CAPE ELIZABETH—Cape Elizabeth’s volleyball team has that championship look.
Tuesday evening, the defending Class A champion Capers continued to soar, as they made yet another powerful statement that they’ll be the team to beat in the upcoming playoffs.
Hosting Falmouth, Cape Elizabeth eked out a 25-23 first set victory, then turned to the serving and passing wizardry of sophomore Maggie Dadmun and the fabulous finishing skills of senior Monika Scheindel to roar to a 25-10 triumph in game two. The Yachtsmen pushed game three to the limit, but the Capers made the plays late and when senior Tess Haller delivered an ace, Cape Elizabeth had a 26-24 win and took the match in a surprisingly quick three sets.
“(Falmouth) played really hard,” Haller said. “It was a tough match all around. To finish in three sets is a statement that we deserve to be number one right now.”
Both teams have enjoyed a lot of success this fall.
The Yachtsmen held off Greely in a five-set epic in the opener, then blanked Biddeford and beat Windham and Gorham by identical 3-1 scores before losing, 3-1, to visiting Cape Elizabeth. After a 3-2 loss at Scarborough, Falmouth blanked visiting Kennebunk and host Cony, then lost, 3-1, at Greely before righting the ship with a 3-1 win at MDI, a 3-0 home victory over Biddeford and a 3-1 home win over defending Class B champion Yarmouth.
The Capers began their title defense with a four-set loss to Scarborough, then lost a five-set classic to Greely. Cape Elizabeth got back on track with 3-0 victories over Mt. Desert Island and Biddeford, then turned the corner with a 3-1 win at Falmouth.
“That was about the start of the peak,” said Capers coach Sarah Boeckel. “We got rid of tightness and jitters and we remembered we can play with anybody and we’re a really good team.”
From there, there’s been no slowing the champions, who defeated visiting Cony and Gorham in three sets, won in four sets at Greely, then blanked visiting Scarborough and won in three sets at both Thornton Academy and Kennebunk.
Falmouth won last year’s regular season meeting in three sets, but Cape Elizabeth rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the Class A state match to win an improbable title in five sets. On Sept. 17, the Capers won in four sets at Falmouth.
Tuesday, the Yachtsmen hoped to return the favor, but Cape Elizabeth made it three in a row in the series and 10 in a row this fall with a surprisingly fast (80 minute) straight set triumph.
The first set was tight throughout, with the score tied on 11 occasions, but the difference was Falmouth’s inability to land serves (the Yachtsmen faulted six times). The visitors were up, 10-7, but the Capers crept back and tied the game, 12-12, 14-14, 16-16, 17-17 and 20-20 on a Dadmun ace. A kill from senior Maddie Bowe and another point made it 22-20 Cape Elizabeth, but a kill from senior Julia Treadwell and an ace from junior Alaina Birkel pulled Falmouth even at 22-22. The Capers won the next point and after senior libero Lydia Brenneman, Dadmun and Scheindel all saved certain kills, a Bowe kill sent the hosts to the brink. The Yachtsmen stayed alive on a kill from senior Lydia Farmer, but the visitors hit the ball out on the next point and Cape Elizabeth had a 25-23 first set win.
Dadmun hinted at her big set to come with six assists and four service points, while Bowe had four kills and a block.
Falmouth got nine assists from junior Amanda Watson and four kills apiece from Farmer and Treadwell, but they went for naught.
While the first set was close, the Capers opened up a quick lead in the second and never looked back.
Dadmun stepped to the service line to get things started and rattled off six consecutive points, five of which were decided by Scheindel kills after Dadmun sets.
“Something clicked for me and Maggie,” Scheindel said. “She set the ball and I got it done. It was great.”
“When Monika’s on, she’s on and Maggie gave her the passes she needed,” Boeckel said.
A kill by Treadwell ended the run and the Yachtsmen got two more points. After Falmouth pulled within 7-4, the visitors faulted again and a kill from Scheindel opened up a 9-4 lead. Falmouth got as close as 11-8 on a kill from junior Victoria Burton and 12-9 on a Capers’ service fault, but after Cape Elizabeth won the next point, Dadmun returned to the line and produced nine straight points to essentially salt away the set. Dadmun had three aces, Bowe had three kills and Scheindel added one more kill to push the lead to 23-9. The Yachtsmen finally ended the surge, but after the Capers won the next point, a kill from Bowe brought the curtain down on the 25-10 second game victory.
Dadmun had a mindboggling 15 service points (including three aces) and if that wasn’t impressive enough, she also had 12 assists in that set alone.
“I just focused on getting it in and not anything fancy,” Dadmun said. “That helped us as a team.”
“Maggie is a young player, but she’s smart, she knows who to give the ball to and her serving is so amazing,” Boeckel said.
Scheindel soared for eight kills and Bowe had four kills and a block.
Not surprisingly, Falmouth fought to the end in game three.
