FALMOUTH—We can only hope that the playoffs are half this dramatic.
Thursday evening’s Falmouth-Scarborough volleyball match didn’t merely double as the host Yachtsmen’s Senior Night, it also produced a bevy of thrills, a dose of controversy and a heroic performance which willed the home team to victory.
Falmouth snapped a three-match losing streak at the hands of the Red Storm, but it was anything but easy.
The Yachtsmen eked out a 25-23 win in the first set, as senior Julia Treadwell hinted at her phenomenal night to come with a variety of blocks, kills and service points.
Scarborough came back and won the second game, 25-17, thanks to the serving and passing of junior Caroline Goodwin and strong net play from junior Haley Nelson.
The Red Storm turned to a secret weapon, senior Chloe Gorey, to be the difference in the third set, as Gorey came off the bench to produce seven straight service points to break open a tight game and give Scarborough a 25-16 triumph, putting the visitors one set from match victory.
Which never came.
In the fourth set, Falmouth took the lead for good on a block from senior Lydia Farmer and thanks to strong serving from junior Malia White, went on to a 25-16 win to extend the match to the limit.
The first-team-to-15-points fifth set oozed drama from start to finish as the teams were tied on nine different occasions. The Yachtsmen had get off the deck after a controversial call gave Scarborough a 10-9 lead, but Falmouth saved its best for last, getting a kill from Farmer, then, fittingly, a game-ending ace from Treadwell to survive, 15-13, and win the match, 3-2.
The Yachtsmen got an abundance of valuable Heal Points, ended the regular season 10-4 and dropped the valiant Red Storm to 8-5 in the process.
“It was crazy, a very good match,” Treadwell said. “Very even, throughout all the games. I think this year, more than years past, we’re a level-headed team, strong mentally. In the past, we might not have been able to pull it out, but tonight, we came out and strung together points.”
The Red Storm opened with a 3-1 home win over Cape Elizabeth, then eked out a five-set thriller at Greely. After falling in five-sets at Yarmouth, Scarborough had no trouble with visiting Biddeford and Gorham, sweeping both teams. After outlasting visiting Falmouth in five sets, the Red Storm won, 3-0, at Cony, eked out a thrilling 3-2 home win over Yarmouth, then had their five-match win streak snapped with a 3-0 loss at Cape Elizabeth. That started a skid which continued with a 3-1 home loss to Greely and a three-set setback at Biddeford. Scarborough got back on track Tuesday with a 3-0 home win over Kennebunk.
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 Mt. Desert Island, a 3-0 home victory over Biddeford and a 3-1 home win over defending Class B champion Yarmouth. Tuesday, the Yachtsmen lost in straight sets at Cape Elizabeth.
Scarborough’s win Sept. 22 stretched its streak to three in the series. Thursday, Falmouth brought that to an end, beating the Red Storm for the first time since the 2013 Class A state final.
The match started 20 minutes late, as first Scarborough’s seniors were recognized, then Farmer, Treadwell, Caroline DeNoia and Emma Walsh and their families were honored during Senior Night festivities.
The subsequent match would last 2 hours and 4 minutes and was captivating from start to finish.
Both teams had trouble serving in the first set and that prevented either from opening it up. The biggest lead was three points and there were 10 ties. Trailing, 18-15, Falmouth sandwiched a pair of Treadwell kills around an ace from junior Madi Tait to go on top, 19-18. Out of a timeout, the Red Storm tied the score on a fault, but a Treadwell kill, followed by one from Walsh, made it 21-19 Yachtsmen. Scarborough pulled within one, but shot itself in the foot with a fault. After the Red Storm made it 22-21 on a kill from junior Jillian Harvie, Falmouth got the next two points to get to the brink of winning the game. The visitors stayed alive by winning a point, then junior Jordyn Cowan served up an ace to make things very interesting, but Farmer ended the set with a kill, giving the Yachtsmen the jump with a 25-23 decision.
In that first game, Treadwell had six kills, two blocks and three service points, while Farmer had five kills, junior setter Amanda Watson nine assists and Tait four service points, which neutralized seven assists from Goodwin, four kills from Cowan and three kills from Nelson.
The Red Storm quickly countered in the second set.
