WINDHAM – A very confident Biddeford team captured its first volleyball state championship Saturday.

The top-seeded Tigers defeated No. 3 Falmouth, sweeping the first three games in the best-of-five final to claim the Class A title at Windham High School.

The seeds to the championship were planted last weekend when Biddeford defeated perennial powerhouse Greely for the first time in tournament play. The Rangers were seeking their eighth straight state championship.

“When you beat a team that has won the state championship seven times, you go, ‘OK, we are a good team,’ and then you finally believe it,” Biddeford Coach Ruth Shaw said. “It’s a belief thing, not a skill thing.

“I told our girls all year long we are a strong group of girls, and it was always a mental thing we had to get over.”

“Beating Greely gave us the extra confidence in ourselves,” said Biddeford outside hitter Keila Grigware. “Coming into the game we knew we had to focus on our side of the court and not so much on the other side of the court.

“The main part of our win today was keeping our mind-set and not thinking about our previous games and keep going after every ball.”

Biddeford split two matches with Falmouth (14-2) during the regular season, with each team winning on its home court.

“Our first game with Falmouth was a learning experience,” Shaw said. “When we played them the second time, we needed to beat them. We did beat them and our confidence level went way up.”

While it took five games to decide both regular-season matches, the Tigers won this time by scores of 25-11, 25-22 and 25-17.

“We were just flat today. We just could not get our rhythm at all,” Falmouth Coach Gary Powers said. “I don’t know what it was. We just could not get into it at all.”

In the first game, Biddeford (15-1) scored its points in bunches, including a 7-0 run on Grigware’s serve to open a comfortable 21-6 lead.

“Our setting was tight. Our passing was tight. We didn’t run any offense, and Biddeford was everywhere,” Powers said.

“We’re a well-rounded team,” Grigware said. “We have players in the back row who are specialists in a particular area, and they may make up for players who are not as strong in that area. Everyone on the team meshes together.”

Game 2 was much more competitive. The score was tied or the lead changed hands 13 times.

“If Falmouth had won that second game, then you might have seen this go to five games,” Shaw said.

Instead, the Tigers finished the game with a three-point run.

The score was tied four times in Game 3 before the Tigers reeled off three straight points for a 14-10 lead, then closed it out with a 5-0 run.

 

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: [email protected]