A block from junior Malia White announced the Yachtsmen wouldn’t go quietly. Falmouth stretched its lead to 7-4 before Cape Elizabeth got a four-point service run from junior Rose Punsky, which included two kills from senior Katie Connelly and another from Haller for a 9-7 lead. Falmouth battled back to tie, 11-11, on a Treadwell kill, then went up by two behind a Treadwell block and an ace from junior Madi Tait. The back-and-forth continued, as the Capers got four straight points, featuring a pair of Haller aces, to go up, 15-13, but the Yachtsmen went on a 5-1 run, highlighted by an ace from Burton, to make it 18-16 in their favor. After Cape Elizabeth tied the score, 18-18, a Farmer kill put Falmouth up one. The hosts pulled even on a kill from Connelly, but the Yachtsmen got three straight points, capped by a block from senior Caroline DeNoia, and led, 22-19, forcing Boeckel to call timeout.
And like the champions they are and hope to soon be again, the Capers answered.
After the teams traded faults, Haller had a kill, Scheindel had one after a long point and another Haller kill tied the set, 23-23. After a DeNoia block put Falmouth on the brink of victory and survival, Haller produced a kill to tie it, 24-24. Haller then stepped to the service line, got the ball over and Bowe produced a kill to make it 25-24 Cape Elizabeth. Out of a timeout, needing one more point to win it, Haller ended all drama with an ace and the Capers had a 26-24 third set victory and took the match, 3-0.
“My play hasn’t been that great the past few games,” Haller said. “I focused and I really wanted to win in three. I turned it on. My serving hasn’t been great. It’s mostly been in my head. I got in the rhythm. It’s crazy. Everyone’s beating each other. Going into any given game, you don’t know who will win.”
“We can finish and it showed today,” Boeckel said. “Falmouth was tough.”
Dadmun had 14 assists in the third set and 32 for the match. She also produced 19 service points, including four aces.
Scheindel had 12 kills and four service points.
Bowe finished with nine kills and two blocks.
“Most of our runs came with Bowe on the court,” Boeckel said.
Haller started slowly, then finished strong, producing nine kills and five service points (including two aces).
“Tess made some really smart plays when we needed it,” said Boeckel. “Her last couple serves were great. That’s a good time to turn it around.”
Connelly added seven kills and three service points.
For Falmouth, Watson produced 18 assists and six service points, while Treadwell had eight kills and four blocks, Farmer eight kills and one block and Tait and White added five service points apiece.
“We couldn’t get it to click today,” said Yachtsmen coach Molly Northway. “It was a struggle to play against them. Those long runs definitely got us. We hesitated on points that were crucial to the game. I think it came down to us giving them so many points. They played very well. I was really impressed with both of their outside hitters and Tess and obviously, Lydia Brenneman is fantastic as a libero. They played well as a team overall.”
Falmouth (second in the Class A South Heal Points standings at press time) finishes up with a home match against Scarborough Thursday on Senior Night.
“A win would definitely help us,” Northway said. “We need it right now. We’ve struggled with consistency.”
Cape Elizabeth (first in Class A) hosts Biddeford Thursday. The Capers close at Yarmouth Saturday, then hope that more late October magic results in another shiny piece of hardware.
“We’re confident, but everyone else is good, so we’ll have to play hard,” Haller said. “We’ve got our team dynamic going. We have a ton of seniors on the team. It’s clicked for us that this is it for us and we want to give it 150 percent.”
“I think we can only go up from here,” Dadmun said. “Our serve receive has its ups and downs. Today we proved we can serve receive. That’s something we’ll be working on.”
“We love having homecourt,” Scheindel said. “We have a running joke that we have an amazing warmup playlist that gets us hyped. We want homecourt for that reason. I think we have another run in us. I think it’s just the beginning for us.”
“I think we’re number one and I think we deserve to be number one, but with that said, I think Falmouth, Scarborough, Greely, anybody in that top five, can beat us,” Boeckel added. “I love that anybody can beat anybody. We need to tweak our serve receive a little bit and clean up our blocking. Otherwise, I’m feeling really good. I think the biggest thing is we don’t panic. If you walked in and didn’t look at the score, you wouldn’t know if we’re winning or losing and I think that’s the biggest thing.”
Cape Elizabeth celebrates a point during its 3-0 win over Falmouth Tuesday night.
Chris Lambert photos.
Cape Elizabeth senior Katie Donnelly pounds the ball past Falmouth senior Caroline DeNoia (27) and junior Malia White.
Falmouth senior Julia Treadwell goes up for a kill over Cape Elizabeth seniors Maddie Bowe (20) and Monika Scheindel.
The power of Cape Elizabeth senior Tess Haller is too much for Falmouth junior Victoria Burton (25) and senior Caroline DeNoia.
Cape Elizabeth senior Maddie Bowe’s kill cliches the second set.
Cape Elizabeth senior Monika Scheindel, who had a superb match, handles the ball.
Falmouth senior Caroline DeNoia tips the ball over Cape Elizabeth senior Tess Haller.
Cape Elizabeth senior Lydia Brenneman keeps her eye on the ball.