Scarborough senior Kacey Foerster celebrates a point during the Red Storm’s match versus Falmouth Thursday night in the program’s annual Dig Pink Game for cancer research. Foerster had 13 kills in leading defending Class A champion Scarborough to a 3-1 victory, its ninth in a row.
Mike Strout photos.
More photos below.
SCARBOROUGH—Don’t look now, but Scarborough’s volleyball team is rounding into that championship contender form yet again.
The defending Class A titlists, who lost their season opener to Greely, but have excelled since, put forth another strong performance against a talented foe Thursday evening at Alumni Gym.
In the program’s annual Dig Pink Game, which raised $650 for cancer research, the Red Storm battled perennial power Falmouth and while Scarborough managed to prevail, it didn’t come without a fight.
The stellar service of freshman Asia Mattress helped the Red Storm pull away to win the first game, 25-13.
The Red Storm then rolled to a 25-9 win in the second set, as the serving of senior Raegan Sheil and strong play at the net from senior Jordyn Cowan proved to be the difference.
Scarborough’s hopes of quickly ending the match didn’t come to fruition in the third game, however, as the Yachtsmen fought off one match point, then rode kills from junior Lydia Abbott and senior Victoria Burton to a 26-24 victory.
The teams split two five-set matches in 2015, but only four would be needed this time, as the Red Storm overcame a sluggish start and rode the passing of seniors Libby Chadbourne and Lily Young and the dominance at the net of senior Kacey Foerster to a 25-16 win, punctuating the 3-1 match win with a Foerster kill.
Scarborough is now 9-1 on the season, solidified its standing near the top of the Class A Heal Points standings and dropped Falmouth to 7-3 in the process.
“This was really exciting,” said Foerster. “We’re a family, so we came together when we needed to and got it done.”
While Greely has clearly set the standard in Class A so far this season, both Falmouth and Scarborough believe that they can be the team everyone is talking about in the postseason.
The Yachtsmen opened with 3-0 wins over Cape Elizabeth, Cheverus and Gorham, then lost in three sets at Biddeford and at home to Greely. Straight set wins at Brunswick and at home over Thornton Academy were followed by four set victories over visiting Mt. Desert Island and host Windham.
The Red Storm, coming off the program’s first Class A title a year ago, opened with a 3-0 loss at Greely, then came to life, beating visiting South Portland (3-1), host Thornton Academy (3-0), visiting Windham (3-0), visiting Gorham (3-0), host Yarmouth (3-1), visiting Brunswick (3-0), visiting MDI (3-0) and host Deering (3-0).
Last year, Scarborough won at home, 3-2, then Falmouth prevailed in five sets on its Senior Night. The Red Storm went on to their first title, much as the Yachtsmen did at Scarborough’s expense in 2013.
Thursday, the Red Storm did enough to win the key points and take the match.
Scarborough started strong, getting a block and a kill from senior Jillian Harvie for a quick 3-0 advantage. Kills from Foerster and Cowan and an ace from Harvie, which hung on the top of the net before dropping, pushed the lead to 7-1. A pair of aces from junior Alston Armstrong helped Falmouth rally to 7-4 and a kill from junior Alison Noyes and an ace from senior Malia White helped the Yachtsmen momentarily tie the set, 10-10, but a kill from Harvie put the Red Storm back on top and they didn’t look back. After going ahead, 13-11, Mattress, a very promising freshman, stepped to the service line and toyed with the Yachtsmen, scoring 10 straight points, four on aces, for a commanding 23-11 advantage. Falmouth got back to 23-13 on a kill from senior Madi Tait, but Scarborough got a point, then the Yachtsmen hit the ball out, giving the Red Storm set one by a 25-13 margin.
In the second game, senior Haley Nelson had a kill and Harvie added an ace for a quick 2-0 lead. Harvie then had two saves on one point and Scarborough went up, 5-2. The Yachtsmen rallied to tie at 5-5 and 6-6, but a kill from junior Natalie Simonton put the Red Storm up for good and senior Emma Budway served five straight points for a 12-6 advantage. After a Cowan kill culminated a long point in Scarborough’s favor, Chadbourne had an ace and Cowan had two blocks and a kill to make it 16-8. White had a kill for Falmouth, but the Red Storm got the next nine points, highlighted by a Foerster kill and block, a Cowan kill and block and eight service points from Sheil to close it out, 25-9.
To their credit, the Yachtsmen didn’t go quietly in the third set.
A kill from Noyes gave Falmouth its first lead of the match. A block from Burton and a Burton kill gave the Yachtsmen a 3-1 advantage, but Scarborough rallied to tie behind an ace from Budway. The Red Storm went up, 6-5, but Falmouth got three straight points to go up by two. A kill from senior Alaina Birkel capped a long point for a 9-7 lead and an ace from Tait made it 12-8. With the score, 13-11, Falmouth got a block from Burton and an ace from White to take a 16-11 lead and force Scarborough coach Jon Roberts to call timeout.
It helped, as the hosts crept back to within 16-13 on a Foerster kill, but the Yachtsmen ran off three more points to make it 19-13 and force Roberts to call timeout again. This time, the Red Storm answered, as they nearly erased the lead thanks to a kill from Harvie and made it 21-20. A kill from Noyes and a Tait ace put Falmouth up, 23-20, but Cowan had a kill and Harvie served successive aces to tie the score. Yachtsmen coach Molly Northway called timeout, but a kill from Foerster put Scarborough on the brink of victory.
