10 PLAYERS TO WATCH

Riley Burfeind, Falmouth, senior, hitter: At 6-foot-1, she is a potent force at the net with experience and also passes the ball well enough to stay in the game when not in the front row.

Mary Cleary, Scarborough, senior, middle hitter: Likely to lead the state in blocks, the 6-foot-1 all-around player can hit from the middle or outside, has a formidable jump serve and all-around game.

Jordynne Copp, Greely, senior middle hitter: The top returning player on the defending Class A champs, the 5-foot-9 leaper is an offensive threat and solid server.

Bailey Cote, Biddeford, senior, outside hitter: After playing middle hitter a year ago, will switch to the outside. A good server, she’ll need to play the back row as well for the Tigers.

Charlotte Esancy, North Yarmouth Academy, senior, hitter: The 5-foot-11 captain will play both as middle and outside hitter; is adept at blocking opponents and is an all-around player.

Grace Mallett, Yarmouth, senior setter: A third-year setter with quick hands and leadership who will try to duplicate her sophomore championship effort.

Katrina Meserve, Falmouth, senior, outside hitter: One of five returning Falmouth starters, she hits hard and also plays the back row well.

Sophie Moore, Cape Elizabeth, senior, setter: Very quick and a returning starter, is the integral part of a veteran group looking to move beyond the Class A quarterfinal round.

Lauren Piper, Scarborough, senior, setter: Teams with classmate Hallie O’Donnell to form a veteran tandem of all-state caliber setters, according to Red Storm Coach Jon Roberts.

Olivia Shaw, Thornton Academy, senior, hitter: One of Class A’s top basketball players, the 6-foot daughter of Biddeford Coach Ruth Shaw brings size, athletic talent and leadership to a first-year team.

FIVE TEAMS TO WATCH

1. Falmouth: With five returning starters and five players over six feet tall, Falmouth is the team to beat. Seniors Katrina Meserve and Riley Burfeind are hard hitters on the outside with all-around games. MH Ally Hickey, a 5-foot-11 junior, is also a force and Coach Gary Powers has confidence in a trio of 6-footers, junior Leigh Bernardy and sophomores Julia Treadwell and Lydie Farmer. Junior Megan Tammaro is new at setter, but Powers loves her court sense and that she hits and serves well.

2. Scarborough: Coming off an 11-5 season with a five-game semifinal loss to Greely, Scarborough has lots of returning talent this season. Senior setters Lauren Piper and Hallie O’Donnell are both all-state candidates according to Coach Jon Roberts. Senior middle hitter Mary Cleary is a 6-foot-1 force at the net and senior outside hitter Abby Mills adds a strong serve and tough-to-dig spikes. Replacing all-state libero Lilly Lemire will be a challenge but overall “this is one of our most well-rounded teams. Everyone is good,” Roberts said. Scarborough beat Greely in five games last Thursday.

3. Greely: The defending Class A champs “will be more of a defensive team this year,” Coach Kelvin Hasch said as they work in new setters and hitters around athletic junior middle hitter Jordynne Copp (5-foot-9). Expect junior middle hitter Laura Weickert and OH Emily Warner to take more active hitting roles with senior libero Lexi Foster stabilizing the back. Seniors Jodi Derby and Hannah Butland and freshman Kayley Cimino are in the setter mix. The Rangers may be a bit weaker this year, but as Scarborough Coach Roberts said, “What I’ve come to realize is they’re the team to beat until they’re beaten.”

4. Biddeford: The Tigers graduated nine seniors. including Maine Sunday Telegram and Gatorade Player of the Year setter Mariah Hebert. Senior 6-footer Bailey Cote and athletic sophomore Jocelyn Moody are proven hitters and veteran Coach Ruth Shaw is excited about having 6-foot-2 freshman middle hitter Kendra Cote (no relation to Bailey). Biddeford expects to again be in the top-four Class A mix with Falmouth, Greely and Scarborough. Much will be determined by the development of new junior setters Kayla Fournier and Alisha Proctor.

5. Yarmouth: The 2011 Class B champs felt unfulfilled by a quarterfinal tourney loss last year. Senior Grace Mallett has been the setter since her sophomore year and senior twins Emma Maierhofer (setter) and Maddy Maierhofer (libero) bring loads of defensive court coverage. Hannah Elrick and senior MH Kristina Borderia are the top attack targets.