Yarmouth Clippers Fall Athletes of the Year

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FALL 2011 MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR:

CHRIS KNAUB, Senior-Soccer

• All-State

• Western B regional all-star

• WMC All-Star, first-team

• Captain

The 2011 campaign was one of transition and uncertainty for the defending Class B state champion Yarmouth boys’ soccer team.

Luckily for the Clippers, they returned their rock, Chris Knaub, in goal.

For 15 games, Knaub stood tall as Yarmouth overcame early struggles to go on a run. As the big wins piled up, one constant was Knaub making the saves, directing traffic and even turning heads with his booming free kicks. While the Clippers ultimately fell short in their title defense, Knaub delivered an ideal coda to his high school career.

For being so devoted to the sport and all those who love soccer and for coming through time and again this season, Chris Knaub gets The Forecaster’s nod as Yarmouth’s Fall 2011 Male Athlete of the Year.

Knaub is the second member of his family to be honored (his sister, Haley, was the YHS Spring Athlete of the Year in 2009).

Chris Knaub grew up in Yarmouth and like many of the town’s children, started soccer at a young age. He gravitated to the goalkeeper position and played it through middle school and high school.

“I like the pressure and having to know the game,” said Knaub. “There’s also the leadership piece.”

Knaub was called up to varsity late his freshman year and played some midfield as a sophomore. Then, he took over in the cage.

After serving as the backbone on the 2010 championship squad, which might have been the finest in program history, Knaub was tested often in 2011, but came through time and again, helping the Clippers register wins at Cape Elizabeth and Greely and at home over the likes of Falmouth, Fryeburg, Greely and NYA.

“We grew as a team over the season,” said Knaub. “Our growth determined our success.”

On seven occasions, Knaub delivered a shutout and in five other games, he only surrendered a single goal. Unfortunately for the Clippers, one of those instances was in the quarterfinals when they were upset by Fryeburg, 1-0.

In his two seasons as the primary goalkeeper, Knaub registered 19 shutouts and only allowed 16 goals in 31 games. With him on the roster, Yarmouth went an impressive 39-6-5.

If that wasn’t enough, Knaub is also the vice president of the senior class and is a longtime supporter of the town’s youth program. Knaub will play forward on the basketball team this winter as it looks to get back to the regional final and beyond and (following in his sister’s footsteps) will throw the javelin in the spring. He’s verbally committed to Bryant University, where he’ll play soccer and study biology.

Expect him to make more memories at that level. Chris Knaub, Yarmouth’s Fall 2011 Male Athlete of the Year, was a leader and champion in every sense of the word.

Coach Mike Hagerty’s comment: “There’s a great quote that states the biggest sin in soccer is making the goalkeeper do any work. Well, we sinned a lot the past two years with Chris as a keeper and playing the role of a good priest, he forgave us with save after save. What’s more impressive than all that, at least in my eyes, is that he’s the first high school player to be honored by the Colts (youth) organization with an award for the contributions he made to the youth of our town. There’s a saying that kids are the best judges of character and he’s been found guilty by hundreds of little judges in Yarmouth. Guilty of having character that far outweighs his impressive talent.”

Previous winners:

• 2010 winner: Luke Pierce (Soccer)

• 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 2011 FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR:

SUZANNE DRISCOLL, Senior-Volleyball

• Senior Showcase invitee

• Southern Maine Conference all-star

• All-Academic All-Star

• Captain

Every championship team needs a player like Suzanne Driscoll. Her talent speaks for itself, but what made her stand out and what helped the Yarmouth volleyball team reach the pinnacle this fall was her leadership.

The thing is, Driscoll is far from vocal, preferring to lead by example.

Whatever she did, it worked as she and her teammates made history, rising from also-ran status just a few years ago to winning a first ever state championship this autumn.

In light of the special role she played on and off the court, The Forecaster is naming Suzanne Driscoll as Yarmouth’s Fall 2011 Female Athlete of the Year.

Driscoll grew up in Yarmouth and after playing soccer in middle school, started volleyball in high school, back when the Clippers struggled for numbers and for wins. She was a setter her first three seasons, but after Morgan Cahill returned to the program to spearhead the offense, Driscoll made the move to middle hitter this fall to solidify the defense.

Yarmouth got off to a slow start, but soon put it all together, winning nine of 10 matches at one point, to finish 10-4. In their first year in Class B, the Clippers then downed Machias, Calais and Bucksport to win the first state championship in school history.

Driscoll excelled in the playoff run, consistently frustrating the opposition with her ability to get to balls and keep play alive, often leading to winning points.

Her finest moment might have come in a regular season win over Jonesport-Beals, when she admitted to an official that a call was made incorrectly, actually costing Yarmouth a point in the process.

Driscoll was among the team leaders in a multitude of statitics, including service points (132), digs (107), kills (83) and blocks (39).

Her philosophy was simple:

“I won’t let the ball hit the floor,” she said. “I try to set the energy level.”

Driscoll plays defense on the hockey team and is a utility player in softball. She belongs to the Ping Pong Club and works with younger kids. She’s working on her college options and hopes to play at the club level.

Her legacy is secure at the high school level. Suzanne Driscoll, Yarmouth’s Fall 2011 Female Athlete of the Year, was everything a star and captain should be as she helped her team became a champion.

Coach Jim Senecal’s comment: “Suzanne is probably the finest natural athlete I’ve ever had the opportunity to coach. We moved her from setter to middle hitter and back middle defender. She covered so much of the court and we felt having her in the middle would solidify things for us. She’s only about 5-foot-5, but she could jump higher and had better timing on her blocks than any kid we had other than Morgan. The move paid off for us in a big way. She collected several blocks and learned quickly how to attack offensively. Her instincts and solid athleticism helped her get to balls that very few others could get.”

Previous winners:

• 2010 winner: Natalie Salmon (Soccer)

• 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.