BIDDEFORD – Ball in hand, the game on the line, Keila Grigware stood at the service line looking to finally finish Falmouth on Wednesday.

Done. She pounded a service ace to decide Game 5 and give Biddeford a win over previously unbeaten Falmouth.

“I was nervous walking to the line, but I looked down, turned and picked a spot and hit it,” said Grigware, an outside hitter.

“The major test for us moving forward is not beating ourselves. And not letting these wins get to our head.”

The meeting — which was arguably the marquee match of the season so far — pitted the Tigers, now 10-1, against the previously unbeaten Yachtsmen (9-1).

It wasn’t always the cleanest of games for Biddeford.

Falmouth took Game 1, 25-17, but the Tigers took Game 2, 25-20 and Game 3, 25-23.

Biddeford held the lead for much of Game 4, but the Yachtsmen battled back to take it, 28-26.

Biddeford was up 14-11 in Game 5 when Falmouth charged back to tie it 14-14, then 15-15, and 16-16.

Point 17 was originally awarded to Falmouth, but the officials reversed the call after reporting a Falmouth player’s hands were over the net.

That set up Grigware’s winning service ace.

“It was a tough night serving, but I had my faith in her,” said setter Alyssa Drapeau. “This was an important win.”

Biddeford, which has flirted with finishing atop the league for the last few years, is looking like it may be the team to beat following Wednesday’s win.

This win, said Coach Ruth Shaw, was a long time coming.

“We’ve been working on our mental strength this season,” said Shaw. “We are a great team but our minds don’t always believe it. We let (Falmouth) creep back in many times. At least now they see we are good enough to play with any team.”

Grigware finished with 17 kills, three service aces and five blocks. Drapeau had six service aces, seven kills and four blocks for the Tigers.

Falmouth, meanwhile, got several strong performances: from opposite hitter Kate Sparks and Jenna Sirunian, and some key defensive plays from defensive specialist Emily Seaver.

“We made a lot of mistakes, almost like we were not used to playing at this level yet,” said Falmouth Coach Gary Powers. “They’re a tough team. I think they’re one of the strongest. They’re well-balanced, cover the court well. We knew it was going to be a battle.”

Said Shaw: “Gary is a phenomenal coach. He and I respect each other. And this game could’ve been theirs as much as ours.”

Falmouth plays Cony and Yarmouth later this week before finishing the season with a home-and-home series with Greely next week.

The Tigers face Gorham today before closing the regular season with Kennebunk and Scarborough next week.

 

Staff Writer Jenn Menendez can be contacted at 791-6426 or at:

[email protected]