Friday, September 30, 2022

Exciting ends for both Windham varsity and JV girls’ soccer games

By Matt Pascarella

Windham’s girls’ varsity and junior varsity teams hit the road and played back-to-back games at Sanford where the varsity game earned a nailbiter win.

Windham senior Elizabeth Talbot steals the ball away from
two Sanford players before passing it to a teammate during 
a girls' varsity soccer game on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at Sanford.
Windham varsity was down 2-1 with less than two minutes left in the game. Senior Abbey Thornton scored on a direct kick right over the goalie’s head to tie the game 2-2.

In overtime, with seconds left, Windham senior Elizabeth Talbot scored, and Windham got the 3-2 win.

Windham’s junior varsity team scored often and would not be stopped by the Spartans. After two halves, Windham earned a 7-1 victory.


Five minutes in the first half Sanford scored.

There were roughly eight minutes left in the half when senior Liz Levesque kicked the ball just under the crossbar and into the corner of the net to tie the game 1-1 at halftime.

“This was a big win for us, we dug deep; we needed to be able to come back,” said Windham varsity girls’ soccer coach Deb Lebel. “We’re going to find ourselves in situations where we need to come from behind or really grit it out in the end.”

Assistant coach Jim Stewart said they came together; they were communicating more, were fighting for

each other. He said when they do that, he thinks they are unbeatable, but they needed to show themselves that was possible. Now, they have to bring that back when it counts.

About 10 minutes into the second half, Sanford took a 2-1 lead.

Thornton’s indirect kick with less than two minutes on the clock tied the game and sent it into overtime.

“Even though we didn’t have the best touches or foot skills, we still had the energy and mindset and the hard work for each other,” said Thornton.

During overtime, through a cluster of players, Talbot knocked the ball in off her shoulder before time ran out.

“I just knew we all had to work hard and push through those last five minutes [of overtime] and Abbey kicked a great free kick, and I followed up on it,” said Talbot.

Although there was some protesting as to whether the goal was scored in time, it was in time, and was ruled in Windham’s favor.

Sanford's defense was only able to hold Windham off for a short time.

In the first half, Windham freshman Myla Vercoe scored on a breakaway; then freshman Sydney Broadbent scored from a corner, junior Alyssa Conley scored from outside the penalty box and sophomore Sarah John finished after Sanford’s goalie attempted a save.

Windham kept up the intensity and took the ball several times from Sanford players. Windham led 4-0 midway through.

“In the first 15 minutes of the game it was a one-touch pass, a two-touch pass,” said Windham junior varsity girls’ coach Lisa Anderson. They possessed the ball in their end almost the entire half. Definitely, teamwork and passing won the game.”

In the second half, Windham freshman Peytin Lombardi scored, junior Abby Lloyd scored on a penalty kick and Vercoe scored again.

Anderson said shooting low and shooting to corners also made a difference in the game. She said she’s really proud of Windham’s improvements.

“I think it was a lot of teamwork [that enabled the win],” said Vercoe. “We’ve been focusing a lot on passing. It helped ... to be able to find people and get us up and back the field.”

Vercoe said talking went well and they were supportive of each other. They’ve improved a lot as a team, working better on the field. <

WMS girls’ soccer teams shut out Moore in season openers

By Matt Pascarella

Windham Middle School’s seventh and eighth-grade girls’ soccer teams controlled the field and did not allow Moore Middle School to score in either game as they won their home openers on Monday, Sept. 26.

Windham’s seventh graders defeated Moore, 5-0; while the eighth graders won, 6-0.

Windham seventh-grader Emily Wardwell keeps the ball away 
from her Moore opponent as she travels toward the goal during
Windham Middle School girls' soccer seventh-grade team's
first home game of the season on Monday, Sept. 26.
Eighth Grade

Windham’s Maya Dries said the team had great communication and passing against Moore and were able to get the win because they played together as a team.

“I think we did pretty good considering we’ve only had a couple practices and we have a lot of new kids who joined this year,” said Dries.

The Lady Eagles took the field ready to get it done. Barely minutes into the first half, Mackenzie Delewski scored.

Windham was first to the ball and had several shots on goal early in the game.

Delewski scored again; followed by Leandra Woodman whose kick slipped right past the goalie.

Later, Maya Dries booted the ball from the top of the penalty box right to the back of the net; she scored on an indirect kick shortly after.

Windham led 5-0 midway through.

The Lady Eagles wasted no time in the second half and took shot after shot at goal. They continued to be first to the ball.

Delewski scored again and Windham posted the win.

Windham eighth-grade girls’ soccer coach Richey Vickers said the more experienced players have taken the inexperienced players under their wing. He says the team is really good at passing the ball around and really good at shooting deep; shooting outside the 18-yard line sets them apart from other

schools and goalies don’t expect that.

Vickers said they all love the game and each other. That’s exactly the kind of coaching Vickers is trying to bring – all inclusive, getting after it and having fun.

