The high school volleyball season is living up to its preseason billing

Scarborough pushed Biddeford to five games last week.

Falmouth remained undefeated with a 7-0 record.

And several marquee match-ups have been tighter than ever.

What does all this mean? The parity in Maine high school volleyball is very real.

“Every game we’ve played has been a battle,” said Falmouth Coach Gary Powers. “I think teams would rather play more competitive games than there were in the past.”

For seven straight years Greely (5-1) won the state title, no questions asked.

Last year Falmouth had a breakout season to contend. This year Biddeford (5-1) is a formidable team, and Scarborough (2-5), Gorham (4-3) and Yarmouth (3-4) seem on the verge of breakout seasons.

Mt. Desert Island, which plays a mix of Class A and B programs, leads the Heal point standings with an 8-1 record. “All the games seem to be very close this year,” said Yarmouth Coach Jim Senecal. “A lot of us are almost there.”

The parity seems derived from more talent, depth and the natural progression of programs, say coaches.

“I’ve been doing this for 11 years now and this year is a really big year,” said Biddeford Coach Ruth Shaw. “Everyone has improved so much. The game is at such a high level. The intensity and the desire from each player to go for every ball is just amazing to me.”

Count Greely Coach Kelvin Hasch among those in favor of the increased level of play.

He believes his program can only grow if the competition grows.

“I love it. Competition is great,” said Hasch. “It makes the girls work harder. That sort of thing.

“I’ve said every year we want to stay at the top, but you’ve always got to be looking for that next plateau. Now that everybody is (nipping at) our heels, I think it’s easier to teach that next level. Kids want to stay and work harder. They’re coming to practice focused. That makes it fun for everybody.”

 

NOTES: Greely and Falmouth jockeyed their schedule late last week to accommodate Hasch, who needed to leave town for business. The teams were scheduled to face off Friday.

Instead the change has set up a two-game series next month between the rivals: Oct. 12 at Greely and Oct. 14 at Falmouth.

“It’s like a mini-series. It’s going to be fun. We’re expecting 1,500 people at each match. It’s going to be an awesome week of volleyball, I think,” said Hasch. “I think this is going to bring more fans out of the woodwork and really make a statement for southern Maine volleyball.”

Scarborough is 2-5 this season under a new coach, Jon Roberts.

But among those losses were some very close matches: “We’re looking for that breakthrough match where we get over the hump,” said Roberts. “We’re playing way better than our record indicates. Hopefully we’ll pull enough wins to make the tournament.”

 

BEST BET THIS WEEK: Greely at Biddeford, 6 p.m. Thursday. Both teams were 5-1 heading into Tuesday night’s games. Biddeford Coach Ruth Shaw said she expects the gym to be packed.

 

Staff Writer Jenn Menendez can be contacted at 791-6426 or at: jmenendez@pressherald.com