The more you watch sports, the more you realize how difficult it is to win a championship. Even if you have a team that's one of the very best in the league, there are no guarantees and the odds of going all the way are still stacked firmly against you.

As of Thursday, several Darien teams still had a chance to win a State tournament, one team already had and a few teams fell just a few wins short. All fall sports teams at Darien High School were able finish well above .500 and qualify for both the FCIAC and State tournaments. That's no small feat, especially given the difficult nature of winning games in the FCIAC.

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With that said, we're going to wrap up the fall sports by taking a quick look back on each team's season.

The girls swimming team turned aside several powerhouse swimming programs including New Canaan, Cheshire and Pomperaug en route to capturing the Class L crown. Although swimming is a bit different from other sports in that each team competes at the same meet rather than in a tournament form, that does nothing to diminish the accomplishment. If anything, it makes it all the more impressive since strong performances by all members of the Blue Wave swim team were required to take the title.

As stated in previous columns, no team at Darien (and perhaps no team in the FCIAC) enjoyed a greater turnaround season than the boys soccer team. As they had done all season, Darien went toe-to-toe with a quality opponent in Bunnell. Although the "dream season" stalled just three wins shy of a State championship, this Darien team went from an FCIAC afterthought to a bona fide contender. What a difference a year can make.

After a first round State playoff win over Fairfield Warde, the Darien girls soccer team was charged with the daunting task of trying to deal unbeaten Glastonbury its first loss of the season in the second round of the State tournament, a feat they nearly accomplished. However, Glastonbury proved to be a tough draw, as Darien was bumped from the State tournament by a 2-1 margin.

Although the Darien field hockey team would have to be considered the favorite in the State playoffs, a single-elimination tournament leaves everyone vulnerable, even a team as talented as the Blue Wave. Darien got a scare from No. 8 Guilford in the quarterfinals before rallying to win it overtime. That performance put Darien in the semifinals against No. 4 Wilton on Thursday (result not available at press time). If Darien won, it will advance to the State title game on Saturday.

Even for the unbeaten Darien volleyball team, a State championship is no sure thing. Darien received formidable challenges in a pair of 3-1 wins over Fairfield Ludlowe and Glastonbury before advancing to the semifinals against Southington on Thursday (result not available at press time). With a win, Darien will advance to the State title game on Saturday.

In the regular season, one loss doesn't result in a season ending. However, the same obviously cannot be said for single-elimination playoff tournaments.

So, although a few teams saw their seasons end without a State Championship in the cards, all fall Darien High School teams should be commended on successful seasons. All of the aforementioned teams showed up to play nearly every time they took the field, and doing so is a requirement to even qualify for FCIAC and State playoffs.