Yarmouth’s move to Class B this year has meant more games for the Clippers against Down East teams.

But for fifth-year coach Jim Senecal, that’s not a problem. Even before this season, Senecal favored trips to that part of the state.

For the past four years, a team trip to Eastern Maine has been the Clippers’ traditional start to the season.

A longtime fan of the Down East region, Senecal decided when he took over as coach five years ago that a team camping trip to Eastern Maine, the birthplace of Maine high school volleyball, made sense.

So this year when they played three teams in Hancock County midway through the regular season, Senecal said the Clippers took it in stride, beating Jonesport-Beals, Sumner and Machias in a three-win tear.

“We probably know Down East better than most teams from Southern Maine,” Senecal said. “We go the first week. We stay in some cabins in the Greenland Point Center. It’s the highlight to their season and they get a little taste of Down East volleyball.

“If we go up against those teams in the playoffs it gives them confidence that they can have success.”

So the idea of going on the road for the playoffs doesn’t rankle the third-ranked Clippers, especially if they are on the road to their first state title.

“We’ve always been a playoff team in Class A and, the last few years, competitive against what I would describe as those second-tier teams,” Senecal said. “We’ve battled hard but never been at the level of those teams.

“Our playoffs have been very short. Now we have an opportunity to extend the playoffs.”

Class B is made up of eight teams from Eastern Maine, with only Yarmouth and North Yarmouth Academy representing Western Maine. As a result, the Clippers have played mostly Class A teams in Western Maine this season.

A big 3-2 win against Gorham, ranked sixth in Class A, gave the Clippers confidence.

Yarmouth is led by top blocker Morgan Cahill and outside hitter Susan Driscoll, who has 87 service points and 27 aces in 12 games. Cahill is averaging 6-7 blocks a game and has 97 kills.

“We go to her a lot. She’s our primary weapon,” Senecal said 

TOP-RANKED GREELY has been using nine of the 13 players on the squad regularly, but one player not getting much notice is one of the keys to its 13-0 record.

While Maggie Bradley gets much of the praise, Coach Kelvin Hasch said Emily Sampson is vital to his team’s unbeaten streak.

“She’s not a flashy, strong hitter,” Hasch said. “She brings so many things to the court that others don’t.”

Sampson reads where a serve is going, tells her teammates where they need to be and moves blockers into position. She controls action in the backcourt and can put the ball away, Hasch said. She runs down errant balls and gets them back onto the court.

“That happens in every game. It’s not a stat you see,” Hasch said.

Sampson has 154 digs, 19 aces, 13 blocks, 62 kills and 162 serves received.

Hasch said Sampson always has been a top player.

“She made the team as a freshman. She is only the fourth freshman in 10 years to do so,” Hasch said.

Staff Writer Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at:

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