Greely volleyball makes quick work of Gorham in quarterfinals

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CUMBERLAND—A championship program knows there’s no sense dragging out the inevitable and Saturday evening, Greely’s powerhouse volleyball team made quick work of visiting Gorham in a Western Class A quarterfinal.

The top-ranked Rangers, last seen losing in straight sets at Cape Elizabeth in the regular season finale, rode the strong passing and serving of sophomore Kayley Cimino and solid net play from senior Lauren Weickert to a 25-17 first set victory and never looked back.

In the second set, junior Alex Tebbs put on a serving clinic and Greely rolled, 25-11.

With the eighth-seeded Rams trying to rally in the third game, the Rangers refused to buckle and went on to a 25-18 victory to take the match, 3-0.

Greely improved to 13-2, ended Gorham’s season at 9-7 and advanced to set up a delicious semifinal round showdown versus No. 5 Cape Elizabeth (13-2) Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in Cumberland.

“The girls know what to do,” said longtime Rangers coach Kelvin Hasch. “They know they have to play together and work hard. We had to go do it. It’s a new season. We didn’t mess around.”

It’s been awhile

Greely and Gorham used to meet regularly in the postseason. From 2004 through 2008, the Rangers and Rams squared off every season, with Greely taking all five matches by 3-0 margins (four came in the semifinals, one in a regional final, see sidebar, below).

This fall, the teams took different paths to their playoff showdown.

Gorham won the matches it was supposed to win, but the Rams struggled with the elite teams like Biddeford, Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, Greely and defending Class B champion Yarmouth. Still, Gorham earned the No. 8 seed and ousted No. 9 Windham in Thursday’s preliminary round, 3-1.

Greely was invincible most of the year, finding a way to survive five-set scares from Biddeford and Scarborough en route to an 11-0 start. The Rangers then lost two of their final three, sandwiching 3-0 losses at Falmouth and Cape Elizabeth around a 3-1 victory at South Portland. Still, its 12-2 mark gave Greely the top seed for the first time since 2011.

Saturday, the Rangers flipped their playoff switch and were never seriously threatened.

Gorham started the match with an ace from junior Cassidy Landry and got the next point as well, but Tebbs had a kill and junior Hannah Butland delivered an ace to tie it. The Rams got the next point, but Greely gradually opened up a lead, thanks in part to three kills from Weickert and an ace from senior Emily Buchanan, which made it 14-8. Gorham pulled within 17-13, but Tebbs had a pair of aces and after the Rams made it 21-17, the Rangers got a point, then received consecutive aces from Cimino before Cimino set up Weickert for a kill to end it, 25-17.

“I’d say we really brought up the energy this time,” Weickert said. “We had low energy against Falmouth and Greely, but we came ready to win this game. We wanted it more.”

The second set began with a Tebbs kill. Sophomore Molly Chapin added another. Gorham went up, 3-2, but the next three points went to the Rangers, punctuated by a Tebbs ace. After the Rams drew even on a block from sophomore Kristen Curley, a Chapin kill gave the hosts the lead for good. Gorham still had hope down, 16-10, but a Cimino kill got Tebbs to the service line and with the benefit of three aces, Tebbs served seven straight points to make it 24-10.

“(Serving’s) a mental thing,” said Tebbs. “You get one in and you keep going. I’ve been working on it practice.”

After the Rams got a point back, a Cimino kill brought the curtain down on a 25-11 victory.

Cimino returned to her fearsome hitting ways Saturday after spending more time setting late in the regular season.

“We’re in the same rotation, we’ve just worked with Hannah setting me a little more and same thing, with me setting her a little more so we can get our right side offense going,” said Cimino, who credited assistant coach and former Rangers standout Erica Davis for helping her soar for kills like no one else.

“It’s all about (agility drills) in practice,” Cimino said. “Shoutout to Erica Davis for that.”

Greely never trailed in the third set, scoring the first five points behind the serving of Butland.

After Gorham got a kill from Curley, Tebbs had two more aces and Chapin had a kill to make it 9-1. A Cimino kill and two Cimino aces made it 13-4. After the Rams pulled back within 13-7, Weickert had a kill and Buchanan served an ace for a 15-7 lead. The Rams got within 18-13, but a Cimino kill stemmed the tide. Tebbs then delivered her final ace. After Gorham sophomore Diana Kolb produced a kill, Gorham only trailed, 21-18, but Tebbs had a kill and after another point, Buchanan registered a kill before Cimino closed out the third set and the match with an ace for a 25-18 victory.

“We were really focused on trying to get every ball on the court no matter what,” Tebbs said. “I think we did a good job doing that. We got a lot of balls over we didn’t expect to. We kept pushing and we didn’t let up. That’s really what helped us.”

Tebbs finished with 15 service points, including nine aces, and also had nine kills.

Cimino added 13 assists, nine kills, eight service points and six kills.

Butland had 13 assists, six service points and two aces.

“Hannah’s very quick on the court,” Cimino said. “She’s very smart and knows where to put the ball.”

Weickert finished with seven kills and a pair of blocks.

Buchanan had five service points, including two aces, and also had a pair of kills.

Chapin added three kills and Mann had five service points.

“We made very few errors and moved the ball around,” Hasch said. “The hitting was pretty evenly dispersed. Our serving was a nice to thing to see.”

Gorham was paced by six kills from Curley. Kolb added five kills. Senior Kate Curley had six service points, while Landry also had six service points, two of which were aces.

Semifinal showdown

A Greely-Cape Elizabeth state match would be compelling, but the teams will meet one round earlier when the Capers come to town Wednesday night.

The Rangers split two straight sets encounters with Cape Elizabeth this fall. The teams have no playoff history.

“We need work on being quick on the court,” Tebbs said. “We can’t let them go on long runs.”

“We don’t feel pressure,” Weickert said. “We have a long history of being the 1 seed. We have to stay strong as a team and be together mentally.”

“We have to work hard and get prepared to do our thing,” Hasch added. “You don’t win championships without beating the best. I’d just assume beat the best to get there and then there’s no discrepancy.”

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

Greely senior Emily Buchanan goes way up for a kill.

Greely junior Hannah Butland sets up a teammate.

Greely sophomore Kayley Cimino blocks a shot at the net.

Greely sophomore Molly Chapin blocks a shot.

Greely junior Alex Tebbs finishes a point.

Greely senior Lauren Weickert sends a shot past a Gorham defender for a point.

Greely junior Alex Tebbs celebrates a point.

Previous Greely-Gorham playoff results

2008 West Region semifinals
@ Greely 3 Gorham 0

2007 West Region semifinals
@ Greely 3 Gorham 0

2006 West Region semifinals
@ Greely 3 Gorham 0

2005 West Region Final
@ Greely 3 Gorham 0

2004 State Semifinals
@ Greely 3 Gorham 0

Sidebar Elements


Greely senior Audrey Mann (in blue) junior Alex Tebbs (24) and senior Emily Buchanan (3) scream with delight while sophomore Kayley Cimino joins the celebration after the Rangers close out a 3-0 Class A quarterfinal round victory over Gorham Saturday.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.

Previous Greely stories

Season Preview

Greely 3 Biddeford 2

Greely 3 Scarborough 2

Falmouth 3 Greely 0

Cape Elizabeth 3 Greely 0

Previous Gorham story

Yarmouth 3 Gorham 1

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