This fall on the volleyball court, it was Biddeford’s time.
The Tigers marched through the regular season flashing their talent, then knocked off mighty Greely 3-2 in the semifinals, ending the Rangers’ seven-year reign as state champions.
Biddeford beat Falmouth in three straight sets for the title.
During that run, one particular player was everywhere: Alyssa Drapeau, an athletic outside hitter with a powerful and consistent serve.
“Without her I’m not sure where we would’ve gotten,” said Biddeford Coach Ruth Shaw. “It was her team.”
For her talent, effort and value to her team, Drapeau has been named the Maine Sunday Telegram volleyball MVP.
Winning the title was made sweeter for Drapeau by her teammates’ performances in the state final.
“When it finally happened after wanting it so bad, it was kind of surreal,” said Drapeau. “The one thing that stood out about that game was the overall team effort. It wasn’t one or two people carrying the team. It was everyone.”
Agreed, said Shaw. But Drapeau was simply superb.
“She’s a true leader,” said Shaw. “You’d think the ball was down and here comes ‘Skinny’ diving for the ball from the other side of the court.
“In the final, she was on the service line or up on the front row. She was blocking, hitting strong side, weak side. She was just everywhere.
“When anything was going wrong she would be the first to say ‘Come on, guys. This is our time.’“
“Everyone knew Biddeford had a strong program but we were never the best,” said Drapeau. “Now we’ve made a statement that we are the best.”
Drapeau’s interest in the game blossomed late in middle school.
As a freshman she earned a nickname that has stuck: Skinny.
“When she started, if she turned sideways we’d lose her,” said Shaw. “She has the true volleyball physique: tall, thin. And she can twist and contort her body and not find herself flying into the net.
“When you’re playing on the net, the bigger you are, you have to really manipulate yourself.”
Drapeau has devoted herself to the game, playing in winter and spring leagues, and hitting Old Orchard Beach in the summer for two-on-two matches.
Her understanding of the game has grown along the way.
In one playoff game, for example, Shaw noticed a spot that wasn’t getting set. Drapeau had already talked to her teammates to make the appropriate change on the court.
“If I called a timeout she already knew what to do and how to change it,” said Shaw. “I was one step behind her. …
“Throughout the years I always believed she’d become an emotional leader. She didn’t need me.”
Drapeau plans to play volleyball in college. She is trying to decide among a small group of Division II and III schools.
She won’t forget about this season.
“When I look back on this year, this team, I can say without a doubt it was the most fun year,” said Drapeau. “All the girls got along so well. We were all best friends and had the same mind-set.”
Staff Writer Jenn Menendez can be contacted at 791-6426 or at: