Greely rallies for marathon, milestone victory at Yarmouth

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YARMOUTH—Never, ever, ever write off the Greely volleyball team.


The state’s flagship program has an unmatchable reservoir of pride and heart and Monday evening at Yarmouth High School, the Rangers pulled off an unthinkable rally to win a match for the ages and give their longtime coach a personal milestone.

Two-time defending Class B champion Yarmouth, which moved up to Class A this fall, eked out a 25-21 first set victory and shot to an 8-2 lead in the second, but Greely, behind the dominant net play of senior Alex Tebbs and juniors Molly Chapin and Kayley Cimino, rallied to even the match, 25-21. 

When the Rangers pulled away to take the third game, 25-17, the Clippers were on the ropes, but this valiant group rose to the occasion, winning, 25-19, to force a winner-take-all fifth set.

Yarmouth, which had never beaten Greely, put itself on the brink of doing just that, taking a 14-8 lead in the first-team-to-15-points fifth set, but time and time again, Greely refused to buckle and when Cimino delivered a kill, the score was 14-14. The Clippers won the next point (a team needs to win a set by two points), but the Rangers again tied the set, then took the next two points to steal it, 17-15, and win the match, 3-2.

Greely gave coach Kelvin Hasch, the only coach the program has ever known, his 200th career victory, won its fifth match in a row, improved to 5-2, stayed perfect all-time against the Clippers and handed Yarmouth its first setback in six matches and ended its 20-match win streak in the process.

“I’ll never forget this one,” said Hasch, who has nine championships to his credit, but likely has never won a match in such improbable fashion. “It was just awesome. The girls had no idea about (200) until I told them after the match. They were so excited.”

Instant epic

Entering play Monday, Greely had won all 21 previous meetings (see sidebar, below), including a pair in the postseason. The only time Yarmouth had come close to a victory was way back in the second meeting, Oct. 8, 2002 in Cumberland, when the Clippers took the first set, 25-19, and after dropping the second (25-19) and third (25-22), won the fourth, 25-22, to set up a winner-take-all fifth game, which the Rangers won, 15-8.

In 16 of the prior 21 encounters, Greely prevailed, 3-0.

Last year, in the season opener in Cumberland, the Rangers won, 3-1 (25-15, 20-25, 25-11, 25-18). Yarmouth didn’t lose again and won the Class B title for the second year in a row and third time in four seasons before moving up this fall. The Clippers haven’t missed a beat this season, downing visiting Gorham (3-1), host Cony (3-0), host Kennebunk (3-0), visiting Scarborough in a five-set thriller and host Cheverus (3-0).

Greely dropped a heartbreaker to eventual champion Cape Elizabeth in the Class A semifinals last year and started 2015 with successive five-set losses to Falmouth and Scarborough. The Rangers then eked out a 3-2 win over Cape Elizabeth and hit their stride by blanking Cony, Kennebunk and Cheverus.

Monday, in arguably the biggest regular season match ever to be contested in Yarmouth’s gym, two championship contenders put on a show that featured the sport played at its highest level, a match that Greely some how, some way, found a way to win.

The first game set the tone, as neither team had a lead larger than two points until a late run by the Clippers gave them the edge.

The Rangers scored the first two points, but Yarmouth answered with the next two, highlighted by a kill from junior Alison Clark. The set would also be tied 3-3, 5-5, 6-6, 9-9, 10-10, 13-13, 14-14, 15-15, 17-17 and 18-18. The Clippers then went ahead to stay and behind the dazzling serving of junior Andrea St. Pierre opened it up. St. Pierre served three straight aces and a kill from senior Morgan Hamre made it 23-18. Greely responded behind a Chapin kill and another point to force Yarmouth coach Jim Senecal to call timeout. A kill from senior Makenzie Sheehan put the Clippers on the brink and after a service fault kept the Rangers alive, a block from senior Liz Clark gave Yarmouth a 25-21 first set win.

St. Pierre had five service points, including three aces, in the game and Liz Clark added three service points, three assists, two kills and a block. Cimino and Tebbs had two kills each and would soon be heard from in even greater volume.

Greely had an early 2-1 lead in the second set, but Liz Clark’s serving allowed the Clippers to go on a run. A pair of Clark aces and a kill from senior Heather Clark made it 8-2, forcing Hasch to call timeout. 

It worked, as the Rangers pecked away and eventually erased the deficit.