Seventh Grade

Windham offense was strong all game; defense kept the ball away from Windham’s goal.

Windham’s Emily Wardwell scored first. Morgan Clark scored next. Windham had solid passing and communication.

Windham’s Lily Emond found the back of the net from a corner kick.

At halftime, Windham led 3-0.

In the second half, the Lady Eagles extended their lead. Wardwell scored from the top of the penalty box and Adyson Miller put one between the posts.

The Lady Eagles’ intensity remained as they succeeded in being first to the ball.

“I think we did really good for ... combinations, finding other people and always trying to find opportunities to shoot on net,” said Wardwell. I think the rest of the season is going to go really good; we’ll get stronger and stronger throughout the season.”

Windham seventh-grade girls’ soccer coach Aaron Talon said they controlled the ball well, got a lot of shots on goal. Talon said they have to work on their spacing. If they work on spacing it will only create opportunities for them.

Talon said they are great kids. This is their first involvement with school sports and there are a lot of girls who’ve come together at a lot of different levels for a common goal. <

Windham High School Scoreboard

Compiled by Matt Pascarella

Boys’ Soccer

Windham played Falmouth at home on Sept. 27. The Eagles improve to 5-4 after they beat the Navigators 3-1.

Windham senior Tyler Johnsen, sophomore Sam Rogers and junior Nick Marion all scored in the first half.

Girls’ Soccer

Windham is now 6-2 after an exciting win over Sanford at Sanford. See article for full coverage.

Field Hockey

Windham jumps to 4-4 after they beat Bonny Eagle 6-0 at home on Tuesday, Sept. 27.

One minute into the game, Windham senior Hannah Heanssler scored from sophomore Ava Gerrity. Heanssler scored again before the end of the first half.

Sophomore Zoe Dries scored one minute into the second half. Later in the quarter, sophomore Grace Joly scored from Heanssler. Then freshman Abby Trainor from Joly. Heanssler scored from Dries in the fourth quarter.


Windham played Gorham at home, at Riverside Golf Course in Portland, a par 36, on Tuesday, Sept. 27. Windham falls to 3-6 after a loss to Gorham 8.5 to 4.5.

Windham senior Brady Harvie hit a 36 and was 1 up on his opponent. Senior Logan Marden was all square and hit a 38; sophomore Fiona Harmon was 2 and 1 and shot a 39.


The Eagles sustained their first loss at Cony in Augusta falling to Cony, 34-10 on Sept. 23. Senior Max Arbour had a 50-yard scoring pass in the second quarter for Windham. The Eagles added a field goal to

end the first half. Windham is now 3-1.

Cross Country

Windham had a home meet on Monday, Sept. 26 with Deering, Kennebunk and Noble where both Windham boys’ and girls earned first place wins.

Windham will head to Belfast this weekend and compete against 80+ teams from New England and Canada in the annual Festival of Champions.


In their home game with Marshwood on Monday, Sept. 26, both teams were 2-4 going in, but Windham moved up to 3-4 after a 3-1 win over the Hawks.


Early in their season, Windham had a positive match against Cape Elizabeth that was hard battled and well communicated. In the end, Windham lost two games to zero.

Windham junior Aidan Poitras stood out during the match for his poise during tough moments and his ability to keep his teammates focused. <

Friday, September 23, 2022

Windham Cross Country runners post solid performances at Southern Maine Classic

By Matt Pascarella

When the Windham cross-country team arrived at Narragansett School in Gorham on Saturday, Sept. 17 the addition of a new skate park had given the course for the Southern Maine Classic Cross-Country competition a new direction.

Windham junior Graden Joly gives himself a final push
before he crosses the finish line during the Southern
Maine Classic Cross Country event at the Narragansett
School in Gorham on Saturday, Sept. 17.
The 5K race featured participants from all over southern Maine and gave Windham a chance to see how their hard work had really paid off.

The race was broken up into freshmen/sophomore boys and girls and junior/senior boys and girls.

Windham’s fastest runners were senior Elise Schultz who finished first for the junior/senior girls with a time of 22:57.99 minutes and 73rd overall. Sophomore Andrew Young set a personal record, finished first for the freshman/sophomore group and 45th overall with a time of 17:50.11.

“Everybody came out and they all improved their times that they’ve had so far,” said Windham cross-country coach Jeff Conant. “It is always rewarding to have vastly improved race results to continue to motivate our kids to bigger and better things as the season progresses.”

Conant said this is good validation that their work is paying off. It’s also about them reaching their individual goals. The team will go back, reevaluate and set higher goals for the next race.


The Windham boys came in 14th as a team with a total time of 1:32:30.82.

“It’s great to be here with the team,” said Young. “It’s great to be running today. [The competition] was really tough ... they’ve been really training hard.”

Young said he now knows how far he can push himself, how fast he can truly go and how to act before a race.

