Scarborough volleyball ousted in semifinals
The Scarborough volleyball team's 2009 season came to an end Monday night, but you'd have a hard time finding disappointment after arguably the Red Storm's finest campaign to date.
Five days after a long trip up the coast resulted in a quarterfinal round win over perennial contender Mt. Desert Island, Scarborough was eliminated in three games by six-time defending state champion Greely to wind up 9-7.
Just another step in an impressive growth process for this program.
"Beating MDI was one of our program's biggest wins ever," said Scarborough coach Jody King. "We had never made it to the semifinals before so I was impressed with how we handled the pressure and level of play."
The Red Storm started the season with losses to Falmouth and Yarmouth, then turned it around with three successive victories, including a dramatic five-game triumph at Biddeford. After a home setback to Greely, Scarborough won four straight to improve to 7-3, but the Red Storm dropped three of their final four matches to finish 8-6, good for the sixth and final playoff spot in Class A.
"Considering we were last in the Heal Points early in the season, we were very happy to improve our record enough to make the playoffs," King said.
Making the postseason was the good news. The bad, was that Scarborough had to travel three hours to play an MDI team that seemingly is in the state final every year.
The Trojans won't be going in 2009.
Scarborough won the first two games, 25-16 and 25-21. After dropping the third, 22-25, the Red Storm clinched the stunning 3-1 win with a 25-19 triumph.
"It was probably the biggest win ever for Red Storm volleyball," King said. "We were excited to travel to Bar Harbor and take on someone different. It was a great atmosphere to play in. They had a pep band and fans cheering throughout the entire match.
"The biggest factor was that my players stayed positive and confident throughout the entire match. In Game 1, (senior) Christina Chase had 3 kills and (sophomore) Brittany Bona served very well to get us off to a great start. In game 2, the lead went back and forth. (Senior) Kathleen O'Donnell handled the pressure of serving when we were behind and put us into the lead with an ace and another six good serves. Bona and (senior) Caroline Baker each had three kills. In Game 3, the score went back and forth. Even though we had a team total of 10 kills, we couldn't overcome our serving and passing errors or MDI's hitting. In game 4, we took an early lead and never looked back. (Senior) Laura Suarez did a fantastic job distributing the sets to many different hitters and keeping their defense off balance. We had a total of 10 kills by seven different hitters. Both teams had several serving errors, but our passing and hitting kept us in the game."
Scarborough lost twice to Greely in the regular season (3-1 at home and 3-0 in Cumberland). The Red Storm hung tough Monday, but lost by scores of 18-25, 15-25, 18-25.
"We played really well, but ran into a better team who had a stronger attack," King said. "There were many long rallies, unfortunately most of them ended with a point to Greely. My girls played the best they had all year. They stepped things up for MDI and then raised their play another another notch against Greely. I was proud that they competed well throughout the entire match."
"Bona had five kills and Baker added another four. (Senior) Paige Conley and O'Donnell played solid defense in the back row the entire match and Suarez had a good match serving and setting."
Scarborough will lose some top players to graduation, but the Red Storm expect to be a threat again next fall.
"We graduate seven seniors, who all played a significant role in our success," King said. "Our returning players will be inspired with our success this year to work hard in the offseason to improve their game. I feel confident that the team will play to the same level next year."
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com