Down 11-4, Greely started to rally on a Yarmouth service fault. A block from senior Hannah Butland, a Tebbs kill and a block from sophomore Sara Agren cut the deficit to 12-11. A Sheehan kill allowed the Clippers to stay on top and the hosts added another point, but the Rangers got back within one, 14-13. Yarmouth got the next point, as it did four more times when Greely got within a point, but up, 19-17, the Clippers gave up a point on a service fault and the Rangers drew even at 19-19. A kill from Tebbs gave Greely its first lead in the set since 2-1 and two more points made it 22-19, forcing Senecal to call timeout. It didn’t help, as Chapin delivered an ace. After Yarmouth got a point back, a Chapin kill made it 24-20. The Clippers stayed alive on a kill from Alison Clark, but Cimino brought the curtain down with a kill to deliver a 25-21 set victory, evening the match.

In the second game, Cimino showed off her myriad skills with four kills, a block and five assists. Tebbs had four kills and Chapin had nine service points and a pair of kills. Liz Clark had six service points, including two aces, and seven assists for Yarmouth, but it wasn’t enough.

The third set resulted in a decisive Greely win.

Yarmouth again started fast as Alison Clark had a kill, but after falling behind, 2-0, the Rangers ran off four straight points, capped by successive Tebbs aces. The Clippers got the next point and pulled within 8-7, but never got any closer. Greely stretched its lead behind kills from Tebbs and Chapin and went up 13-7 before Yarmouth crept back to 14-10. A kill from Tebbs and a Butland ace made it 16-10. The Clippers went on a 4-0 run, capped by a Heather Clark kill, to produce hope, but out of a timeout, the Rangers scored four straight points. After a Heather Clark kill, Greely scored the next four points, highlighted by a Cimino kill and an ace from sophomore Coco Petrone. A service fault delayed the inevitable before Yarmouth hit the ball out and Greely had a 25-17 third set victory and a 2-1 edge in the match.

Tebbs sparkled in that game, serving up eight points, including two aces, while also delivering three kills and an assist. Cimino was content in the set-up role with four assists. Petrone and sophomore Stephanie Johnson were also effective at the stripe with four service points. Liz Clark had eight assists and Alison Clark and Heather Clark both had three kills for the hosts, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

There was still a long way to go, however.

The Clippers showed their ability to overcome by rallying in the fourth set to send the match to the limit.

Greely led just once in the fourth game, 2-1. Yarmouth went ahead for good at 4-3 on a Rangers’ service fault and added to the lead on a kill from Heather Clark and successive aces from Alison Clark to make it 7-3. Clinging to a 9-8 lead, the Clippers scored four in a row, as Liz Clark had a block, Alison Clark produced a kill and junior Rachel Chillé served an ace. After a kill from Tebbs stemmed the run, Alison Clark answered with a kill. Yarmouth served the next ball into the net, but Heather Clark had a kill and the Clippers won a long point for a 16-10 lead. A Cimino block got a point back, but Heather Clark had a kill and Hamre, with her back to the net, somehow sent it over for an 18-11 advantage. Yarmouth went up, 20-12, but in a sign of things to come, Greely scored five straight points, as Johnson had an ace, Cimino had two blocks and Tebbs had a kill, but the Clippers got the next point. A Tebbs kill and another point made it 21-19, but a service fault gave Yarmouth a reprieve and after scoring two more points, Alison Clark brought the curtain down on a 25-19 victory, pushing the match to the final set.

Heather Clark had five kills in the game, while Chillé had six service points and a kill and Alison Clark added four service points and three kills. Cimino had five assists, a kill and a block and Tebbs added six kills, but Greely couldn’t finish it off.

The match would go to a winner-take-all, first-team-to-15 fifth set (and then some) and would produce an ending so stunning that those on hand were still trying to process it long after it concluded.

The Rangers scored the first point, but Yarmouth drew even, then went ahead on a fortuitous bounce off the ceiling and made it 3-1 on an ace from Sheehan. Kills from Tebbs and Cimino forged a 3-3 tie, but a block by Heather Clark put the Clippers back on top. Liz Clark added an ace and Heather Clark had another kill to make it 6-3, forcing Hasch to take timeout.

Out of the timeout, Yarmouth faulted, then Greely got the next point, but Heather Clark came up big again with a kill, then Alison Clark served a point and followed that with an ace to make it 9-5. A Cimino kill was countered by consecutive kills from Chillé, pushing the lead to 11-6 and inducing another Hasch timeout.

After the timeout, Chapin got a point back on a block, but after a long rally, Hamre produced a highlight reel kill across the court, just inside the line, for a 12-7 advantage. The Clippers faulted again, but a soft kill from Chillé was followed by a kill from Alison Clark to make it 14-8 and set the stage for history.

As Yarmouth’s first match victory against Greely and the biggest regular season win in its history was at hand.

