Friday, December 31, 2021

Windham boys’ basketball varsity and junior varsity fall to Edward Little; first team gets first program win in three years

Windham senior Matthew Fox gets off a shot in mid-air during
the Eagles' boys' varsity basketball game against Edward Little
at Windham High on Thursday, Dec. 23. Edward Little won, 
By Matt Pascarella

Windham High School’s boys’ basketball teams took on Edward Little before the holiday break and while the varsity lost 63-31 and EL beat the junior varsity 55-39, Windham’s first team got the program’s first win in three years against the Eddies.

The first team played a strong game and came out on top 52-35 on Thursday, Dec. 23, at Windham.


The game was tied at seven early on. EL broke away but Windham’s defense kept their lead small. Windham took advantage of EL errors to bridge the gap. Windham senior Will Mannette sunk a three. EL’s offense surged and led 33-16 at the half.

"It’s a reality check ... right now,” said Windham varsity boys’ basketball coach Chad Pulkkinen. “We’ve got to find a way to compete and get better ... guys got to come to work every day and improve and stick together no matter what.”

Pulkkinen said some of Windham’s younger players have stepped up and taken advantage of opportunities they’ve been given.

“We’re giving up early,” said Windham senior Matthew Fox. “We need to find something in us – mental toughness to pull ourselves out ... we need to work together and play as one.”

Fox added Windham is good enough to where they can get open shots, not just the first ones they see.

Windham put 15 points on the scoreboard in the second half, but EL took this one.

Junior Varsity

Although Edward Little had a small lead early on, Windham was not far behind. They were quick to get rebounds and gained on the Eddies. Windham shots weren’t landing.

Windham’s defense kept EL from scoring a lot in the first half. Windham freshmen Conor Janvrin and Joseph Blige both scored three-pointers. As did Windham junior Chase Wescott. Two points separated the teams shortly before the end of the half, but EL edged out 28-23 before the buzzer.

“We could play a lot better as a team,” said Windham freshman Landen Leavitt. “Just moving the ball around better and taking better shots.”

Leavitt said they had good defense at times, but overall, they need to play better as a team.

The Eagles worked hard to catch up in the second half. Windham fought, but EL got by.

Windham boys’ basketball JV coach Geoff Grigsby said the team did better seeing those areas that need work and fixing them in the moment. He said there are some talented players on the team, but they need to pay better attention to detail. The team took a step in the right direction today toward understanding what it takes to improve.

First Team

Windham was up by two after one quarter. It was close, but Windham maintained their lead for most of the game.

Windham freshmen Braycen Freese and sophomore Owen Dakin sunk three-pointers. Windham sophomore Stevie Stewart sunk two three-pointers in the first half.

Windham moved the ball well and got rebounds. Windham sophomore Dan Mitchell scored at the buzzer and Eagles led 26-19.

The Eagles kept up their intensity in the second half. Windham’s communication had them up by 10 at one point. They pressured and continued to be first to the ball. The Eagles would not be caught by the Eddies.

Mitchell said they got the win through a lot of team effort and playing together.

“These kids show up every day working their butts off,” said Windham boys’ basketball first team coach Noah Estey. “[This win] is them putting in the hard work ... and trusting in each other and going out and doing what they need to do.” <

Trail Blazers earn 2-1 hockey win over Gorham in overtime, remain undefeated

Trail Blazer and Windham High senior Aiden Hartwell glides
toward Gorham's goalie to take a shot at goal on Wednesday,
Dec. 22 at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham
during the Windham/Westbrook/Bonny Eagle Trail Blazer
By Matt Pascarella

The Windham/Westbrook/Bonny Eagle Trail Blazers had quite a game in their first home game of the season against Gorham. The Trail Blazers tied the game after two scoreless periods. Trail Blazers Bonny Eagle senior Logan Caron scored with 46 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime.

The Trail Blazers’ Sacopee Valley sophomore James Ritter fired the winning shot in overtime for the 2-1 win on Wednesday, Dec. 22 at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham.

The Trail Blazers moved the puck early on and were aggressive. Gorham had a few shots on goal, but Trail Blazers’ defense kept the Rams scoreless.

The two teams took roughly equal shots at their opponent’s goals and remained scoreless in the second period.

Windham’s Aiden Hartwell said the Trail Blazers started slow, but once Gorham scored, Trail Blazers gained momentum and knew they needed a goal.

The Trail Blazers turned up the intensity in the third period and matched Gorham’s goal with Caron’s to tie the game 1-1 with less than a minute remaining.

Caron said he was pretty sure he got the pass from Hartwell and saw an opening in the net. He let the puck rip and saw it bounce in the back of the net.

Windham freshman Sam Foley said Gorham was beating the Trail Blazers to a lot of puck battles and the Trail Blazers were not ready in the first two periods. In the third period they won more puck battles which got them more opportunities.

Ritter shot the puck past Gorham’s goalie 4:36 into overtime assisted by Hartwell and Bonny Eagle senior Bobby Fothergill.

“There was a lot of bodies in front, and I knew the goalie couldn’t see much,” said Ritter. “So, I tried to put it low ... and it just went in.”

Ritter said they lifted each other up, whether in the locker room or on the bench and that led to this win. They realized what they had to do, and they did it.

“They came out a little flat; it’s their first home game in two years,” said Trail Blazers coach Bobby Fothergill. “I think it took them a couple periods to settle in. Ultimately, they executed; they dug deep ... they wanted it, they worked it and they willed themselves that win. It’s a good character win – I’m very proud of them.” <

Coaches banquet honors Windham fall soccer athletes

Windham High freshman Stella Jarvais, left, junior Abbey
Thornton, senior Sarah Talon, and Windham girl's soccer
coach Deb Lebel gather at the 46th Maine Soccer Coaches
All-Star Banquet in Bangor on Sunday, Dec. 5. Jarvais made
the 'Southern Maine Calss A All-Star Team.' Thornton and
Talon each made 'Southern Maine State,' 'Southern Maine 
Class A All-Star' and "All-Region' teams. Thornton was
named 'Class A Player of the Year' and Lebel was honored
as 'Coach of the Year.' PHOTO BY ALLISON TALON   
By Matt Pascarella

The Maine Soccer Coaches All-Star Banquet awarded players and coaches from all over the state on Sunday, Dec. 5 in Bangor. Windham’s Stella Jarvais, Abbey Thornton, Sarah Talon, Sam Glicos and Wyatt Flibbert each received honors.

