra Ewer, a talented field controller, and Kayla McCorrison, a crossing specialist.
“The team’s strength is its experience,” said Wesley. “We’re ready for our first win and to challenge for a playoff spot in the state tournament.”
Cross Country looks to build on last season, make run at state meet
Coach Graham Pearsall has taken leadership of the cross country team after long-time coach Brett Almasi stepped down to pursue his own running goals. (Almasi has run two marathons and competed in multiple half marathons over the past year.) The team is coming off of one of its most successful seasons, and Coach Pearsall hopes to work off the success and build a state-qualifying team.
The boys team is led by returning state qualifier Gabe Piquette, who ran just over 19 minutes for 5k at last year’s regional meet. Other strong returners are Liam Casey, Hunter Giacomuzzi, and Ethan Poland, who all bring a lot of experience to the team. Kazu Kawashima, Matthew Kim, Nick Daneman, and sprinter-turned-long-distance-runner Blaine Robinson are all newcomers with potential to step into the varsity seven for the Ponies.
The girls team is anchored by Jen Clawson, who ran a state-qualifying 1600 time in the spring for the outdoor track team, and by Virginia Macomber, who after a summer of running is set for a breakout season.
“We have two goals this season: personal improvement and qualify for the state meet,” said Coach Pearsall, who stressed the need for consistent work for long-term improvement. “We have a lot of potential, and I’m excited to see where the team’s hard work takes them.”
The cross country team’s season begins Saturday at the Ellsworth Invitational at 11:00.
Football faces early adversity, looks to team depth heading forward
Injuries to Hunter Smith and Billy Brock may have everyone’s attention, but the Foxcroft Ponies exit the preseason with positive growth and increased depth. “We are dealing with the adversity of some major injuries,” said Coach Daniel White, “but several young players have emerged during the preseason.”
The Ponies will rely on strong senior leadership as they change their game plan heading forward. Senior captain Hunter Smith is likely to miss the remainder of the season as he recovers from a dislocated hip, and starting running back Billy Brock is day to day with a hand injury.
Leading the Ponies are captains Connor Holmes and James Smith, who anchor a strong defensive and offensive line, Brandon Brock the team’s fullback, and Smith whose high football IQ will be of service on the sideline. Young players with increased roles are Nick Dyer, Nick Clawson, and Evan Chadbourne.
“We are confident in the kids we have asked to step up and do the job,” said Coach White. “We believe in our program and will be ready to play come Friday night.”
The Ponies’ regular season begins Friday under the Oakes Field lights at 7:00 as they take on the Mount Desert Island Trojans.
Field Hockey team small but conditioned and ready for season
The Pony field hockey team lost seven of last season’s starters to graduation this spring and moved up to a more competitive Class B North region, but the future is still bright for the Ponies under the tutelage of Coach Stephanie Smith, who is 45-5-1 as a coach.
Numbers will be a problem for the Ponies that have a roster of only 15 players. “We are a small team right now,” said Coach Smith, “starting with 15 players was heart wrenching, but we are close knit with great leadership.”
Leading the small but talented Ponies are Madison Fadley and Avery Carroll, who both return for their senior campaigns as the team’s captains and most experienced players. Other prominent returners are juniors Ali and Abi Bourget, who provide FA with quickness at wing, junior Becca Anderson, who is a great distributor, and junior Madison Chadbourne, the team’s shutout-producing goaltender.
While a small team has its inherent concerns, Coach Smith is impressed with her team’s improved conditioning and speed. “We will be a fast team,” said Smith. “Quite a few of our players–I will be bold enough to say–may be the fastest in the league.”
The Ponies will rely on speed, conditioning, and team unity throughout the regular season, which begins at home against John Bapst on Wednesday at 4:00.