Until it wasn’t.

With the Clippers players, coaches and fans poised to erupt, the Rangers got a point to stay alive.

Then, Cimino had a kill to make it 14-10.

The set and the match were then saved by Chapin, who somehow had the presence of mind to whack at the ball and send it over the net after just about everyone else thought the point was over. Yarmouth, which had begun to celebrate, had to collect itself, but hit the ball into the net and suddenly the score was 14-11.

“It wasn’t just me,” Chapin said. “It was everyone else. I was just acting on adrenaline. I just wanted to help my teammates.”

“Everybody has to go after a ball,” Hasch said. “I told them in the huddle to keep going after it.”

An ace from Butland  cut the deficit to 14-12 and Senecal called timeout.

“In those timeouts, what I try to do, and it’s been effective most of the time, is put a big smile on their face and be loose as a coach,” Senecal said. “I try to see the anxiety of the kids go away, but sometimes that’s not easy to do.”

Out of the timeout, Tebbs continued to be undeniable above the net, finishing a kill to make it a one-point game.

Then, it was Cimino’s turn. Her kill tied the score, 14-14.

All of Greely’s hard work appeared to be going for naught, however, when the Rangers hit the ball into the net, giving Yarmouth a seventh chance to close out the match.

It didn’t happen, as the Clippers hit the ball into the net and the score was tied again, 15-15.

Greely won the next point as well on a Yarmouth error and suddenly the Rangers had match point.

And out of a Clippers’ timeout, the Rangers weren’t about to squander their opportunity.

Tebbs launched a hard serve which Andrea St. Pierre couldn’t handle and after a moment of disbelief, Greely erupted, having survived a two-hour passion play, winning the decisive fifth set, 17-15, and the match, 3-2.

“It’s so exciting,” said Chapin. “I don’t even have words to describe it.”

“This one’s unlike any other win,” Tebbs said. “It was all on the line. Everyone put everything on the line and it paid off. We had a lot of teamwork. We lifted each other up between points and made sure we kept our heads up. The bench was incredible. They’re so positive. They kept up our spirits the whole time.”

“That was all heart,” Cimino said. “No matter the score, we had to keep our energy up the entire time. No one got down. Everyone was supportive of everyone and we played our hearts out in that final set. I think our passing game worked well. They’re a tough serving team, so I’m impressed how we did with passing tonight. Our defense was incredible. We picked up everything they put down. Yarmouth’s improved so much. Some of (their girls) play with me or with Alex or Molly in club. The coaching they’ve gotten this winter is incredible. They’ve obviously improved. Five sets seems to be our thing. I’d like to win in three, but we’ve been there and done it.”

“I was looking for the way the old Greely was,” Hasch added. “The way we could come back from anything. I didn’t think we had it, then all of a sudden, the girls got the feeling and we pulled it out. They’ve got guts. They’ve got energy when they need it. They fight the whole time.

“Yarmouth is tough. They’ve come so far. I’m not sure they’re not the best team at this moment. They ran down more shots than I thought Falmouth or Scarborough did.”

Butland was the fifth set hero, producing six service points to go with three assists. Cimino had five kills.

For the match, Tebbs had 17 kills and 12 service points and Cimino added 15 assists and 12 kills.

“(Alex and Kayley are) incredible,” Chapin said. “I just started playing recently, so they’re definitely role models to me. I definitely look up to them a lot.”

“They can hit the ball when they get set,” Hasch said. “When they hit the ball, they can’t be stopped.”

Chapin finished with 12 service points, six kills and three blocks. Butland had 14 assists and nine service points. Johnson had 11 service points and Petrone finished with nine service points.

“Stephanie Johnson is a newer player, but she did amazing,” said Chapin. “She picked up so many balls. We’re so proud of her.”

“My hat’s off to Stephanie Johnson,” Hasch said. “She did an awesome job. Coco played really well in the backcourt. It was a great effort by everybody.” 

After the win, Hasch was overcome with emotion when he talked about the victory and the program’s journey from a novelty at the start of the century to the state’s unquestioned premier power.

“I never thought it would be like this,” Hasch said. “I just wanted to go out and do the best I could and try to get the girls to work as a team and see what happens. Lots of good things have happened.”

“I didn’t even realize it was his 200th win until after the match,” said Tebbs. “Everyone was emotional. It was amazing.”


Yarmouth got 34 assists from Liz Clark, 14 kills and five blocks from Heather Clark and a dozen kills, eight digs and eight service points from Alison Clark. Chillé added nine digs, eight kills and eight service points. Andrea St. Pierre had 15 digs and eight service points. Junior Sydney St. Pierre added 11 digs.