Windham senior Sarah Talon and junior Abbey Thornton each made the “Southern Maine State,” “Southern Maine Class A All-Star” and “All Region” teams.

Thornton was named “Class A Player of the Year”.

“This season was one I will remember forever,” said Thornton.

The best part of Thornton’s amazing season was by far sharing such an incredible experience with her best friends and family. 

Freshmen Stella Jarvais made the “Southern Maine All-Star” team.

Jarvais said it was more surreal than anything to be selected at the banquet, especially in her first year. The team made her comfortable enough to play her best. She was playing for them, to get the experience they had.

Windham varsity girls’ soccer coach Deb Lebel said Jarvais was a fierce competitor and stepped onto the field with the confidence of a veteran player. Jarvais never backed away from a play; Lebel is excited to have her back for three more seasons.

Thornton and Talon had 30 goals each for the season, which is rare. Lebel said both had a team-first attitude and played hard for 80 minutes every game.

Lebel added Thornton knows the game well and is extremely deserving of “Class A Player of the Year.” She is a leader on and off the field.

Lebel was named “Coach of the Year” for all New England, large school. She doesn’t feel like she does anything above what other coaches do, so this award is very humbling.

Windham seniors Wyatt Flibbert and Sam Glicos both made the “Southern Maine Class A All-Star” and “All-State” teams. Glicos was also made the “All Region” team.

“These were the two best players, on a team that was the top in conference during the regular season,” said Windham varsity boys’ soccer coach Ben Schulz. “Sam and Wyatt both have put in countless hours working on their games, ... speed and agility.”

It felt terrific for Glicos to be a part of the Coaches Banquet. It meant a lot to him confidence-wise. It has always been a goal of his to make the New England team.

He owes it all to the team and the guys setting him up every game.

“It felt great to see not just me but other members of Windham getting the recognition they deserve,” said Flibbert. “It feels good to know I left Windham soccer on such a positive note and that this team has such a bright future.” <

Friday, December 17, 2021

Windham High girls’ basketball turns in solid effort against Gorham

Windham varsity senior Sarah Talon gets above a Gorham
defender to take a shot at the basket during the Lady Eagles' 
home basketball opener on Dec. 10.
By Matt Pascarella

Windham’s junior varsity and varsity girls’ basketball teams both put in solid efforts against Gorham in the home opener on Dec. 10. Both Windham teams fought hard to make up the difference in games where the Rams had pulled ahead early.

The varsity team had a better second half but eventually lost 66-47. The Lady eagles JV team improved as the game went on, but the Rams won by 61-7.


Gorham pulled ahead early on. Windham was quick to get rebounds. A couple foul shots by senior Sarah Talon put Windham on the scoreboard.

The Lady Eagles were aggressive, but Gorham had a 10-point lead after one quarter.

Windham junior Elizabeth Levesque stole the ball from Gorham and passed to senior Carly Morey who put two more points on the scoreboard.

Once Windham gained momentum, they began to close the gap. They took multiple shots at the basket, but not everything fell. At the half, it was 43-19, Gorham.

In the first half I think we came out slow-ish,” said Levesque. “We wanted to adjust, and we knew we could come back and get better. I think we really worked hard defensively, like pushing the ball. We knew that Gorham could run, so we really hustled [in the second half].”

Although Gorham was still ahead in the second half, more Windham shots fell.

Windham senior Sarah Talon put 13 points on the scoreboard in the second half.  Windham kept up their efforts until the final buzzer.

Windham varsity girls’ basketball coach Brody Artes said the team pressured and moved the ball better defensively in the second half. Artes said they need to do a better job executing and focus on getting better.

Junior Varsity

Gorham took the lead early and although Windham tried hard, as they went after the ball and captured rebounds, they remained scoreless. Windham defense did tighten up on the Rams and allowed less points to be scored in the second quarter. At intermission, Gorham led 27-0.

Windham freshman Grace Joly said the third quarter was the team’s best because the team realized how much energy they needed to make baskets. They figured out their offense and had good passes and drives, plus good defensive stops.

Windham stayed with the ball in the second half. Freshman Afomiya Timerga put Windham on the scoreboard. The Lady Eagles continued to get rebounds, but Gorham pulled away. Joly scored twice plus sunk a foul shot in the third quarter. Windham did not get down on themselves and kept up their efforts until the end.

“I think the girls started to get a little bit more confident and a bit more comfortable in the second half,” said Windham JV girls’ basketball coach Gretchen Anderson. “For a lot of the girls this is their first high school experience [on the court]. I’m proud of the turnaround in the second half; we were able to push the ball a little bit more, keep within our offense and the girls stayed positive on the bench.” <

Raymond’s girls’ and boys’ basketball team’s skills improving

By Matt Pascarella

Raymond’s Jordan-Small Middle School girls’ and boys’ basketball teams showed they are getting better each and every game when they played Sacopee Valley, at JSMS, on Thursday, Dec. 9.

Raymond eighth-grader Gavin Lawler soars into the air to take
a shot during Jordan-Small Middle School's home game against
Sacopee Valley on Thursday, Dec. 9.
The Raymond girls team wasted little time and were soon an unstoppable force that could not be caught. Raymond walked off the court with a 24-6 win over the Hawks.

The Raymond boys squad continues to improve all the time and they worked hard and took several shots at the basket, but not as many as they would have liked were dropping in. After four quarters, Sacopee Valley posted a 42-13 win.


Raymond was aggressive right away and put the ball up multiple times in the first quarter. Raymond seventh-grader Isabella Vassoler scored first. After that Raymond added point after point to the scoreboard.

“We did a lot more teamwork,” said Vassoler. “We were passing more ... we stayed with our opponent.”

She added everybody did well and they’ve improved a lot since their last home game.

Raymond got rebounds and kept up the intensity. Raymond eighth-grader Briella Beers got a layup. Raymond continued going after the ball and took many shots at basket. Halfway in, Raymond led 14-2.

