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SCARBOROUGH — As the Scarborough volleyball team seeks its place in the Class A pecking order this fall, Tuesday evening’s 3-1 home loss to six-time defending state champion Greely should serve as a confidence booster.
The Red Storm were competitive in three of the four games, made the Rangers sweat and even though Scarborough fell to 3-3 on the year after a 3-1 loss to the Rangers, coach Jody King believes the Red Storm’s best is yet to come.
“This is the first time we’ve taken a game off them, so I’m very pleased with that,” King said. “Greely’s a strong team and is still the team to beat, but I think they’re beatable.”
Scarborough has been a playoff team every season since 2005, reached the semifinals in 2006 and 2007 and ended up 7-8 after a quarterfinal round loss to Gorham last autumn.
This fall, the Red Storm opened with a pair of losses: 3-1 to talented Falmouth and 3-0 to Yarmouth, then rattled off victories over NYA and Cape Elizabeth in three games and Biddeford in a five-game thriller (25-21, 25-20, 10-25, 19-25, 15-11). In that one, 6-foot-2-inch sophomore middle hitter Brittany Bona had five aces, seven kills and six blocks, senior middle hitter Christina Chase had six kills, senior middle hitter Caroline Baker had seven kills and two blocks, senior setter Laura Suarez had four aces, senior opposite Abby Lalone had three blocks and senior defensive specialists Paige Conley and Kathleen O’Donnell were solid in the back row.
“That was a big win for us,” said King.
Greely brought a pretty impressive pedigree to town Tuesday night. Not only have the Rangers won the past six championships, but they’ve lost a grand total of one match in that span and just three in their seven-year varsity history. This season, Greely had to rally to beat Biddeford in five games in its opener, then enjoyed 3-0 victories over Gorham, Kennebunk, NYA and Cony.
The Red Storm hung tough in the first game, rallying from an early 8-2 deficit to force ties at 11-11 and 12-12, but Greely, thanks in large part to the serving (four aces) of senior Michaela Campbell, pulled away to win, 25-19.
In game two, the Rangers never trailed as their skill and experience forced King to call timeout down 10-3. Scarborough never got closer than five points the rest of the way and lost, 25-12.
Game three was a vastly different story as the Red Storm won the first two points and were never caught. Scarborough led by as many as eight, 21-13. Greely got back to within five at 22-17, but the Red Storm went on to put the finishing touches on the game, winning 25-18.
Any Red Storm upset hopes were dashed in game four. Scarborough led early, 4-3 and was tied, 11-11, but the Rangers got the next three points, then slowly pulled away to win, 25-18, capping their 3-1 match victory.
“It was a strange match in terms of momentum swinging back and forth,” King said. “It wasn’t the prettiest match. Both teams had difficulties getting into their offenses. We played tremendous defense to stay in the points.
“The energy level wasn’t so hot at times, but we’re coming along. We have players in new roles. We’re figuring it out. We’re getting stronger and learning to handle the pressure.”
O’Donnell had three aces. Bona finished with seven kills and four blocks. Baker had four kills.
Scarborough returned to action against visiting Gorham Wednesday. Tuesday, the Red Storm host Biddeford. The new two-class alignment means that just six teams from the region qualify for the playoffs. Scarborough (currently sixth in the Heal Points standings) will need to keep winning to make the postseason.
“All the matches all important this year,” King said. “It’s a very tight league. In any game momentum can swing. Injuries can impact a team. We still have some big matches to come.”
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org