Ecstasy and agony on the volleyball court


A team came home cheerful with a golden ball in tow.

The other returned home in tears with the finalist trophy.

The Scarborough and Cape Elizabeth volleyball teams have each played for state titles in recent days and both had to go to a fifth set.

The Red Storm ended up edging the previously undefeated Biddeford for the third Class A title in program history.

The Capers, meanwhile, lost a heart-wrenching game at Yarmouth and narrowly failed in Class B.

Best for last

Members of the Scarborough volleyball team celebrate as they win the five-set State game at Biddeford Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Portland Press Herald

Scarborough has only tripped twice in the regular season and won the second seed for the Class A State tournament. After shutting out No.15 Massabesic, 3-0, in the preliminary round and fending off Thornton Academy , 10th, 3-1, in the quarterfinals, Red Storm suffered a severe test from No.3 Gorham in the semifinals last Thursday, but earned a four-set victory (25-10, 25-22, 24 -26, 25-23) to qualify. Maddie Strouse had 15 kills, passer Mya Jones finished with 28 assists and rookie Natalie Moynihan dazzled with 13 serves, including five aces as well as 16 kills and three blocks.

“It means a lot,” Moynihan said. “We worked so hard as a team. It pays off and it really feels good.

“We came in and knew it would be a tough game,” Strouse said. “We knew we had to work hard.

“We have absolutely an unfinished business,” added Red Storm coach Kim Stoddard.

On Saturday, Scarborough went to the best and undefeated Biddeford for a State final that will long be remembered.

The Red Storm lost the first set, 20-25, then won the second (25-21) and third (25-23), but after losing the fourth game, 22-25, Scarborough was on the verge of grief. in the deciding fifth set, facing a match point at 13-14, but the Red Storm rose from the bridge and scored the last three points to win the match, 16-14, and the match, 3-2 , to win the third title in the history program (2015 and 2017 were the others).

“When we were at 14-13, the set went to our rookie, Natalie Moynihan,” Stoddard said. “She found a free space and pushed the ball there to match it. It was after a second right side Olivia Smith dove for a pass that would hit the ground for match point. This rally is one that will always stand out because we stayed together when we were down. It was really special.

Moynihan finished the match with a kill, his 12th of the game.

“I thought it could be the winning shot but I knew if they blocked it it didn’t matter because my team would always be backing me,” Moynihan said.

“The game was crazy,” said Strouse, who finished with 16 kills. “We wanted to stay cool and calm to pass well and hit hard. There were certainly a lot of mistakes in the game and it was frustrating, but we didn’t let that go. We swept it aside and kept our focus.

“It was a great game,” added Stoddard. “The two teams fought until the last point. Biddeford are such a strong team and they’ve been relentless in every aspect of the game. I’ve never seen a crowd this size or this electric for a high school volleyball game. Winning in a close five-a-side game, after losing match point, shows the team’s confidence in themselves and in each other. This has been our theme this fall.

Scarborough finished the season 16-2.

“It means a lot to the team to win the state title this year,” said Stoddard. “Since our loss (to Falmouth) in 2019, it’s our goal to come back. After missing the opportunity in 2020, we were motivated this year to make it happen. I’m so happy for my team, especially my eight seniors. “

The Red Storm will have a few holes to fill in 2022, but they will come back knocking on the championship door.

“We’re losing key players and some of our size,” Stoddard said, “but I have a very strong sophomore class, many of whom have played throughout the playoffs and state championship. This experience is invaluable for the seasons to come. We will have a strong and competitive team again next year. “

So close

Madison Thornton of Cape Elizabeth attempts a shot in a five-set loss to Yarmouth in the Class B match on Monday. Derek Davis / Portland Press Herald

Cape Elizabeth, meanwhile, finished third in Class B and didn’t lose a set en route to the state match. The Capers blanked No.14 Westbrook in the preliminary round, won three straight sets against sixth-seeded Greely in the quarterfinal, then handed No.2 Gardiner their first semi-final loss last Thursday, 25 -12, 25-18, 25-21. Annaliese Rudberg led the way with 16 kills.

“It was a very good team effort,” said Rudberg. “We all came here and played like we wanted to win and like we knew how we could win. We were really excited to play a new team and show what we have.

“I think it’s confidence,” said Cape Elizabeth coach Sarah Boeckel. “We’ve talked about it a lot this season, that the good teams are going to score points. We just have to be ready to get that ball back. Don’t give them groceries.

On Monday, the Capers traveled to Yarmouth first for the State game and were considered underdogs after losing twice, 3-1, to the Clippers in the regular season.

But Cape Elizabeth refused to accept the script, rallying to an 11-3 deficit early on to win Game 1 by a surprising 25-18 margin.

“I didn’t say anything to the girls because I didn’t want to put pressure on them, but the coaching staff and I talked about the importance of this first game,” said Boeckel. “Yarmouth hadn’t been pushed much so I wanted us to know that.”

The Capers let slip a 15-8 second-set lead in a 25-21 loss, but bounced back in Game 3 to win, 25-16, and edged closer to a one-set victory. of a championship.

But that didn’t come, as the Clippers won Game 4, 25-14, then, despite leading the fifth set, 6-2, Cape Elizabeth couldn’t finish it and lost, 15 -10, to abandon the match. , 3-2, and end the season 13-5. Rudberg had 22 kills, passer Maeve McQueeny added 36 assists and Amy Rasco finished with 13 kills and 11 serves, but it wasn’t quite enough.

“We always say we want to leave the pitch without regret knowing that we have done everything we can, and I think this is the best game we have played all season,” said Boeckel. “We made a few tight mistakes at a difficult point in the game and it allowed Yarmouth to get the ball back and run some runs. We continued to fight and I am really very proud.

“It was a great atmosphere. What I love about volleyball is that it’s still pretty new in Maine, but anyone who comes to a game leaves thinking it’s the most exciting thing they’ve seen. Hopefully more and more schools continue to have it and we get high quality coaches and the sport continues to grow. “

The Capers lose some of the best players upon graduation, but will be a factor again in 2022.

“It’s still a building process, but we have good children coming back,” Boeckel said.

Deirdre Fleming, editor of the Press Herald, and Drew Bonifant, editor of the Kennebec Journal, contributed to this article.

Sports editor Michael Hoffer can be contacted at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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