Raymond eighth grader Audrey Getchell scored early in the second half. Raymond kept up the intensity and continued to work hard. Raymond eighth-graders Jada Stewart and Corey Brackett scored. Raymond kept the hustle up until the final buzzer.

“They played together a lot more and were looking for each other,” said Raymond girls’ basketball coach Jim Beers. “Also better on defense ... now they know how to protect and help out when their teammate gets burned.”


Sacopee Valley managed to get several turnovers, which gave them a lead early on, but Raymond kept their heads up. They had several shots at basket, with many good attempts that just weren’t falling.

Eighth-grader Ethan Swett put Raymond on the scoreboard. Raymond eighth-grader Braedyn Elwell sunk two three-pointers before the end of the first half.

Sacopee pulled away, but Raymond stayed with the ball. At the half, the Hawks led 25-8.

Raymond boys’ basketball coach Andrew Wing told the team after the game, the scoreboard was only half the story.

“Every game of the season has been more competitive,” said Wing. “I’m seeing they are working harder; they are staying together. The team is getting better, they are getting shots and they’re going to fall at some point.”

In the second half, Raymond moved the ball well and took advantage of several rebound opportunities. Raymond seventh grader Nick Allen sunk two foul shots toward the end of the game to help close the gap.

Raymond worked hard as a team up until the final buzzer.

“We need to work on our defense a little bit more; like boxing out or getting rebounds,” said Allen.

Allen said that he thinks they’ll do better in upcoming games. <

Friday, December 10, 2021

Windham boys’ basketball tunes up for new year with preseason wins against Gray New Gloucester

Windham senior Will Mannette sinks one of his four
three-pointers during a preseason game against Gray
New Gloucester on Dec. 6 at Windham High School.
Windham won, 60-50. PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA 
By Matt Pascarella

In the final preseason game before the start of the regular season on Friday, Dec. 10, the Eagles’ junior varsity and varsity boys’ basketball teams hit the court against Gray New-Gloucester in preseason matchups on Monday, Dec. 6.

The Windham varsity team pulled ahead early in the game and held on to that lead for four quarters with Windham wining 60-50.

Although GNG took an early lead, that did not last long during the JV game. The Eagles turned it around to win 72-62.


Windham won the tip off and scored immediately. Windham senior Nick Garrison hit a nice three-pointer as Windham began to pull away.

The Eagles dominated the first quarter and kept up the pace for the remainder of the game. There were several times GNG closed the gap a little, but Windham was quick to widen it again.

Windham senior Will Mannette sunk two three-pointers before the end of the first half and Windham led 34-27 at the intermission. 

In the second half, the Eagles kept the pressure up.

“I knew [Gray New Gloucester] was going to come in hungry ... and try to get a win tonight so they could get ready for their season as well,” said Windham varsity basketball coach Chad Pulkkinen. “Our guys played together, very unselfish.”

Pulkkinen added they preach to the team to trust each other on the floor and good things will happen. That was the case during this game.

The Eagles continued strong passing as Windham held a pretty consistent 10-point lead for a majority of the second half.

Windham junior Owen Combes sunk a three-pointer in the third quarter. Windham junior Sonny Elder sunk a three in the fourth, followed by Mannette who put two more threes in from the top of the key.

“A lot of our guys were hitting our shots,” said Windham senior Nick Garrison. “Everyone was moving through the offense. I would drive and [my teammates] would be there in their spots. Everyone was working on a great team effort overall.”

Junior Varsity

Windham scored right at the start of the game. GNG got a little ahead in the first quarter, but Windham quickly responded. Windham freshman Creighty Dickson sunk a three as Windham worked to get ahead in the first half.

Dickson said the team shot the ball well and had great defense and energy.

Windham pressured; junior Jacob Chouinard blocked a shot from GNG and then he put the ball in the hoop.

Elder sunk four three-pointers in the second quarter.

Four minutes left in the half and Windham was up by one. Eagle’s defense turned up the heat and increased their lead. Windham led 41-33 at the half.

Windham sophomore Blake McPherson sunk a three-pointer. Elder sunk another three, too. As the clock wound down, Windham would not be caught.

“It’s hard when you are one or two practices in and another team is kind of your equal,” said Windham JV coach Geoff Grigsby. “We have some pretty tough kids, not just talented but tough-minded kids. I was proud of the way they responded and ... played together.” <

Windham’s Aiden Hartwell and 18U Maine Moose hockey celebrate state title

Windham High senior Aiden Hartwell holds the 18U Maine
Moose state championship banner alongside sister Libby
Hartwell after the Maine Moose won the best of three games
state championship series against the Maine Junior Black Bears
on Sunday, Nov. 7 at the Camden National Bank Ice Vault in
By Matt Pascarella

The Maine Moose ice hockey team is a program geared toward giving its athletes the opportunity to play hockey at a high level with athletes from all around the state.

The Tier 2 18U Maine Moose team, after an incredible season kept their winning streak going and made it to the state championship with Windham High senior Aiden Hartwell a key player on that squad.

The Moose beat the Maine Junior Black Bears two games to none in a best of three-game series played Saturday, Nov. 6 and Sunday, Nov. 7 at Camden National Bank Ice Vault in Hallowell.

Organizers say that the Moose Hockey program wants to give its athletes the opportunity to develop as hockey players and people and that was evident during the team’s success leading up to the title game.

This 18U Maine Moose Hockey team was the No. 1 seed going into the playoffs after they finished their regular season with a record of 20-1-1.

“This group had lots of talent,” said 18U Maine Moose Hockey coach Jeff Ross. “We had great balance in all the lines. With a group like this that comes from different areas and school, sometimes they don't gel very well, but this group was able to come together very quickly and fill any roll that was needed on the team.”  

This was Hartwell’s first year playing on the Maine Moose team. He said playing for them helped him develop his skills, but most importantly taught him how to win in big situations.

“With us being the best team in the league we always had a target on our back,” said Hartwell. “Teams were coming for us knowing that we were the best team; they tried their best to beat us.”

