Thursday, April 24, 2014
This fall on the volleyball court, it was Biddeford's time.
Alyssa Drapeau became the leader of a strong Biddeford team that ended Greely's seven-year reign as state champion in the semifinals and then beat Falmouth in the final.
Derek Davis/Staff Photographer
Brittany Bona, Scarborough, junior middle blocker
A hard worker who has height and power, she amassed 50 aces, 109 service points, 174 kills, 113 successful serve receptions, 27 solo blocks for kills and 76 digs.
Taylor Davis, Washington Academy, senior outside hitter
David returned from a dislocated kneecap to help her team win the Class B state title. She had 34 aces, 54 kills, 62 digs and 19 assists.
Alyssa Drapeau, Biddeford, senior outside hitter
A dogged competitor, Drapeau was everywhere on the court in the Tigers' run to their first Class A title. She amassed 172 kills, 56 aces, 171 digs, 23 blocks and 220 set assists.
Keila Grigware, Biddeford, senior outside hitter
With power and grit, Grigware totaled 186 kills, 53 service aces, 92 digs and 37 set assists. Her service percentage topped 90 percent.
Abbie Hutchinson, Yarmouth, senior middle hitter
Hutchinson was a four-year starter who led the Clippers in serve attempts (185), points off serve (79) and kills (109). She also had 58 blocks and 60 digs.
Megan Phelps, Mount Desert Island, senior outside hitter/setter
An athletic competitor who wanted the ball at crunch time, Phelps totaled 174 kills, 63 digs, 36 blocks and 103 set assists. She leaves with a regular-season record of 53-3.
Kate Sparks, Falmouth, senior opposite hitter
Sparks led Falmouth to the state title match with a standout season. She amassed 107 kills, 32 aces, 27 blocks, 176 digs, 26 set assists and 185 serve receptions.
Sara Warnock, Greely, senior middle hitter
A deft passer with strong court sense and quickness, Warnock compiled 37 sets, 12 assists and 24 service aces. She had 92 kills from the middle, 34 blocks and 124 defensive digs.
Coach of the Year
Ruth Shaw, Biddeford
Shaw spent 11 years building the program in Biddeford before her tireless work produced a state title this season. Her strong sense of the game helped developed a layer of players beyond the team's stars who gave the Tigers significant depth.
The Tigers marched through the regular season flashing their talent, then knocked off mighty Greely 3-2 in the semifinals, ending the Rangers' seven-year reign as state champions.
Biddeford beat Falmouth in three straight sets for the title.
During that run, one particular player was everywhere: Alyssa Drapeau, an athletic outside hitter with a powerful and consistent serve.
"Without her I'm not sure where we would've gotten," said Biddeford Coach Ruth Shaw. "It was her team."
For her talent, effort and value to her team, Drapeau has been named the Maine Sunday Telegram volleyball MVP.
Winning the title was made sweeter for Drapeau by her teammates' performances in the state final.
"When it finally happened after wanting it so bad, it was kind of surreal," said Drapeau. "The one thing that stood out about that game was the overall team effort. It wasn't one or two people carrying the team. It was everyone."
Agreed, said Shaw. But Drapeau was simply superb.
"She's a true leader," said Shaw. "You'd think the ball was down and here comes 'Skinny' diving for the ball from the other side of the court.
"In the final, she was on the service line or up on the front row. She was blocking, hitting strong side, weak side. She was just everywhere.
"When anything was going wrong she would be the first to say 'Come on, guys. This is our time.'"
"Everyone knew Biddeford had a strong program but we were never the best," said Drapeau. "Now we've made a statement that we are the best."
Drapeau's interest in the game blossomed late in middle school.
As a freshman she earned a nickname that has stuck: Skinny.
"When she started, if she turned sideways we'd lose her," said Shaw. "She has the true volleyball physique: tall, thin. And she can twist and contort her body and not find herself flying into the net.
"When you're playing on the net, the bigger you are, you have to really manipulate yourself."
Drapeau has devoted herself to the game, playing in winter and spring leagues, and hitting Old Orchard Beach in the summer for two-on-two matches.
Her understanding of the game has grown along the way.
In one playoff game, for example, Shaw noticed a spot that wasn't getting set. Drapeau had already talked to her teammates to make the appropriate change on the court.
"If I called a timeout she already knew what to do and how to change it," said Shaw. "I was one step behind her. ...
"Throughout the years I always believed she'd become an emotional leader. She didn't need me."
Drapeau plans to play volleyball in college. She is trying to decide among a small group of Division II and III schools.
She won't forget about this season.
"When I look back on this year, this team, I can say without a doubt it was the most fun year," said Drapeau. "All the girls got along so well. We were all best friends and had the same mind-set."
Staff Writer Jenn Menendez can be contacted at 791-6426 or at: