Cory Dubuque certainly has an appreciation for year ones.

As a noted nerd around the halls of Falmouth High School, the new head coach of the Falmouth High School girls’ soccer team has certainly spent many hours digesting heroic origin stories. After spending the past dozen years as a sub-varsity coach in the FHS soccer programs, next week he will begin his journey as the new head coach of the Falmouth Clippers’ girls’ team.

“I’m definitely excited, and I think the girls are, too,” he said. “It’s new for them, it’s new for me.”

Dubuque takes over for the retired Greg Gilbert, who was on the bench for more than three very successful decades. The coach said that several of his veterans noticed Gilbert’s absence on day one of practice, and sent him messages letting their former coach know that his presence was missed. While the new coach is looking forward to forging his own path at the front of the program, he said that he is very appreciative of the foundation that was laid.

“I knew what I was getting, for the most part, and I’m stepping into a good situation,” Dubuque said. “The girls all expressed a fondness for (Gilbert), but they’re also excited for something new.”

With a new home field and a roster that is half new players, the 2019 Clippers will be a nice blend of the old and new. Gilbert’s tutelage will carry on through the playing style of some of the players as the Clippers transition toward Dubuque’s preferred methods.

One thing is for certain, and that is that Dubuque did not inherit an empty cupboard. Falmouth posted a 10-6 record last year and brings back a rock-solid core from that group.

Leading the way up front will be forward Ariana Silvia, a third-year varsity forward. Silvia was one of the top scorers last year for Falmouth and her speed and ball skills make her a problem for defenses. She will be joined by Sarah Schlesinger, a junior, and McKenna Correia, a junior, up front. Freshman Elizabeth Janes will also play some forward, as well as see time in the midfield.

The midfield group for FHS is solid, led by senior Kayla Thomas. Pound for pound, Thomas is one of the toughest players in southeastern Massachusetts. She helps fuel the offense, and is a rough competitor defensively as well. She’s joined in the midfield by fellow senior Helen Sievert in the middle, and sophomore Mia Cavossa will also see time there.

On the outside, Jasmine Moran is primed to be a big producer. Moran can go around, or through, most defenders and pushes the tempo. Junior Abby Roman brings a steady and reliable presence while junior Tierney Roggiolani and freshmen Riley O’Brien and Sam Wrede will contribute as well.

Junior Hannah Faiky will be on the field for the Clippers in a dual role. Faiky could be in the midfield, but is also a solid defender. Senior Sara Vokey will play a similar role for FHS.

Making the transition easier for everyone involved this year is the fact that the Clippers return a rock-solid defensive group. With seniors Erin Boudrot, Caitlin O’Malley and Olivia Peterson all returning, the Clippers have experience and skill at the fullback spots that few teams can match. “Just having that leadership with OP, O’Malley and Boudrot is big for us,” Dubuque said.

Faiky and Vokey are both primed to see time on defense, and sophomore Sam McKenzie and junior Riley Duarte both will be factors as well.

In goal, senior Anya Thomas is set to be the starter. Thomas shared the job over the past two years as the Clippers were blessed with two exceptional backstops. With Keira Furey graduating, Thomas will have the bulk of the duty on her capable shoulders. An athletic goalie, Thomas plays the position aggressively and skillfully. Olivia Gregory will see time between the pipes as well.

In a year rife with newness, the Clippers also make their maiden voyage in the new Cape and Islands League. FHS is certain to be one of the favorites to take the title, with Sandwich and Nauset likely to be their top competition.

“We’re excited about the league. We have a shot to be real competitive in the league,” Dubuque said.

Falmouth opens the season on Tuesday, September 3. On the first day of the new school year, the Clippers will host Mashpee High School for a 3:45 PM start.

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