When the 18U Maine Moose Hockey team entered the round robin tournament on Friday Oct. 29 they beat the Maine Junior Black Bears 5-3. After the Moose tied with Casco on Sunday, Oct. 31, they won their game against the Maine Evolution, 4-1, the same day. Maine Moose was ranked as the No. 1 seed as they entered the semifinals.

“Playing for the Maine Moose was really great,” said Gardiner senior Chase Kelley. “We had a really high work ethic as a team on and off the ice ... one of our biggest contributions to our successful season was our coaching, they know the game inside and out and that goes a long way.”

While the team had a slower start in the round robin tourney, once they made it to the semifinals against the No. 4 seed Gladiators, this 18U team had found their game and took advantage of some costly Gladiator penalties, ousting them with a 5-1 win which advanced Maine Moose to the state championship.

In the championship series, which was a best-of-three games event, Game One pitted the Moose against the Maine Junior Black Bears again. With four minutes remaining in the game and the score was tied at 2-2, the Maine Moose came back to win 5-2.

On Sunday, Nov. 7, the Maine Moose shut out the Bears 5-0 to become state champions.

This will be Hartwell’s first time playing for a squad headed to the National Tournament, and he said he is excited to see what the competition is like.

Ross said strong team play and great talent that works together is what led to the 18U team winning the state championship. 

“To win the state championship in my first year with the Moose means a lot to me,” said Hartwell. “To go in with a bunch of new faces and kids I haven't played with before helped me improve as a player.”

The Maine Moose will travel to California in April for the National Championship Tournament. <

Friday, December 3, 2021

Coach positively impacts RSU 14 athletics in many ways

By Matt Pascarella

Windham varsity girls' soccer assistant coach Chris Aube,
left, holds Windham's third state championship ball with Coach
Deb Lebel and assistant coach Jen Sullivan on Nov. 6 at
Massabesic High School. Aube has been involved with
Windham athletics for five years now. 
Windham coach Chris Aube has been involved with Windham athletics in some form or another for five years. He’s an assistant coach for the varsity girls’ soccer team but is also an announcer for Windham’s varsity volleyball team, varsity boys’ and girls’ lacrosse teams and Windham’s unified basketball team.

He will be entering his fifth season as coach for Massabesic’s varsity girls’ basketball team and his 25th year as a head coach.

Aube’s family got him interested in athletics. His grandfather was an All-American pitcher at Fordham University and was drafted by the New York Yankees. Aube’s father coached baseball. Aube played soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring.

Between seasons, Aube found a gym or outdoor court to play. He played three sports in high school and four years of college basketball. The friendships he formed through athletics are still strong today. Aube said he was fortunate to have had some great coaches and educators.

Since sports were a major part of his upbringing, being a coach scratched his competition itch. He served as a volunteer coach, worked camps and would scout for whomever would take him.

Initially he got into coaching for the competition, but now it’s about the relationships he’s built with the players.

“There is a bond between player and coach that cannot be replicated in the classroom,” said Aube.

His biggest coaching influences are his father and his Westbrook High School basketball coach, Art Dyer. Aube is still close with his teammates from Westbrook, and they frequently talk about lessons they’ve learned and how they can apply them to student athletes. Aube hopes he has the same impact on the players he is fortunate to coach.

Massabesic senior basketball player Emily Jacobs said Aube always has his player’s best interests at heart and creates a comfortable, fun environment that allows the team to prosper. He has taught his players to always strive to be better.

Before coming to Windham, Aube worked in athletics at Thomas College where he was an admissions counselor and coached the women’s basketball team and was named two-time coach of the year.

Aube also coached men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball for one season at Thomas College.

After he left Thomas College, he taught at Buckfield High School coaching varsity girls’ soccer. He’s coached varsity girls’ soccer at Gray-New Gloucester and Westbrook High School, too.

“Chris is definitely a great coach to have working with the team,” said Windham varsity girls soccer Coach Deb Lebel. “He has a great sense of humor that he brings daily and helps him connect with the team; he loves ... bringing creative drills to practice and pushing athletes to play at a higher level.”

Aube was in awe of the girls’ soccer team this season. He said what they did is a tremendous accomplishment, but to accomplish a win like that when everyone expects you to win adds a lot of pressure. Windham brought their ‘A’ game every night.

“Playing for coach Aube is very easy and relaxing,” said Windham varsity soccer junior Abbey Thornton. “He is so supportive and just wants everyone to do their best. It's fun to play for Aube because he is so passionate about soccer, and you want him to be proud of the way we represent him.”

Aube grew up in Westbrook and still lives there. He has been at Windham for 10 years and teaches social studies. He earned a Master of Science degree in Education from Thomas College. <

U-12 Windham girls' soccer team reaches state finals

Windham sixth-graders Madison Buzulchuck, left, hugs Ashley
Anderson with Morgan Clark and Anna Bowie in the background
after the final horn in Windham's 3-0 win over Kennebunk in
the youth soccer playoffs on Oct. 24 in Cumberland. 
By Matt Pascarella

The Windham Youth Soccer Association U12 girls’ team had a solid season and did very well in the playoffs. As they went into the postseason, they were 11th seeded with a 2-4 record. Windham showed other towns just how tough they were and rose through the ranks to make it all the way to the state finals.

During the playoffs, Windham kept their opponents scoreless on the Lady Eagles’ road to the finals. Windham first defeated seventh seeded Cumberland, in Cumberland, 2-0 on Saturday, Oct. 23.

Next, Windham beat third seeded Kennebunk 3-0 on Sunday, Oct. 24 also played in Cumberland. During this game, Windham had great defense and goalkeeping.

Windham goalie and sixth grader Jennifer Schwarz had between eight and 10 good saves during the Kennebunk game. This win was revenge for Windham from a 3-1 loss to Kennebunk earlier in the season.

Windham took on second seeded Gorham on Sunday, Oct. 31 in Gorham. Windham sixth grader Emily Wardwell got a hat trick and scored all goals and Windham advanced to the state finals after an outstanding 3-0 win.

“I feel like we all learned a lot as the season went on,” said Windham sixth grader Madison Buzulchuck. “We knew we could make it to the finals as we were playing our best soccer going into the tournament and having a lot of fun doing it."

