Local high school sports athletes raised the bar again in 2014.
Whether the season was winter, spring or fall, triumph was the theme and there were countless memorable moments.
With another winter season underway and a new year upon us, here’s one final look back at the thrills that made up 2014.
When 2013 gave way to 2014, Greely’s boys’ basketball squad appeared to be the team to beat in Western Class B. Yarmouth was also in the hunt, while Falmouth (which would be relegated to Class A for the playoffs) was looking strong as the defending Class B champion. North Yarmouth Academy was on its way to a playoff berth in Western D.
On the girls’ side, Greely set the standard with Falmouth and NYA vying for playoff spots.
On the ice, the defending Class A champion Falmouth boys’ team was once again sporting that title look. Two-time defending Class B champ Greely remained dangerous and Yarmouth was also in the mix.
On the girls’ side, Greely was seeking a third consecutive championship, but was being pushed by the likes of Falmouth and the Yarmouth/Freeport co-op squad.
Skiing, swimming and track teams and individuals made a mark as they geared up for the postseason.
February vacation week brought the first hardware of the new year.
Greely’s boys’ swim team won Class B for the fifth year in a row, thanks in large part to Jonathan Dunnett, who won the 100 butterfly and the 200 individual medley, and Jack Benoit, the 100 backstroke champion. Falmouth produced individual champions Jake Perron in the boys’ 50 and 500 freestyle and Charlotte Janelle in girls’ diving, while NYA’s Sonia Lin won the girls’ 100 breaststroke.
In track, while no local teams won a championship, several individuals again impressed. Class B titles were won by Freeport’s Harrison Stivers (boys’ 400), Greely’s Kirstin Sandreuter (girls’ two-mile) and NYA’s Michael McIntosh (boys’ 55 and 200).
Skiing provided a bevy of hardware. Combined girls’ titles were won by Falmouth (Class A) and Yarmouth (Class B). Greely’s girls won another Class A Alpine championship. Nordic glory was shared by three schools, as Falmouth won boys’ and girls’ crowns in Class A, Yarmouth swept Class B and Merriconeag won boys’ and girls’ championships in Class C.
Then there was the individual story. Alpine titles were won by Falmouth’s Joe Lesniak (Class A boys’ slalom and giant slalom), Freeport’s Jay Pier (Class B boys’ GS) and Greely’s Elyse Dinan (Class A girls’ slalom and GS). On the Nordic side, Merriconeag’s Samantha Pierce took the Class C girls’ classical, Yarmouth’s Braden Becker won the Class B boys’ classical and teammate Carter Hall captured the Class B boys’ freestyle. Last but not least, Falmouth’s Anna Morin was the Class A girls’ skimeister champion.
On the ice, Greely’s quest for a third straight girls’ championship was denied by eventual regional champion Lewiston in the East Region semifinals. Yarmouth/Freeport also made it to the semifinals, but lost to Leavitt/Edward Little. Falmouth reached the West Region Final, only to be dismissed by eventual state champion Scarborough.
Falmouth entered the boys’ Western Class A tournament as the top seed and had no trouble with South Portland in the quarterfinals. Yarmouth was eliminated by Kennebunk in the Western B quarterfinals, but Greely refused to go quietly, knocking off Cape Elizabeth in the quarterfinals and Camden Hills in the semifinals to reach yet another regional final.
Attention then turned to the basketball championships.
On the boys’ side, in Western D, NYA reached Augusta for the first time in many seasons, but was ousted by old nemesis Valley in the quarterfinals. Falmouth won its first ever Class A tournament game, holding off Cheverus in the quarterfinals, but the Yachtsmen dropped a gutwrencher to Bonny Eagle in the semifinals. In Western B, Yarmouth edged Cape Elizabeth in the quarterfinals, then had no answer for Greely in the semifinals. The Rangers were heavy favorites against Poland in the regional final and shot to a huge early lead, but they couldn’t hold it and were stunned by the Knights.
On the girls’ side, Falmouth and NYA lost in their respective preliminary rounds. Greely advanced to the Western B semifinals, but ultimately couldn’t solve eventual state champion Lake Region.
March saw hockey take center stage.
Greely finally met its match in the Western B Final, when it lost to Gorham.
That left Falmouth and the Yachtsmen didn’t disappoint, holding off Noble/Wells in a much-closer-than-anticipated semifinal before beating Scarborough in the regional final for the second year in a row. The state game versus St. Dom’s would be one for the ages, but Jake Grade came up huge with a tying goal in regulation, before adding an overtime goal as Falmouth was able to repeat.
April and May
The short spring regular season featured much excitement and triumph.
Falmouth and Greely both produced superb baseball teams, but Freeport and Yarmouth weren’t far behind.
