A new Class A volleyball champion will be crowned today.

Top-ranked Biddeford (14-1) is making its first appearance in the state final, facing No. 3 Falmouth (14-2), last year’s runner-up.

The teams split during the regular season in what were the marquee matches of the year.

They meet a third time today for the championship at neutral site, Windham High School. Game time is 1 p.m.

“Isn’t it awesome that it comes down to these two teams?” said Biddeford Coach Ruth Shaw. “It’s a wonderful thing, I think, that we get another chance to battle.”

The Tigers and Yachtsmen rose to prominence this year from a field of strong programs. Biddeford had a first-round playoff bye, then knocked off Greely, the seven-time state champion, 3-2 in the semifinals.

“I don’t know if there are words to express it,” said Shaw. “I’m just thrilled we finally made it through the semifinals. It’s the one game we’ve gotten stuck at. I’m really happy and proud of them.”

Falmouth, meanwhile, knocked off Scarborough 3-0, then beat Mt. Desert Island 3-0 to reach the final.

“This is huge for us to get back here again,” said Falmouth Coach Gary Powers. “Last year everyone was calling it the dream season, and we sort of fell off the map after that.

“I think they figured we’d be strong, but not where we are right now.”

The Yachtsmen’s key, said Powers, has been the emergence of multiple players. Standouts Kate Sparks and Alana Becker have gotten strong support from Laura Fay, Jenna Serunian and a host of others.

“We’re full strength and everyone is raring to go,” said Powers. “Everyone is stepping up and I think that’s what makes us dangerous.

“I think we’re playing at the peak of our ability, but Biddeford is, too. They have some fantastic players.”

Falmouth won the first regular-season meeting 3-1 on Sept. 10. The teams met again on Oct. 6, when Biddeford prevailed, 3-2.

Keila Grigware, a senior, served the winning ace.

“As we started winning, I think it was a good thing to lose the one match to Falmouth,” said Shaw. “It bounces your mind to saying ‘OK. We have to earn every game.’“

The Tigers have been buzzing all week about the chance they’ve earned.

“The opportunity is something we’ve always wanted,” said Alyssa Drapeau, a senior outside hitter. “It’s such a good accomplishment (to reach the state final).”

The key, she said, is to counter Falmouth’s net presence

“Falmouth is a really good team at the net,” she said. “They have a lot of blocks, touches, which helps them dig balls.

“But I think if we work around their blockers we’ll be fine.”

 

THE CLASS B title game is a repeat of last year: top-ranked Washington Academy against defending-champion Calais, the No. 2 seed. The game is scheduled at 1 p.m. at Narraguagus High.

“We were favored last year and I think we had overall the stronger team,” said Washington Academy Coach Christine Davis. “But they just had the mental aspect and more control than we did. That was a hard loss.”

Davis, who was undergoing cancer treatment last season, is healthy again and excited to have another crack at the championship.

“I’m expecting (Calais) will be very strong defensively,” she said. “But if we can run our offense, I think we have a shot at the title.”

 

Staff Writer Jenn Menendez can be contacted at 791-6426 or at: [email protected]