FA Athletics: A Week in Review (Sept. 8-13)

Boys soccer team
off to hot start

   Coach Luis Ayala’s soccer team is off to a tremendous start, ripping off wins over John Bapst and Caribou to open the 2014 campaign.
Tino Ayala’s pass sprung Justin Diamond for a breakaway goal in the first half to deliver the Ponies a 1-0 win at John Bapst in the opener. “We may have been a little nervous heading into that game and didn’t quite play to our potential early on,” said coach Ayala, “but once we scored that first goal, we settled in and played much better.”

   The Ponies held a tailgate party Saturday morning in advance of the home opener against Caribou,, a 4-1 victory. “Finishing the way we did, that was very impressive,” he said. “What showed today is that the kids worked hard during preseason and that we’re a better conditioned team than we’ve been in the past.”
   The Ponies will look to build on the early season success with games vs. PCHS Thursday and Hermon Saturday. Ayala is delighted with his team’s effort so far but realizes there is a long way to go. “It’s always great to come out with two wins, but I know it’s still early in the season and there are tougher teams down the line. Our objective is to continue to work hard and take it one game at a time.”

Football bounces back with big win over Camden Hills

   The football team piled up 409 yards of offense en route to a 46-16 victory over Camden Hills at Oakes Field Friday night. Four different players scored for the Ponies, who improved to 1-1 with the victory and will face undefeated Belfast on the road Friday.
 “It was good to see balance on the offensive side of the ball, with four different players accounting for our seven touchdowns,” said coach Danny White.
   “Our defense got better as the game unfolded,” said White. “We had a couple breakdowns on a few plays we’d like to have back, but overall I’m pleased with the effort. You have to be happy any time you force eight turnovers.”
   White knows his players will need to take another step forward if they hope to compete with the Lions, who ended the Ponies’ season last November. “We’ve got a huge game coming up with Belfast on Friday, and we’ll need to get better this week and come out with more intensity if we want to beat such a quality opponent.”

Balanced golf team grinds out three more victories

   The Pony golf team reeled off three wins to improve its season mark to 6-2. Coach Pete Caruso’s squad defeated Dexter 186-216 at Foxcroft Golf Club on Monday and then fired a 191 to best both Dexter (196) and John Bapst (208) at Foxcroft on Wednesday. Freddy Libby led the way on Monday with a 43, with Henry Chase (46), Racquel Bozzelli (48), and Bram Dennis (49) also posted contributing scores. Dennis and Emily Turner paced the Ponies on Wednesday with a 46 while Libby (47) and Nick Decker (52) chipped in.
   “We had a good week,” said Caruso, whose Ponies were set to travel to MDI on Tuesday to compete against MDI and Bucksport before returning home for a meet on Friday. “I am pleased with the progress of the team and am looking forward to seeing how we play on some of the different courses we will be traveling to in the next couple of weeks. The PVC Championship Tournament and a top-four spot is our ultimate goal.”

Field hockey remains
atop Class C East

   Coach Stephanie Smith’s field hockey team is ranked No. 1 in the Class C East Heal Point standings despite a disappointing 4-0 loss to No. 2 Dexter in the home opener on Saturday. The Ponies are 3-1 following a busy week that also included a 1-0 win at John Bapst on Monday and a 3-0 win at PCHS on Wednesday.
   Madison Fadley redirected a Julia Annis shot into the net to deliver the Ponies a hard-fought victory on the University of Maine turf Monday night. The game was scoreless at the half as the Ponies struggled to adjust to the artificial surface in the opening 30 minutes but took control of the game down the stretch.
   Fern Morrison got the scoring started at PCHS with a beautiful flick to the inside corner, and Fadley recorded the second goal with an assist from Emma Tetlow. Abby Simmons capped the scoring with a rocket to the left-hand corner of the goal on a penalty corner that was set up nicely by Fadley and Annis. “The execution of the set up play off the penalty corner was picture perfect,” said Smith.
   Things did not go as smoothly on Saturday against the undefeated Tigers, who the Ponies will see again in the penultimate regular season game Oct. 8. “We had severe breakdowns in our defensive coverage and were slow in our recovery,” said Smith. “Dexter took advantage of the opportunities.  We certainly had our own opportunities but could not capitalize. This kind of loss will determine what kind of team we will be. Hopefully, we will evaluate what we did wrong, learn from it, and work hard to eliminate our mistakes.”
   The Ponies will be back in action at home against Hermon on Thursday before traveling to Central for a 3 p.m. game Saturday.

Cross country improving
at remarkable rate

   The cross country team made the long journey to Aroostook County Saturday morning to compete in the 12-team Caribou Invitational. Gabe Piquette paced the boys’ team to a sixth-place finish, completing the 5,000 meter course in 19:28.86. He was trailed closely by teammates Nate Feleke (20:08.77), Noah Simpson (20:16.98), Kohei Kotani (20:13.46), Liam Casey (20:29.51), Hunter Giacomuzzi (21:29.64), Peter Xue (23:41.09) and Ethan Poland (24:23.03).
   Jen Clawson ran a very solid 23:47.84 to lead the shorthanded girls’ side while Anna Sedlackova (26:32.21) and Virginia Macomber (27:25.68) shaved several minutes off their times from a week ago.
   Coach Brett Almasi is thrilled with the progress his team has made in just one week. Despite competing on a longer, more challenging course, all 13 Ponies (including newcomers Todd Zhou and Mariaisabel Cedeno, who each ran their first career race) posted personal bests for the 2014 season, shaving a combined 18:46 off their times from a week ago in Ellsworth. “I’m really proud of the way our guys ran on Saturday,” said Almasi, “and we can’t wait to compete on our home course this coming Friday.”

Busy week ahead
for girls soccer

   Coach Chris Wesley’s rebuilding soccer team dropped its season opener 6-0 at John Bapst on Thursday. Toiling in heavy rain and wind, the Ponies trailed just 1-0 at halftime but ran into trouble after the break. Freshman goalkeeper Kiara Prescott performed admirably, turning away 24 of 30 shots on net.
   The Ponies hosted a very good Caribou team in the home opener on Saturday and fell 9-0. Prescott was under assault all afternoon and made an incredible 36 saves while Cassidy Panciera, Laura Shorey and Shayla Bickmore all had shots on net.
   “Our ladies fought hard this week and are beginning to realize what it will take to come out on top,” said Wesley. “The results haven’t been what we hoped for, but our team has played extremely hard and has fought to the last whistle in each game. We will continue to work hard and get better each game as the season moves forward.”
   The Ponies will play Dexter under the Oakes Field lights Wednesday at 7 p.m. and will travel to 2-1 PCHS on Friday.

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