Greely’s softball team led the charge initially, but Yarmouth soon proved to have a flair for the dramatic. Falmouth also made a push for the postseason.
Boys’ lacrosse featured strong play from traditional powerhouses Falmouth and Yarmouth, along with Freeport, Greely and NYA.
On the girls’ side, Yarmouth was pegged as the team to beat from the get-go and after slipping in its opener, lived up to billing. Falmouth, Freeport, Greely and NYA were also in the mix.
Area track stars geared up for the postseason.
The tennis story was once again led by the juggernaut Falmouth teams, with Greely’s girls poised to make history.
Spring championship season began with the outdoor track state meet and while no teams won titles, again, several individuals managed to do so. In Class A, Falmouth’s Adelaide Cooke took home the girls’ discus crown. In Class B, Freeport’s Harrison Stivers won the boys’ 400, while Greely’s girls produced champions Alyssa Casarez (discus) and Kirstin Sandreuter (mile and two-mile). In Class C, NYA’s Michael McIntosh won the boys’ 100 and Darren Shi of Yarmouth won the boys’ shot put.
A week later, both Falmouth tennis teams won more hardware, this time in Class A. For the girls, the title was the seventh in succession and stretched the Yachtsmen’s match win streak to a mindboggling 109. Falmouth’s boys made history by winning Class A for the first time. Speaking of history, Greely’s girls won a state title for the first time in program history, in Class B. Falmouth stole the individual headlines too, as Brendan McCarthy and Olivia Leavitt swept the singles crowns.
On the diamond, Falmouth won its quarterfinal over Westbrook, but was then upset by eventual regional champion Windham in the semifinals. Freeport lost in the Western B preliminary round to Wells. Yarmouth beat Gray-New Gloucester in that round, but was blanked by Greely in the quarterfinals. The Rangers went on to shut out Poland in the semis and Lincoln Academy in the regional final before winning the Class B title with a (you guessed it) 1-0 shutout win over Caribou.
Falmouth’s softball team lost in the Western A preliminary round. Yarmouth outlasted Greely in a 15-11 slugfest in the Western B quarterfinals, then took a five-run lead to the bottom of the seventh at top-ranked, undefeated Cape Elizabeth in the semis before falling in a gutwrenching ending.
Boys’ lacrosse saw all five local teams make the playoffs. NYA lost to top-ranked Maranacook in the Eastern B quarterfinals. Freeport would ultimately host Yarmouth in the regional final, but despite the historic occasion, the Falcons were no match for the Clippers, who got back to the state final. In Western B, Greely put up 20 goals in a quarterfinal round win over Waynflete, but the Rangers were ousted by defending champion Cape Elizabeth in the semis. Falmouth got to the regional final, but again couldn’t solve the Capers, who went on to beat Yarmouth, 6-3, to repeat as champion.
Girls’ lacrosse would produce a state champion and the best team in all of the state. After Falmouth and Greely both lost Western B quarterfinals, Freeport, NYA and Yarmouth all reached the Eastern B semis. There, the top-ranked Clippers were almost upset by the Panthers, but a second half rally kept their season alive. Yarmouth would be pushed for a time by Freeport in the regional final, but again wouldn’t be denied, setting up a state final showdown versus Cape Elizabeth. There, the Clippers got off to a hot start, rode a six-goal effort from senior standout Grace O’Donnell, built a 12-3 halftime lead and went on to win the title, 13-10.
July and August
High school action took a short break, while familiar names competed in road races and American Legion ball. By mid-August, fall practice was underway.
Autumn brought football, soccer, field hockey, cross country, golf and volleyball excitement.
On the gridiron, Falmouth began putting together its best season to date, while Freeport, Greely and Yarmouth were also vying for playoff berths.
On the pitch, all five boys’ teams were in the mix, with defending Class B champion Greely, top contender Yarmouth and always dangerous Falmouth turning heads.
On the girls’ side, Greely got off to a sizzling start. Falmouth and a young Yarmouth team staked their claim as well.
Yarmouth’s field hockey team toppled all comers and Falmouth and Freeport were also winning the majority of their games. Greely struggled to hit its stride, while NYA somehow managed to compete and win most of the time despite being short at least one field player every game.
Cross country and golf teams hinted at success to come and volleyball saw Yarmouth gear up for another Class B title run, while Falmouth and Greely appeared title-worthy in Class A.
Several local runners and teams saved their best for the final Saturday of the month, when they qualified for the state meet. Falmouth’s boys won the Western A team title, while Yarmouth made history by winning Western B.