Falmouth refused to fold, however, as a service fault kept it alive and kills from Abbott and Burton produced a 26-24 victory.
“We knew it was all or nothing,” said Northway. “We were down two sets and we needed to pick it up. The girls were second guessing balls and they had no time to second guess, so we talked about hitting harder, serving tougher and making them struggle more.”
“Our passing went down a little bit in the third game,” Roberts said. “We got away from being aggressive. We just tried to keep the ball in play and they got more aggressive. The more aggressive team wins.”
The Yachtsmen appeared to have the momentum, but the Red Storm dug deep into their reservoir of championship heart to finish off the match in the fourth set.
A Noyes kill gave Falmouth the first point and after Nelson’s kill tied it, Noyes produced another kill. Scarborough made it 2-2, but a kill from Burton put the visitors back on top. The game would be tied again at 3-3, 4-4 and 6-6 and Roberts called an early time out, which would ultimately pay dividends.
After the Yachtsmen took their final lead, 7-6, a service fault tied the game and a kill from Foerster put the Red Storm ahead. A Scarborough fault made it 8-8, but Falmouth returned the favor and the hosts had the lead for good. With the score 10-9, the Red Storm got kills from Nelson and Foerster and another point for a 13-9 lead. The Yachtsmen crept back within 14-11, but Foerster had a kill and Mattress did the same to make it 16-11. Falmouth got a point back on a service fault and Tait had amazing save to keep the next point alive, but it ended in Scarborough’s favor with a Foerster kill. Simonton added a kill and the Red Storm got the next point as well to make it 19-12. Burton got a point back with a kill, but Simonton and Cowan had kills for a 21-13 lead, forcing Northway to call timeout.
The Yachtsmen got a point, but Simonton and Cowan had kills for a 23-14 advantage. After a kill from Tait gave the visitors a little hope, they committed a service fault to set up match point. After Falmouth got one more point, the Red Storm put an end to the evening when Chadbourne set up Foerster for the kill and Scarborough won the game, 25-16, and the match, 3-1.
“We mentally prepared ourselves for the fourth set,” Foerster said. “We felt the pressure was on them. We bounced back.”
“This was a good test for us,” Roberts said. “They’re an amazing defensive team. They’re definitely the best defense we’ve seen. That ball kept coming back over. It was a slow start (in the fourth set) and I hate to use timeouts that early, but I had to get them refocused. Our setting got a little off in the third game. The challenge was to do better in the fourth game and they did that.”
Chadbourne had 18 assists and 12 service points and Young finished with 11 assists.
“They’re amazing,” Foerster said, of the setters. “They will do anything you want them to do. They’re team-first. They can get any ball.”
Foerster had 13 kills and nine service points.
Cowan had nine kills and six blocks. Harvie had 10 service points, including four aces, and five kills. Mattress added 10 service points, including four aces, and had four kills as well. Budway had eight service points. Simonton finished with five kills. Sheil had eight service points.
For Falmouth, Noyes finished with eight kills.
“Alison had a phenomenal night tonight,” Northway said. “She gave us key points and she shut down the other team. We’ve worked on her footwork. Alaina set her the right way. It all clicked tonight. I was really proud of her.”
Birkel had 17 assists, Tait had six kills and five service points, White had seven service points and Burton had six kills and four service points.
“(Scarborough’s) a very good team,” Northway said. “It was a good matchup. The girls gave their all. They really were trying. It was a good team dynamic overall.”
It’s likely Greely will finish first in Class A, but Falmouth and Scarborough are both hopeful of a high finish of their own.
The Yachtsmen (now fourth in the Class A) return to action next week when they host Bonny Eagle Tuesday and Cony Thursday. After playing at Yarmouth Oct. 11, Falmouth finishes the regular season at South Portland Oct. 15.
“I’m glad we got one (set) tonight,” said Northway. “It gives us hope we can do it against more teams in the playoffs. We’re a work in progress. We’re taking it day-by-day.”
Scarborough (second in Class A) has trips looming to Cape Elizabeth Tuesday and Massabesic Thursday of next week. After welcoming Biddeford in a critical match Oct. 13, the Red Storm finish the season at Cony Oct. 18.
“We have to keep our passers digging, setters setting and hitters hitting,” Foerster said. “We work hard in practice every day. Everyone’s always excited to get in the gym. That’s what’s pushing us. We have a drive to do it again.”
“We like to play volleyball,” Roberts said. “I’m not sure we have a killer instinct, but I wouldn’t trade my kids for anybody. I love this group.”
Falmouth junior Alston Armstrong sets the ball.
Scarborough freshman Asia Mattress skies for a kill over Falmouth senior Madi Tait.
Scarborough senior Jordyn Cowan tries to kill the ball past Falmouth junior Alston Armstrong.
Falmouth junior Alison Noyes scores a point between Scarborough senior Jordyn Cowan, left, and junior Natalie Simonton.
Falmouth senior Madi Tait and Scarborough senior Kacey Foerster meet at the net.
Scarborough senior Emma Budway handles a shot.
Falmouth senior Malia White celebrates a point.
Scarborough senior Jillian Harvie celebrates as the Red Storm pull away toward victory.