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Scarborough volleyball beats Greely again

Sports

Scarborough volleyball beats Greely again

CUMBERLAND—Scarborough's volleyball team finally slayed the Greely dragon last month, but the Red Storm did it on its homecourt.

Tuesday evening, Scarborough made an even bigger statement by beating the Rangers again.

At Greely.

In three games.

Showing tremendous heart, skill and tenacity in the process.

On "Dig Pink Night," a fundraiser to fight breast cancer, which featured pink uniforms for both squads, the Red Storm got off to a hot start, riding seven aces to a 25-17 victory in the first set. The second game was up for grabs, tied at 20-20, 22-22 and 23-23, but Scarborough got the final two points and put itself on the brink of victory. Hopes of a triumph appeared if they'd be delayed when the Red Storm fell behind, 19-24, in the third set, but Scarborough pulled off an epic rally, fending off five game points before finally pulling it out, 30-28, to win the match, 3-0.

The Red Storm got several clutch performances and made the key plays on the biggest points as it improved to 8-0, dropping the two-time defending Class A champion Rangers to 7-2 in the process.

"I don't know if we were looking to make a statement, we just wanted to play them tough," said Scarborough coach Jon Roberts. "The kids have waited a long time to win in this gym. To win in that fashion shows a lot about the character of our team. The girls are mentally tough. This is the first team I truly believe, no matter the score, they can come back. They believe in each other."

State match preview?

Greely opened its season with a thrilling five-set victory over Biddeford (in a state final rematch), then lost at Scarborough (for the first time in 21 meetings), 3-1. The Rangers rebounded with wins over visiting Windham (3-0), host Kennebunk (3-1), host Lake Region (3-0), visiting Gorham (3-0). visiting Mt. Desert Island (3-0) and visiting Ellsworth (3-0).

Scarborough had no trouble with visiting Thornton Academy or Cony in 3-0 victories, then made a big statement with its historic 3-1 home win over Greely. The Red Storm hasn't let down since, defeating visiting Gorham, host Biddeford, visiting Lake Region and host South Portland by 3-0 margins.

Greely entered the match 20-1 all-time against Scarborough (please see sidebar, below), but after beating its nemesis once, the Red Storm produced another first, sweeping the Rangers for the first time, although it wasn't easy.

Greely seniors Lexi Foster, Kaija Petrone, Krystyna Rybka and Michaela Weeks organized the "Dig Pink" festivities.

"Four girls volunteered and planned tonight's activities and I think it went off very well," said Rangers coach Kelvin Hasch.

In the first game, Scarborough showed off its serving form, as senior Abby Mills delivered three straight aces to set the tone. The Red Storm gradually built its lead and never let the Rangers go on a patented run. A kill from junior Kayla Savage put Scarborough on the brink and when Greely hit a shot out of play, Scarborough had a 25-17 victory.

The Red Storm had seven aces out of its 25 points.

"We work really hard, especially on our jump serves," Mills said. "Coach told us to serve aggressive. We kept serving hard and didn't worry about missing it. That helped."

"I think we're a tough serving team," Roberts said. "It can come back to bite us as we missed a lot too. As a coach, I can't be too upset because we get a lot of points on our serve."

The second game was much closer.

The Red Storm opened up a 3-0 lead, but the Rangers rattled off six in a row and eventually went up, 9-4, on a block from junior Lauren Weickert. Scarborough battled back to lead, 12-11, and eventually 16-13, but Greely tied the score at 17-17 and 20-20.

Then, controversy ensued.

The scoreboard didn't properly register the score and a Mills kill made the score, 22-21.

The problem was, the Rangers were in the lead, but it wasn't reflected that way.

Then, after a seemingly interminable delay, Greely was correctly given a 22-21 lead.

"(Jon) and I had the score 22-21, but our scorer had it the other way around," said Hasch. "I tried to tell the official a couple points ahead of that that the score was wrong, but she wouldn't blow her whistle. I told her twice and nothing happened. When I told her the third time, she went over to see what was wrong. The referee said the book didn't have it. They had the score in the wrong place or something, but they figured it out. It shouldn't have taken that long. It is what it is."

Upon resumption of play, Savage tied the game with a kill and the contest was evened again, 23-23. Greely then hit the ball into the net and on the final point, hit the ball long and Scarborough had a 25-23 decision and was in control of the match.

Prior to the third game, there was a break for a speech from a cancer survivor and when the match continued, the best game of the night ensued.

The Rangers shot to a 7-1 lead as senior Jordynne Copp took center stage, delivering a kill and three aces. Roberts called timeout to settle his team and the Red Storm rallied, tying the game, 9-9, on an ace from Mills. Greely went back on top, 15-10, and extended its lead to 22-15. When Weickert had a kill, the lead was 23-16. Scarborough got three points back, but a Weickert kill put the Rangers on the brink of extending the match to a fourth set.

It never happened.