The state final game was against Scarborough at Hunter Road Fields in Freeport on Sunday, Nov. 7. Windham never gave up. After Scarborough scored in the first half, Windham played strong in the second half but couldn’t find a way to score. Windham played with a lot of heart and confidence, but came up short, 1-0.

Windham Youth Soccer Under-12 coach Ryan Buzulchuck said that he enjoyed getting to know the girls as this was his first year as their coach. The team worked hard all season and peaked at the right time as they entered the playoffs. As he watched Windham through the years, he always knew the talent and potential they had.

Buzulchuck said Windham played to the best of their ability; whenever they were on the field, they played with all the confidence in the world. He was excited to have been give the opportunity to coach alongside Jason Bowie.

Schwarz could not be happier with how the team played and fought during the finals. She said they were one, not 17 individuals.

“It was a lot of fun playing with my friends and it felt like the competition was harder this year, so we had to work harder and together to win,” said Windham sixth grader Ashyn Good. “Getting to state finals I was so happy for the team and felt proud to have contributed to that.” <

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Windham football leaves fans and coaches proud after outstanding season

Windham senior quarterback Robert 'Will' Ledbetter heads
toward the end zone during the Class B State Championship
Game at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland on Nov. 20.
By Matt Pascarella

The Windham varsity football team has wrapped up an incredible season, finishing 9-1 and a tightknit unstoppable force since the beginning. Windham made it to the Class B State Championship Game against Marshwood at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland on Saturday, Nov. 20 and played their hearts out, falling 14-13.

In the second quarter, Windham senior Nick Garrison scored a touchdown and after a missed 2-point conversion, Marshwood led 14-6. Right before the end of the first half, Garrison intercepted a Marshwood pass and dashed 70 yards run into the end zone. After a successful point-after kick was good, Marshwood clung to a 14-13 halftime lead.

Neither Marshwood nor Windham would score in the second half and Marshwood’s one-point advantage held up as it won a fourth consecutive Class B title.

Windham was one of eight teams to reach the state championship game and team member predict continued success in the future.

“Coming into this week we felt confident,” said Windham senior and quarterback Robert ‘Will’ Ledbetter. “We practiced hard all week, thought our game plan was good enough to go, but just came in and fell up short at the end. I couldn’t ask for a better group of seniors and couldn’t ask for a better team; I love being around these guys and wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

For Windham senior Nick Garrison, these last three weeks have been a big confidence booster. During the championship game, Ledbetter fed him the ball perfectly where he needed it, but sadly the result didn’t turn out the way they wanted. Garrison said he couldn’t ask for better fan support, teammates, coaches and overall, and it was just a great experience for him.

“Easily this is the best class-act group we’ve had. This group is one of the most relentless groups we’ve ever had,” said Windham varsity football coach Matt Perkins.

He praised what the seniors have done for this program as their hard work goes beyond what you could imagine.

The seniors are leaders on and off the field and the coaches feel lucky to have been around these seniors and what they’ve done, Perkins said.

Marshwood won the championship game coin toss but chose to kick off. Windham junior Haddon Boyle received the kick on the 25-yard line.

On third down, Ledbetter passed to Garrison for an 18-yard gain. Marshwood would get the possession, but not for long. Windham junior Max Arbour tackled the Hawks and regained possession but a third and goal field goal attempt by Windham was blocked.

Arbour said people were calling Windham underdogs, and they took that as motivation.

The Hawks scored before the end of the first quarter and again in the second quarter.

Garrison had a 55-yard run in the second quarter. Later, it was first and 15 and Windham gained six yards. Ledbetter completed a pass to Garrison who scored a TD. An attempt for a 2-point conversion wasn’t successful and Marshwood was up 14-6.

Right before the end of the half, Garrison intercepted a Marshwood pass and ran it in ahead of the Hawks defense for a 70-yard return for a TD. At halftime, Marshwood only led by a point.

The second half was back and forth. Windham’s defense bulldozed the Hawks. Windham junior Logan Hirning recovered a fumble in the third quarter to give the Eagles the ball. A 3-yard pick up and it was second down. Ledbetter completed a pass to Arbour for a Windham first down.

A 15-yard penalty on Marshwood would move the ball forward for Windham. Ledbetter would run for a 16-yard gain before the end of the third quarter.

Windham was first and goal at the 18-yard line. Windham moved the ball closer and closer. On fourth down and goal, Marshwood got the ball on a turnover, but Windham’s defense held fast. Windham fans cheered their team on until the final buzzer.

“I thought they competed, and we got some gritty kids that play their tail off,” said Perkins. “I’m really proud of this group, they’re great young men and they’re just a pleasure to coach and be around. They care about each other first and it’s not about themselves, that’s what makes them so special.”

Perkins said he felt that the Eagles moved the ball very well, played well defensively and tackled well.

Garrison said the offense played well. He said it seemed like they had trouble trying to get the ball in from 5 yards out but driving down the field Windham had good momentum. He also thought the defense played well too.

Arbour said he’d like to thank the seniors, they really helped him through the year, and he looks up to all of them. He’s proud of the team. <

Windham’s Deb Lebel and Ben Schulz win ‘Soccer Coach of the Year’ honors

The Southern Maine Activities Association has
honored Deb Lebel, Windham High varsity
girls' soccer coach, left, and Ben Schulz, WHS
boys' varsity soccer coach as 'Coach of the
Year' for their respective  sports.
By Matt Pascarella

Windham High girls’ varsity soccer coach Deb Lebel and boys’ varsity soccer coach Ben Schulz and their teams each enjoyed amazing seasons. The girls won their third state title since 2013, becoming 2021 Class A champions. The boys made it all the way to the regional final and finished their season 15-2. As a result, the Southern Maine Activities Association honored Lebel and Schulz as SMAA 2021 Coach of the Year for their sports.

Coach of the Year is voted on by coaches within the SMAA league of 17 member schools. It holds significance because the votes are coming from a coach’s peers and really reflect not only a solid body of work, but personal and team character.

RSU 14 Athletic Director Rich Drummond said both teams represented Windham in a classy manner.

Others agree.

“Deb is vested in our players, first and foremost, as people and students, and the girls feel that each and every day,” said Windham girls’ soccer assistant coach Chris Aube. “She teaches these young ladies how to be successful in life and that translates to the soccer field.”