The field hockey playoffs produced plenty of drama. In Western A, Falmouth got past South Portland in the preliminary round, then dropped a heartbreaker at Thornton Academy in the quarterfinals. In Western B, Greely, after a late surge to make the playoffs, fell in the preliminary round at Fryeburg Academy. Freeport saw its season conclude with a quarterfinal round loss at Leavitt. In Western C, Yarmouth and NYA won their respective quarterfinals, but dreams of an all-Yarmouth regional final were dashed in the semifinals, where the undermanned Panthers finally met their match in Oak Hill, while the Clippers lost on their home field to eventual regional champion Lisbon.
The volleyball season was better than ever and three teams went to the playoffs hoping to win it all. One would and another came close. In Class A, Greely handled Gorham in the quarterfinals, then let a 2-0 lead slip away in an agonizing semifinal round loss to visiting Cape Elizabeth. Falmouth, meanwhile, beat Biddeford and Mt. Desert Island to earn a state match showdown versus Cape Elizabeth. In Class B, top-ranked Yarmouth had no trouble with Woodland in the semifinals, earning a state match date of its own versus Machias.
The soccer playoffs began with Falmouth’s girls winning a Western A prelim over Cheverus. The Yachtsmen were then ousted by Scarborough. In Western B, top-ranked Greely and second-seeded Yarmouth both won their quarterfinals and advanced.
On the boys’ side, NYA was eliminated by Sacopee Valley in a Western C prelim. Falmouth was stunned in the Western A quarterfinals by an unheralded seventh-ranked Cheverus team which went on to shock the world by winning the state title. In Western B, Greely and Yarmouth both advanced through the quarterfinal round.
Falmouth, Greely and Yarmouth’s football teams all qualified for the playoffs. In Western C, the Clippers avenged the previous year’s postseason ouster with a quarterfinal round victory at Cape Elizabeth. In Western B, the Yachtsmen had no trouble with Morse in the quarterfinals, as they won a playoff game for the first time. The Rangers weren’t as fortunate, as they were knocked off by Westbrook in the quarters for the second year in a row.
The first day of the new month saw Forecaster Country prove its cross country and volleyball excellence.
On the trails, Freeport’s boys won Class B for the first time. The Merriconeag boys had no peer in Class C. In the Class B girls’ meet, Yarmouth was seeking a first-ever title, but Greely had the last laugh, riding the individual brilliance of Katherine Leggat-Barr to the title. Falmouth fell just short in the Class A boys’ race.
Yarmouth’s volleyball team won its second straight Class B crown and third in four years when it dominated Machias in straight sets in the state final. Falmouth took a 2-0 lead over Cape Elizabeth in the Class A Final and was on the verge of a repeat, but instead, the Yachtsmen became the Cardiac Capers’ latest victims and lost a shocker, 3-2.
The soccer drama continued into November, where Yarmouth’s girls lost to Cape Elizabeth in a thrilling semifinal. Greely, meanwhile, advanced to the regional final, but for the second straight season, lost to Cape Elizabeth in that round.
On the boys’ side, Yarmouth escaped Gray-New Gloucester’s upset bid with an overtime win in the semifinals, while Greely was holding off Cape Elizabeth. That set up a showdown and rematch of last year’s epic regional final. While the Rangers sprung an upset in 2013, this time, Clippers senior standout Adam LaBrie wouldn’t be denied, producing a hat trick in leading Yarmouth to victory. The Clippers would edge Ellsworth, 1-0, in the Class B Final, on Patrick Grant’s goal, but that win was overshadowed by an ugly incident where a physical altercation broke out and several Ellsworth players were given red cards and ejected.
Falmouth’s football team battled in the semifinals at favored York, but ultimately fell short, 34-19, as its best-ever campaign ended at 8-2.
Winter has returned and the fun begins again.
In boys’ basketball, Falmouth appears capable of making a deep run in the Class A tournament, while Yarmouth served notice it should be viewed as the Western B favorite after a recent decisive win at preseason favorite Cape Elizabeth. Greely and NYA can’t be overlooked.
On the girls’ side, Greely has what it takes to end an 11-year title drought. Falmouth could make postseason noise as well.
On the ice, Falmouth’s boys are heavy favorites to win a third straight Class A championship. Greely and Yarmouth will be in the Western B hunt. On the girls’ side, Falmouth, Greely and Yarmouth/Freeport are all very good and should play deep into February.
Swimming and track have provided positive glimpses and skiing is about to get underway.
Say goodbye to the wonderful year that was. We welcome 2015 and look forward to a new batch of highlights.
Happy New Year everyone!
Falmouth’s boys’ hockey team celebrated its second successive Class A championship back in March.
Yarmouth’s girls’ lacrosse team had no peer this spring, winning the Class B championship in June.
Greely’s Kayley Cimino was one of a myriad of top local volleyball players this fall, in a season which saw Yarmouth repeat as the Class B champion and Falmouth get back to the Class A Final.