From Jen Hoy's scoring achievements to Conestoga's second consecutive PIAA Class AAA state title, there was plenty of excitement generated by girls' soccer teams in Southeastern Pennsylvania this season.
For example, the area boasted a National Soccer Coaches Association/Adidas all-American in Upper Perkiomen's Emily Cota.
Moreover, Germantown Academy, the Inter-Ac League champion, was 13th, Conestoga 16th, and Downingtown West 26th in the final ESPN Rise Fab 50 rankings.
The Patriots were also ranked 23d nationally by NSCAA/Adidas.
Here are some highlights of the 2008 season.
Team of the year
In addition to winning its 18th consecutive Inter-Ac title, Germantown Academy finished 16-2-3 and was the area's top team, regardless of league or classification.
After shaking off an early-season double-overtime loss to Owen J. Roberts, the Patriots were tough to beat.
Germantown Academy's only other setback was against the Pennington (N.J.) School, which finished No. 1 in both the NSCAA/Adidas and ESPN Fab 50 national rankings.
The Patriots' signature victory was a 1-0 decision over Conestoga on Oct. 18.
Coach of the year
Ryan Haney was the driving force behind a historic season for Archbishop Ryan.
Haney persuaded his players to sacrifice individual honors for the good of the team, and the Ragdolls, who finished 16-6-2, responded by becoming the first District 12 soccer team to win a PIAA playoff game. Ryan defeated Villa Joseph Marie, 2-1, in a state Class AAA first-round matchup.
Haney's squad also won its second straight Catholic League title. Winners of nine of its final 12 games, Ryan finished fourth in The Inquirer's Southeastern Pennsylvania rankings.
This isn't Haney's first time being honored by The Inquirer. While a senior forward on the Ryan boys' team in 1996, he was The Inquirer's player of the year.
Jen Hoy, a senior striker at Germantown Academy, scored her 100th career goal in a 3-1 Inter-Ac League victory against Episcopal Academy on Oct. 21.
The Princeton recruit collected two goals in the match. Her first made it 2-1 in the 31st minute. Her second came three minutes later.
Hoy finished her career with 110 goals.
Upset of the year
Boyertown was supposed to crush Upper Perkiomen in the Pioneer Athletic Conference final Oct. 16. The Bears won the teams' previous meeting, 4-0.
But in the final, the Indians' Kaylin Umstead headed in the winning goal in a 3-2 overtime victory to mark Upper Perkiomen's first PAC-10 title.
The Inquirer TOP 10
FINAL, GIRLS' SOCCER
Previous rank in parentheses.
1. Germantown Academy (2) 16-2-3
The Patriots claimed their 18th consecutive Inter-Ac League title. They also defeated Conestoga on Oct. 18 in what turned out to be a battle for area supremacy.
2. Conestoga (3) 23-2-1
The Pioneers became the first girls' soccer team to win consecutive PIAA Class AAA state titles since Downingtown in 2000 and '01.
3. Downingtown West (1) 23-3
Two of the Whippets' losses were to Conestoga. Their other setback was against Pennington School, a national power from New Jersey.
4. Archbishop Ryan (4) 16-6-2
The District 12 champion Ragdolls showed they could compete with District 1's elite teams.
5. Downingtown East (5) 16-5-1
The Cougars are very good but had the misfortune of facing Downingtown West and Conestoga in districts.
6. Villa Joseph Marie (6) 17-7
The move up to the Class AAA ranks didn't hinder the Jems. They finished second in a competitive District 1 Class AAA tournament.
7. Archbishop Wood (7) 17-3-1
Another great season concluded with a runner-up finish in the Philadelphia Catholic League.
8. Villa Maria (8) 14-4-2
The Hurricanes came close to advancing to the Class AAA state tournament.
9. Little Flower (9) 14-3-1
The Sentinels are annually one of Southeastern Pennsylvania's elite teams.
10. Unionville (10) 14-5-2
Three of the Indians' losses were to teams in The Inquirer's Top 10.
- Keith Pompey