Fall Sports Preview

Lancer Nation Begins Its 2015 Fall Sports Season Today


Football team celebrates a win last season. Photo courtesy of The Day.

Ryan Jones, Kayla Turpin, Julia Reagan, Molly Reagan, and Taylor Houggy

Girls’ Soccer:

Coach: Chris Ghiglia (two years as head coach), Joe Mooney (two years as assistant coach)

Key returnees: Sr. F Claire Hurley, Sr. F Jessica Harpell, Sr. D Mackenzie Merriman, Sr. MF Shea Spellman, Sr. D Lauren Goldtsein, Sr. D Jillian Shephard, Sr. MF Sarah Karlberg, Jr F Mia Brennan, Jr F Mary Grace Wyatt, Jr. MF Megan Sturm, Jr. MF Kayla Jean-Pierre,  Jr. G Jordan Kovacs, So. D Jacklyn Lavoie, So. MF Ashley Goldstein.

Senior Claire Hurley in action last season.
Senior Claire Hurley in action last season.

Top newcomers: Jr. F Julia Gigliotti, Jr. D Edith Anger, Fr. D Julia Florek, Fr. MF Julia Karlberg, Fr. MF Riva Blinderman, Fr. F Ciana Chiappone.

Outlook:The Lancers are hoping to improve upon last season’s ECC tournament semifinal and Class M state tournament quarterfinal finish.  With the return of forwards Mia Brennan, Jessica Harpell, and All-Stater Claire Hurley as well as strong midfield support, the team should be dangerous going forward.   The preseason focus has been on reorganizing a defensive unit that saw three of its four players graduate.

“Once everything comes together, we will be very competitive with every opponent we face,” said Ghiglia.

First Game: Saturday, Sep 12 at 6:00 PM vs Ledyard at Blonders Park.

Boys’ Soccer:

Coach: Joe Mendonca Jr. (fifth season).

Key returnees: Sr. D Ryan Brandt, Sr. D Tucker Wenc, Sr. D Evan Burdsall, Jr. G Austin Schwartz, Jr. F Dan Castelpoggi, Jr. D Stephen Lavoie, Jr. D Cory Conderino, Jr. D Aidan McCarthy, Jr. M Austin Negahban, Jr. F Colin Shannon, Jr. Kiru Wasef.

Junior Austin Schwartz in goal last season.
Junior Austin Schwartz in goal last season.

Top newcomers: Sr. D Marco Bonilla, Jr. M Jorge Paucar, Jr. M Walter Tineo, So. M Brent Rutchick, So. F Logan Bowdish.

Outlook: A third straight ECC Medium Division title is a possibility for Waterford (13-4-2, 8-0-2). Though they lost five seniors to graduation, the team reached the second round of the Class M state tournament last season. Two-time All-ECC picks juniors Austin Schwartz and Daniel Castelpoggi return ready to play. To be competitive and win the ECC Medium Division, the team will have to get past rival Montville, which it tied twice last season.

Junior Cory Conderino said, “I think we have a good chance at making a run in the tournament this year”.

Despite attempts to contact the coaches, they did not return requests for an interview before this story went to press.

First Game: Saturday, Sep 12 at 4:00 PM vs Ledyard at Blonders Park


Coach: John Strecker (first year as head coach)

Key returnees: Sr. QB/DB Jake Mangual, Sr. G/DT Colin Swansen, Sr. SE/DB Justin Keating, Sr. HB/DBChase Speller, Sr. FB/DB Noah Concascia, Jr. QB/DB Spencer Hoagland, Jr. T/DT Tyler Zolkowski, Jr. C/DT Tristan Mazzoulli, Jr. G/DE Kevin Grandieri, Jr. FB/LBLuke Barrs.

Senior Justin Keating goes after the ball carries in action last season.
Senior Justin Keating goes after the ball carries in action last season.

Outlook: The football program is looking to make a new name for itself as a whole new program under Coach John Strecker, who previously been assistant coach.  In the past, the program typically is .500 team, going 4-6 last year with a late-season winning streak. 

All of the coaches except Adam Baker have played for the teacm: all three Strecker brothers – John, Mike, and Paul- , Sean Maginnis, former NFL player Zach Hurd, Ryan VanOverloop, Tim Lineburgh, FranSilvestri, Tom Sullivan, and Jeff Picardi. Coach Adam Baker played at East Lyme but after a hard fought turkey day against the Lancers during his senior year, he realized he should coach for the winning team. These coaches are given an even further motive to push the team to their absolute hardest, to show that their town can be the best.

 The team had an off-season, filled with hard work. The players believe that they can be competitive with any team on their schedule.

First Game: Friday, Septmeber 11 at 6:30 PM at Windham High School

Field Hockey:

Coach: Traci Susi (17th year)

Key returnees: Sr. F Alexis Spinnato, Sr. F Hannah Sugrue, Sr. D Heather Carson 

Top newcomers: Sr. G Karena Bushey, So. G Rebekah Sanders, So. M Nina Bentley 

Senior Samantha Marquand controls the ball in play last season.
Senior Samantha Marquand controls the ball in play last season.

