SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

April 9, 2014

DANVERS FALCONS SPRING SPORTS PREVIEWS 2014


The Salem News

---- — BASEBALL

Last Year’s Record: 21-4 (NEC South champs, lost in Division 2 North final)

Head coach: Roger Day (27th season, 413-174)

Captains: Brandon Hyde, Sr., P; Ryan Heber, Sr., Utl.

Other key players: Raf Tylus, Sr., 1B/P; Andrew Olszak, So., SS; Alex Taylor, Jr., 1B; Ryan Kelleher, Sr., P/OF; Richie Martino, Jr. 2B; Cris Valles, Jr., OF; Devan Allen, Fr., IF; Matt Andreas, Fr., C; Jordan DiDonatto, Fr., Utl.

Strengths: Frontline pitching. Three-year starter Brandon Hyde led the North Shore in both wins (10) and innings pitched (73) last season, and he’ll be a rock at the top of the rotation again for the Falcons. Fellow senior Raf Tylus has the stuff to give Danvers one of the stronger 1-2 punches in the area if he’s healthy. Beyond that, Danvers will need to develop depth in the rotation and bullpen.

Concerns: Run production. The Falcons lost their top 3-4 hitters in nearly every category, so they’ll need to find a way to get men on base and bring them around to score. Several young players have speed and athleticism that could help the transition offensively, and that could be a boon for Danvers as the season progresses and they gain experience.

Coach’s Outlook: “The pitching should be solid, and we know we can rely on Hyde. We’ll need to ride them at times. We have some kids that have some aggressiveness and toughness. We should play good defense. We have to find some people that can have tough at-bats and find a way to get some runs home.”

SOFTBALL

Last year’s record: 19-2 (Lost in Division 2 North quarterfinals to Tewsksbury)

Head coach: Tara Petrocelli (11th season)

Team captains: Kendall Meehan, Sr., P; Devyn Downs, Sr., 1B; Caitlin McBride, Jr., C; Brittany Dougal, Jr., SS.

Other key returnees: Tori Costa, Jr., OF; Hannah Llewellyn, So., 3B; Maddie Mucci, So., OF.

Strengths: The Falcons are stacked, returning seven starters from last year’s Northeastern Conference Small championship team. Danvers has excellent pitching and catching, with Kendall Meehan and Caitlin McBride back as the team’s battery. They have a proven ability to score runs and play solid defense and, most importantly, have strong veteran leadership.

Concerns: There will be some big shoes to fill at second base and in center field after Chrissy Gikas and Julia Saggese graduated last season.

Coach’s outlook: “Pending no injuries, it should be a successful season for us. We need to stay focused on our goals, control the controllables and not take anything for granted. This team is extremely hard working, has great team chemistry and great leadership. With last season ending rather abruptly for us, they came back in fantastic shape and are determined to play each game to the best of their ability. I have no doubt if we continue to work hard every day and stay within ourselves, things will go well for us this year.”

BOYS LACROSSE

Last year’s record: 8-12

Head coach: Tim Murphy (5th season)

Captains: Jay Calcagno, Sr. M; Jake Allain, Sr. D; James Curley, Jr. G.

Key Returnees: Stephen Ganley, Jr. M; Dan Geary, Jr. LSM; Trevor Chasse, Jr. A; Zach Persson, Jr. M.

Strengths: Depth. Most of the Falcons’ junior and senior classes have been playing varsity lacrosse for three or four years and this is the first season Murphy hasn’t had a freshman on the varsity.

Concerns: Health. Danvers has a few players returning from serious injuries and a couple other players nursing some nagging injuries right now.

Coach’s Outlook: “Our goal is to win the NEC. The kids are hungry and they were committed all offseason. Now that they’re here, they’re working their butts off.”

GIRLS LACROSSE

Last year’s record: 4-12

Head coach: Nicolas Prandi (1st season)

Captains: Rachel Trocchi, Sr. M; Katherine Leonard, Sr. A; Caitlin Tivnan, Sr. A.

Key Returnees: Karen Hovey, Jr. D.

Strengths: The Falcons are a hard working, athletic team this year. Prandi expects Danvers to be strong on defense and offense.

Concerns: The slow start to the spring. The Falcons have had limited opportunity to get outside and Prandi is worried what that will mean for his team early in the season.

Coach’s Outlook: “I definitely believe we’re going to get to the tournament this year. I expect a pretty good record. The team’s looking good and we’ll get pretty far. There’s plenty to learn still, but we have a steady pace of improvement.”

BOYS TENNIS

Last year’s record: 10-8

Head coach: Ken Rawson (8th season)

Captains: Nick Lisichenok, Sr., First Singles

Other key returnees: Jimmy Cunningham, Jr., singles/doubles; Toma Nabokin, Sr., second singles.

Coach’s Outlook: “I think we’ll be very strong this year but as always, Swampscott and Marblehead will be our chief obstacles to having a really good season. Depending on how well we do against them and I think we can do well, we should have very good year. We have a huge senior class this year with 10 seniors.”

GIRLS TRACK

Last year’s record: 4-3

Head coach: Sean Dunleavy (14th season)

Team captains: Jessica Driscoll, Sr., Distance; Ellen Tye, Sr., Distance

Other key returnees: Angela Caldarone, Jr., Middle Distance/Jumps; Sophia Cawlina, Jr., Jumps/sprints; Cat Dominick, Jr., Distance; Erin St. Pierre, Soph., Hurdles/High Jump; Meaghan McCarriston, Jr., Middle Distance

Coach’s outlook: “We have an interesting combination of a lot of very good veterans, 21 freshmen, and a lot of senior athletes, who play other sports but are new to track. I’m expecting a good season.”