The fall 2010 sports season didn’t come to a close until Saturday, but let’s face it, we didn’t want it to end.

For the most part, the weather was good and the action on the field, pitch, trails, courts and courses was nothing short of superlative.

Football featured drama galore from start to finish, highlighted of course, by Yarmouth’s first state championship.

On the pitch, dominance was once again the theme as two local teams won state crowns and several others dazzled.

NYA’s field hockey team stole headlines, winning the Class C state title for the second time in three seasons.

Cross country produced more hardware.

Golf saw Falmouth reach the pinnacle again.

Volleyball brought a changing of the guard, but not before a local team made it back to the state match.

Before we bundle up for the long, cold winter ahead, here’s a look back at the highlights from the autumn that was.

Michael’s Top Five Fall Stories:

5) Greely volleyball dynasty over

All good things must end and after seven years without peer, the Greely volleyball team went home without hardware this fall. The Rangers had an up-and-down regular season, but didn’t go quietly in the playoffs. After defeating Yarmouth in the quarterfinals, Greely dropped the first two sets against eventual champion Biddeford in the semis before roaring back to force a decisive fifth contest. The Tigers prevailed, the but Rangers bowed out valiantly, playing like champions until the very end.

4) Another round of cross country excellence

Two local cross country teams won state titles, a third was a regional champ and every squad qualified for states in a triumphant season. North Yarmouth Academy captured its first boys’ Class C crown since 2002. Merriconeag-Waldorf’s girls won their first. Ever. Greely was the Western B champ, but couldn’t continue its run at states where Falmouth was runner-up. In the girls’ meet, Falmouth came in fourth and Yarmouth fifth. Freeport’s boys were second to NYA. The Panthers were third in the girls’ race. From Greely freshman sensation Kirstin Sandreuter through an abundance of familiar senior names, from preseason in August through New Englands in mid-November, it was a great year to be on the trails.

3) NYA field hockey back on top

North Yarmouth Academy’s field hockey team won the 2008 Class C championship in overtime and fell in the title game a year ago when a strong effort didn’t result in a goal. The 2010 Panthers excelled from start to finish, riding junior scoring machines Kylie Dalbec and Katherine Millett to a 13-1 regular season record. The Panthers would return to states and although they weren’t able to earn revenge against Dexter, got to celebrate nonetheless, even though it wasn’t easy. Facing Foxcroft Academy, the teams played scoreless through regulation and two overtimes. Finally, in penalty corners, NYA eked out a 2-1 win and got to exult. And breathe a sigh of relief. Don’t be surprised if the Panthers do it again next year.

2) Soccer dominance continues

Forecaster Country once again produced the finest soccer to be found in the state of Maine. Yarmouth’s boys won their fourth Class B title in seven seasons, finishing undefeated for the first time in 37 years with arguably the finest team in program history. The Clippers’ sternest test came in the regional final against rival Falmouth, the defending champ, but the Clippers won, 1-0, in overtime, in an instant classic. Falmouth’s girls overcame turmoil and a midseason losing streak to peak at the right time and take Class B for the sixth time since 2001. Yarmouth’s girls dazzled all season and were the top seed in the region before being upset by Falmouth in the semis. Greely’s girls returned to the Western A semifinals. NYA’s boys overcame the No. 8 seed and found themselves in the Class C Final, which they lost by a goal. If that wasn’t enough, several players went on to help the West beat the East in both the boys’ and girls’ Senior Bowl.

1) Football steals the show

For the first time since its introduction earlier this decade, football took centerstage. We produced a state champion, Yarmouth, for the first time. The Clippers ran roughshod through Western C and dominated Stearns in the state final. Greely had a stunning bounce-back season, but the Rangers’ playoff quest fell a point and a coin toss short after losing to Falmouth in the finale. The Yachtsmen (along with Cape Elizabeth) survived a three-way coin toss and made the playoffs. Even second-year Freeport showed immense growth, tripling the win total of its first season, setting the stage perhaps for a playoff run in 2011.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]

Sidebar Elements

Fall 2010 State Champions

Falmouth Yachtsmen girls’ soccer, Class B
Falmouth Yachtsmen golf, Class B
Merriconeag-Waldorf girls’ cross country, Class C
North Yarmouth Academy Panthers field hockey, Class C
North Yarmouth Academy Panthers boys’ cross country, Class C
Yarmouth Clippers boys’ soccer, Class B
Yarmouth Clippers football, Class C

Fall 2010 Regional Champions

Greely Rangers boys’ cross country, Western B
North Yarmouth Academy boys’ soccer, Western C

The powerful stick of junior Kylie Dalbec helped NYA’s field hockey team win its second Class C state championship in three seasons.

Falmouth’s Tim Follo was one of countless local standouts on the trails this fall.

Greely and Falmouth once again produced solid volleyball teams. The Rangers’ seven-year reign as state champions came to an end. The Yachtsmen returned to the state match, but lost to Biddeford.