Fantastic fall sports season won't be forgotten-Northern edition

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Greely’s volleyball team got back to the pinnacle this fall and did so in perfect fashion.

Luke Groothoff and his Yarmouth teammates soared over the Class B competition for the third year in a row.

Falmouth’s Jeremiah Sands had no peer in Class A this fall. The Yachtsmen were unbeatable as a team as well, taking the state title.

Savannah Shaw and her NYA field hockey teammates made another run to the playoffs.

Another triumphant fall sports season has come and gone.

The weather was pleasant and local teams provided plenty of thrills.

Not surprisingly, soccer produced great drama, as Yarmouth’s boys and girls won a state title in the same year for the first time and all nine local varsity squads made it to the playoffs.

On the gridiron, Greely made another spirited late season run, Freeport beat Yarmouth for the first time in program history and all four teams qualified for the postseason.

Falmouth’s field hockey team earned the top seed in Class A South, Yarmouth got to the Class B South Final and Freeport, Greely and North Yarmouth Academy also made the playoffs.

Greely’s volleyball team made it back to the pinnacle in perfect fashion. Falmouth, NYA and Yarmouth had tremendous seasons as well.

Greely swept the Class B cross country titles and Falmouth’s boys won Class A for the first time. Several individuals also dazzled.

The Falmouth, Greely and Yarmouth golf teams all qualified for the state match. The Yachtsmen placed third and the Rangers fifth in Class A, while the Clippers finished fourth in Class B.

There indeed was plenty of excitement since early September. Before we turn our attention to winter sports, here’s one last look at a fun and fabulous fall.

Fall champions

State
Falmouth Yachtsmen boys’ cross country, Class A
Greely Rangers boys’ cross country, Class B
Greely Rangers girls’ cross country, Class B
Greely Rangers volleyball, Class A
Yarmouth Clippers boys’ soccer, Class B
Yarmouth Clippers girls’ soccer, Class B

Regional
Falmouth Yachtsmen girls’ cross country, Class A South
Maine Coast Waldorf boys’ cross country, Class C South 

Individual
Jeremiah Sands, Falmouth boys’ cross country, Class A
Malaika Pasch, Falmouth girls’ cross country, Class A
Erin Holmes, Greely, girls’ golf
Luke Laverdiere, Yarmouth boys’ cross country, Class B
Abigail Hamilton, Yarmouth girls’ cross country, Class B 

Michael’s top five stories 

5) NYA volleyball sets program mark

North Yarmouth Academy’s volleyball program doesn’t get the attention of a Falmouth, Greely or Yarmouth, but the Panthers had a terrific 2016 campaign, setting a new record for wins in a season, 11, then capturing a playoff match for the first time, downing Wells in a Class B quarterfinal. NYA was ousted at Washington Academy in the semifinals, but set the stage for even bigger triumph down the road.

4) Gridiron memories made

Prior to 2016, Freeport’s football team had never beaten Yarmouth. The Falcons were able to check that off their list when they prevailed, 30-16, at the Clippers in a downpour Oct. 21. That culminated a rise from 0-8 to a playoff berth and there, Freeport gave Spruce Mountain all it could handle before falling in the Class C South quarterfinals. Defending regional champion Yarmouth made the playoffs for the eighth year in a row before losing to eventual champion Wells. In Class B South, Falmouth beat Greely in the regular season finale to earn the “Battle of Route 9” trophy, but in a rematch the following week in the quarterfinals, the Rangers turned the tables in a first-ever postseason encounter between the schools. Greely made it to the semifinals for the second year in a row, but couldn’t solve Biddeford.

3) Cross country titles galore

Local runners and teams dominated the state cross country meet in Belfast the first Saturday of November. In Class A, the Falmouth boys, behind individual champion Jeremiah Sands, won a state title at that level for the first time. The girls, who took the regional title but came in second at states, also produced the individual champion, Malaika Pasch. In Class B, Greely won both genders for the first time since 2001. Yarmouth couldn’t win a team title, but Luke Laverdiere and Abigail Hamilton were the individual champions. Maine Coast Waldorf School and North Yarmouth Academy turned heads in Class C. The following week at New Englands, local standouts once again impressed as they brought the curtain down on a solid season.

2) Greely volleyball wins in dominant fashion

After losing to Scarborough in the 2015 Class A state match, Greely’s volleyball team took its frustration out on all comers this fall. The Rangers played 42 sets in the regular season and won every single one, becoming the first team to ever accomplish such a feat. Greely did drop a set to Gorham in the quarterfinals, to Falmouth in the semifinals and to Scarborough in a state rematch, but the Rangers, behind singular talent Kayley Cimino, wouldn’t be denied and roared to their 10th title, one that was four years in coming.

1) Yarmouth sweeps soccer titles 

The town of Yarmouth has long been a soccer hotbed, but in the three decades that the Clippers have fielded both a boys’ and a girls’ team, they had never hoisted Gold Balls in the same season. Until now. Yarmouth’s boys have been no strangers to championships in recent years, but despite always being competitive, the girls hadn’t gotten over the hump since 2003. Under new coach Josh Thornton and a superb senior core which was bolstered by no shortage of promising youth, the Clippers rolled through the regular season with just one loss and one tie, then fought off challenges from Cape Elizabeth and Greely in the regional tournament before rallying to knock off Waterville in the state final. The boys, who had to rally to survive Greely in the semifinals before holding off Maranacook in the regional final, then had their turn and weren’t seriously challenged, tallying five goals against Winslow to make the daily double complete. It’s now official, Yarmouth is soccer Titletown.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.