WINDHAM — The Yarmouth volleyball team won its second Class B state title in three years Saturday, storming back from a two-set deficit to beat Washington Academy in five sets at Windham High.
After second-ranked Washington Academy won the first two sets, 25-20 and 25-23, top-seeded Yarmouth shifted into another gear to win both the third and fourth sets by a score of 25-13. Then the Clippers clinched the 15-point tiebreaker with ease, 15-9.
“All the credit goes to Washington Academy for coming out aggressive. We missed some serves and they were the ones doing all the hitting at the start,” said Yarmouth Coach Jim Senecal.
“We were in a position we hadn’t been in all season, down 2-0. But Grace Mallett nailed some serves and Maddy Maierhofer was diving all over the place. Then we had Washington Academy on their heels.”
The Raiders (12-5) led throughout the first set, capping it with an ace by senior middle blocker Kassidy Seeley.
Yarmouth (16-1) took the lead early in the second set with the help of Maierhofer’s service points, but then the Clippers started making errors.
A huge kill and then a block by Seeley helped the Raiders pull into a 20-20 tie. From there, Washington Academy won five of the last eight points to take the set.
But after the Raiders started the third set with three straight points, everything changed.
Mallett, a senior setter, served three aces as Yarmouth surged to a 7-3 advantage. The Clippers never relinquished the lead after that.
Mallett said the Clippers had no doubt they’d turn it around.
“When we got down we just said, ‘We have three more games left in our high school career,’ ” Mallett said. “It was hard to look up and see the score but then we started putting together huge strings of service points.”
Yarmouth took control again in the fourth set, jumping out to a 9-3 lead with the help of strong serving from seniors Hannah Elrick and Maierhofer. Elrick finished the set by serving the last four points. Kristina Borderia added emphasis with a spike on the last point.
“To be the person to win that last point meant a lot,” Borderia said. “I was shocked there was that big a difference in the score at 2-0. But once we picked it up, we said, ‘This is how Yarmouth volleyball plays.’ I knew in my heart we were going to get it back.”
The fifth set was more of the same as Yarmouth won the first three points, then got an ace from Elrick on the way to a 7-2 advantage.
At that point, Washington Academy called a timeout, but the Clippers won the next three points and eventually closed out the match.
“We are accustomed to winning 3-0, 3-1, and it was really scary going to five sets. But we run a lot of circuits after practice. It really paid off,” Mallett said.
Washington Academy Coach Christine Davis said her team lost its confidence when it lost the momentum. Having won two state titles, Davis said she knows the Raiders’ program carries a lot of pressure.
“They tell themselves to relax but they want to win. We lost some key players this year, halfway through, and we had to adjust. And that’s tough on them,” Davis said.
Deirdre Fleming can be reached at 791-6452 or at:firstname.lastname@example.org