2014/2015 Record: 7-7-2

Outlook: According to Coach Susi, “Although our field hockey program continues to grow with 46 girls on the team this season, including 18 new players, it may be hard to replace the solid middle part of of the field of [2015 graduates Tegan ]Ward, [Kim] Grohocki, and [Emily] Dowds, along with athletic and quick-footed Jodi Weiss in the goal. We’re hoping to replace Weiss with a solid goalie and step up our offense with some returning players, as well as some new faces in the varsity line-up. With our numbers growing and an athletic group of incoming freshman, the future of Waterford Field Hockey is looking brighter and brighter.”

First Game: Friday September 11th, 3:45 PM at Poquonnock Plains Park

Girls’ Swimming and Diving

Coach: Bret Arnold

Asst. Coach: Patrick Callan

Top Returning:  Sr. Meika Gathy (backstroke, freestyle), Sr. Kelly Cheng (all around), Jr. Caitlin Henderson (breaststroke, freestyle), Jr. Tori Zane (butterfly, freestyle), So. Sophia Podeszwa (diving).

Senior Meika Gathy will be key to the team's success this season.
Senior Meika Gathy will be key to the team’s success this season.

Top Newcomers: Fr. Jayne Darras, Fr.Liz Hawkins, So. Erin Patten, Jr. Lia Scalia, Sr. Hannah Niedojadlo.
This Season’s Outlook: The girls’ swim team suffered major losses with the graduation of All-ECC and All-State swimmer Asia Langley and diver Katherine Tsiouris. However, the team has all to gain. With a squad of twenty-six girls, the teams are optimistic, especially with powerhouse swimmers Gathy, Zane, and Henderson. Many members of the team spent the summer doing pre-season programs to get ready for the season. According to Coach Arnold, the effort has been showing in practice. The team will be chasing perennial powerhouse East Lyme, but will prove to be competitive with Fitch and Haddam-Killingworth.

“I’m pretty positive about the team this year. I really like the chemistry, and I know they’re working hard and will do great this year,” stated Arnold.

First Meet: Friday, September 11 at 4 PM at Haddam-Killingworth.

Girls’ Volleyball

Coach: Beau Lucas

Top Returning Players: Sr. Vanessa Kobyluck, Sr. Jill Sykora, Sr. Mickayla Shelburn, Sr. Haley Taylor

Senior Jill Sykora sets up in action last season.
Senior Jill Sykora sets up in action last season.

Top Newcomers: Sr. Avery Kosma, Sr. Mikayla Tourjee
Season Outlook: The team (17-7, 7-1 ECC last season) has high hopes for this year. After a successful 2014 season, Waterford lost key players to graduation, including ECC All-Star Sarah Lathrop and ECC Honorable Mention Sarah Pacheco.

However, the varsity team still continues to house many star athletes, such as ECC All-Stars Vanessa Kobyluck and Jill Sykora. As well as former award-winning players returning to lead the team, many other varsity players, such as Mikayla Tourjee and Avery Kosma, plan to aid the all-senior team through to the ECC Tournaments.

Despite attempts, the coaching staff could not be reached before going to press.

Cross Country

Coach: Chris Gamble

Last Year’s Record: Girls’: 4-8 (overall 7-10); Boys’: 7-5 (overall 11-6)

All-ECC and All-State senior runner Jeannette Mooney will this this season's team.
All-ECC and All-State senior runner Jeanette Mooney will this this season’s team.

Key returnees:  Female runners: So. Sophie Joseph, Jr. Kayla Mathiowetz, Jr. Isabel Umland, and Sr. All-State and All Conference runner Jeanette Mooney. Male runners: Jr. Nick Carson, Jr. Nate Rowe, Sr. Carl Pederson, Sr. Dylan Abate, and Sr. Sam Lindblom.

Top Newcomers: Jr. Emily Johnson, and Jr. Cassidy Reubin.

Outlook: Many new and young runners have joined the team this year, so it is hard to determine what the season will look like. However, the returning varsity players are helping to bring experience and leadership to the team. Senior, Jeanette Mooney, is a notable player who was able to run in the All-State and All-Conference races last year as a junior. Coach Gamble is hoping that senior Dylan Abate will be able to follow up his great outdoor track season with a solid senior year of running. Newcomers are excited for the upcoming season

Freshman Owen Johnson said, “I’m really excited to meet  new people and for our first meet.”

The team’s first race will be on Saturday, September 12th.

Fall Cheerleading

Head Coach: Nicole Kennedy

Assistant Coach: Kristen Smith

Conference: ECC Medium

Key Returners: Sr. and Captain Alversia Wade , Jr. Alyssa Johnson

Top Newcomers: Fr. Maddy Pope

Season Outlook: The strength of this team comes from the only senior and captain Alversia Wade and eight returning juniors, Miranda Lentz, Alyssa Johnson, Hayley Price, Natalie Pendleton, Gemma Sherman, McKenna June, Kaitlyn Cazares, and Gabby Orlando.

The squad does not compete during the fall season, but work is always being done to prepare the girls for the upcoming winter competition season. The team is required to run a mile in under ten minutes at every practice as well as a set time for conditioning to keep the girls in top shape for competition. Skill development and team bonding keeps the girls busy with the addition of competition prep.

For the past three years, the team has placed second at the ECC Cheerleading Competition and they are pushing to take the first place spot this year. One thing to look forward to this fall is a Youth Clinic Fundraiser and Community Service Event on October 23rd. This event is held every year and is an opportunity for young cheerleaders to work with the varsity and junior varsity teams gaining experience in band dances, sideline cheers, and stunting.