Two kills from Cowan and another from senior Taylor Marinko gave Scarborough a 3-0 lead. Another Cowan kill, a kill from Harvie and a Goodwin ace made it 6-1. Junior Emma Budway then opened it up even further, rattling off four service points, highlighted by two kills from junior Kacey Foerster and a block from Marinko, pushing the lead to 11-2. The Red Storm’s lead reached as much as 10 points on three different occasions before the Yachtsmen slowly crept back. A DeNoia block made it 20-13, but Falmouth couldn’t go on the run it needed to make things interesting. After a Marinko serve hit the net and fell over for an ace, the lead was 22-13. The hosts got two points back, but sophomore Natalie Simonton came through with a big block to make it 23-15. After the Yachtsmen made it 23-17, junior Lilly Young had a kill and Falmouth hit the ball into the net to give Scarborough the 25-17 second set victory, evening the match.
In the second game, Nelson had five kills, Goodwin six service points and five aces and Marinko three blocks.
The Red Storm kept rolling in the third set, again opening up a lead and after the Yachtsmen responded, answering the bell to pull away.
An ace from Foerster made it 4-1 early. After a fabulous dig by Tait led to a White kill, Scarborough got kills from Harvie and Goodwin to open up an 8-2 lead, but this time, the hosts battled back, erasing a 12-6 deficit by scoring six consecutive points, highlighted by a Farmer ace and a pair of kills from Watson. Falmouth never could take the lead, however, and a kill from Cowan put the Red Storm ahead to stay, 14-13. After the Yachtsmen pulled within 16-15 on a Treadwell block, Nelson had a kill and Gorey came into the game to serve.
And she put on a show.
Gorey’s first serve resulted in an ace. After Cowan had a kill and Scarborough won another point, Gorey produced a second ace to make it 21-15.
“Chloe’s a senior and she’s on a mission and she’s playing fantastic,” said Red Storm coach Jon Roberts. “She got a lot of points for us. She’s a steady, really good player.”
After Falmouth coach Molly Northway called timeout, Gorey continued to keep the Yachtsmen on the defensive and kills from Cowan and Nelson made it 24-15. A kill from Treadwell after a long point kept Falmouth alive and ended Gorey’s seven point run, but a block from Cowan gave the Red Storm a 25-16 set victory and got them closer to a match win.
Along with Gorey’s seven service points, Goodwin had seven assists and Nelson added three kills and two blocks to help Scarborough prevail.
The fourth set could have gone either way, but the Yachtsmen surged late to keep the match going.
The set was tied seven times, the last at 15-15, as a Farmer kill turned the tide. A Farmer block to cap a long point put Falmouth on top for good. Watson added a kill, Treadwell served up an ace and the lead was 18-15. After the Red Storm got a point back, the Yachtsmen won the next point, then White stepped to the service line and after serving an ace on her first attempt, she didn’t leave until she delivered five more points to close out the set, 25-16, sending the match to the limit.
Treadwell had five blocks and five service points to help her team stay alive.
Roberts wasn’t pleased with the pace of that set.
“I don’t think it should have gone to a fifth set,” Roberts said. “I think the fourth set was influenced by the referees.”
This match deserved a memorable fifth set and got one, even though one point loomed large for its controversial nature.
Treadwell set the tone with a kill for a 1-0 lead and Falmouth added a point when Scarborough hit the ball out, but the visitors got a kill from Nelson and another Gorey ace to make it 2-2.
The teams then traded points to make it 3-3, then did so again to forge a 4-4 tie.
A pair of Red Storm mis-hits made it 6-4 Yachtsmen, but out of a timeout, the visitors responded, as Harvie had a block, Marinko had a kill to tie it and after an errant Falmouth return put Scarborough ahead, an overturned point made it 8-6 Red Storm.
Back came Falmouth, as Farmer had a kill and after a Simonton kill for the Red Storm, two long hits by visitors tied the score again, 9-9.
That set the stage for an apparent kill by Yachtsmen sophomore Alison Noyes, but after a lengthy discussion, the officials ruled she had hit the net and awarded the pivotal point to Scarborough.
“I was frustrated with the call purely for the fact the down ref didn’t know who hit the net,” Northway said. “I knew my middle hitter hit the net, but he said my outside hitter hit the net and that’s not something that can happen in a match like this.”
Falmouth could have come undone, but Treadwell kept her teammates focused.
“I was off the court, but I yelled over (to my teammates), ‘It’s just one point. It doesn’t matter, we can move on. We can come back from it,'” Treadwell said.
In what Northway later called a “correction by the volleyball gods,” Scarborough’s ensuing serve went into the net for a fault to re-tie the set, 10-10.
