Michael's Top Five Stories:
5) NYA field hockey juggernaut left heartbroken
The defending Class C field hockey state champion North Yarmouth Academy Panthers opened 2009 with a 14-0 drubbing of Poland and went on to score 93 goals (surrendering just 4) during a 14-0 regular season. After scoring 16 more goals in a regional playoff run, the Panthers hoped to repeat when they met Dexter in the state game, but despite ample chances, especially in the second half, NYA's dreams were dashed by a late Dexter goal. The Panthers wound up 17-1 and made memories throughout, but the one that got away won't soon be forgotten.
4) Cross country state drama
The Greely boys repeated as Class B cross country champions on Nov. 7, but they almost had company. Both Freeport teams had won regional titles, but couldn't seal the deal at states as the boys were a close second to Boothbay. NYA's girls almost swooped in to take Class C, but lost by a point to Waynflete, with Freeport placing third. Both Falmouth teams, along with the Greely girls, NYA and Yarmouth boys, also impressed at the biggest meets.
3) Soccer surprises
Forecaster Country is the home of the best soccer in the state and that was the case again in 2009, but there were some playoff surprises this time around. The powerhouse Falmouth boys returned to the Class B pinnacle after ceding it a year ago to rival Yarmouth (the Yachtsmen beat the Clippers in the regional final this time around). Greely, in a rebuilding year, upset Gorham, then was ousted by upstart Windham. NYA won twice on the road, then was eliminated by St. Dom's. On the girls' side, highly touted Falmouth, the defending Class B champs, was beaten by York in the regional final. Greely, a top Western A contender, fell at Thornton Academy in the semifinals. NYA lost to rival Waynflete in the quarterfinals. Yarmouth made it to the semis, but playing shorthanded due to illness, was eliminated by York.
2) Volleyball takes centerstage
For most of this decade, discussion of high school volleyball started and ended with the Greely Rangers and everyone else was a footnote. Not so in 2009. The Falmouth Yachtsmen, in just their third varsity season, won their first 13 matches this fall, highlighted by an inspirational 3-1 win over the Rangers on Oct. 5. Greely got a measure of revenge 11 days later in the regular season finale, then, the teams met again in the inaugural Class A state match Oct. 31 in Gorham. Greely eked out two straight close wins, then put the match away in the third, but the final result was misleading. The Rangers may still be the queens of the court, but Falmouth (and Yarmouth and others) are gaining.
1) Yarmouth football steals the show
When Yarmouth's football team couldn't hold a late lead and lost at home to Oak Hill on Sept. 11, the Clippers had dropped 19 of their first 20 games as a varsity program. Yarmouth wouldn't lose again for over two months, turning heads everywhere with a prolific offense and opportunistic defense which led to a playoff berth. The Clippers then edged Livermore Falls and Old Orchard Beach in jawdropping fashion to shockingly reach the Western C Final. The fun finally ended there Saturday with a 41-7 loss, but Yarmouth is now on the map. This year's squad will long be hailed.