Junior Graden Joly finished first in the junior and senior boys’ group. He finished second for Windham and 47th overall with a time of 17:54.94.

Joly said he can run much faster than he thought. He said the team’s pacing and pushing themselves back and forth was great – it was a great team effort.

Senior Caleb Young finished third for Windham and 52nd overall with a time of 18:03.34. Senior Roman Thomas finished fourth for Windham with a time of 19:05.63 and junior Jinqi Li finished fifth for Windham with a time of 19:36.80.


The Windham girls came in 15th as a team with a total time of 2:00:30.29 hours.

In the freshman/sophomore group of Windham runners, sophomore Abigail Dumont finished first for that group with a time of 26.00.96. She finished fifth for Windham girls.

“My team was amazing,” said Dumont. “We really did well pacing together. This race taught me how to pace myself the first mile, so I feel strong the third mile.”

Junior Monica Lewis came in second for Windham and 77th overall with a time of 23:06.97. Junior
Beth Bearce came in third for Windham with a time of 23:18.83. Junior Cate Culpovich finished fourth for Windham with a time of 25:05.54.

Schultz said the group has been working really hard, pushing each other and getting uncomfortable together. Schultz said team building was good. <

Windham High coed varsity golf falls to Greely

By Matt Pascarella

As the Windham varsity golf team looks toward the end of the season, they traveled to Val Halla Golf & Recreation, a par 36 course in Cumberland and faced Greely for the second time this season on Tuesday, Sept. 20.
Windham High sophomore Addison Profenno is shown after
driving the ball deep during a coed varsity golf match against
Greely at Val Halla Golf & Recreation in Cumberland on

Windham was coming off back-to-back wins against Bonny Eagle (13-0) and Westbrook (7-6). Cold weather and a wet course may have been a factor in Windham’s 13-0 loss to the Rangers. Greely beat Windham in strokes 189-238.

Windham junior Brady Harvie shot a 38, senior Logan Marden shot a 47, sophomore Fiona Harmon shot a 49, sophomore Ben Shaw shot a 53, senior Nolan Dries shot a 52, sophomores Joe Donnelly and Phillip Traina both shot 52, and sophomore Addison Profenno shot a 55.

“Since I started in 2010, we have notoriously struggled at this course,” said Windham varsity golf coach Adam Manzo. “Not sure why; my hope was in the second half of the season we start to put together scores. For us if we win it’s great, but if we lose and we’re shooting good scores that’s ok because at the end of the year that’s what matters for us is the scores not the wins and losses.”

Manzo said the team’s attitudes and demeanors were good considering things weren’t going their way. He never felt like they had checked out; they competed the entire match. It says a lot about the maturity of this younger group.

“Probably one of the better days for me I was hitting all my clubs really well; overall just hitting the ball well,” said Harvie.

Harvie was only two over par for the day and Coach Manzo said his game was one of the positives of the match. Harvie birdied – one under par – on the third hole.

Harmon started off with a par, bogeyed, but bunker shots were rough and caused her to get high numbers. She said overall her tee shots were in-play and went well. She gave it her all, but it was a

rough day.

Both Harmon and Harvie agreed the team needs to work on their short game, chipping and putting specifically, in order to lower their scores.

Profenno said her drives went well and she kept a good attitude even though she wasn’t doing great. She said she needs to stay focused and relaxed and not put a lot of pressure on herself, because it is just a game.

Windham sophomore Ben Shaw said the day was kind of rough and in order to improve they need to focus every practice on getting better.

According to Coach Manzo, the last two weeks of the season are important to get into a groove where they can work to improve their shooting scores. <

Fisherman records first triple-win in Annual Sebago Lake Togue Derby

Travis Knight of Livermore Falls is the first fisherman to be a triple winner in the Annual Sebago Lake Togue Derby and he did it this Sept. 10 and Sept. 11.

Travis Knight was a triple winner during the Annual Sebago
Lake Togue Derby on Sept. 10 and Sept. 11. Knight caught
the largest fish Saturday for a $100 prize and was 
awarded the First Place Derby prize of $500 for catching
the largest fish in the tournament. Knight also was the
winner of the derby's Togue Pool Lottery for a $100 prize
making him a triple winner at the event.
Knight caught the largest fish on Saturday for a $100 prize. His fish, which weighed 15.67 pounds and was 34.5 inches long, remained the largest fish of the two-day derby, and he was awarded the First Place Derby prize of $500.

In addition, Travis entered all the Togue he caught into the Togue Pool Lottery and was one of the lucky winners to be drawn by lottery for $100.

So for doing a fun activity that he was probably going to do anyway, Travis walked away with $700 - not a bad return for a weekend’s work.

The weather for the derby could not have been better with a sunny and 75-degree day on Saturday and a cloudy but warm day on Sunday. Most importantly, the wind, for which Sebago Lake is famous, did not show up either day making boating most pleasant. Typically, the wind picks up in the afternoon and 3- to 4-foot rollers can make boating very unpleasant and potentially unsafe for the unprepared.

