SCARBOROUGH—The Greely Rangers just don’t panic.

The state’s premier volleyball program has an inherent understanding of the moment and as a result, is very tough to beat.

Make that impossible to beat.

At least so far this season.

Monday evening, in a showdown between the top two squads in our Super Six poll, the Rangers went to talented Scarborough and got taken to the limit, but never buckled.

The Red Storm won the first set with ease, 25-12, after scoring the first seven points. Greely bounced right back to take the second, 25-19, thanks to the superb serving of sophomore standout Kayley Cimino. When the Rangers broke a 16-16 tie and won the third game, 25-17, it appeared to be lights out for the host team, but Scarborough rallied from a 16-10 deficit in the fourth set, riding 10 straight service points from junior Emily Hanson, to prevail, 25-19, and set up a winner-take-all fifth game. There, the Red Storm took the first two points, but Greely wouldn’t be denied, getting four kills from unheralded senior Emily Buchanan and pulling away to win, 15-8, and take the match, 3-2.

The Rangers improved to 8-0 and dropped Scarborough to 6-2 in the process.

“We sure found a way tonight,” said Greely coach Kelvin Hasch. “We didn’t play well, but we found a way to get the job done. I’m excited that we were able to pull it out.”

Two of the best

This rivalry was all Greely for nine seasons, as the Rangers won the first 20 meetings (see sidebar, below), but last fall, Scarborough, en route to a perfect regular season and a trip to the state final, vanquished Greely three times: 3-1 at home, 3-0 in Cumberland, then 3-1 in a thrilling state semifinal.

This fall, both teams have exceeded expectations and hinted that they might see each other in the postseason.

The Red Storm, despite a nearly complete roster turnover, won their first four matches. After opening with a 3-0 home victory over Gorham and a 3-0 triumph at Cheverus, Scarborough rallied from two sets down to stun Falmouth in a state match revenge match, 3-2. After a 3-1 triumph at Ellsworth, the Red Storm lost, 3-0, at Mt. Desert Island, then bounced back to blank visiting Windham and Kennebunk by 3-0 margins.

The Rangers weren’t viewed as the favorite coming in, but have ascended to that status at the midway point. Greely opened with wins over Yarmouth (3-1), Windham (3-0), Cape Elizabeth (3-0) and Gorham (3-1), then produced an epic 3-2 come-from-behind win over Biddeford. The Rangers then blanked visiting Falmouth (3-0) and won at Thornton Academy (3-0).

Monday, in the teams’ lone regularly scheduled meeting, Scarborough was hoping to end Greely’s run and continue its ascendance, but the Rangers had what it took to collect another statement victory instead.

The Red Storm roared out of the gate and behind the serving of senior Mina Puig, took a quick 7-0 lead, forcing Hasch to call timeout. A Cimino kill stemmed the tide, but Scarborough got the next three points, highlighted by a kill from senior Kayla Savage, to make it 10-1. After an ace from senior libero Audrey Mann, senior Lauren Weickert delivered a kill to pull Greely within 10-4, but the Red Storm never let the Rangers get closer than 16-12. After Scarborough got the next point, Puig served out the game, giving her 14 service points in all and the Red Storm had the jump.

Not surprisingly, Greely settled down and responded.

The Rangers didn’t trail in the second set, going on a 10-1 run to open up a 12-3 lead, as Buchanan first made her presence felt with a pair of kills. The run included six straight service points from Cimino. Scarborough crept back to 19-18 behind two Hanson aces, but after a Hasch timeout, Cimino had a kill and Greely gradually pulled away. A Cimino kill finished it off, 25-19. In the game, Cimino had nine service points.

“I just got in my groove and went for it,” Cimino said.

“Kayley’s serve helped a lot,” Hasch said.

In the pivotal third game, the Red Storm got a kill from Puig to start, then went up 4-0 on an ace from Savage. Scarborough eventually went up by as many as six, 11-5, but the Rangers rallied and went on a 7-0 run behind strong service from junior Hannah Butland, a run which featured kills from junior Alex Tebbs and sophomore Molly Chapin, an ace from Buchanan, a block from Chapin and a kill from Cimino. The game would be tied, 12-12, 14-14, 15-15 and 16-16, but Greely turned it up a notch, closing on a 9-1 run, capped by a Weickert block, to win, 25-17.

For much of the fourth game, it appeared the Rangers were going to close things out, but the Red Storm finished strong.

Greely broke a 7-7 tie with a 7-1 run, capped by a Tebbs ace. After Scarborough got a kill from senior Megan Brooks and won the next point, the Rangers got a point back, then got a kill from Buchanan to make it 16-10. Then, Savage had a kill and that sent Hanson to the service line. Her first serve resulted in an ace and she didn’t stop from there, winning 10 straight points in all, getting three kills from Savage and one apiece from Brooks and sophomore Jordyn Cowan in the process, to open up a 21-16 advantage. Greely got as close as 21-18 (on a Cimino ace) and 22-19, but the Red Storm won the next three points, punctuated by a kill from senior Emma Tirrell, to even the match with a 25-19 triumph.

That set up a first-team-to-15-points, winner-take-all fifth set.

Going in, the Rangers weren’t fazed.

“I just tell them that we need to turn it on and we can’t be toying with them anymore,” Hasch said. “We had to not wait for (Scarborough) for make mistakes.”

Scarborough got the first point, then Savage had a kill for a quick 2-0 lead, but that would prove to be the Red Storm’s highwater mark.

