Tuesday, December 10, 2013
By Mike Lowe email@example.com
The landscape of high school volleyball in Maine is such that you have pockets of teams in southern Maine and pockets of teams Down East.
Mariah Hebert, Biddeford, senior setter: Hebert has been one of the main reasons Biddeford is 8-0 and top-ranked in Class A. She has improved greatly from a year ago and her leadership is exemplary. Hebert is successful on 97 percent of her serves this year and has 15 aces. She has 131 assists, along with 15 digs and 22 kills.
Gina Robertson, Yarmouth, senior outside hitter: Robertson has helped the Clippers rise to the top spot in Class B. She is successful on 90.3 percent of her serves, with 44 aces. She also has 60 digs and 44 kills.
Lily Lemire, Scarborough, senior libero: Lemire has been an outstanding leader for the Red Storm. Her defensive and passing abilities have helped them earn the No.2 spot in Class A. She has 66 digs on the season.
Kaitlyn Seehusen, Gorham, senior setter: The Rams are ranked third in Class A, with Seehusen leading the way. She has 103 assists, 37 aces, 39 digs, 20 kills and a high serve percentage.
AREA TOP FIVE
Other than Cony High in Augusta, there's not much in the middle.
So to put together a competitive schedule, teams must travel. And this weekend, three teams from southern Maine are hitting the road.
Yarmouth, top-ranked in Class B, will travel to Sumner Memorial in East Sullivan, where the Clippers will play two matches, against the host Tigers and nearby Narraguagus.
Two Class A teams, Kennebunk and Cape Elizabeth, will travel together to play against Ellsworth and host Mt. Desert Island. The Rams of Kennebunk will leave at 6 a.m. and pick up the Capers at the Cabela's parking lot off the Scarborough exit on the Maine Turnpike.
"We've never gone up there," said Craig Richardson, coach at Kennebunk. "It just makes sense though. I've been coaching eight years and we see the same teams all the time. We play Biddeford, Scarborough, Gorham. This gives us a chance to see some other teams."
Thor Nilsen, the Kennebunk athletic director, drew up the Class A volleyball schedule this year and was asked by MDI and Ellsworth to schedule more southern teams. "It's only fair to send more teams up there," he said. "I volunteered our team and Cape Elizabeth offered to go as well. Then we talked about making it a day together."
MDI will provide lunch to both southern teams. With just one court at MDI, the teams will rotate through four matches. Cape will start the day, then Kennebunk will play the next two matches, with Cape closing out the day.
Then, said Richardson, they'll probably grab something to eat and then head home.
Yarmouth, meanwhile, is going up Friday night. It is the Clippers' second trip Down East this year. Earlier they played against Bucksport and Jonesport-Beals, a trip for which they left on Saturday morning.
"We just felt to do it twice in one day would be too much," said Jim Senecal, the coach at Yarmouth. "With Sumner being a little farther away than Bucksport, we felt we could do an overnight trip this time.
"It does create a little extra expense for our boosters, but we did our research and found a very team-friendly motel that provides good rates."
He's looking forward to the two matches on Saturday. In Yarmouth's previous trip, the Clippers had two tough matches, beating Bucksport 3-1 and Jonesport-Beals 3-2.
"This trip could be very much the same," he said. "We don't know much about those teams, we just have to be ready."
WHILE BIDDEFORD and Scarborough continue to lead the Class A standings, Gorham has made a strong bid in the top three. The Rams were 7-1 after Monday's win over Cheverus, their only loss a five-set affair with Scarborough.
"The girls are really, really coming together," said Lisa Curley, the Rams head coach. "We're really competitive and we have great chemistry ... And there are a lot of them who have been stepping up all year."
Three players have really stood out for the Rams: senior setter Kaitlyn Seehusen, senior middle/outside hitter Lindsay Chapman and senior middle hitter Lexi Merrifield.
GREELY, MEANWHILE, is 5-2 with both losses to unbeaten Biddeford. The Rangers may not be the powerhouse they've been, but they are getting better.
"We're still up and down," said Coach Kelvin Hasch. "We're having a little difficulty being aggressive all the time. We're trying to eliminate our mistakes. Once we do, we'll be right where we need to be."
Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org