A block from Simonton gave the visitors an 11-10 lead, but it would be their final advantage. Treadwell tied matters with her 11th and final block.
“We’ve worked a lot in practice on being faster,” Treadwell said. “One of my weaknesses is not getting to the net in time, but I’ve focused on it this week.”
Watson served up an ace to make it 12-11 Falmouth, but the Yachtsmen hit the ball out on the next point to tie things up again. After a kill from junior Victoria Burton on a long point made it 13-12 Falmouth, the Red Storm tied the set for the final time on a kill from Goodwin.
With the match still hanging in the balance, Farmer came up with her biggest kill of the night to push the Yachtsmen to the brink. Then, out of a Scarborough timeout, Treadwell stepped to the service line.
“I was just thinking I needed to get it in,” Treadwell said. “I was going for accuracy over power.”
Treadwell was accurate and Scarborough couldn’t return the shot.
At 8:24 p.m., after a roller-coaster ride of emotion, Falmouth was able to celebrate its 15-13 fifth set victory, which gave it the match in five palpitating sets.
“It was a really good win,” Treadwell said. “It was really important to me and all the seniors. We have a really close team. The underclassmen were playing for us.”
“That was fun, but it was so stressful,” Northway said. “We had a big chat after the terrible loss to Cape the other night. The girls had to dig deep today and they did, I’m so proud of them.”
In the fifth set alone, Treadwell had three service points, including an ace, as well as a kill and a block. For the night, she finished with 11 kills, 11 blocks and 13 service points, including two aces.
“Julia was absolutely incredible,” Northway said. “She’s showed her stuff. She’s a huge team leader. I’m so proud to call her a captain. She’s a huge force on our team.”
Farmer posted 13 kills, two blocks and seven service points, including an ace.
Watson had 21 assists, nine service points and three kills.
Tait added eight service points, including two aces, and White had seven service points, including two aces.
For Scarborough, Goodwin finished with 24 assists and 10 service points, Nelson had 13 kills, Cowan had 10 kills, Marinko finished with seven blocks and six kills, Gorey had eight service points, including three aces, junior Emma Budway had seven service points, including two aces, senior Emily Hanson had seven service points, Foerster had six kills and two aces, Young added six assists and a kill and Harvie wound up with five kills.
Despite all that, the Red Storm fell just short.
“(Falmouth) got tough at the end,” Roberts said. “It was a special night for them. They played hard and congratulations to them. I thought we played really well. If we’d played like that all season, we’d have won more matches than we have. I think we were aggressive most of the night. I thought we fought hard. We missed some serves at key points and they made serves at key points and I think that was the difference. The match was pretty even.”
Scarborough (now fifth in the Class A Heal Points standings) closes the regular season Saturday at Gorham. The Red Storm have what it takes to make a playoff run, but so do many other teams.
“I think we’re ready for playoffs,” Roberts said. “Everybody’s good. The seeding will be interesting. There will be an easy bracket and another bracket where every match will be tough.”
Falmouth (second in Class A) now gears up for the playoffs and any team would be foolish to overlook the Yachtsmen.
“The seniors have thought a lot about states lately,” Treadwell. “We posted a picture on the wall of the four of us kissing the Gold Ball (in 2013). We have to push through. We have to work on individual things. When we string it together, we’re unstoppable. It’ll be interesting. It’s very even this year. It could go any way.”
“I’m hoping we’ll get bumped up quite a bit after this,” Northway said. “We’re taking care of our weaknesses, but we need more hard work. The girls have the confidence to get to states. They just have to prove it on the court. It’s anyone’s game.”
Falmouth’s volleyball team had a lot to smile about Thursday night. Senior Julia Treadwell, far left, and juniors Amanda Watson (18) and Madi Tait celebrate a point during the Yachtsmen’s come-from-behind 3-2 win over Scarborough.
Mike Strout photos.
Falmouth senior Lydia Farmer goes up for a kill as Scarborough senior Taylor Marinko (26) and junior Haley Nelson defend.
Scarborough junior Jordyn Cowan sets the ball.
Falmouth senior Julia Treadwell, who had a phenomenal match, gets the ball past Scarborough juniors Jordyn Cowan (18) and Kacey Foerster.
Scarborough senior Emily Hanson (left) and junior Emma Budway lunge for the ball.
Falmouth junior Madi Tait prepares a serve.
Scarborough junior Jillian Harvie goes up for a kill as Falmouth senior Julia Treadwell defends.
Scarborough junior Caroline Goodwin exults after a point.