The Red Storm began to creep back. A kill from senior Mary Cleary and strong service from senior Hallie Odonnell kept the visitors alive. When Savage delivered a kill, the game was deadlocked, 24-24.

In that situation, a team has to win a game by two points and on four different occasions, Greely was a point away, but every time, Scarborough answered, thanks in large part to Rangers' mistakes.

At 28-28, senior Natalie Foster gave the Red Storm a 29-28 lead and on the following point, Greely hit the ball out, giving Scarborough the game, 30-28, and the match, 3-0.

"We've never been pushed like that," Mills said. "We all came together and it was the best feeling ever. Coach said, 'Get it to 24-24 without making a mistake.' We did that. Then, we made a mistake and he said, 'One more. Keep pushing and cut down on the mistakes'. That's what we did.

"It was relief and exhilaration (when it was over). I get stressed out. To beat them in their gym is incredible. Especially for the girls who lost to them at states our sophomore year, we're so happy. This reassures us that we're a good team. When we're really challenged and can come back,"

"(At 24-20,) I said, 'We have to get four more points before they get one,'" Roberts said. "When we tied it, I said, 'OK. We're here. Just be tough.' I'm proud of how they responded.  This is the first group I've had for four years. They epitomize what I want out of the program.

"It's a great win for us. Greely is getting better. They're better than last time. They'll be even better in a couple weeks. I'd prefer not to play them."

Cleary finished with nine kills. Mills had five kills, eight digs and six aces. Savage had five kills and six digs. Foster finished with five kills. Piper had 13 assists, while Odonnell added 11.

"Natalie had an incredible game," said Mills. "Our centers were spot-on tonight."

Greely was left stunned.

"That's not us," Hasch said. "Not to take anything away from (Scarborough). When they had to play, they played great. We just couldn't execute. We had a hard time passing the ball tonight. We didn't have smart decisions at certain points. You can't win that way. I tell the girls that when they go to the service line that if the score's close, just get it in. We didn't do that. We're trying to figure out what we need to do to get it together. We have the talent. I think we can turn it into a positive."

Closing stretch

Greely (still first in the Class A Heal Points standings, barely) has some stern tests remaining. After going to Falmouth Saturday, the Rangers go to Biddeford, host Falmouth, play at dangerous Cape Elizabeth, then close at Gorham.

"We have five matches to get our act together," Hasch said. "All of them are very tough. We just need to turn it on. The way it looks right now, Scarborough's in control. Hopefully, we'll figure it out."

Scarborough (which moved up from sixth to second in the Heals by virtue of the win) looks to keep on rolling Thursday, when it goes to Kennebunk. After playing at Falmouth and Windham, the Red Storm sandwiches home matches with Biddeford and Falmouth around a trip to Gorham.

"We just keep improving by leaps and bounds," Mills said. "I think there are great things to come for us. We have two big games against Falmouth. We're really excited about that. We're working on cutting out our mistakes. Being strong and aggressive, hustling. We've worked hard on our defense. We know we have strong hitters. It's paying off."

"Nothing (we do now) matters when you get to the tournament," Roberts said. "We'll keep playing tough and believing in what we're doing. We need to stay aggressive and eliminate mistakes. We believe we can win and if we're aggressive, we can beat anybody."

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

Photo: Michael Strout

Scarborough senior Abby Mills closes her eyes and tries to deny Greely senior Emily Warnock at the net.

Photo: Michael Strout

Greely senior Emily Warnock soars above the net for a kill.

Photo: Michael Strout

Greely sophomore Hannah Butland sets up a teammate.

Photo: Michael Strout

Greely's stellar senior libero Lexi Foster handles a shot.

Photo: Michael Strout

Scarborough senior Mary Cleary blocks a shot.

Photo: Michael Strout

Scarborough senior Lauren Piper goes all out in an attempt to dig the ball off the court.

Photo: Michael Strout

Scarborough senior Hallie Odonnell shows great concentration.

Previous Greely-Scarborough meetings

2013
@ Scarborough 3 Greely 1

2012
Greely 3 @ Scarborough 0
Class A semifinal
@ Greely 3 Scarborough 2

2011
@ Greely 3 Scarborough 1
Greely 3 @ Scarborough 1
Class A State Final
Greely 3 Scarborough 1

2010
@ Greely 3 Scarborough 0
Greely 3 @ Scarborough 2

2009
Greely 3 @ Scarborough 1
@ Greely 3 Scarborough 0
Class A quarterfinals
@ Greely 3 Scarborough 0

2008
Greely 3 @ Scarborough 0
@ Greely 3 Scarborough 0

2007
@ Greely 3 Scarborough 0
Greely 3 @ Scarborough 0

2006
@ Greely 3 Scarborough 0
Greely 3 @ Scarborough 0

2005
Greely 3 @ Scarborough 0
@ Greely 3 Scarborough 0

2004
@ Greely 3 Scarborough 0
Greely 3 @ Scarborough 0