Friday, December 8, 2017

Windham U13 Soccer Team wins State Regional Championship two years in a row by Matt Pascarella

The Windham U13 Girls’ Soccer Team won the State Regional Championship for the second consecutive year this October.  I spoke with one of the coaches, Jason Dakin about the team, the girls and winning it all twice in a row.
Last season, the U13 girls had 11 players which made it hard on them energy-wise because they needed nine players on the field. Despite the fact that although as a team, they might have been a little worn out come the second half of game play, they still were undefeated and were a team other teams recognized as good.

Coach Jason Dakin, who coaches alongside Coach Matt Bell, explained the comradery grew as the season went on; they clicked as a team and were close-knit by mid-season. Dakin added, last season, “It took the girls about five wins to realize they were good.”
The winning team with their trophies

These girls worked extremely hard to get where they were. Dakin goes on to say, “As a team they had a love for the game and were very, very competitive in everything they did. They loved to play, but it’s fun to win.”

When they made it to the championship last year, the girls were a bit nervous. However, as the game went on, they picked up the pace as a team and before they knew it, it was 3-0. That game ended with Windham winning 5-2. The U13 girls had won the championship. That season ended with the girls winning 15 games and going undefeated.

This year the girls’ confidence had risen because of the success of last year. The team added five more team members, which took some of the pressure off when it came to substituting players.
They continued to be a strong team and other teams knew they had to step it up to beat them, and even then, Windham would still win!

As a team, they utilized everyone’s skills. A lot of girls put in a lot of hard work over the summer in soccer camps. “The team’s confidence was definitely up,” said Dakin, “especially after winning the championship the previous year. They knew they were going to be state champs [this year].”

The Captains told the team, “We got this. Everyone wants to beat us and if we keep playing like we are, no one will be able to.” And those other teams couldn’t. The girls weren’t as nervous going into the state championship game. All their hard work had culminated in another state championship win - for the second year in a row. The Windham Girls U13 Soccer Team was a good, strong team and had gone another season undefeated. 

Coach Dakin commented on what it’s like, as a coach, to watch the girls you helped win it all two years in a row, “It's a great feeling. To see what your teaching them in practice and they execute it during the game is awesome. It makes all the stress and late nights coming up with practice drills worth it.”

Although they were a team that loved to win, and were good at it, “They were [also] there to have fun.” said Dakin.
And they did.

Coach Spotlight on Windham High alumni Chad Pulkkinen by Matt Pascarella

Chad Pulkkinen, a Windham High School graduate (2002), is in his third year of coaching the Boys’ Varsity Basketball Team. After high school, he attended Saint Joseph’s College in Standish where he played basketball, majored in Business Administration and also met his wife. He is the current CEO of Windham Millwork. 
Coach Pulkkinen

Pulkkinen has two children and in his spare time likes to play golf, travel, hunt, fish, ski and spend summers boating on Sebago.

After high school, Pulkkinen played basketball and coached youth in England. He was responsible for working with and coaching roughly 400 kids throughout the week and during the season. 

Pulkkinen also assisted several local players with skill development once returning from overseas. 

“I love the opportunity to help develop young kids both on and off the court,” Pulkkinen said when asked why he likes to coach. “I get extreme joy in watching kids set goals, work within a team and find joy in the game of basketball. The game of basketball has taught me so much . . . I use my experiences as teaching points or lessons [for what] I could have done different or what worked for me.” 

Pulkkinen believes team sports are special and the bonds players develop with each other and the coaching staff will last a lifetime. It’s something he enjoys being a part of. Pulkkinen is always trying to improve the way he goes about coaching and developing youth. 

Coach Pulkkinen wants his players, “. . . to be proud of their effort, commitment and representation of Windham. I want each member of our team to think of one another as family; knowing they tried their best for the guy next to them day in and day out. Pride is a word we use a lot within our teams and I hope all our players have pride in what they accomplish as a group.”

The Boys’ Varsity Basketball Team is looking good this year. “The team is well rounded and has great leadership within the senior class and some young talent to help the upperclassman chase their goals” says Pulkkinen. 

“We have a special group of players this year and it should be an exciting season.” 

Good luck to Coach Pulkkinen and the team!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

New England Preparatory School Athletic Counil Class C Championship.

Hebron Academy beat Millbrook 8 - 1. Hebron has won this two years in a row. In the center (in purple) is Goalie, Keith Mank - a Junior from Raymond, ME. CONGRATULATIONS!

