Falmouth’s volleyball team, led by standout Annika Hester, soared to a Class A state title last month.

Xander Kostelnik and his North Yarmouth Academy boys’ soccer teammates left the rest of Class D in their wake this season.

Yarmouth and Freeport’s girls’ soccer teams squared off in three memorable games this fall, including a playoff encounter.

Freeport’s Martin Horne saved his best for the biggest meets this fall.

The 2018 fall sports season once again was one of triumph and making memories.

Local teams impressed across the board.

Falmouth, Greely and Yarmouth’s football teams all made the playoffs, while Freeport did even better, winning the Developmental League championship.

The soccer pitch saw high drama, as both North Yarmouth Academy’s boys and girls captured state titles and the Freeport boys also reached the state game. All 10 local squads made it to the playoffs.

The field hockey thunder was stolen by Freeport, which produced the program’s best season in nearly two decades, reaching the regional final before dropping a heartbreaker late to York. Greely, NYA and Yarmouth lost in their respective quarterfinals, while Falmouth was ousted by Biddeford in the semifinals.

Volleyball produced two state champions, as Falmouth was tops in Class A and Yarmouth was the best team in Class B. Greely and NYA also reached the postseason.

Cross country once again saw several runners and teams excel.

Golf produced an individual champion in Greely’s Rachel Smith, while Falmouth, Freeport, Greely and NYA all made it to the team state match.

Before we move indoors to winter sports, here’s one last look at the biggest achievers and top stories of the autumn:

Northern edition state champions

Falmouth Yachtsmen volleyball, Class A
Freeport Falcons football, Class E
North Yarmouth Academy Panthers boys’ soccer, Class D
North Yarmouth Academy Panthers girls’ soccer, Class D
Yarmouth Clippers volleyball, Class B

Northern edition regional champion

Freeport Falcons boys’ soccer, Class B South

Northern edition individual state champions

Sofia Matson, Falmouth, Class A girls’ cross country
Olivia Reynolds, Maine Coast Waldorf, Class C girls’ cross country
Rachel Smith, Greely, girls’ golf

Michael’s top five stories

5) Greely golfer wins title

Greely’s Rachel Smith proved to have no peer this fall in girls’ golf. Smith shot an 85 at the team state match, finishing second on her team. The following week, at the individual state match, Smith registered a score of 78 to win the girls’ crown by three strokes. Smith will next take her talents to Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts and won’t soon be forgotten for her contribution to the Rangers.

4) The usual cross country dominance

Another year, more cross country excellence in Forecaster Country. The Maine Coast Waldorf boys’ team won Class C. The MCW girls were second, but produced the individual champion in Olivia Reynolds. Falmouth’s Sofie Matson (Class A) also had no peer as an individual. 

3) NYA sweeps Class D soccer titles

A year ago, neither North Yarmouth Academy soccer team made the playoffs. On Nov. 3, both Panthers squads raised a Gold Ball. The girls’ team, bolstered by the arrival of several players from the recently closed Maine Girls’ Academy, went 10-3-1 in the regular season and as the No. 2 seed in Class D South, handled Rangeley and Greenville at home, then eked out a regional final win at Richmond to get to the state game, where NYA handled Central Aroostook, 4-1, to win its first title since 2007. The boys’ team excelled all season, finishing 12-2, and as the top seed in Class D South, advanced by downing Pine Tree Academy and Buckfield. In the regional final, the Panthers had to go to penalty kicks, but managed to outlast Temple Academy. NYA fell behind early in the state final against Penobscot Valley, then went on to a 3-1 victory to capture the Gold Ball for the first time since 2005.

2) A pair of volleyball champs

Forecaster Country was the epicenter of the high school volleyball world this fall as both the Class A and B champions came from our backyard. Falmouth, which lost to Cape Elizabeth in the 2017 Class B state final, moved up to Class A this season and under new coach Larry Nichols, got better and better as the year progressed and capped its run with a straight-set victory over undefeated Gorham in the state match. In Class B, Yarmouth, which lost to Cape Elizabeth in the regular season, got another crack at the Capers in the state match. The Clippers won the first two sets, lost the third and fourth, then did just enough in the fifth game to win a state championship for the fourth time. 

1) Freeport’s fall to remember

Freeport enjoyed a fall sports season unlike any before. The Falcons, helped in part by their new Joan Benoit Samuleson Track and Field complex, excelled in every single sport. Golf finished third at the Class B state match, the program’s best-ever finish. Cross country, led by Lily Horne and Martin Horne, had another strong campaign. Girls’ soccer posted a winning record and made it to the playoffs. Field hockey stole headlines as it reached the regional final for the first time in 18 years. Boys’ soccer did even better, reaching the state final before dropping a double-overtime heartbreaker to Presque Isle. Football then produced the cherry on the victory sundae by winning the Class E Developmental League crown. Like athletic director Craig Sickels said recently, “It’s a great time to be a Falcon.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.