Lebel said she is humbled to be named SMAA Coach of the Year.

“Many coaches in the SMAA are extremely knowledgeable about the game ... so it’s nice to be respected by such a great group of people,” said Lebel.

Lebel got into coaching because she loved competing and benefited from being a part of sports. She was inspired by memorable high school coaches that pushed her but made it fun. After getting her Master’s in Sports Psychology, coaching was a way to take what she’d learned and incorporate it into creating successful teams.

A biology teacher at Windham High School, Lebel enjoys coaching because it’s nice for her to make a connection with the students outside the classroom.

She feels like some of her students perform better in the classroom for her when they find out she coaches. She’s suddenly earned respect because they share a similar passion. Lebel said it’s important to have female role models for female athletes.

“She’s competitive and likes to win and that’s something you want in every coach that you have is competitiveness,” said senior Sarah Talon. “She loves what she does ... and knows what it takes.”

This fall was a coach’s dream for Lebel. It’s rare to go 19-0 and win a state championship. She said the team’s chemistry was top notch and as a coach she had a strong supporting cast who help her each fall.

Talon said Lebel is awesome to have as a coach.

Windham High assistant varsity boys’ soccer coach and junior varsity boys’ soccer coach Mitch Hodge said it was motivating to work with Schulz, who has nothing but high hopes and desires for the program.

Sports has always played an important part of Schulz’s life, and he believes there are valuable life lessons that can be learned from athletics and being part of a team. He’s honored RSU 14 allows him to teach those lessons to the boys.

“It is always a proud moment for a coach to be recognized by his peers,” said Schulz. “There are so many deserving choices especially this year that to win it meant a lot.”

Windham senior Cole Washburn said Schulz pushed them to be great this season. He added if the team did not have a coach like Schulz or the other assistant coaches, they wouldn’t have been able to make it as far as they did.

It was exciting for Schulz to be a part of Windham’s successful soccer season. The community support along the way was amazing and he said he thought they put the boys’ soccer program on the map again.

When it came to the success of the season, Schulz said the efforts of the coaching staff were focused on putting the boys in a position to succeed, but ultimately it always comes down to the players. It was their hard work and commitment to the team and each other that propelled them forward.

For Schulz, the efforts made by his team on and off the field and the memories they have made for the rest of their lives validates his work.

He always believes in his players, and wants nothing but success for them,” That’s what makes him successful,” said Hodge. <

Friday, November 19, 2021

Windham varsity football contends for Class B state championship on Saturday

The Windham High School varsity football team will face 
Marshwood High School on Saturday in Portland for the
2021 Class B Maine football championship. 

By Matt Pascarella

It’s been 12 years since Windham last won the Class A state football championship, but that all could change Saturday afternoon when the unbeaten Eagles (9-0) meet Marshwood (8-3) at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland with the Class B title up for grabs.

In 2009, Windham captured the Gold Ball by defeating Bangor, 35-21, in the state championship matchup and last appeared in the Class A state title game in 2017, falling to Scarborough. Windham also appeared in the Class A state championship game in 2014 but ultimately fell to Thornton Academy in that game.

Now competing in Class B, Windham secured a berth in this year’s championship game by knocking off Lawrence, 42-35, in two overtimes in the regional finals at Lewiston High School on Saturday, Nov. 13.    

That was a close one and a real cliff-hanger that extended into two overtimes with Windham ahead for most of the first half, but Lawrence came back to tie the game at 21 before halftime.

After a scoreless third quarter, regulation ended with the game tied at 28. After the first overtime the game was tied at 35.

In the second overtime, Windham scored and led 42-35. The Eagles’ defense was able to hold back Lawrence for four downs to become Class B North champions.

With Lawrence to receive to open the regional title game, Windham sacked the Bulldogs within seconds. Later, the Eagles took over at Lawrence’s 27-yard line on a first and 10. Windham senior quarterback Robert ‘Will’ Ledbetter threw a 63-yard strike to senior Colby Mizner who ran the ball in for a touchdown. The kick was good, and the Eagles were up 7-0.

Lawrence tied the game up, but Windham forged ahead before the end of the first quarter when senior Nick Garrison scored.

Early in the second quarter, Lawrence tried to tie the game. Windham blocked the field goal kick and Eagles held a one-point lead.

Ledbetter completed a pass to Alex Yeaton for a touchdown and Windham led 21-13.

“We worked our butts off all season,” said Yeaton. “It’s just nice to hold that plaque at the end of the game, we really earned it.” He said that Windham will continue working hard; they want that gold ball.

Ledbetter said this was a gritty win and Windham Coach Matt Perkins told the team they had an opportunity to do something others do not have. Ledbetter said the team rose to the occasion and took that opportunity.

Windham defense stalled Lawrence late in the first half. Senior Tate Chork prevented a gain from the Bulldogs on Windham’s 25-yard line.

Lawrence managed to score again before the end of the half and got a 2-point conversion with the game tied at 21 at that point.

Lawrence took a seven-point lead early in the fourth quarter. But Garrison answered with a touchdown and the score was tied at 28.

“I thought we really rallied together as a team,” said Garrison. “Overall, it was a great team effort ... on both offense and defense, but we really had to come together at the end.”

Windham made one last attempt during regulation to score but were stopped by Lawrence.

In the first overtime each team had a chance to score from the 10-yard line in front of the end zone. The defending team had four chances to stop it. After one overtime, the game was tied at 35.

Windham scored in the second overtime and led 42-35. Windham junior Blake Peeples blocked a pass, and the Eagles were one defensive play away from a regional championship.

Garrison hit Lawrence’s quarterback as Lawrence was about to throw a pass and Chork knocked the ball down. That was the ballgame.

“We kept our composure; the composure we have of these guys is something special,” said Perkins. “We got some guys who are really strong leaders and guys that live in the moment.”

Perkins said the best thing about the team is they are great players and great kids. He is proud of how they represent Windham and their team.

