Cape sweeps Scarborough in battle of defending volleyball champs

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Cape Elizabeth senior Megan Connelly, left, junior Kalie Manning, freshman Julia Torre, junior Jaya McClure and sophomore Corina Page celebrate during the Capers’ 3-0 win at Scarborough in a battle of defending state champions Thursday night.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.

SCARBOROUGH—Forget about beating Cape Elizabeth’s volleyball team in a match.

Good luck simply taking a set from the Capers.

Scarborough became the latest squad to be frustrated by Cape Elizabeth’s tenacious, calm, cool and collected manner with games hanging in the balance Thursday evening in a battle between the defending Class A and B state champions.

The Capers, who won Class B a year ago, enjoyed a run-of-the-mill 25-9 first set victory, but after going ahead, 10-1, in the second game, Cape Elizabeth was steamrolled by a Red Storm rally, which ultimately produced a 24-19 lead. But the Capers did what they’ve done so often the past two seasons, as they dug deep and found a way to win.

Cape Elizabeth fought off five set points and behind the serving acumen of junior Kalie Manning, rallied for a 26-24 victory to go up two games to none.

In the third set, Scarborough started fast and led 7-2, but the Capers again were undaunted, went ahead to stay at 11-10 and pulled away to prevail, 25-19, to take the match in straight sets.

Cape Elizabeth, which hasn’t lost a game, not to mention a match, all season, improved to 9-0, won its 26th match in succession and in the process, dropped the Red Storm to 7-2.

“I didn’t think we’d win easily,” Capers coach Sarah Boeckel said. “I know (Scarborough’s) a very good team and they know how to win. We came out and shocked them a little bit.” 

Simply the best

Last fall, Cape Elizabeth was a perfect champion in Class B, winning its second state title in four seasons, and Scarborough came to life in the postseason to win Class A for the second time in three years.

So far this fall, the Capers remained unbeatable, winning every set in sweeping host Kennebunk, visiting Gardiner and Brunswick, host Biddeford, host Yarmouth, visiting Falmouth, visiting Greely and visiting York.

Scarborough opened with five-set wins at home over Deering and at Windham. After downing visiting Bonny Eagle in straight sets, Scarborough was pushed to five games again at Cheverus and again prevailed. After falling in four games at Falmouth, the Red Storm swept visiting Massabesic, won in four games at Marshwood, then Tuesday, swept visiting Greely.

Last year, host Cape Elizabeth swept Scarborough (25-23, 25-11, 25-21), cutting the Red Storm’s all-time lead in the series, which dates to 2008, to 10-4 (see sidebar, below).

Thursday, the Capers continued their quest for perfection by winning the crucial points.

Cape Elizabeth came out and delivered a haymaker to start the match, rolling to a 25-9 victory and setting an early tone.

“A lot of the kids know each other and play against each other in club, so there’s a feeling around that, but even though the girls think Cape’s a good team, we’re a good team too,” said Scarborough first-year coach Kim Stoddard.

The first three points and eight of the first nine in the second game went the Capers’ way too and after a Red Storm timeout, a block from senior Brooke Harvey and the sixth straight service point from senior Megan Connelly gave Cape Elizabeth a seemingly commanding 10-1 lead.

But Scarborough would finally settle down and respond.

An ace from junior Anna Gardner helped cut the deficit 10-5 and after falling behind, 15-9, the Red Storm got kills from junior Bella Dickinson and senior Amelia Hardy to pull within three. After Scarborough made it 17-15, the Capers scored the next two points, but the Red Storm, with Hardy at the service line, went on a 9-0 run to get to the brink of evening the match. The run was sparked by a pair of Hardy kills, as well as an unexpected kill by senior Kelly McKeen to punctuate a long point.

After Scarborough twice couldn’t return the ball, Cape Elizabeth got life and with Manning serving, the Capers put all the pressure on the Red Storm.

A kill by junior Bridget Heggie cut the deficit to 24-22. After Scarborough hit the ball into the net on a long point, the hosts did it again after a timeout and just like that, the score was 24-24. After the Red Storm again couldn’t return the ball, Manning served out the set and culminated the dramatic rally, as Scarborough hit the side antenna and Cape Elizabeth had a 26-24 second game win and a commanding 2-0 match lead.

“We just focus on each point,” said Manning. “If we mess up, we flush it and move on. It’s all mental. I felt a little pressure (serving), but I just focused on getting an ace, or just getting it over.”

“We could have given them that second set, but we don’t want to lose,” Boeckel said. “The girls believe in the process and in themselves and they work their butts off to do it. You have to get the serve in after a timeout and we did. It’s the best we serve/received all season and that jump-started the offense.”

