For five straight years Greely had a winning streak that was unprecedented in Maine high school volleyball – five state titles and unbeaten seasons. That run came to a halt last year, when only four starters returned.

But this season the Rangers very definitely are back to their usual form, with a 14-0 record that gave them a bye in the opening round of the state volleyball tournament that begins today at sites across the state.

And while others point to outside hitter Maggie Bradley, the 5-foot-9 senior co-captain said a number of factors have led the Rangers to a season of few mistakes, lots of kills and won games.

“I’m a smarter player. When I make a mistake, I use it to learn about the (opposing) defense. But I see it’s not (just) about my wins and losses. We’re a dynamic team. We trust each other. And we work together,” Bradley said.

Rangers Coach Kelvin Hasch said a lot of the team’s leadership and get-it-done outlook comes from Bradley.

Hasch watched her evolve this year into a total player. She doesn’t carry forward mistakes, she can execute a jump serve at will and she has come up with 7 to 8 kills in a row when the Rangers needed a boost.

“We just kind of found that out. I said to her one day, ‘Get in the game, pick it up.’ And it was like, ‘Wow,’ ” Hasch said.

To date Bradley has 144 kills, 114 digs and 25 serving aces. And her jump serve, one of her favorite moves, is a powerful weapon.

“She was working on it last year but we didn’t always let her use it. Now we let her use it every time,” Hasch said.

Bradley credits her improvement to the total team commitment from a tight group that has grown closer through many sources of inspiration, chiefly their assistant coach Bruce Churchill, who has battled amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, since 2007.

“Every day we see a lot of investment from someone so dedicated. There is no way to watch him do what he’s doing for us and not be inspired. There is no way to see the sacrifice and not try to live up to that,” she said.

To everyone else, the unspoken motivation behind the scenes is evident, with Greely again the team to beat.

Second-year Scarborough Coach Jon Roberts, whose team went 12-2 in a break-out year, said the No. 3-seeded Red Storm are considering how to do just that if his team advances.

“All season we’ve found a way to win against everyone except Greely. My goal is to bring that intensity and get them to jump out and take that first game,” Roberts said. “It’ll be interesting if any of the teams put Greely on their heels and make them have to fight back.”

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