CUMBERLAND—Greely’s volleyball team did exactly what it had to Saturday evening in its Class A state quarterfinal round match against visiting Mt. Desert Island.
The Rangers started fast, asserted control and never gave the underdog Trojans the belief they could spring the upset.
And as a result, Greely is now two wins from another state title.
The all-around brilliance of junior Kayley Cimino, power game of senior Alex Tebbs and pinpoint passing of senior Hannah Butland helped the Rangers win the first game by a decisive 25-14 margin.
While MDI made things very interesting in the second set, tying the score at 20-20 at one juncture, Greely closed strong and a block from secret weapon, senior Lauren Murley, closed out a 25-20 victory.
Rangers coach Kelvin Hasch was able to substitute liberally in the third game and while the Trojans refused to go quietly, Greely gradually pulled away for a 25-17 win as it took the match in three straight sets.
The Rangers improved to 12-3, ended MDI’s season at 9-7 and advanced to set up a delicious semifinal round showdown against rival Falmouth (11-4) Wednesday at a time to be announced.
“We wanted the first set and then I wanted to get some kids in there to play because going forward, I don’t know how much they’ll get to play,” Hasch said.
Greely’s happy to let Cape Elizabeth wear the top-seed bulls-eye this season, but it’s quite likely the Rangers are the squad best equipped to end the Capers’ reign.
After starting the season with dramatic five-set losses to Falmouth and Scarborough, Greely won every match but one (a four-set loss to Cape Elizabeth) and wound up ranked second in a very deep and balanced Class A.
MDI, a longtime contender, went 8-6 in the regular season, then swept No. 10 Cheverus out of Thursday’s preliminary round match, 3-0.
The teams have ample playoff history. They met every season between 2002 and 2008, the last five times in the state final, and Greely took all seven matchups, either by scores of 3-0 or 3-1.
“We used to see (MDI) a lot and I kind of miss going there,” Hasch said. “They invited us up there next year, but it’s out of my hands.”
The last time the teams shared the court for a countable match was Sept. 27, 2013, a 3-0 home win for the Rangers.
This time around, Greely quickly took care of business.
Two kills from Cimino and another from Tebbs set the tone. An ace from Cimino put the Rangers on top to stay and a block from sophomore Sara Agren and a kill from junior Molly Chapin opened up a 7-3 lead. After MDI got as close as 8-7, Tebbs had a kill and Chapin served up an ace. Leading, 15-11, a Chapin kill and a Cimino ace forced Trojans coach Corey Papadopoli to call timeout, but it didn’t stem the tide. A Tebbs kill made it 21-12 and after MDI pulled within seven, Tebbs had successive kills, Greely got another point and at match point, the Trojans hit the ball into the net, giving the Rangers a 25-14 set victory.
In that set, Cimino had five service points, including a pair of aces, four kills and four assists. Tebbs had five kills and Butland had seven assists.
The second game proved to be a little tighter.
MDI took a 5-2 lead behind an ace from Emma Watras and a kill from Caroline McMinimy, but Greely got right back in it and took a 7-6 lead on a kill from Murley. After the Trojans tied it, 9-9, Tebbs had consecutive kills and the Rangers got another point to appear primed to open it up, but MDI fought back and tied the game at 12-12, forcing Hasch to call timeout.
It worked, as Greely got a kill from Cimino and a block from Murley, but the Trojans wouldn’t go away and after the Rangers went up, 19-15, the visitors scored five of the next six points, capped by consecutive aces, to tie it, 20-20. A service fault gave Greely the lead back, however, and the Rangers took advantage, getting a break when MDI hit the ball in the net, then getting a kill from Tebbs, another point and finally a Murley kill to close out the second set, 25-20.
Murley had three kills and a block in that game.
“Lauren brings a lot of leadership,” said Chapin. “It’s nice to count on her big set of hands at the net.”
“Lauren has played very well the past few matches,” Hasch said. “It’s nice having a senior out there.”
