Liam Ireland. Contributed photo.

MALE:

LIAM IRELAND, Senior-Soccer

  • Class B South, all-regional

  • WMC Class B all-star, first-team

  • Senior all-star

  • Captain

Ireland was the heart and soul of arguably the state’s best team and he scored and assisted on some huge goals during the course of an undefeated season.

Ireland was called up to the varsity team as a freshman after Yarmouth got off to an unaccustomed 4-2 start. He saw key minutes that year and helped the Clippers beat Winslow in the state final. As a sophomore, Ireland was part of another champion. Yarmouth lost to Cape Elizabeth in the semifinals his junior year and that proved to be the only game that Ireland would lose in high school.

This fall, as a senior, he simply dazzled.

Ireland finished with nine goals and eight assists, but those numbers don’t even begin to tell the story. His ability to control the ball in the midfield, his vision in setting up teammates and his ability to finish when he got opportunities set him apart.

Highlights included two goals, including the winner, in a season-opening victory at York, two assists in a win over Greely, the only goal in a win at defending regional champion Freeport, two goals in a win over Fryeburg Academy, an assist in a win over York and an assist in a victory over eventual Class C champion Waynflete.

In the playoffs, Ireland continued to shine, assisting on a goal in a quarterfinal round victory over Gray-New Gloucester, converting a penalty kick in a semifinal round win over Freeport and converting one more penalty kick to help defeat Caribou in the state game.

“It’s been an amazing four years,” Ireland said. “I’ve made really good friends. It’s a really strong soccer community in Yarmouth. It’s a bittersweet feeling that it’s ending, but we were fortunate to build it the way we did.”

“The best players make the players around them better and (Liam’s) done that this year,” said Clippers coach Mike Hagerty.

Liam Ireland, Yarmouth’s Fall Male Athlete of the Year, was the quintessential Clippers star, unassuming, technical and a champion. He’ll long be mentioned among program greats.

Coach Mike Hagerty’s comment: “Liam was our leading goal scorer for the first half of the year, playing forward by default. He also played so unselfishly and ended up leading us in assists for the season and if we had hockey assists, the pass that led to the assist, he would have even more points. Maybe most importantly, he set the tone for our work rate. He won most of our preseason fitness competitions and all season he set the tone for our defense, pressing the ball higher up to make the game predictable for the midfielders and backs. A lot of his work led to turnovers and steals for others. He has also been a fabulous leader for us.”

Liam Ireland. Contributed photo

Prior winners:

2018 Eric LaBrie (soccer)

2017 Luke Groothoff (soccer)

2016 Luke Laverdiere (cross country)

2015 Jack Snyder (football)

2014 Adam LaBrie (soccer)

2013 Chandler Smith (soccer)

2012 Red DeSmith (golf)

2011 Chris Knaub (soccer)

2010 Luke Pierce (soccer)

2009 Eric Estabrook (football)

2008 Johnny Murphy (soccer)

2007 Johnny Murphy (soccer)

2006 Cody Lapointe (soccer)

2005 Tim Murphy (soccer)

2004 Justin Morrill (soccer)

2003 Pat Gildart (soccer)

2002 Greg Abbot (soccer)

2001 Eoin Lynch (soccer)

Maggie Murray. Contributed photo

FEMALE:

MAGGIE MURRAY, Junior-Volleyball

  • Class B all-state, first-team

Murray was a stat-stuffing machine, but also willing to play wherever her team needed her during another state championship run.

Murray stepped right on to the varsity team as a freshman and created headaches for opposing blockers and coaches, notching 75 kills and 30 blocks. As a sophomore, she played a key cog on a state championship team, again coming up with kills and blocks at optimal times. This fall, with Kaitlyn Bennett sidelined by injury much of the way, Murray moved from her accustomed spot on the right side and played outside hitter on the left side.”

“Maggie agreed to the change and began putting in extra time not only as a hitter, but also as a defender in the middle back position,” said Yarmouth coach Jim Senecal. “She became so skilled as a defender that she led our team in digs. The position change allowed us to have her and Evelyn Lukis opposite each other for the bulk of the regular season so that we always had a powerful option at left side and a strong defender with length. Maggie loved hitting left side and soon quickly became our team leader in kills from there.  The thing our team missed, however, was Maggie’s ability to hit from the right side as well as her block against the other teams top hitters. When Kaitlyn returned at the end of the year, we moved Maggie back to right side.”

As a result, Yarmouth lost just once all season and Murray had another huge statistical campaign (208 kills, 137 digs, 96 service blocks, including 42 aces, and 38 blocks).

Highlights included 16 kills and 17 digs in a season-opening loss to Class A champion Falmouth, the only team that proved to be better than the Clippers this fall, 15 kills and four aces in a win over Cape Elizabeth, 10 kills in a victory over Brunswick/Mt. Ararat, 18 kills in a win over Washington Academy, 23 kills, 15 digs and nine aces in a win over Scarborough, 21 kills in a victory over Greely, 21 kills in a second victory over Washington Academy and 11 kills in a win over York.

In the playoffs, Murray had seven kills and four blocks in a quarterfinal round win over Wells, 10 kills and 13 digs in a semifinal round victory over York and 13 kills, three blocks and the assist on Lukis’ match-clinching kill in Yarmouth’s 3-0 win over Cape Elizabeth in the Class B state final.

“It felt so good to win it,” Murray said. “I was ecstatic. I want to play even better next year.”

With Maggie Murray, Yarmouth’s Fall Female Athlete of the Year, returning for one more season, you have to believe there’s more triumph is in store.

Coach Jim Senecal’s comment: “Maggie’s ability to hit from either side of the net really helped us this year.  Maggie changes the way teams have to attack us when she’s blocking from the right side. She often takes our opponent’s best player out of their offense which she did during our playoff run this year. Maggie is an excellent role model for our younger players. When she’s not with the varsity, you will likely find her at the middle school helping those kids or at a JV practice working with them. She loves volleyball and her passion for the sport is contagious.”

Maggie Murray. Contributed photo

Prior winners:

2018 Dominique Moran (volleyball)

2017 Sara D’Appolonia (soccer)

2016 Cory Langenbach (soccer)

2015 Tori Messina (field hockey)

2014 Kallie Hutchinson (field hockey)

2013 Grace Mallett (volleyball)

2012 Monica Austin (golf)

2011 Suzanne Driscoll (volleyball)

2010 Natalie Salmon (soccer)

2009 Kate Darrell (volleyball)

2008 Mariah Martin (field hockey)

2007 Anna Makaretz (cross country)

2006 Nicole Simmonds (soccer)

2005 Shannon Gildart (soccer)

2004 Melissa Moylan (soccer)

2003 Stephanie Whittaker (soccer)

2002 Karen Thorp (cross country)

2001 Danielle McGee (field hockey)

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

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