“We kind of gave them the end of that second set,” Stoddard lamented. “We were playing not to lose instead of to win. Usually we come from behind and finish it off, but now we know how that feels. I think if we get in that situation again, we’ll play different.”  

The Red Storm could have gone quietly in the third game, but instead, they came out and built a 7-2 lead behind kills from Gardner and sophomore Shaelyn Thornton and an ace from senior Catherine Shaw. 

But just like that, the Capers roared back again, tying the set on a block from Harvey and a kill from junior Jaya McClure before going up on a kill from sophomore Corina Page and a kill from McClure to make it 9-7. A kill by Scarborough sophomore Anne MacLeod tied it 10-10, but the visitors won the next point and never looked back.

With the score 12-11, Cape Elizabeth got a kill from Harvey, a block from Heggie and a Heggie kill to make it 16-11. After four straight Red Storm points, Heggie and Connelly had kills and the Capers added two more points for a 20-15 advantage. Out of a timeout, Scarborough pulled within three, but Connelly had a kill, then served up an ace for a 22-17 lead. Hardy answered with a kill for the Red Storm, but a Heggie kill made it 23-18. After Thornton kept Scarborough alive with a kill, McClure had a kill for Cape Elizabeth and Page followed with another, which after a momentary discussion between the officials, stood and the Capers had a 25-19 set victory and celebrated winning the match.

“We stayed in every point,” Boeckel said. “We realize it’s OK to make mistakes, but you have to make smart mistakes. When we cover like mad, we don’t let balls drop.”

Scarborough took solace in its fight to the end.

“This team never quits, no matter the score,” Stoddard said. “It would have been easy to fold, but the girls aren’t quitters. We have to work on our offense. We gave them confidence today with the same high sets over and over again. We have to be quicker.”

Finishing kick

Scarborough (now third behind Gorham and Falmouth in the Class A Heal Points standings) is back in action next Thursday at Thornton Academy. After matches at Greely and Portland, the Red Storm close with home matches against Biddeford and South Portland.

“Everything is going well,” Stoddard said. “The kids have come together well. Expect more to come from us. There are a lot of good teams. It will be an exciting postseason to watch.”

Cape Elizabeth (which has a stranglehold on the top spot in Class B) welcomes Portland Saturday. After going to Greely and Falmouth next week, the Capers welcome Windham and close at Cony.

“We just have to stay focused,” Manning said. “We work hard every practice and get things done. We’re used to winning, but we know we’re beatable. We’re working on our communication and on our mental game, but we have what it take to make a run.”

“I don’t like to think about (being undefeated and not losing a set) or talk about it,” Boeckel said. “We’re where we want to be. We don’t want to get complacent. We want to be peaking going into the playoffs.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Cape Elizabeth seniors Jessie Robicheaw (15) and Brooke Harvey attempt to block the shot of Scarborough sophomore Shaelyn Thornton.

Cape Elizabeth junior Bridget Heggie touches the ball over the net.

Cape Elizabeth junior Kalie Manning serves the ball. Manning’s service acumen helped the Capers rally to win the second set.

Scarborough freshman Madeline Strouse goes up for a kill as Cape Elizabeth junior Bridget Heggie (19) and sophomore Corina Page defend.

Cape Elizabeth senior Megan Connelly and Scarborough junior Anna Gardner (3) and senior Catherine Shaw fight for the ball at the net.

Scarbrough freshman Gwen Dorsey blocks the shot attempt of Cape Elizabeth junior Jaya McClure.

Cape Elizabeth junior Bridget Heggie celebrates after a kill.

Scarborough senior Amelia Hardy, left, and sophomore Brenna Humpage celebrate a point.

Previous Scarborough-Cape Elizabeth results

2017
@ Cape Elizabeth 3 Scarborough 0

2016
Scarborough 3 @ Cape Elizabeth 0 

2015
@ Scarborough 3 Cape Elizabeth 1
@ Cape Elizabeth 3 Scarborough 0
Class A semifinals
Scarborough 3 @ Cape Elizabeth 1

2014
@ Cape Elizabeth 3 Scarborough 2
Class A quarterfinals
Cape Elizabeth 3 Scarborough 2

2012
Scarborough 3 @ Cape Elizabeth 0

2011
@ Scarborough 3 Cape Elizabeth 0
Scarborough 3 @ Cape Elizabeth 1

2010
Scarborough 3 @ Cape Elizabeth 0
@ Scarborough 3 Cape Elizabeth 0

2009
Scarborough 3 @ Cape Elizabeth 0

2008
Scarborough 3 @ Cape Elizabeth 0

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.