Cimino had six service points, six assists and three kills, Butland added five assists, Tebbs had four kills and Chapin contributed four service points and three kills in the set.
The Rangers trailed by a point on three early occasions in the third set, but went ahead for good, 4-3. Up, 6-5, Chapin had a kill and Greely got the next three points, forcing a Trojans’ timeout. Chapin served one more point out of the break, her fourth in a row, before MDI got the next point. With the score, 14-9, the Rangers got six of the next seven points to open it up, as Chapin had a kill and Cimino served three aces. While the Trojans rallied to pull within 21-16 on an ace from Cassidy Parady, the next serve went awry for a fault. MDI got the next point to make it 22-17, but Tebbs had a kill, Butland served an ace and Murley ended the 73-minute match with a kill, giving Greely the 25-17 third set win and a straight set victory.
“We didn’t really know what to expect,” Chapin said. “We heard that they were a really good defensive team and they were really scrappy. We didn’t want to discount them before we played them. They made it hard for us.”
“Our offense really worked hard,” Murley said. “We came out and had a lot of energy in the first and second sets. It’s really important to keep your energy up.”
“I knew we should be able to handle them,” Hasch added. “All they play is defense. I didn’t think they had much hitting. I told my girls to just hit the ball.”
Cimino had five service points, including four aces, in the third set, giving her 16 service points, including six aces, for the match. She also had 12 assists and eight kills.
Tebbs had 11 kills, Butland 14 assists, Chapin 11 service points and seven kills and Murley three kills and three blocks.
“It’s important to have different players who have different strengths,” Murley said. “We had different players bring different things to the court tonight.”
“Molly’s done well hitting the ball and Kayley and Alex are here every night to do their thing, but they couldn’t do it without the other players on the court,” Hasch said. “Everybody’s contributing.”
MDI was paced eight service points, including three aces, from Parady, who also had four kills. Mackenzie Hanna had 11 assists.
Falmouth will be a daunting semifinal round foe. The teams met in the opener, Sept. 4, in Falmouth, and the Yachtsmen won the first two sets, the Rangers took the third and fourth and Falmouth rallied to take the match with a 15-12 victory in the decisive fifth game. The teams met again Oct. 1 in Cumberland and this time, Greely prevailed in four sets (25-16, 24-26, 25-20, 25-18).
The Rangers have won all three previous playoff meetings, taking the state final in 2009 (3-0), the 2011 semifinals (3-0) and the 2012 quarterfinals (3-1).
Don’t be surprised if this one’s a thriller.
“It’s a matter of bringing the intensity and playing the way we know how to play,” Murley said. “We’re a really strong offensive team and I think if we bring that, we have a chance to beat them.”
“All the top teams have worked hard all season and it’s shown in the postseason,” Chapin said. “We’re excited to see where it goes from here.”
“I expect a tough match from Falmouth,” Hasch added. “They’re a good hitting team and they block. We have to play errorless ball. It should be fun. I think you’ll see a couple really good semis that might go five (sets). I think Scarborough will push Cape too.”
Greely’s volleyball team celebrates its straight sets win over MDI in Saturday night’s Class A state quarterfinal. The Rangers host Falmouth Wednesday night in the semifinals.
Chris Lambert photos.
Greely junior Molly Chapin sends the ball over MDI defenders Valerie DelCid (4) and Caroline McMinimy.
Greely senior Hannah Butland sets for classmate Lauren Murley.
Greely senior Alex Tebbs keeps her eye on the ball.
Greely junior Molly Chapin delivers a serve.
Greely senior Lauren Murley soars to block the shot of MDI’s Emma Watras.
2008 State Final
Greely 3 MDI 0
2007 State Final
Greely 3 MDI 1
2006 State Final
Greely 3 MDI 0
2005 State Final
Greely 3 MDI 1
2004 State Final
Greely 3 MDI 0
2003 State Semifinal
Greely 3 MDI 1
2002 State Quarterfinal
Greely 3 MDI 1