A Weickert kill stemmed the tide and with Tebbs serving, Buchanan soared for a kill to tie it. Out of a Scarborough timeout, Greely got the next point, then Chapin had a kill, Cimino had a block and Buchanan had a kill to make it 6-2.

“Emily was really nervous the first couple sets, but she came out and played a lot better,” Hasch said “She got to the ball tonight. We’ve worked with her on quickly getting to the set. In the fourth and fifth games, she really put it together.”

The Red Storm ended the 6-0 run on a kill from senior Lindsey Thurston and Puig had a kill to cut the deficit to 6-4, but the Rangers got a point, then got a kill from Buchanan to make it 8-4.

Scarborough pulled within three points at 8-5, 9-6 and 10-7, but it couldn’t get any closer.

After Greely scored for an 11-7 lead, Weickert had an ace, Chapin had a kill and after the Red Storm’s final point of the match, the Rangers won the next two points and that did it, 15-8, with Greely winning it in five sets.

“The fifth set is all mental,” Cimino said. “It’s little games in one. It’s point by point. We just needed to keep our momentum going.”

“We wanted to win it for last year’s seniors,” Buchanan said. “It was completely a team effort. Whenever someone was down, we pulled each other up. I’m proud of how we kept our heads when we needed to. I feel like when we’re down, we get up just at the right time every time. We learned (from the Biddeford match) that in a (fifth set) you have to get up early. It’s completely a mental game.”

Cimino finished with nine kills and four aces. Buchanan had seven kills. Tebbs finished with five kills and three aces. Chapin added five aces. Weickert had four kills and an ace. Butland finished with three aces and had 16 assists.

“The passes were on,” Buchanan said. “Hannah’s sets were great. Hannah’s such a strong player. She has great court presence.”

A team effort keeps getting the job done.

“I didn’t think we’d be 8-0,” Hasch said. “Molly is a total surprise. The things she can do were evident tonight. (Senior) Audrey (Mann) is a fairly new player. She’s come in and played libero for us. She got back there and did the job when we needed it.”

For Scarborough, Savage had eight kills and two aces. Cowan had five kills. Hanson and Puig both had three aces.

“It’s a very disappointing result,” said Red Storm coach Jon Roberts. “I thought we should beat them. I have one senior who is mentally tough and their whole team is mentally tough. I have good volleyball players, but they’re not mentally tough.”

One month to go

The state championship match in November 1 and there’s a good chance one, if not both of these teams will take part.

Each squad has a lot to take care of first, of course, and both have some daunting tests on the upcoming slate.

Scarborough (third in the Class A Heal Points standings at press time) returns to action Wednesday at Lake Region. After hosting South Portland Friday, the Red Storm play a makeup match at Cape Elizabeth Monday, then host Biddeford the following evening. After playing at Thornton Academy, Scarborough closes the regular season with a home showdown versus Falmouth.

“Our biggest challenge is getting mentally tough,” Roberts said. “We still have some big matches to come.”

Greely (first in the standings) hosts Cony Wednesday and goes to Cheverus Friday. After welcoming Kennebunk in the home finale Tuesday of next week, the Rangers close with matches at Falmouth, South Portland and Cape Elizabeth.

“This season has been so much fun,” Cimino said. “It’s so much fun to play with the girls on this team. Everyone has a blast.”

“We can always use work,” Buchanan said. “Every team can get better. We’re a mentally strong team. We’re positive on the court. We like each other. We play well together.”

“We need to clean up our hitting,” Hasch added. “Our passing was horrible tonight. We still have work to do.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Greely junior Hannah Butland (left) and senior Lauren Weickert rise to block a shot.

Greely sophomore Molly Chapin goes up high for a kill.

Greely sophomore Kayley Cimino touches the ball over the net.

Scarborough sophomore Jordyn Cowan goes up for a kill.

Scarborough junior Emily Hanson stops a shot. Hanson excelled from the service line Monday.

Greely junior Alex Tebbs stops a shot.

Scarborough senior Lindsey Thurston blocks a shot.

Greely junior Hannah Butland celebrates after a point.

Scarborough senior Emma Tirrell jumps for joy after a Red Storm point.

Previous Greely-Scarborough meetings

@ Scarborough 3 Greely 1
Scarborough 3 @ Greely 0
Class A semifinals
@ Scarborough 3 Greely 1

Greely 3 @ Scarborough 0
Class A semifinal
@ Greely 3 Scarborough 2

@ Greely 3 Scarborough 1
Greely 3 @ Scarborough 1
Class A State Final
Greely 3 Scarborough 1

@ Greely 3 Scarborough 0
Greely 3 @ Scarborough 2

Greely 3 @ Scarborough 1
@ Greely 3 Scarborough 0
Class A quarterfinals
@ Greely 3 Scarborough 0

Greely 3 @ Scarborough 0
@ Greely 3 Scarborough 0

@ Greely 3 Scarborough 0
Greely 3 @ Scarborough 0

@ Greely 3 Scarborough 0
Greely 3 @ Scarborough 0

Greely 3 @ Scarborough 0
@ Greely 3 Scarborough 0

@ Greely 3 Scarborough 0
Greely 3 @ Scarborough 0

Sidebar Elements

Greely junior Alex Tebbs (leaping), sophomore Kayley Cimino (9) and senior Lauren Weickert (5) celebrate during the Rangers’ hard-fought 3-2 win at Scarborough Monday night.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.

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