Cape sweeps Scarborough to stay perfect

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Cape Elizabeth senior captain Anna Torre, left, senior Madison Sarka, junior Jessie Robicheaw, junior captain Megan Connelly, senior captain Maggie Dadmun and junior Tess Dolan celebrate at the conclusion of the first set of the Capers’ 3-0 home win over Scarborough Thursday night. Cape Elizabeth stayed undefeated on the season.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.

CAPE ELIZABETH—When two of the state’s best volleyball teams square off, the expectation is that four, or even five sets will be necessary to determine a winner.

Thursday evening, undefeated Cape Elizabeth hosted a once-beaten Scarborough team which has played in the past two state finals and the prospect of a long evening was in store, but as they have all autumn, the Capers continued to raise the bar and made surprisingly quick work of the Red Storm.

Scarborough took an 18-13 lead in the first set, but Cape Elizabeth likes nothing more than rallying from a deficit and thanks to strong serving from senior captain Anna Torre and junior Tess Dolan, the Capers roared back and a Torre kill produced a 25-23 victory to set the tone.

Cape Elizabeth rode that momentum to a decisive second game win, as it never trailed and got eight assists from senior captain and setter extraordinaire Maggie Dadmun to prevail, 25-11.

Everyone on hand expected the Red Storm to fight back in the third set and that’s exactly what happened, as Scarborough was even as late as 20-20, but after a point that would have put the visitors ahead was overturned, the Capers slammed the door and a kill from junior captain Megan Connelly brought the curtain down on a 25-21 third set and the match.

Cape Elizabeth improved to 10-0, handed the Red Storm their first loss in eight matches and dropped Scarborough to 7-2 in the process.

“I thought it would be a battle and two of the sets were,” said Capers coach Sarah Boeckel. “We love the long points. Mentally, we’re really tough right now. (Scarborough’s) big and impressive and super-talented. I feel very lucky to walk out of here with a win.”

Battle of champions?

Both Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough have the stuff of champions this fall and there’s a good chance that each team will be raising a trophy on the final weekend of October.

The Red Storm, who lost to Greely in last year’s Class A state final, opened with a surprising 3-2 home loss to Deering, which remains undefeated, but beat their next seven foes: host Windham and visiting Bonny Eagle in straight sets, visiting Falmouth in four games, host Cheverus and Massabesic in three sets, visiting Marshwood in three games and most recently, visiting Greely, in a state match rematch in four games Tuesday.

Cape Elizabeth, which has been relegated to Class B after the state expanded to three classes this fall, started with 3-0 wins over visiting Kennebunk and host Gardiner and Brunswick. After downing visiting Mt. Desert Island in four sets in a playoff rematch, the Capers rallied to stun host Biddeford, 3-2, before handing visiting Yarmouth its first loss in four-sets. After another four-set win, at Falmouth, Cape Elizabeth downed visiting Greely in four-sets and did the same at York Tuesday.

Last year, Scarborough came to Cape Elizabeth and won in three relatively easy sets (25-19, 25-17, 25-8). That gave the Red Storm a 10-3 all-time edge in the series which dates to 2008 (see sidebar, below).

This time around, the Capers won the key points and earned a victory over Scarborough for the first time since 2015.

The first set would be tied 11 times and there were six lead changes.

Cape Elizabeth took an early 3-2 lead on a Connelly ace, but the Red Storm got the next four points, three served by senior Caelyn Sheil. A kill from senior Natalie Simonton made it 6-3, but the Capers got a kill from Torre and a block from senior Madison Sarka. The hosts would pull even at 8-8 and 9-9, but an ace from senior Marissa Edwards put Scarborough back on top with an ace and senior Jamiyae Mattress followed with a kill. A kill from sophomore Asia Mattress made it 15-11 and after Cape Elizabeth crept within 16-13 on a kill from junior Jessie Robicheaw, a service fault by the Capers and another point gave the Red Storm an 18-13 lead, forcing Boeckel to call timeout.

It did the trick, as the next six points went Cape Elizabeth’s way. Torre was a big reason why, serving five points, including two aces. After Red Storm coach Jon Roberts called timeout, an Edwards kill tied the score, 19-19. A Connelly kill put the Capers back on top, but a block by Sheil forced another tie. After a Scarborough service fault, a kill from Sarka tied the set again. The Red Storm led for the final time, 23-22, but after a Cape Elizabeth timeout, a Connelly kill hung and the net and dropped and after junior Tess Dolan served an ace, a Torre kill gave the Capers a 25-23 first game win and a big boost of momentum.

“We know we’re mentally strong and we just had to prove it,” Connelly said.

“That was huge,” Boeckel said. “We were a little nervous and a little pokey at the ball to start. We just had to relax. We passed the ball and hit the ball and made plays happen.”

In the first set, Dadmun had six assists and Torre served six points and also had a pair of kills, helping negate four kills apiece from Edwards and Asia Mattress, six kills from senior Ivy DiBiase and five more from freshman Mayne Gwyer.

Cape Elizabeth then never trailed in the second game.

After Scarborough started with a service fault, a kill from Capers junior Brooke Harvey made it 3-0 and kills from Harvey and Connelly stretched the lead to 6-1. A Harvey block and a Dolan ace made it 8-2. A kill from senior Faith Winslow on a long point, an Asia Mattress ace and a kill by Edwards, after a terrific save from DiBiase, cut the Red Storm’s deficit to 8-5, but the hosts got kills from Dadmun and Torre to go up, 11-5. After Scarborough got the next point, Sarka had a kill, Torre served an ace, Sarka had a block and the hosts got another point as well to make it 15-6.