Sebago Lake Anglers’ Association President Bob Chapin said that the derby had just over 90 men and women participate in the two-day derby, and they turned in over 125 fish for the Togue Pool Lottery.

One of the objectives for Maine State Inland Fisheries and Wildlife was to remove as many togue from the lake as possible to lessen the competition for other species, such as salmon, who compete for survival and a diminishing set of forage fish.

The 125 figure is somewhat understated, said Chapin, because fishermen, who knew they did not have a

competitive fish for the Top 10 slots, simply elected to skip the weigh in and took their fish home to cook. Fish that fishermen turned in, but did not want to keep, were mostly given to an Orthodox Greek Church that was planning a big fish fry. The remainder went home with association members, also destined for the pot.

The association will use the proceeds from the derby to payout the cash prizes and fund resident Maine Youth Lifetime Licenses. A drawing will be held at the association’s October meeting to determine which kids will get the licenses which cost the association either $150 or $300 depending upon the age of the child. With such a license, children can fish in any Maine inland water for free for the rest of their lives regardless of their age or state of residency.

For those anglers who have been saying, “the lake is fished out…there are no big fish left” check again, because the top-five places in the derby were all fish over 10 pounds which is a nice-sized fish caught anywhere,” Chapin said.

According to Chapin, if this derby sounds like something you would like to try, mark your calendar for the weekend after Labor Day 2023. Registration forms will be available in area convenience stores and tackle shops in the month preceding the event.

The derby is always held the weekend after Labor Day to take advantage of the good weather, the decline in tourists, and boating is still a pleasure.

For more information about the Sebago Lake Anglers’ Association, call Chapin at 207-655-1028. < 

Friday, September 16, 2022

Windham varsity girls’ soccer coach Deb Lebel earns 200th win

Windham High varsity soccer seniors congratulate their
coach, Deb Lebel, for earning her 200th victory. From left
are, Kylie Garrison, Elizabeth Talbot, Abbey Thornton,
Coach Deb Lebel, Reilly Russell, Elizabeth Levesque,
and Ashley Clark. Lebel reached the milestone on Saturday,
Sept. 3 when Windham defeated Westbrook.
By Matt Pascarella

Windham varsity girls’ soccer coach Deb Lebel has been coaching at Windham since 2011 and on Sept. 3 in Windham’s opening game, Lebel earned her 200th career win with a 10-0 victory over Westbrook.

Her varsity coaching career began at Falmouth in 2005 and over the years she has accomplished a lot, including being honored with a plaque marking her milestone accomplishment on Thursday, Sept. 8 at Windham.

She is a six-time state championship winner which includes Windham wins in 2013, 2014 and 2021. She won three state championships while at Falmouth and was honored as the Southern Maine Activities Association Maine Coach of the Year and New England Coach of the Year in 2021.

For someone who is so successful, Lebel is very humble and said she wasn’t focused on the number of wins she had going into the Westbrook game, it’s family that comes first for her.

“These 200 wins I feel I’ve been blessed with a ton of talent,” said Lebel. “At Falmouth I felt like this gift had been dropped in my lap. I think that in the 2013 and 2014 years [at Windham], I wouldn't have been successful if they hadn't won states. They were just so talented. This is a tiny bit me, but so much of them.”

She also credits the dedicated parents who got their kids interested in soccer early and stuck with them, helping them develop a skill set and keeping them excited about the game. Those players eventually become varsity players. 
Lebel began coaching at the Fay School in Southborough, Massachusetts in 1999. She taught physical education and health and coached soccer, basketball and lacrosse.

In 2005, Lebel came to Windham where she began teaching biology. She accepted her first varsity coaching position as the girls’ soccer coach at Falmouth High School where she coached for four years.

In 2009, she left Falmouth and began coaching girls’ lacrosse at Windham until 2013. In 2011, she started coaching varsity girls’ soccer in Windham.

Lebel learned from other people who had been successful. Falmouth junior varsity girls’ soccer coach Cooper Higgins taught her the importance of making sure the kids have fun at all costs. Falmouth’s varsity boys’ soccer coach Dave Halligan was a huge role model and mentor to her when she first started at Falmouth. She says she also learned a ton from her assistant varsity coach Jim Stewart about getting players motivated and connecting with every single player.

“She definitely cares about us, she cares about the team,” said Windham varsity girls’ soccer senior Ashley Clark. “She cares about our success. She’s so positive - just wants the best for us.”

Windham girls’ varsity senior Liz Levesque said Lebel trusts the team will do their best. Lebel has given Levesque self-confidence.

Both Clark and Levesque said Lebel is very driven. For them, getting that season opener win felt good.

“Deb is a very good game manger. She has an agility to manage the players, read the flow of the game and effectiveness of the players,” said Windham varsity girls’ assistant soccer coach Jim Stewart. “Deb values the players and cares about them as persons as well as soccer players. Making sure they take care of themselves physically, mentally and academically. I think the effort she puts into this has had a big impact on her success.”

