GORHAM — Greely used the powerful hitting and serving of seniors Kayley Cimino and Molly Chapin to take control of the fourth set Friday night and defeat Scarborough for the Class A volleyball state championship at Gorham High School.

The top-ranked Rangers won their ninth championship since 2003. Greely took the first two sets, 25-20 and 25-8, before the second-seeded Red Storm won the third, 25-18. The Rangers clinched the title by winning the fourth set, 25-20.

It’s Greely’s first championship since 2012, when Cimino was an eighth grader watching her sister, Danielle, help the Rangers win the Gold Ball. She said at the start of this season that Greely had everything needed to be the state champion, and the Rangers proved her right by finishing with a 17-0 record, losing just three sets.

“It’s getting harder to win them, the game is getting faster in Maine. This is our strongest team yet,” said Greely Coach Kelvin Hasch. “I’ve changed a lot of things that I didn’t used to do. I hired a trainer to work on their core strength and leaping ability this year. That was different.”

Greely led the entire first set, by as many as seven points. The Rangers served hard and deep to keep Scarborough (16-2) on its heels. But the Red Storm kept fighting back.

A kill by Haley Nelson, a timely block from freshman middle hitter Asia Mattress and another kill by Mattress gave the Red Storm some momentum. Senior Jordyn Cowan the scored two straight points to pull Scarborough within three points at 23-20. But two Scarborough mistakes enabled Greely to take the set.

Greely dominated the second set. The Rangers took a 6-5 lead on a Cimino serve, and then the senior won a remarkable 15 service points in a row to put Greely up 21-6.

In the third set, Scarborough took the lead at 3-2 and never relinquished it. The Storm led by as many as nine points, fueled by the serving of senior Kacey Foerster, who had an ace, and the aggressive blocking of Mattress and Nelson.

“Asia played great,” Scarborough Coach Jon Roberts said. “If I had written the script, I wouldn’t have put that much pressure on her. But she played really well.”

Greely regrouped in the fourth set, though. Hasch said the Rangers went back to their strategy from the first two sets.

“We served them deep. That was our game plan. Their setter was a bit slow getting back, so we served them deep,” Hasch said.

Junior libero Coco Petrone won four service points in a row to push Greely out to a 14-11 lead, then Chapin added three points. The teams traded points before Greely junior Jane Grandchamp won two service points to make it 20-15. From there, Scarborough never got closer than four points.

“We just kept saying, ‘Just 10 more points, then five more points. We got this,'” said Cimino, who noted that her team knew it would be a challenge to avenge last year’s state final loss to Scarborough. “We told ourselves we weren’t going to come into the state (final) and win in three sets. We knew we could win because we have such a strong team that just kept improving all season.”

Roberts said he was proud of how the Red Storm fought back in the third set.

“I thought our kids were mentally tough in the third set. They played great defense. But then in the fourth we didn’t make adjustments,” Roberts said

“I’m super proud of our team. On another day, it could have been a different story.”

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