Windham Eagles are a strong team despite the State Championship outcome by Matt Pascarella

The Eagles worked very hard all year and it came down to this: the State Championship against
Braxton Cassidy ensures the Red Storm player is down
Scarborough. The game took place last Saturday at Fitzpatrick Field in Portland. This was a well-earned game for the Eagles who had worked vigorously all season to get there. The crowd was pumped from well before the game started to the very end, cheering Windham on.

Windham came out with intensity, ready to take on Scarborough. A fast touchdown from the Red Storm at the start of the game did not discourage the Eagles. Scarborough was pressuring Windham early as they added another touchdown to the scoreboard. With plenty of time left, the Eagles kept their heads up.
Hunter Coffin catches a pass for Bernier

As the first half continued, Scarborough pressured Windham, scoring a couple more touchdowns. This only made fans cheer louder and players work even harder.

An intercepted pass thrown by Scarborough and caught by #89, Cameron Additon, showed the Eagles were working to turn this game around. Windham was giving it their all, but despite their efforts at the end of first half, Scarborough led 36-0.

This was not the start to the game Windham wanted, but they fought (and made it) this far and they weren’t giving up now. The Eagles worked fiercely both offensively and defensively. They had several great plays that had the potential to result in scoring opportunities, but were blocked by Scarborough. Tanner Bernier, #20, got the ball within 10 yards of Scarborough’s end zone. If Scarborough was going to win, they were going to work for it. 
Watson and Kilgallon take Siena Red Storm player

It’s tough to see the points rise on your opponent’s scoreboard, but Windham is a strong team. Despite this obstacle they did not let it get them down. Were they happy about it? No. But when that happens, you just work harder. And the Eagles did just that.

Scarborough didn’t let up though, scoring several more touchdowns in the second half. Windham fought hard and fought strong, giving it their all and leaving nothing on the field. In the end, Scarborough became Class A champs. Final score: 57-0.
Nate Watson with the catch from Bernier

“I think our guys played their hearts off, they have all year,” said Coach Matt Perkins. “Scarborough is one of the best high school football teams . . . they do a really good job; hats off to them. [They] represent Maine football very, very well.” 

He continued, “I’m just very proud of my guys, they . . . played with class all [season] . . . they did a good job . . . I’m very proud of them and the way they battled all year.”

We’ll be watching when Windham returns next year to makes us proud once again.
Congrats to the Windham Eagles football team for a great season and being Class A North Champions and State Class A Runners Up!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Windham Eagles win Class A Northern Regional Football Champions by Matt Pascarella

Dylan Varney tackles the Bulldogs
The varsity boys took on Portland last Friday for what was probably one of the coldest games I’ve ever been to. The temperature was below freezing with very strong winds. However, the low temperature wasn’t stopping the fans and players from giving it their all.

Shortly after the game started, I heard one player announce, “We came to play!” after Windham got off to a great start, almost scoring on Portland within seconds of the first half. The Eagles did come to play, and their intensity started from the first second and didn’t end until after the game was over.

Right out of the gate Windham scored touchdown number one of the first half. Tanner Bernier, #20, ran it into Portland’s end zone with #16, Liam McCusker, getting the field goal. From that point on, the Eagles did not let up on the Bulldogs until the end of the game. 

Windham had strong offense and defense throughout both halves, keeping Portland from scoring for most of the game and putting the pressure on them by scoring touchdown after touchdown.
By the end of the first half, Windham had scored three more touchdowns. Treva Valliere, #34, ran the ball in and McCusker got the field goal. Bernier scored for a second time, running the ball in and passing it to #81, Matty Babb, who got the two-point conversion. 

Right before the end of the first half, #25, Nathan Watson, caught a pass from Bernier and McCusker got the field goal. At the end of the first half, the score was 29-0, Windham.

The cold, which hadn’t gotten much better, didn’t affect the Eagles’ enthusiasm as they began the second half with just as much force as the first. They continued to show Portland, this game belonged to the Eagles. Windham’s excellent teamwork resulted in two more touchdowns before the final whistle. Watson ran the ball in for his second touchdown, but the kick was no good. #21, Stuart Salom, ran the ball in and McCusker got the field goal. The final score: 42-6, Windham.

Coach Matt Perkins spoke about the team and their season, “The heart of the [se] guys . . . how they battled adversity all year has just been so impressive. I’m very, very proud . . .  [of] the coaches [and] the players . . . and the passion has just been through the roof.”

After the game, Athletic Director, Rich Drummond presented the team with a plaque for being the Class A Northern Regional Champions.

Congratulations Eagles! Good luck this Saturday!
Eagles accept the Northern Class A Regional Championship Plaque
Justin Labrecque takes down several Bulldogs as Valliere goes in for the touchdown
Liam McCusker kicks for the field goal
Mattingly Babb catches the pass for the 2 point conversion