(Editor’s note: For the complete Greely-Scarborough match story, with photos, please visit theforecaster.net)
It appears that 2010 was a mere blip on the radar for the powerhouse Greely volleyball program.
That’s because the Rangers have returned to championship form this fall.
Greely opened with a 3-0 win over Yarmouth, then downed Gorham (3-1), Kennebunk (3-0) and defending Class A state champion Biddeford (3-0, by 26-24, 25-16, 25-22 scores), avenging last year’s playoff loss in the process.
“Last year, we had a tough year because we lost 10 players and only had four returning varsity members,” Greely’s Maggie Bradley said. “This year, we only lost four players and came back with nine. We already know each other. We were definitely disappointed last year. This year, we have high hopes and we’re keeping our fingers crossed. So far, we’ve done really well and we surprise ourselves sometimes. We work hard in practice.”
Thursday brought a big test at unbeaten Scarborough, but the Rangers passed again in four tough games, winning 25-20, 28-26, 13-25, 25-19.
“We have a great team this year,” said Bradley, who was her usual superb self on the night. “We have a lot of people back. We have two great setters. We have our hitters. We’re all together. We know each other’s attitudes, when we’re down and when we’re up. Being so in tune with each other allowed us to push through even after the substantial loss in the third game. We were able to rally and pump each other up. That’s the best thing about a team that’s been together for awhile.”
“That was pretty sweet,” added Greely coach Kelvin Hasch. “I think experience set in a little bit. We’ve worked a lot on being in close matches, because I feel we’ll be in a lot of close matches this year. You have to be able to play from behind and steal them. I thought after the third game that we had to wake up and see how good our conditioning was. We started bending our knees and jumping up again. We just didn’t execute anything that third set.”
Bradley and newcomer Jordynne Copp led the way statistically.
Bradley had 10 kills, two assists and 16 digs.
“I was looking for Maggie to take over the game tonight,” Hasch said. “She didn’t really do that, but she played solid defense and hit the ball. What I like most about what she did tonight was she played smart. She looked for an opening and put the ball in there.”
Copp also wound up with 10 kills and five blocks.
“Jordynne has been slowly eased into her (middle blocker) role,” Hasch said. “She keeps improving every single night. She can handle the role. She has confidence in her abilities. For a small kid, she can jump. She’s very sensitive at the net. She knows what will happen. She gets the little tips. She’s a huge asset when she’s in there.”
Greely improved to 6-0 Monday with a 3-0 win at first year Lake Region. The Rangers (now first in the Class A Heal Points standings) host Cony Thursday, have a home showdown with Falmouth (a state finalist each of the past two seasons) Saturday and welcome Cape Elizabeth Tuesday of next week.
“I think it’s going to be a fun year,” said Hasch. “We have five teams who could beat us on a given night. I think the girls are driven, especially the seniors. They know what it’s about. We have a lot of games to play.”
“We’re taking it one step at a time, but a championship is definitely what we’re striving for this year,” Copp added.
Hot on Greely’s heels is Falmouth, which won its first three matches before dropping a four-game decision to visiting Scarborough last Tuesday (16-25, 18-25, 25-20, 20-25). Two nights later, the Yachtsmen beat host Kennebunk in four games (25-11, 18-25, 25-18, 25-19) to improve to 4-1 (fourth in the Heals).
“So far, the season’s been going well,” said Falmouth coach Gary Powers. “We’re still playing around with our lineup, but the team’s starting to jell and work together. We hit a bump with the Scarborough match, and while we were chasing down balls and hitting the floor, we couldn’t get our offense started. I was really proud of the heart the kids showed on the floor.”
The Yachtsmen were home with Yarmouth Tuesday, had a rematch at Scarborough Thursday and go to Greely Saturday. Tuesday of next week, Falmouth hosts North Yarmouth Academy.
In Class B, Yarmouth evened its record at 2-2 last week with a marathon 3-2 (25-17, 25-20, 17-25, 23-25, 15-12) triumph over visiting Gorham.
“It was a matchup between two evenly matched teams,” said Clippers coach Jim Senecal. “Gorham’s strength was from their outside hitters and we countered with very strong play from our middle hitters. It seemed like we had things completely under control in the first two games, but Gorham got momentum and confidence. During the huddle in game five, senior Morgan Cahill calmly told her teammates that they were going to turn it around and they did. Morgan dominated the match, collecting 13 kills and 10 blocks and she was especially effective in that final game.
“I was very proud of the girls and the way they game back in game five,” he added. “That was a big match for us and Gorham will be worth a lot of Heal Points by the end of the year. It could mean the difference between us hosting a playoff match or traveling long distance to our competitors.”
In addition to Cahill’s dominance, Yarmouth got 18 assists from sophomore setter Grace Mallett and nine digs, six kills and 12 service points from Suzanne Driscoll.
The Clippers (fourth in Class B) host Kennebunk Thursday, then travel for weekend matches with Jonesport-Beals, Machias and Sumner. Tuesday, Yarmouth visits NYA.
The Panthers fell to 0-4 and ninth after Monday’s 3-1 home loss to Cape Elizabeth. NYA was coming off a 3-1 setback at Lake Region. After facing Jonesport-Beals and Machias this weekend, the Panthers are at Falmouth Tuesday of next week.
Greely’s Jordynne Copp soars high to fire a shot during the Rangers’ impressive 3-1 win at Scarborough last week. Greely is 6-0 on the season.
Greely standout Maggie Bradley contorts herself as she prepares a kill during last week’s match.