CUMBERLAND – The Greely volleyball team knows what clutch play is, and the Rangers proved it Saturday coming back from big deficits several times to beat Falmouth in a Class A quarterfinal.

The second-ranked Rangers (13-2), seeking their ninth state championship in 10 years, dispatched Falmouth in four tough sets. Greely took the first set 28-26, and after Falmouth won the second 25-14, the Rangers took the next two, 25-21 and 25-23.

Greely will host No. 6 Scarborough in the semifinals on Wednesday.

In the fourth set, Falmouth took an early lead and was ahead 10-6 after five consecutive service points from junior Katrina Meserve. The Yachtsmen went on to lead by as many as eight points.

But when Greely’s Haleigh Roach whittled the lead to 20-16 with four service points and Kristen Atwood followed with six consecutive service points, including two aces, the Rangers had all the momentum and were soon able to close out the match.

“We just needed to talk. We forget to talk and then lose our focus. Once we start talking, we play as a team,” Atwood said.

“We’ve been there before, having to claw our way back. Everyone is good enough. We just need to stay in sync.”

The playoff loss was tough for Falmouth, which lost to Greely in last year’s semifinals before the Rangers went on to win another state title. Meserve said Saturday’s quarterfinal match was a better battle than last year and should set up the Yachtsmen for a big season next year.

“We played so well. We stayed calm. This is a good way to end it. And we have a lot of sophomores. Next year we will definitely play as well,” Meserve said.

After Greely took the first set, Falmouth built a commanding lead in the second set and held it, jumping out 8-2 and running the score to 19-7 before winning 25-14.

The third set was more of a back-and-forth battle after Falmouth took an early five-point lead, and Greely quickly tied it 10-10.

The teams traded the lead twice more before a Roach spike put the Rangers in control at 19-16.

“We clawed our way back in the fourth set and Kristen came up with those two aces. I’m very impressed with that,” said Greely Coach Kelvin Hasch.

“In that timeout in the fourth (set) I told them, ‘We just need three more points. Play every point.’ I could see the other team was sucking a lot of air.”

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

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