Stewart said Lebel understands the entire meaning of a student athlete and works very hard to make that experience one that can be beneficial long after they stop playing soccer.

Lebel credits an enormous support system of teachers, friends and family that helped her reach 200 wins. Windham’s Jennifer Dunn and Beth Bubier played big roles in helping her juggle everything.

According to Lebel, her children are her top priority. She said she wants them to have a positive athletic experience with their sports, but it’s also important to her that they see her as a strong female role model to both students and players.

Gorham varsity girls’ soccer coach Jeanne Zarrilli has become a friend and mentor to Lebel. Thornton Academy’s Natalie Sharland is another example of a coach balancing motherhood, teaching and coaching. Sharland and Lebel have talked about how challenging this can be.

“We need more female coaches,” said Lebel. “And that's one of the reasons I feel like I stick it out. I feel like that connection, gives [her team] something to see – oh, I can do this. I want them to know that's a possibility. You can still have the family – it doesn’t have to be one or the other.”

This year Lebel said she would like to repeat last year’s state championship win. She thinks the team can come together, and it could be a really special season ahead.

“As long as the passion is still there and there is still a spark and kids are fun and make you want to come, then I'll be here,” said Lebel. <

Varsity volleyball posts first win; JV continues to improve

Windham freshman Josephine Sibley tips the ball over the net
during a varsity volleyball game on Monday, Sept. 12 in
East Waterboro against Massabesic High School.
By Matt Pascarella 

Windham varsity volleyball and Massabesic entered their games together with recent losses, but on Monday, Sept. 12 at Massabesic Middle School in East Waterboro, the varsity Lady Eagles got their first win of the regular season when they beat the Mustangs, 3-1.

The Windham junior varsity team had three intense sets where they showed they have made progress but ended up falling, 2-1.


The teams played a best of three sets match. In Set One, Windham jumped to a 5-0 lead with solid rallies or volleys.

Massabesic slowly gained, but Windham continued to dominate and soon it was set point. Massabesic was able to hang on for a moment but served the ball out of bounds and the set was over; Windham had won 25-21.

In Set Two, Massabesic took the lead early, but it was Windham senior Bella Lorenzatti whose serving tied up the game. Windham pulled ahead. Then Massabesic tied the game at 8. The Mustangs pulled away. Windham came close but lost this set 25-20.

In Set Three, Lorenzatti quickly put Windham on the scoreboard. Windham had the lead. Windham freshman Josephine Sibley scored multiple points for the Lady Eagles. Windham led by 10. Windham captain and senior Odessa Files got set point and secured the win, 25-11.

Set Four started with great rallies and nice serves by Windham. Files scored multiple points. Captain and Windham junior Savannah Heanssler served two aces, when a serve directly results in points. Sibley also got several aces. Lorenzatti propelled the team to be up by 10 and Windham took this set 25-10.

“This game we just upped our confidence by 100,” said Lorenzatti. “I think last time we went into it thinking Scarborough’s a really big competitor and this time Massabesic has always been a big competitor and we realized that regardless of the name of the team, we know how we can play. We walked in with straight confidence with this one.”

Lorenzatti said there was a lot more communication which was key and more consistent playing with bump, set, hit.

Windham varsity volleyball coach Chuck Fleck said the team went into the game with a much better mindset this time and played their game. This was accomplished through lots of drilling and discipline. He said the team is coming together on serve receiving, transitioning and communication on the court.


JV volleyball is best two out of three sets. In Set One, Windham freshman Rowan Cummings scored four points. Massabesic caught up and tied the game at 9. Then Massabesic led. Windham servers were strong and helped Windham move ahead. Windham got set point and a 25-21 victory.

In Set Two Windham took the lead early, but Massabesic gained control. They ran away with the set from there to claim a 25-13 win.

In Set Three Jezabelle Pinto put Windham on the scoreboard. Cummings tipped the ball over the net and the game is tied at 9. Massabesic got ahead and took this set 15-9 to win the match.

“Junior varsity has come a long way,” said Windham JV coach Chuck Fleck. “They are getting better every day. Our serves are very much improved.”

Fleck said they are transitioning well, and they did have a couple of pass, set, hits which is good to run a stronger offense.

Cummings said one of the highlights of the game was winning the first of their sets; this was the first game they went out strong. Cummings has seen a lot of improvement and effort. They’ve cleaned up mistakes like hitting into the net, foot faults and not trying for the ball. While improvements can still be made, overall, she thought they did well. <

Friday, September 9, 2022

Windham varsity football shuts out Noble in season opener

Junior Ezra Foster of Windham escapes the grasp of a Noble
defender during the Eagles' varsity football season-opening
game at Windham High School on Thursday, Sept. 1.
By Matt Pascarella

The game had not started, but Windham varsity football team’s energy in their season opener, at home with Noble on Friday, Sept. 1 was more than substantial. The Eagles’ defense did not allow the Knights to cross into the end zone and Windham’s offense scored touchdown after touchdown, securing an impressive 40-0 win and a very strong start to the season.

