Yarmouth Clippers Fall 2010 Athletes of the Year

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FALL 2010 MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR:

LUKE PIERCE, Senior-Soccer

* NSCAA Scholar All-American

* All-New England

* Class B Player of the Year

* All-State

* WMC All-Star, first team

* WMC All-Academic team

* Western B regional all-star

* Senior All-Star

There have been many great Yarmouth boys’ soccer players of recent vintage (see list, below, for starters), but it’s safe to say there hasn’t been anyone like Luke Pierce.

Pierce not only excels at every endeavor he undertakes, but he also has uncommon humility and the ability and willingness to put his teammates first. Mix in a special flair for the dramatic and it’s safe to say that he is one of the finest student-athletes in our midst.

For being such a soccer standout, great teammate and genuinely nice young man, Luke Pierce is The Forecaster’s choice for Yarmouth’s Fall 2010 Male Athlete of the Year.

Pierce is originally from Los Angeles, but grew up in Yarmouth and like so many boys and girls in town, quickly took to soccer (it probably didn’t hurt that his father played at Dartmouth). Pierce became a rare freshman to make the Clippers varsity and earned a spot in program lore as a sophomore when he headed home Johnny Murphy’s corner kick to stun Falmouth in the 2008 Western B Final. After a superb junior campaign (17 goals and the only junior to be named to the all-conference first team), Pierce capped his high school soccer career with a flourish this fall.

He finished with 18 goals, many of them pivotal and seemingly many of them coming off his head (which he does better than anyone). Highlights included a goal in a season-opening win over Freeport, two versus Wells, an assist in a wild win at Greely, a goal in a tie at Cape Elizabeth (which would prove to be the only blemish on Yarmouth’s ledger), the lone goal in a win at Fryeburg, a goal at York, two goals in a second win over Freeport, two against Cape Elizabeth, the deciding goal at Falmouth and two more goals in a second victory against York.

The Clippers were the top seed for the playoffs and Pierce made sure they went all the way for the second time in three seasons. In a quarterfinal round win over Oak Hill, he had a goal and an assist. With a semifinal battle against York scoreless in the second half, Pierce tucked home a shot under the crossbar to allow Yarmouth to advance. After the Clippers edged Falmouth in a overtime thriller in the regional final, Pierce and his teammates had fun in a 5-0 state final victory over Ellsworth. Pierce bowed out with two scores, one on a rebound and the last one, fittingly, with his head.

Postseason honors then arrived in abundance.

He is now playing basketball and will look to lead Yarmouth back to the regional final or better this spring on the diamond where Pierce (who’s already played catcher and shortstop) anticipates going to the outfield. He’s been recruited to play baseball and is looking at NESCAC schools. He won’t rule out walking on to play soccer.

Pierce wasn’t only in the forefront on the pitch this fall. He was named to the prestigious National Soccer Coaches’ Association of America’s High School Scholar All-American team and participated in the school’s version of “Oklahoma,” playing a cowboy. He is a member of Interact and Clipper Buddies, likes working with kids and plays the guitar.

He certainly struck all the right notes during his spectacular soccer career. Luke Pierce, Yarmouth’s Fall 2010 Male Athlete of the Year, couldn’t have produced a happier ending.

Coach Mike Hagerty’s Comment: “Luke has been nothing but a great role model and a great leader since I’ve known him, but especially during his four years as a varsity soccer player. I’m not sure what’s more impressive, his incredible work ethic and old school three-sport talent, or his genuine humility and kindness. He’s one of the top five players I’ve ever coached, yet always acted if he was fighting to keep a starting spot. Luke is the best player in the air that I have ever coached. He has terrific strength and speed, wonderful balance and agility, excellent quickness and the size to handle the game at the college level. Luke is the kind of player every coach must have to have the level of success we’ve achieved, but he’s also the kind of young many every community should have so fathers like me can point to him as someone my sons should emulate on and off the field.”

2009 winner: Eric Estabrook (Football)

2008 winner: Johnny Murphy (Soccer)

2007 winner: Johnny Murphy (Soccer)

2006 winner: Cody Lapointe (Soccer)

2005 winner: Tim Murphy (Soccer)

2004 winner: Justin Morrill (Soccer)

2003 winner: Pat Gildart (Soccer)

2002 winner: Greg Abbot (Soccer)

2001 winner: Eoin Lynch (Soccer)

FALL 2010 FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR:

NATALIE SALMON, Senior-Soccer

* WMC All-Star, first team

* Western B regional all-star

* WMC All-Academic team

* Senior All-Star

* Team captain

The Yarmouth girls’ soccer team enjoyed a feel-good, transcendent season in 2010, winning 12 games and earning the top seed for the regional playoffs. The Clippers boasted a bevy of special senior leaders with one providing plenty of inspiration, not only for her all-star caliber play, but for her ability to contend with diabetes.

Natalie Salmon anchored a superb defensive unit, proved she could find the opposing goal if need be and while showing her younger teammates what the “Clipper Way” is all about, she also never missed a beat despite having to monitor her blood sugar level.

Any of those accomplishments on their own would be worthy of praise, but put it all together and Natalie Salmon gets The Forecaster’s nod as Yarmouth’s Fall 2010 Female Athlete of the Year.

Salmon came to Yarmouth from New Hampshire in the sixth grade. She started playing soccer at a young age and around the time she became a fixture on the Clippers varsity, she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. It usually strikes children, adolescents and young adults and requires multiple insulin injections.

Instead of allowing the disease to get the best of her, Salmon, as she so often has on the pitch, rose to the occasion.

“It was overwhelming at first, but it made me who I am today,” Salmon said. “Responsible, self-reliant. Exercise is beneficial.”

Salmon went from being unaware of diabetes to walking for a cure and devoting time to the Ronald McDonald House.

On the field this fall, Salmon was part of a defense that allowed a mere nine goals in 16 outings. She even had to fight her way through injury. One of her biggest highlights had to be the night of Sept. 20, when she scored an unexpected overtime goal to beat Greely. Yarmouth beat each of its traditional rivals, Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, Greely and York during its memorable regular season and made it to the Western B semifinals where it was upset by eventual champion Falmouth, 1-0.

Salmon is going to try Alpine skiing for the first time this winter, plays lacrosse in the spring and competes on the Maine Coast United U-18 premier soccer team. She’s a member of Interact and plays the piano. She wants to play soccer in college and is looking at NESCAC schools. She’s considering history as a major.

Natalie Salmon, Yarmouth’s Fall 2010 Female Athlete of the Year, penned a story of triumph and overcoming the odds. Her future is extremely bright.

Coach Rich Smith’s Comment: “Natalie has devoted a lot of her life to soccer. She’s come back from injury and has accomplished so much playing with diabetes. It’s a really testament to Natalie that she can take on that adversity and make the most of any situation She has a great work ethic and is a great leader.”

2009 winner: Kate Darrell (Volleyball)

2008 winner: Mariah Martin (Field hockey)

2007 winner: Anna Makaretz (Cross country)

2006 winner: Nicole Simmonds (Soccer)

2005 winner: Shannon Gildart (Soccer)

2004 winner: Melissa Moylan (Soccer)

2003 winner: Stephanie Whittaker (Soccer)

2002 winner: Karen Thorp (Cross country)

2001 winner: Danielle McGee (Field hockey)

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