Windham will play Marshwood in the State Championship at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland on Saturday, Nov. 20 at 2:30 p.m. <

Windham’s Talon to attend UMaine on full basketball scholarship

By Matt Pascarella

Windham senior Sarah Talon will attend the
University of Maine at Orono on a full
scholarship to play basketball next year. Talon
signed her Letter on Intent at Windham High
School on Monday, Nov. 15 in front of her 
family, friends, coaches and supporters.
Windham senior Sarah Talon has had the dream of playing Division I basketball since she first picked up a ball. Talon has made that happen through countless hours of work and practice and she verbally agreed to attend the University of Maine at Orono the summer before her sophomore year.

Talon made it official by signing a Letter of Intent in front of a big group of friends, family, coaches and supporters on Monday, Nov. 15 at Windham High School. She received a full scholarship to play Division I basketball and will major in sports medicine in college.

When Talon was little, she thought soccer was her strong suit, but realized in middle school she was better at basketball. She remembers watching Catherine McCauley player Allie Clement as well as her big sister Hannah. Clement and Hannah were role models of Talon’s; she wanted to do what they did. Talon wanted to play at Clement’s level and the collegiate level.

Talon has a love of the game which is what makes athletics important to her. She’s competitive and has the drive to rise to the occasion and succeed.

“That competitiveness is just incredibly unique with Sarah,” said Windham girls’ basketball coach Brody Artes. “[She’s] someone who is always looking to gain an advantage on the court and push her teammates, she just wants to win every single time down the floor. We don’t see a whole lot of athletes that have that drive that Sarah does each and every day.”

Talon has been dreaming about the day she would commit to play Division I basketball for a while and for it to finally be happening in front of everyone she loves is something she will never forget.

“I knew I couldn’t get to where I wanted to be by sitting at home; I had to go out and actually work for it. I had to wake up to those 5 a.m. mornings when I didn’t want to, and I had to come late at night even when I didn’t want to.”

Talon started a workout routine at New England Fitness and Athletics where she said they helped get her to become stronger, faster and more agile, along with everything she needed to do for basketball.

Thornton Academy junior Jessica Dow played on the Maine Attraction Amateur Athletic Union team with Talon. Dow described her as a leader. Dow said Talon has everyone’s back if they are behind in a game, Talon knows how to bring her team together and calm them down. She described Talon as an all-around good teammate.

Talon said she was definitely motivated to continue working harder by people who told her she couldn’t do it, no matter the reason. She used all those negative comments and transferred them directly to the basketball court.

“I proved them all wrong,” said Talon. “And it feels good.”

Talon said she’s grateful to her mom and dad and sister Hannah, for without them none of this would be possible. They have worked so hard over the years, the countless hours of driving, the money spent on hotels for tournaments and everything that has led to this moment.

She would also like to thank Shawn Legassy, Steve Haines, Diana Manduca and Dajuan Eubanks for their hard work and dedication to her and Blue Wave Basketball. Talon started Blue Wave around third grade and the mentioned individuals believed in her and knew she had a shot at something great.  <

U-13 and U-14 girls’ Windham Youth Soccer teams savor great playoff runs

Windham's Under-14 girls soccer team made it to the finals
against Merrymeeting on Sunday, Nov. 7 at Mount Ararat
High School, but fell in the title game, 2-0.
By Matt Pascarella

Windham Youth Soccer Association’s Under-13 and Under-14 girls’ teams enjoyed nice postseasons.

The U-13 team made it to the semifinals where they played Bangor on Sunday Oct. 31 at Freeport High School. Windham played tough but lost 3-2 in overtime.

The U-14 girls made it to the state championship on Nov. 7 at Mount Ararat High School against the Merrymeeting Soccer Club. Merrymeeting had strong defense, but Windham fought hard. Merrymeeting won 2-0.

To reach the semifinals, the U-13 Windham team played a very tough Portland Area Youth soccer team.  In that game, Windham seventh-grader Maya Dries put in what would prove to be the game winning goal and the defense, anchored by seventh-graders Eva Vancellette and Mackenzie Delewski were able to keep Portand scoreless to advance.

Windham had finished the regular season undefeated and only allowed two goals in during those games. The Lady Eagles entered the tournament ranked first overall. Windham fought fiercely against Bangor and tied it up at the end of regulation after Delewski scored at the start of the second half. Windham seventh-grader Leandra Woodman scored near the end of the second half to tie the game at two. But Bangor scored in overtime and prevailed.

“Scoring that goal was such an amazing feeling,” said Woodman. “Coming back from an injury was tough and I felt like I lost my position on the team, but my coach and teammates helped me get back in the game. It's a great team; we support each other.”

Windham’s U-13 had excellent goaltending by seventh graders Libby Hartwell and Chloe Poitras.

“This team came together this year ... and quickly connected and began playing as a team,” said Windham U-13 coach Brian Dries. “They rose to every challenge they faced, rebounding time after time to meet the next challenge.  In the playoffs, everyone had contributions to the success of the team.”

The U-14 Windham girls closed the regular season undefeated and earned the top seed in the Soccer Maine Championship Cup playoffs.

In the regional final against Scarborough, Windham was ahead 1-0 in the first half, but Scarborough tied the game before the half ended. Eighth-grader Marley Jarvais scored the game-winning goal to send Windham through to the state final for the third consecutive year.

“I don’t really think of it as if I scored that goal,” said Jarvais. “I think that the events and how we played lead us to score that goal and we worked all together.” 

Jarvais said it was great playing on the team. She didn’t think they would have gone as far if it wasn’t for their coaches and the team’s ability to get along as well as they did. 

Windham played Merrymeeting Soccer Club for the second time in their three years of reaching the state championship game. At halftime, Merrymeeting was up 1-0.

While Windham gave it their all and had many scoring opportunities in the second half, Merrymeeting’s defense was tough. Windham fought, but Merrymeeting pulled off a 2-0 win.

Windham finished second in the 2021 Champions Cup. 

 “We’re really proud of the way the team played this year,” said Windham U-14 coach Craig Broadbent. “None of their success would have been possible without their commitment to team goals. Windham has some of the best ball handlers, passers, defenders and goal scorers in the state.” <

Friday, November 12, 2021

Hail to the champions!