Windham had cleaned up some areas that needed work from a preseason matchup with Bonny Eagle and they were ready to give this first game of the season nothing less than 100 percent; and did just that.

“We needed to change our energy,” said Windham senior Max Arbour. “We were kind of dry against Bonny Eagle and had to step it up. By the scoreboard you can tell we picked it up a bit and were able to fire on all cylinders.”

Arbour said everything from special teams, offense and defense went well. Everything was clicking. He said as long as they keep looking at films and keep their energy up, they can maintain this momentum.

Noble won the coin toss and elected to receive. Windham defense stopped Noble offense quickly.

Windham gained possession at the 30-yard line. It was second down and 2. In a flash, Windham senior Haddon Boyle quickly made it into the end zone. The extra point was good, and Windham led 7-0.

Later in the first quarter, Arbour intercepted a pass intended for Noble. Windham junior Ezra Foster made an impressive run toward the end zone but was stopped at the 1-yard line, first and goal, Windham. Windham senior Alex Yeaton then ran the ball in for a touchdown. The Eagles were denied in their attempt at a two-point conversion. 

“You never know what’s going to happen coming into the first game,” said Yeaton. “I couldn't ask for anything better; I think our team played great.”

According to Yeaton, Windham’s defense stood out, and the score speaks for itself. Shutting out Noble is not an easy thing to do for most high school teams.

Yeaton said that he wants to make his last season count – for himself and everyone on the team; he’s put a lot of time into this program and he’s going to keep giving his all.

Arbour later made it to the 30-yard line for a first and 10. He scored the touchdown, but the point after was no good and Windham led, 19-0. Moments later, Boyle scored again. This time the extra point kick was good, and Windham led 26-0 at the half.

In the third quarter, Yeaton scored his second touchdown and after a successful extra-point, the Eagles led 33-0.

At the start of the fourth quarter, Yeaton ran 55 yards into the end zone to give the Eagles a commanding 40-0 advantage.

“We definitely played with more energy tonight, more confidence,” said Windham varsity football coach Matt Perkins. “We’re a young team ... and we’re learning. When you do that, guys got to figure out who’s the leader, who to look to in bad times and how to carry themselves in good times.”

Perkins said Windham’s special teams looked good, they did a good job covering. Offensively, they had some good plays and the coach said the team did a good job with adjustments.

According to Perkins, this team is super coachable, and they don’t get down on themselves. Perkins said they are going to keep building and getting reps as the season progresses.

Windham (1-0) hosts Lawrence (0-1) at 7 p.m. Friday at Windham High School. <

Windham boys’ soccer defeats Westbrook in season opener

By Matt Pascarella 

Senior Owen Gaulrapp of Windham pauses for a moment
before passing the ball during a boys' varsity soccer game
against Westbrook. PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA  

The Windham High School varsity boys’ soccer team came to play in the regular season opener against Westbrook and while the Blue Blazes were a more aggressive team than they’ve been in the past, the Eagles got the early season ‘W’ and beat Westbrook 5-1 at Westbrook on Saturday, Sept. 3.

Roughly 20 minutes into the first half, Windham senior Owen Gaulrapp scored off a corner kick that sailed past the goalie. Barely seven minutes later, sophomore Luke Cunniffe sent a forceful ball at goal that found the back of the net.

Windham would find the back of the net three more times in the second half. Senior Tyler Johnsen scored on a penalty kick and a direct shot at goal. Cunniffe scored again from 15 yards away.

“We knew Westbrook was going to come in wanting to beat us, because we beat them twice last year, said Cunniffe. “It took us 20 minutes to score our first goal, but once we scored, we were different. Everyone’s confidence was up.”

Cunniffe said this Westbrook team was more intense. He knew Windham had to keep the intensity up. This win is a good start, and they will keep moving forward from here. 

Windham took the field early on with excellent communication and worked hard to be first to the ball. Defense was great with Windham sophomore goalie Lukas Hammond who made several solid saves.

Windham dominated the field in the first half. After Gualrapp scored, Windham really pressured. The Eagles came at the Westbrook goalie with multiple shots in the final minutes of the first half. Windham led 2-0 midway through.

“We worked great together,” said senior Tyler Johnsen. “Super excited for our upcoming games, the intensity was great, our finishing was great, our defense was amazing. I just think we're working great together for our first game.”

Johnsen said the win was important because the team will be able to build off this first win.

Windham’s shots on goal were immediate in the second half. About 5 minutes 30 seconds in, Johnsen scored on a penalty kick.

Windham continued to move the ball well. Cunniffe scored with a kick from the left side that got between the posts.

