WINDHAM — In his third Class A state final appearance in seven years, Falmouth Coach Gary Powers led the Yachtsmen to their first volleyball state title, dominating previously undefeated Scarborough 3-1.
“We talked about dominating right from the start,” Powers said. “Scarborough is a great team, but we just stayed positive. We knew all the pressure was on them. When we took the second set, we had them on the ropes.”
Falmouth won the first two sets (26-24 and 25-19) before Scarborough battled back 25-21 in the third set. But the Yachtsmen clinched the state title by taking the fourth set, 24-16.
“It’s hard to beat any team three times in one year,” said Scarborough Coach Jon Roberts. “It’s disappointing to lose, but we came into it undefeated. We had the weight of the season on us. And they played very aggressive, and we didn’t. So they were in their system, and we were off.”
After taking the first set, the Yachtsmen dominated the second after grabbing a 5-4 lead. They clinched the set off a Hickey backhanded drop shot that gave Falmouth huge momentum as well as the lead.
“That fist pump gave us so much,” Hickey said. “Then, we just had one more set to win.”
Powers, who left the Greely junior varsity program to lead Falmouth, credited his athletic team and the blocking of 6-foot-1 senior outside hitter Riley Burfeind and 5-foot-10 senior outside hitter Katrina Meserve.
But it was a team effort during long rallies, as proved by junior middle hitter Hickey’s winning point at the end of the second.
“Winning that second set was huge,” Burfeind said of Hickey’s winning shot that put the match at 2-0.
“We had huge confidence when we went into the third up, 2-0. We had a different kind of intensity today. We’ve played matches to five sets, but we’d be a little stressed. Today we had high energy and were confident.”
Scarborough battled back in the third set by tying it 11-11. The Red Storm pulled ahead 18-16 during senior Hallie O’Donnell’s service points. But Falmouth never let Scarborough get more than a three-point lead until the final point.
Then the Red Storm finally capitalized on Falmouth mistakes down the stretch and took the set off a block from senior Mary Cleary that ended it 25-21.
“We did all we could,” Cleary said. “They got up early, and maybe we were a little nervous. But I think we played as well as we could today.”
Falmouth stormed back in the fourth set, pulling away with a 13-7 lead that quickly turned into a 21-12 advantage.
While the two teams traded the points in the final minutes, missed serves by Scarborough just furthered Falmouth’s energy and momentum, and Falmouth walked away with the set, 24-16.
Scarborough finished its season 16-1; Falmouth finished 15-2.
“Everyone stepped up today, making sure no balls touched the ground. They read the court well and they kept the pressure on,” Powers said.
Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at:firstname.lastname@example.org