Senior captain Emily Hanson said preparation was the key in Scarborough High’s run to its first Class A volleyball state championship. The Red Storm played in a tournament in Rhode Island before the playoffs started and endured exhaustive drills from Coach Jon Roberts in the weeks leading into the title match.

And Hanson, a libero, had a lot to do with Scarborough’s success. She played an instrumental role in a semifinal victory over top-ranked Cape Elizabeth – the defending state champion – and in a win over No. 2 Greely in the state final.

“On those two very important days, she was able to put mistakes behind her, focus on the next play and give her best performances of the year, ultimately allowing our team to succeed,” Roberts said.

Hanson, who had 235 digs, 20 kills and 55 aces, is the Maine Sunday Telegram’s volleyball player of the year.

“Emily played very well at the semifinal against Cape (Elizabeth) and was a big part of our team’s success that day,” Roberts said. “She served tough and she stayed steady. She didn’t pass perfect passes every time, but she kept the ball in play. That was part of our game plan. We really stressed to our passers that we needed the ball in play to allow our setters and hitters to make things happen.”

Hanson said being part of her school’s first volleyball state championship will be one of her greatest high school memories.

“I feel now like Scarborough volleyball is finally getting the respect it deserves,” Hanson said. “Last year we had the skills, but this year we had the mindset. We knew coming in we had to change people’s minds about us.”

To be sure, other Scarborough players helped in winning the state title. Senior middle hitter Taylor Marinko had key kills in the state championship match, as well as 149 kills, 34 aces and 39 blocks for the season. And junior outside hitter Kacey Foerster helped to trip up Greely in the championship match. She amassed 60 digs, 122 kills, 28 aces this season.

But during a season when none of the Class A teams had more than 13 wins, Hanson brought a different composure to the playoffs. She was determined that this year would not be a repeat of 2013, when Scarborough lost in the state finale.

The fifth-seeded Red Storm won the title match against Greely after losing the first game. They narrowly won the second game, 25-23, then turned the match around, leading through most of the third game and the entire fourth game to win 25-20 and 25-22 and take the match.

Roberts said Hanson helped her team grab the momentum in the last two games.

“She started digging Greely’s best hitters,” Roberts said. “Her ability to keep them from scoring allowed us to win long rallies and ultimately win the match. She also served tough, keeping them out of system on most of her serves.”

Sunday Telegram All-State Team

Brecken Barker, Washington Academy, freshman defensive specialist: Barker’s serving and defensive play was the difference in the Class B state championship match. She served 14 of the final 15 points in the fifth game to give Washington Academy its first state title in four years.

Lydia Brennaman, Cape Elizabeth, senior libero: Brennaman had 259 digs and 124 kills, and was instrumental in helping the top-ranked team advance to the Class A semifinals.

Hannah Butland, Greely, senior setter: Butland racked up 341 assists, including 41 in the Class A state final. She also had 71 aces.

Heather Clark, Yarmouth, senior middle hitter: Clark had 124 kills as she helped lead the 2014 Class B state champions to the quarterfinals in their first year in Class A.

Kacey Foerster, Scarborough, junior outside hitter: Foerster tallied 60 digs, 122 kills and 28 aces to help lift the Red Storm to their first Class A state title.

Tess Haller, Cape Elizabeth, senior middle hitter: Haller had 135 kills and 25 aces to lead the Capers to the Class A semifinals.

Emily Hanson, Scarborough, senior libero: Hanson, the Maine Sunday Telegram player of the year, finished with 235 digs, 20 kills and 55 aces for the Class A state champions.

Ashley Howe, Thornton Academy, senior middle hitter: Howe helped lead the Golden Trojans to a 12-3 record in just their third year as a varsity team. She had 113 digs, 95 kills and 36 aces.

Taylor Marinko, Scarborough, senior middle hitter: Marinko played a leading role in Scarborough’s first Class A state championship, recording 149 kills, 34 aces and 39 blocks. She came up big in the state final with several key blocks and kills.

Alex Tebbs, Greely, senior outside hitter: Tebbs amassed 163 kills, 77 digs and 37 aces as she helped power the Rangers to their third state final in the last five years.

Coach of the Year

Jon Roberts, Scarborough: In his sixth year at Scarborough, Roberts brought the Red Storm to their third appearance in the state final and guided them to three playoff wins over higher-ranked teams, capped by a victory over No. 2 Greely.