Yarmouth did fault a costly 13 times.

“One of the keys to the match is that they didn’t miss many serves and we missed a lot,” Senecal said.

For all the good the Clippers did Monday night, they were left absolutely shell-shocked after the gutwrenching, impossible-to-believe defeat.

“I haven’t experienced anything like that before,” Senecal lamented. “We had ’em. We thought we had it. We didn’t finish it when we had the opportunity. We seemed to have the momentum, but they’re a great team. They refused to lose. They covered the floor very well and we couldn’t find an answer. We didn’t do a great job of serving them out of system. Greely passed really, really well and because of that, they got the match. More power to them.

“I hate to lose, but there was a lot of years that we weren’t even close with that club. It would have been a nice win for us, but we have a long way to go and the same teams who are at the top now will be there at the end and I think we’re one of them. It’s gratifying to play tough teams like this. We finished the job against Scarborough, but couldn’t finish the job tonight. I’m so glad we’ve made the move (to Class A). Win or lose, it’s a great experience for the kids.”

Great matches everywhere

The biggest theme of the 2015 season is that several championship-caliber teams populate Class A and nearly every match between top contenders has the opportunity to be an instant classic. 

Yarmouth (which plummeted from first to sixth in the Class A Heal Points standings after the loss) looks to bounce back Friday when Mt. Desert Island pays a visit. The Clippers then go to to Scarborough and Gorham the following week. Yarmouth still has to play at Falmouth and Biddeford and closes the regular season at home versus Cape Elizabeth Oct. 17.

“I sound like (Patriots coach Bill) Belichick,” said Senecal. “I told the girls that we’re on to MDI. They’re a good team. This is over. It’s done. We knew we wouldn’t go undefeated. We’ll start over in practice tomorrow. It wasn’t that long ago when our program wasn’t anywhere near where we are today. We’re very proud of what’s happened with our program.”

As for Greely, now fourth in Class A, it looks to extend its win streak Thursday at Biddeford. Next week brings visits from Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth. Matches at Scarborough and Cony and at home versus Gorham and Biddeford also remain.

“We still have to work on serves and passing,” Tebbs said. “We have to start matches off at a top level.”

“We’re not the top team going in, but a lot of hard work has made us a team not to overlook,” Chapin said. “There are a lot of tough teams in the league, but don’t count us out.” 

“I’m so excited to see the overall level of play,” Hasch added. “People thought it was fun for us to beat up on everybody, but this is a lot more fun. We used to be lucky if we had one five-set match in a season, now we’ve had four already. It’s anyone’s game on anyone’s night. The whole season will be like that.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Greely celebrates a point during the decisive fifth set Monday night at Yarmouth. The Rangers fended off seven match points and rallied to win a thriller, 3-2.

Jim Allen photos.

Greely sophomore Sara Agren (17) and senior Hannah Butland play defense at the net.

Greely senior Alex Tebbs, who was sensational, is met at the net by Yarmouth seniors Heather Clark and Makenzie Sheehan.

Greely sophomore Stephanie Johnson, who played a breakthrough match, skies for the ball.

Greely junior Kayley Cimino soars for a kill. Cimino excelled as a setter and above the net.

Yarmouth senior captain Liz Clark and Greely junior Molly Chapin meet at the net.

Yarmouth senior captain Makenzie Sheehan goes up for a kill.

Greely celebrates and looks on in shock after Monday’s stunning come-from-behind win.

Greely coach Kelvin Hasch looks on from the bench. Hasch won his 200th career match Monday.

Sidebar Elements

Previous Greely-Yarmouth results

@ Greely 3 Yarmouth 1 

Greely 3 @ Yarmouth 0 

@ Greely 3 Yarmouth 0 

Greely 3 @ Yarmouth 0
@ Greely 3 Yarmouth 0
Class A quarterfinals
@ Greely 3 Yarmouth 1 

@ Greely 3 Yarmouth 0 

@ Greely 3 Yarmouth 0 

@ Greely 3 Yarmouth 0 

@ Greely 3 Yarmouth 0
Greely 3 @ Yarmouth 0 

Greely 3 @ Yarmouth 0
@ Greely 3 Yarmouth 0 

@ Greely 3 Yarmouth 0
@ Greely 3 Yarmouth 0
Greely 3 @ Yarmouth 1
State quarterfinals
@ Greely 3 Yarmouth 0 

@ Greely 3 Yarmouth 0
Greely 3 @ Yarmouth 1 

@ Greely 3 Yarmouth 0
Greely 3 @ Yarmouth 2 

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