Fairfield head coach Phomma Phanhthy discusses what winning the school's first state title means to the community. Matt Allibone
A look back at top memories from YAIAA fall sports season
Well, that went fast.
With the York Catholic football team falling in the state playoffs on Friday, the fall sports season is officially over for YAIAA teams. It was a pretty good run for local squads, with five capturing district titles and one grabbing a state championship. Those titles are just the tip of the iceberg, with plenty more teams having seasons to remember.
This was my first full fall with GameTimePA.com, and it did not disappoint. Here are five moments that continue to stand out to me.
Fairfield captures first state title in girls' soccer
When I started here a year ago, Fairfield wasn't a school often connected to athletic success.
The tiny school in western Adams County had never won a team state title in any sport, and rarely did well enough to even think of such accomplishments. Before this season, the only Fairfield team to make a state title game was its 2000-2001 boys' basketball squad.
But then came along this year's girls' soccer suad. The Green Knights had a remarkable season, going 25-1 and defeating Shady Side Academy for their first Class 1A state championship. Head coach Phomma Phanhthy's squad also captured a district title and reached the YAIAA title game.
It wasn't just winning championships that made the Green Knights a team to remember, it was the way they won. There were plenty of times this season when I would glance at a Fairfield box score and wonder if the team was playing lacrosse instead of soccer. Here are just a few scores from its games: 13-0, 11-3, 9-3 and 9-4 in the state title game.
Along with piling goals on teams at a mind-bogging rate, the Knights gave their small community something to be proud of. When I think back on this team, the first thing I'll remember is the throngs of fans that packed bleachers throughout the playoffs.
Delone captures district title in volleyball
On the other hand, Delone Catholic girls' volleyball was a team that certainly had a history of success when I first covered them.
Going into this season, the Squirettes had won four straight league titles and reached the District 3 finals every year during that stretch. But with most of last season's roster having graduated, it was hard to tell how good Delone would be in 2016.
The answer? Really good. The Squirettes fell short of a fifth straight YAIAA championship, but they bounced back to defeat division rival York Catholic for the team's third district title in the past five years.
While the Squirettes are accustomed to winning, this year's district title was special because most of the players were in starring roles for the first time. Girls like Claire Kaufmann, Chloe Kindig and Karigen Emig were able to put their stamp on the program's legacy, something that clearly meant a lot to them.
Both Central York soccer teams sneak into league finals
I'll be honest, covering back-to-back night games isn't always fun.
While the non-stop action is great, the stress of writing multiple things on deadline can be overwhelming.
But on Oct. 27, the Central York boys' and girls' soccer teams made the task worth it in the YAIAA semifinals at Northeastern.
First, the girls' team won a tense 1-0 game over York Catholic to reach the league finals, with Rachel Wilhelm scoring the only goal on a penalty kick early in the second half. That was just the beginning, as the boys' team won in even more dramatic fashion.
Stuck in a scoreless tie with a dangerous Susquehannock team, Central prevailed 1-0 when Zak Kakos slipped past the Warriors' defense and drilled in a goal with 11:47 to play. Kakos immediately sprinted to the Panthers' student section where he was mobbed by his teammates.
It may have been late and I had plenty of work to do, but those goals were certainly exciting.
Dallastown field hockey earns 600th program win
While my mom played field hockey in college and has officiated it for 21 years, I honestly didn't know much about the sport before this fall.
But man, did I get a good tutorial from some YAIAA teams this year. In the Hanover-Adams area, New Oxford, Gettysburg, Bermudian Springs and Littlestown all reached the district playoffs and produced some big moments.
Still, the class of the YAIAA was once again Dallastown, which captured its second straight league title. And on Sept. 29, the Wildcats reached another milestone when they recorded the 600th victory in program history with a 5-1 win over New Oxford.
The mark is a testament to the dedication of head coach Jeri Myers, who has led the program for 36 of its 52 years. As the players gathered for a team picture to celebrate that day, it was clear the achievement meant a lot to her.
Littlestown enjoys bounce-back football season
At the beginning of the season, not many people outside the Littlestown program expected much from the Bolts.
After all, Littlestown had gone 5-15 the previous two years and would have to contend with York Catholic, Bermudian Springs and Delone Catholic in Division III. It was hard to say if the Bolts would go .500, let alone make the district playoffs.
But that's exactly what they did.
Littlestown enjoyed a resurgence, finishing 8-2 in the regular season and making the four-team bracket in District 3 Class 3A playoffs. The team's success galvanized the town and student body, with fans often packing opponent's stadiums during road games.
While Red Lion and York Catholic (deservedly) received more attention this fall, the Bolts were perhaps the biggest surprise. And that's why their success is what I'll remember the most.