FALMOUTH — In between a hesitant start and quizzical end, Falmouth managed to string together enough dinks and kills to dispatch Mt. Desert Island 3-1 in a Class A girls’ volleyball quarterfinal Saturday at Falmouth High.

Fourth-seeded Falmouth (13-3) advanced to Wednesday’s semifinal round at top-ranked Greely with a 23-25, 25-19, 25-13, 25-19 victory over No. 5 MDI (10-6).

“The first set, I think there were a lot of nerves going and a lot of anticipation, and that’s why we weren’t really playing as ourselves,” said Falmouth setter Alaina Birkel.

“I don’t think this was our best game. So we’re going to build from what we did today and take that into the rest of the tournament.”

Birkel served out the match’s final four points after MDI closed within 20-19.

The match ended with both squads standing around and looking with confusion at the referee after Falmouth middle hitter Alison Noyes sailed her spike attempt well beyond the end line. A delayed ruling that an MDI blocker had tipped the ball on its way over the net led to a hesitant handshake line.

“I don’t know who could have got it because my girls can’t jump that high,” said MDI Coach Corey Papadopoli. “I wish they could but they can’t.”

MDI had visited Falmouth in late September and lost in four sets, but returned Saturday brimming with confidence. Trailing 21-20, the Trojans won four straight points on kills by Julia Watras and Grace Higgins along with a Falmouth net violation to take control.

“In some ways we overlooked MDI a little bit,” Falmouth Coach Molly Northway said. “They always come out with super strong serves. They were very scrappy this year. And since we played them earlier in the season, they significantly improved.

“They had some hitters who were hitting deep cross shots that were throwing us off. But we were able to finally switch our defense to catch those.”

Falmouth jumped to a 7-1 lead in the second set, only to see MDI twice pull within a point, at 11-10 and 14-13. But Noyes and fellow middle hitter Alston Armstrong proved too much for the Trojans to handle. Even though MDI led 3-0 in each of the two remaining sets, Falmouth eventually assumed control.

“I thought our middles did really well blocking,” said Falmouth libero Amanda Watson, who served seven straight points to swing momentum her team’s way early in the third set. “And Alaina got really used to picking up the tough angle balls.”

MDI closed within 20-19 in the final set before Falmouth (13-3) won the final five points, culminating in a successful dink by Noyes to get to 24 that set up the winning kill that may or may not have brushed an MDI finger.

“I think we were all a little surprised,” Birkel said, “but once they made that call, I don’t think they were going to go back on it.”

Greely and Falmouth met once in the regular season with the Rangers winning 3-0 in Falmouth on Sept. 15.

“We can be our own worst enemy,” Birkel said.

“But once we start believing in what we do and who we’re next to, we’re ready to go.”

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