WINDHAM — In his team’s third Class A state final appearance in seven years, Falmouth Coach Gary Powers led the Yachtsmen to their first volleyball state title, in four sets against previously undefeated Scarborough.
Second-ranked Falmouth (15-2), which lost twice to No. 1 Scarborough (16-1) during the regular season, 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 title by taking the fourth set, 25-16.
“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.”
Scarborough also was seeking its first state championship after ousting defending champion Greely in the semifinals.
“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 controlled the second set. They clinched the set on a backhanded drop shot by Ally Hickey.
“That fist pump gave us so much,” Hickey said. “Then, we just had one more set to win.”
Falmouth was sparked by the blocking of 6-foot-1 senior outside hitter Riley Burfeind and the play of 5-10 senior outside hitter Katrina Meserve. But it was a team effort during long rallies, as proved by Hickey’s winning point at the end of the second set.
“Winning that second set was huge,” Burfeind said. “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, pulling 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 and took the set off a block from senior Mary Cleary.
“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 to a 13-7 lead that quickly turned into a 21-12 advantage.
“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