Windham High's varsity girls' soccer team celebrates after
defeating Brunswick to win the Class A North state soccer 
\championship on Saturday, Nov. 6. The team includes
Caitlyn Marsh, Liz Talbot, Liz Levesque, Mallory Muse, Kylie
  Ashlee Sawyer, Kyla Harvie, Amelia Mortero,
Stella Jarvais, Abbey Thornton, Hannah Lee, Tiana Salazar, Kayla Flanders,
Ashley Clark, Emily Talbot, Reilly Russell, Sarah Talon, and

By Matt Pascarella

Windham High School’s varsity girls’ soccer team’s entire season had been building to this moment and the team was ready and had what it took, defeating Brunswick, 3-1, in the Class A girls’ soccer state championship game played at Massabesic High School on Saturday, Nov. 6.

In earning the title, Windham finished the season undefeated at 19-0 and only allowed nine goals all season. It was Windham’s third state girls’ soccer championship since 2013.

Windham put three in the net in the first half to take a commanding lead. Although Brunswick (15-2) scored roughly halfway through the second half, they were no match for Windham’s indestructible defense.

“We didn’t really have any expectations,” said Windham senior goalie Eliza Trafford. “We knew that if we stayed supportive and worked together as a team, we could accomplish anything.”

Trafford, who had seven saves during the state championship game, said she was nervous, but that was good because it showed how important the game was to her.

Windham began the game as they pressured hard; they were first to the ball and controlled the field. They took shots on Brunswick’s goal, but Dragon defense kept the Lady Eagles in check and scoreless early on.

Brunswick couldn’t hold back Windham for long. 23 minutes and 38 second into the game, Windham junior Abbey Thornton with an assist from senior Sarah Talon put Windham ahead.

Thornton said it felt good to win a state championship.

“Everything we’ve done this whole season it’s finally paid off. We can relax, we’ve done it,” said Thornton.

Thornton knew it was going to be a hard game. As a team, if they put their game face on, they could not be stopped. She said the state championship was a goal this year.

Talon was next to score assisted by freshman Emily Talbot 28:53 into the half.

“The moment you pick up a soccer ball you dream about an accomplishment that big. I wanted it so bad, for everyone, for the seniors, for everyone. It was just really exciting ... [to score],” said Talon.

Windham did not let up and continued to pressure. With 46 seconds left, Thornton scored her second goal. Windham led 3-0 at the half.

“This [championship win] was nice coming off a Covid year,” said Windham varsity girls’ soccer coach Deb Lebel. This was her third state championship win at Windham High School and her sixth state championship win overall.

“These kids have worked pretty hard, I’m really proud of them,” Lebel said. “This group of seniors have been great leaders on the field and in the classroom. Great athletes, but academically they’re really strong.”

In the second half Windham was just as aggressive. They continued to play terrific defense.

Brunswick did find the back of the net once, but that was all the Lady Eagles allowed. As time was running out for Brunswick, Windham only strengthened their defense.

Brunswick had multiple corner kick scoring opportunities that Windham shut down. Less than three minutes remained in the half and Windham was able to maintain their lead until the final buzzer.

Talon said Windham was able to win through toughness, dedication to the game and positivity. She added they have really good team chemistry that they are really proud of and can put into success. She’d like to thank coaches and teammates for making it an unforgettable year; winning the state championship was a good sendoff for her as a senior.

“We kept just saying, ‘play your game; keep it on the ground, keep possession, go to the end line and feed it back in. Don’t kick and run,’” said Lebel.

Lebel saw a lot of unselfish play this year and added the team meshed very well and was inclusive. The upperclassmen took care of the freshmen. She felt positive team chemistry took Windham all the way. She added the team has a lot of speed up top, which is hard to defend, but that this is one of the most skilled teams she’s had in terms of footwork.

“It was incredible,” said Trafford. “We’ve all worked together as a team for many years and it’s just great as a last hoorah to experience something like this.” <

Windham football edges Skowhegan in semifinals to advance to regional championship game

Windham senior Tate Chork pushes Skowhegan junior Joseph
Cote to block his pass during the Class B North football
semifinal game at Windham High School on Nov. 5.

By Matt Pascarella

In what started as a completely scoreless game for the entire first half, it ended with Windham holding onto their reign this season as they beat Skowhegan 7-6 during the Class B North semifinal at Windham on Friday, Nov. 5.

At the start of the second half, Windham senior Robert “Will” Ledbetter charged up the field and into the end zone. The kick was good, and the Eagles led 7-0.

Skowhegan would score a touchdown in the fourth quarter, but a blocked kick by Windham left Skowhegan a point shy of gaining any traction.

“All of our guys stepped up,” said Ledbetter. “Defensively that was an amazing effort. I can’t thank [Windham] enough; those guys are the real deal.”

Ledbetter said this season has been a journey. Trying to stay disciplined and get better every week is what it’s all about. He is ready to begin getting better for when they will take on Lawrence. He said he is ready to play them tough.

Skowhegan won the toss, but deferred, so Windham received and began first and 10 from their 20-yard line. In the first quarter, Skowhegan got within first and goal. A fumble from the River Hawks and the Eagles recovered to put the ball on the 10-yard line. This blocked a scoring opportunity to keep the game tied at zero.

In the second quarter, Skowhegan got close to crossing into the endzone. A pass from the River Hawks was intercepted by Windham senior Tayshawn Lindsay and he made a break to the opposite end of the field after he denied Skowhegan the touchdown.

“I think it was our band but don’t break mentality [that enabled the win],” said Lindsay. “We got a lot of ... guys who just don’t give up – that’s the reason we won this game. Whoever we do play [in Regionals] they’re going to have a real fight on their hands.”

There was less than 7 minutes left in the game and Windham defense continued to do exceptional work. It was 3 and goal, River Hawks and after a false start Skowhegan fumbled and Windham recovered.

As the clock wound down, Windham was able to hold off the River Hawks. With 13 seconds left on the clock a false start lost Skowhegan six yards. Windham sacked and that’s the game.

“I think [Skowhegan] got inside our 10 a few times and we were able to stand tall and keep them out,” said Windham varsity football coach Matt Perkins. “Defensively we have a fight attitude where they find a way to get it done, just real proud of how tenacious and tough our guys are.”

Windham faces Lawrence at Lewiston High School in the Regional finals on Friday, Nov. 12. <