Westbrook was able to score, but Windham defense allowed only one goal. Johnsen scored again but Windham’s significant lead was too much for the Blue Blazes as the clock ran out.

“This was an opportunity to see us in a real live, competitive situation said Windham varsity boys’ soccer coach Jeff Neal. “We’ve been a little injured, a little dinged up throughout the preseason and today was a good opportunity and certainly the players were anxious to get out and get on it. Love the ball, possession, love the communication.”

Neal said having so many players “tickle the twine,” being able to press, dictate the flow of play, move as a unit and drop in as a unit were positives. There are some things that still need work, but for a first game, it’s a great start. <

New Windham varsity boys’ soccer coach cares about making a difference

New Windham High varsity boys' soccer coach Jeff Neal
watches his team during the Eagles' first regular season
game of the year at Westbrook on Saturday, Sept. 3.
By Matt Pascarella 

Windham varsity boys’ soccer Coach Ben Schulz has stepped down and a familiar face will take his place as the boys’ head coach this season. Jeff Neal has been a social studies teacher at Windham High School for 10 years and he’s also been coaching soccer at a variety of levels since before he graduated from the University of Maine Farmington.

He’s coached for Yarmouth High School, Bonny Eagle, and the University of Maine. Both he and his Windham varsity team have been working hard in preparation for the season which began earlier this month.

Neal played soccer in high school at Bonny Eagle and in college at the University of Maine Farmington. He began coaching before he left college, along with Farmington soccer coach, Bob Leib, who ran the Farmington Recreation Department and oversaw the younger, smaller athletes.

Neal has a Bachelor of Science in secondary education. His interest in education started unknowingly at a very young age. He says he had many influential teachers and coaches as a student at Bonny Eagle.

After discovering a business degree wasn’t for him, he realized he could teach and coach. His life suddenly had meaning and purpose for what he wanted to do. Some of the best teachers he ever had were social studies teachers. Social studies weren’t just names and dates but trying to explain human behavior – why individuals and groups of people do the things they do.
Neal had coaches and teachers that wouldn’t let him fail and it was pivotal to know there was someone in his corner that cared. He recognized the gift those coaches and teachers had given him. It became a life’s calling that he wanted to do the same for a young person.

Around 1997, he took a teaching job at Bonny Eagle where he coached and taught until 2007. In 2007, Neal began as Goalkeeper Coach and team assistant for the men’s and women’s programs at the University of Maine.

Neal has been at Windham High School as a social studies teacher since 2012. When the varsity coaching position became available, he had seen how COVID-19 restrictions had a significant effect on the team.

“It's not fair that this group of kids in this age bracket have had the experience they’ve had. [This] made me go ‘I can’t sit on the sidelines.’ This was an opportunity for me to ... give back to a community,” said Neal.

Windham varsity boys’ soccer senior Owen Gaulrapp said the transition to a new coach has gone nicely; they went into day one with open minds.

Senior Ben LaWind is coming off an injury and said Coach Neal is bringing the team together well. LaWind said trainings are productive with great mentality; Neal wants them to succeed.

“I think Coach Neal stepped into the role really well,” said Windham varsity boys’ soccer senior Baxter Engelman. “You can’t really tell he’s a new coach, he knows what he’s doing, and all the kids respect him and work with him. We’re doing very well with a lot of strong individuals.”

Although the season has just started, a long-term goal of Neal’s is to have the kids walk off the field at the end of the season knowing they did their best and gave 100 percent. He wants their experience on the field and with him as a coach to help them sharpen their tools and figure out how to be successful in their lives.

Senior Connor Langstaff said Neal is very encouraging with a lot of positive reinforcement which has brought the team together while Senior Owen Weatherby said Neal is mindful of his team but also focuses on how individual players are doing.

“Jeff has a wealth of knowledge around the game of soccer,” said Windham varsity boys’ soccer assistant coach Mitch Hodge. “Players need to feel valued, motivated, and pushed. Jeff is very patient and gives the players a chance to share their thoughts and opinions on things before he makes executive decisions. He keeps things fun and enjoyable, while also striving for greatness. We have a great group of young men and I have nothing but excitement and high hopes for this season.”

When Neal sees a player have a light bulb moment, on the field or in the classroom – when everything just makes sense – that’s one of the most rewarding aspects of being a coach (and teacher).

“See a young person set a goal and ... then help them create a pathway to do it,” said Neal. “And actually, see them have that success. That's the reward. That's what it's all about”.

No matter the result, he will deem it a successful season if they walk away better than they started.

Senior Tyler Johnsen said Neal brings great drills to practice, keeps the intensity high and has been an amazing coach.

