December 11, 2011

All-State Volleyball: Choice was tough, but so was the Greely leader

By Deirdre Fleming dfleming@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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Maggie Bradley of Greely not only had the ability but the mental toughness that made the Rangers the best volleyball team in the state – and made her the state’s best player.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

Telegram All-State Volleyball

Brittany Bona, Scarborough, senior outside hitter

An impact player who some call the best spiker in the state. The pressure of the Red Storm's breakout year and a 12-2 record rode on Bona's shoulders, but she still led her team to the state final while accumulating 224 attack kills, 69 serving aces, 12 blocks and 119 digs.

Maggie Bradley, Greely, senior outside hitter

Bradley amassed 175 attack kills, 30 serving aces and 134 digs. But her ability to get it done at clutch time, nearly without exception, is one reason the Rangers had such a perfect season.

Morgan Cahill, Yarmouth, senior middle hitter

Cahill was consistent and powerful, leading the Clippers to their first Class B state title with 167 attack kills, 54 serving aces, 104 blocks and 64 digs.

Haleigh Roach, Greely, junior setter

A versatile player who's fast and can pound the ball as well as set it, Roach provided 210 assists as well as 39 serving aces, 75 digs and 18 blocks.

Emily Robbins, Scarborough, senior setter

Another reason the Red Storm made it to the state title game, Robbins rarely faltered under pressure, providing 368 assists along with 48 digs.

Nicole Rodgers, Falmouth, senior middle hitter

An impact player who has strong all-around skills, Rodgers had 63 serving aces, 130 digs and 102 attack kills.

Emily Sampson, Greely, senior outside hitter/libero

Sampson has great court sense and is a strong defensive player. She amassed 100 attack kills, 24 serving aces, 17 blocks and 217 digs.

Renee Trottier, Biddeford, senior setter/outside hitter

A versatile player with a tremendous jump serve who can set, hit and dig, Trottier went where Coach Ruth Shaw needed her, and finished the season with 84 attack kills, 88 digs and 127 assists.

Coach of the Year

Jon Roberts, Scarborough

In just his second year coaching the Red Storm, Roberts took a team that went 8-6 and 7-7 the previous two years and, after one losing season, led it to the Class A title game. Moreover, he got the Red Storm to make one of the best undefeated Greely teams ever fight for the win by taking the lead in the third and fourth sets. Other coaches who gave Roberts the nod said he will contribute a lot to Maine volleyball in the coming years.

Choosing a volleyball player of the year was tough, but that may be because the sport is growing quickly in Maine.

Coaches had a hard time choosing between Maggie Bradley of Greely and Brittany Bona of Scarborough.

In fact, ESPN had a hard time selecting between them for Gatorade player of the year, said Cape Elizabeth Coach Rob Thompson.

But in the end, Bradley is not only strong in so many areas, she's strong when she needs to be. That mind-set led her team to the Class A state title.

"I would say in general they are pretty even. In my opinion Maggie slightly edges out Brittany a little bit," said Thompson, who has coached both on travel teams. "I think on Greely, there are other strong players on the team and they still end up going to Maggie as the go-to player during crunch time."

It is because of Bradley's mental toughness that she is the Maine Sunday Telegram's choice for volleyball player of the year.

"She hits hard, she plays the front and the back, she doesn't stop moving and she has a great serve. She's an all-around player," said Biddeford Coach Ruth Shaw.

Bradley had 175 attack kills, 30 serving aces and 134 digs. She also came up with big plays at key moments in key games.

In the state final against Scarborough, Bradley may have been the difference. Coach Kelvin Hasch looked to her when the Rangers needed a boost in the fourth set.

"I told her we needed to get more out of her. I told the setters to set the ball to Maggie," Hasch said. "She found a way to overcome if she wasn't serving well. We were down 17-10 and she brought us back in the fourth set. It was 18-17 when she got done serving."

Bradley was a strong player last year, but after winter ball and summer leagues, learned to focus like few others.

"The state game was very stressful. Right in the middle of the state game, playing that state game is what you've been working for the entire season -- that's in the back of your mind. It can be very stressful," Bradley said. "I tried to keep myself calm. That helps my teammates stay calm and they helped me as well.

"In some ways winning in volleyball is a lot of skill and a lot of luck. You have to overcome so much mentally. We needed to separate ourselves from the fact that was the state game."

Perhaps what puts Bradley on top of her game is she's played on and watched past Greely teams that went 14-0 and 13-1, so the volleyball climate she has played in always demanded delivering at crunch time.

As a result, this year for the first time, Bradley didn't get flustered -- she just got it done.

"The one thing with Maggie, she's overcome (getting frustrated). Her mentality is, if the team isn't doing well, then I have to do better," Hasch said. "She used to have the other attitude. In the state match, Maggie had some serving errors but when I told her not to do the jump serve, not to play too risky, she went to a little jump and it proved so affective."

Staff Writer Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at:

dfleming@pressherald.com

Twitter: Flemingpph

 

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