The Red Storm drew back within 17-8, but Connelly countered with a kill. After a block by Asia Mattress, Cape Elizabeth went up, 20-9. After Scarborough got a point back on a service fault, Torre had a kill, Sarka followed with another and another point made the score, 23-10. Asia Mattress’ kill momentarily stemmed the tide, but a service fault was followed by the Red Storm hitting the ball out and the Capers won the second set, 25-11.

“For our confidence level, that first set was huge and we just rode it from there,” Boeckel said. “I think we got in their heads, the second game especially.”

In the second game, Dadmun had eight assists, Connelly three kills and three service points, Harvey three kills and a block and Sarka two kills and a block.

“Brooke and Madison are so insanely athletic,” Connelly said. “They have their timing down perfectly with Maggie. (Scarborough’s) block is amazing, so we had to spread our offense. Our middles did a great job.”

“I get a ton of contributions from Madison and Brooke,” Boeckel said. “This was a big test for them. The scouting report on us is that we’re not the strongest blocking team, but we play great defense to make up for it. I told Brooke and Madison that they had to get touches tonight.”

As expected, Cape Elizabeth had to scratch and claw to finish it off in the third set, but after some anxious moments, the Capers were able to do so.

After Asia Mattress started the third game with a kill, DiBiase served up an ace. Cape Elizabeth came back to lead, 4-3, and 5-4 before a block by Simonton put the Red Storm on top, 6-5. The Capers rallied behind a Torre kill, a Torre ace and another point for an 8-6 advantage, but Scarborough tied it at 8-8, 9-9 and 10-10. Robicheaw then had a kill, Connelly had an ace, then served another point for a 13-10 Cape Elizabeth lead. A Dadmun kill, which caught the Red Storm off guard and landed just inside the line, made it 16-13, but a kill by Edwards and a block by Edwards tied the score, 16-16.

The Capers went back on top, but Simonton tied the score with a kill. A service point was followed by a Scarborough point and it was 18-18, Another Red Storm errant serve was followed by a kill by Jamiyae Mattress to make it 19-19. A beautiful cross-court kill by Connelly was countered by an Asia Mattress kill and again the game was tied, 20-20.

The next point would be critical and it appeared it would go to the visitors on a kill by Asia Mattress, but she was ruled to be over the net and the point instead went to Cape Elizabeth. Torre added a kill and out of a timeout, after a Scarborough point, the visitors hit the ball into the net. The Red Storm then failed to get the ball over on three hits and the Capers were on the brink. Cape Elizabeth then showed its killer instinct, finishing the match in just 75 minutes, as Connelly took a pass from Dadmun, soared and crushed the ball over the net for a 25-21 set victory and a 3-0 win.

“We knew we had this in us,” Connelly said. “We knew if we played our hearts out and we played our game, we’d do great. We knew they had it in them to come back, so we just tried to play our game. We knew their hits were amazing and that they’d get their points, so we just had to stay mentally in it. It’s definitely Boeckel’s coaching mentality. We want to get every ball.”

“I didn’t want to lose the third game,” Boeckel said. “It was back-and-forth. One point, two points, unforced error, unforced error, good swing, good swing. I really thought this would be tougher.”

Cape Elizabeth got 23 assists from Dadmun, who also had three timely kills.

Connelly finished with nine kills and five service points.

Torre contributed 10 service points, including four aces, and eight kills, Dolan added nine service points, Harvey had four kills and a block and Sarka finished with two kills and two blocks.

Scarborough was paced by Asia Mattress’ nine kills and three blocks. DiBiase added 12 assists, Edwards had six kills, Gwyer produced six assists and Simonton finished with six kills and two blocks.

“Cape just started playing better,” said Roberts. “I think the difference is that my best players didn’t play their best and their best players played their best. They’re a great team.”

Back to class

Scarborough will now turn its attention back to moving up in Class A, while Cape Elizabeth appears to have a stranglehold on the No. 1 spot in Class B.

The Red Storm (currently third behind Deering and Biddeford in the Heal Points standings) play at Gorham Tuesday, then host Thornton Academy and Portland and close at Biddeford and South Portland.

“This was just one match,” Roberts said. “We need to control more of what we can control. We need to learn from this and move forward.”

The Capers have two more big matches next week, at Greely and home versus Falmouth. They then close with a trip to Windham and a home match versus Cony.

“We need to keep our focus and have no mercy and show what we can do all the time,” Connelly said.

“We’re confident and feeling good,” Boeckel said. “We come to practice and try to get one percent better and raise the level of what we do well. We don’t have one superstar. We’ve got 18 great players who make us good. We still have some good tests. It’s always nice to go into playoffs in first place, but you have to sustain it. We still have a lot of work to do.”

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

Scarborough senior Ivy DiBiase sets the ball.

Cape Elizabeth junior Jessie Robicheaw goes for a kill as Scarborough senior Marissa Edwards attempts to block it.

Cape Elizabeth senior Maggie Dadmun tips the ball over the net as Scarborough senior Caelyn Sheil defends.

Scarborough sophomore Asia Mattress goes up for a kill as Cape Elizabeth seniors Anna Torre and Madison Sarka defend.

Cape Elizabeth senior Madeline Bauman handles a shot.

Scarborough senior Marissa Edwards goes up for a kill as Cape Elizabeth senior Madison Sarka defends.

Cape Elizabeth junior captain Megan Connelly prepares to serve.

Cape Elizabeth junior Brooke Harvey blocks a shot.

Scarborough senior Natalie Simonton celebrates after a point. 

Previous Scarborough-Cape Elizabeth results

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

0
Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.