In addition to soccer, Neal is a drummer and an avid outdoorsman. He likes to ski, snowboard, snowmobile or get out on the boat or the kayak with his family. He says that we live in a beautiful state and beautiful region and wants to experience as much of it as possible. <

Friday, September 2, 2022

Strong effort put forth by Windham varsity football during preseason game against Bonny Eagle

Senior Haddon Boyle of Windham runs for yardage during a
varsity football preseason scrimmage against Bonny Eagle
in Standish on Friday, Aug. 26.
By Matt Pascarella 

In preparation for the start of the regular season, the Windham varsity football team played an exhibition game against Bonny Eagle at Bonny Eagle on Friday, Aug. 26. While Windham got on the scoreboard early, the Scots held them off for four quarters and won 20-7.

The Eagles are improving each week of practice leading up to their first regular season game on Thursday night.

Windham’s defense limited Bonny Eagle to just three touchdowns and the Eagles fought until the very end.

“We just had to keep working as a team,” said senior Jordan Bridge. “We played well as a team; our coaching staff was looking out for us; we came together and executed well on the plays that were called.”

Bridge said that they need to keep the energy up during the game and pick up teammates if they’re down. He said it’s a grind; they need to fix their mistakes and keep working. 

Windham won the coin toss over Bonny Eagle and elected to receive. Windham junior Ezra Foster ran straight up the field and made it to Bonny Eagle’s 34-yard line for first and 10.

A short time later, a pass to Bridge, who was in the end zone, was completed for a touchdown and Windham took the lead; the kick was good, and Windham led, 7-0.

While Windham’s defense took down Bonny Eagle quickly, the Scots were able to move the ball closer and closer to the goal line and scored to tie the game at 7-7.

Bonny Eagle scored again in the second quarter to lead 14-7. Windham came close to another touchdown, but with seconds left in the first half, an errant Eagles’ pass was intercepted by Bonny Eagle. The Scots remained up by a touchdown at halftime.

“We played well, we just need to be livelier as a team,” said Windham senior Haddon Boyle. “Overall, it was good.”

Boyle said the preseason games are good warmup for when the regular season begins. It gives them a feel for the game again.

After both teams went scoreless in the third quarter, Bonny Eagle crossed into the end zone once more. A two-point conversion was blocked by Windham’s defense.

As the clock ran out, Windham wasn’t able to score again and fell, 20-7.

“We’re getting there,” said Windham varsity football coach Matt Perkins. “We saw some things that we really focused on from last week and fixed them; we got some other things we got to clean up. It was good going against Bonny Eagle, I’d rather this happen than going against somebody and win 50-0, that doesn’t help you. Great experience for Windham.”

Composure went well with moving on from good and bad plays. Perkins said these preseason games are good competition. You need to make mistakes and learn.”

Windham hosts Noble at 7 p.m. Thursday in its regular season opener. <

Early goals lead Windham varsity field hockey to preseason win over Marshwood

Windham High senior Hannah Heanssler is first to the ball
during a varsity field hockey preseason scrimmage game
against Marshwood on Monday, Aug. 29 at Windham.
By Matt Pascarella 

The Windham High School varsity field hockey team scored early in their preseason scrimmage against Marshwood, at home on Monday, Aug. 29 and from there, the Lady Eagles’ passing coupled with strong defense kept Marshwood at bay, handing Windham a 4-1 victory.

Windham sophomore Grace Joly scored first, followed by Windham sophomore Zoe Dries off a pass from senior Hannah Heanssler. Dries scored again in the third quarter and Heanssler scored in the fourth quarter.

Marshwood was able to score one goal, but that was all that the Windham defense would allow for the full 60 minutes.

“I think they played great,” said Windham varsity field hockey coach Tiff Theriault. “We’ve been working a lot on quick passes in practice and being low and they did that really, really well today. The passing game was better than I’ve seen in a long time.”

Theriault said the team’s communication was good, but it was nice to see the quick passes they’ve been working on during practices pay off. 

Windham pressured Marshwood right from the start. They had several shots at goal early on and while Windham’s offense and defense were strong, and they kept the ball more toward the Marshwood side of the field.

Windham players continued to be aggressive and played solid defense right up until the end of the first half with the Lady Eagles ahead, 2-0.

“I think field hockey is all about teamwork,” said Joly. “Everyone has to work together to get those passes to click.”

She said she thought this first scrimmage went very well and it shows that the team can work really hard together to get the win. According to Joly the team’s crosses, receiving and quick shots were all positives during the game.

Windham’s intensity did not dip in the second half. Dries scored early into the half, and Windham offense did not let up as they took more shots at goal during the third quarter.

Marshwood managed to score as the clock wound down in the fourth quarter, but it was too late for any serious comeback; and the Lady Eagles made sure of that.

Before the final buzzer, Heanssler ran at the goalie and took a shot that easily found the back corner of goal.

“Our team played really well together,” said Heanssler. “We’ve been bringing what we worked on in practice and showing it on the field. I think our communication and our passes were key to the win of the game; our attitude was really good too. It’s exciting for all of us; it’s a good start and we saw what we did well and what we have to work on so that’ll help set us up for the start of the season.” <