With a playoff feel in a possible state-final preview, the Deering and Biddeford girls’ volleyball teams put on an intense match Tuesday night.

Biddeford, ranked second in Class A in the Heal point standings, went in loose against previously undefeated and top-ranked Deering. And it showed, as the Tigers made fewer mistakes in a convincing 3-1 victory (25-15, 18-25, 25-19, 25-17).

“We came in thinking, you know what, we’re the underdogs and we have nothing to lose,” said Biddeford outside hitter Grace Martin, who finished with a team-high 14 kills and three blocks. “We were going into a big week with Scarborough and Deering and we said, hey, let’s go out there, we got this.

“I think what we improved on, which really helped us today, was the intensity, the energy, the enthusiasm, which got them down.”

Rams Coach Larry Nichols, whose team had only lost four sets all season – two of them in a 3-2 win over Scarborough to open the season – said that what Biddeford threw at his team would be a learning tool in how to think beyond the first play.

“(When) you have a team that plays such great defense as Biddeford does and your play doesn’t work then the mindset is now, ‘What is the next piece in recipe box?’ and go to it immediately,” he said. “So I think, cognitively and game-speed wise, while I don’t like to lose and they don’t either, this couldn’t have happened at a better time. For us, its kind of a win-win on a down note.”

The Tigers (10-2) came out and took it to the Rams by never trailing in winning the first set. Deering (12-1) came back in the second set to even the match but the visitors withstood the pressure to take the final two sets.

“Mentally, this was our strongest game,” said Biddeford Coach Chantel Tourigny, whose team’s losses were to Class B powerhouses Falmouth and Cape Elizabeth. “I threw in couple different lineups and no one freaked out. I went taller in front row after first set, then we went back to our bread and butter (later in the match) and found confidence in that and then we were good to go.

“This was a great game, a fun game. They’re a great team. It definitely could’ve gone either way. In high school sports it’s pretty much a mental game. As long as you keep the unforced errors low then you have a shot.”

With the momentum on Deering’s side after the second-set victory and an 11-5 advantage in the third, Biddeford reeled off 10 of the next 14 points to even the set at 15-15. The third set ended with the Tigers recording the final four points – a dink by Deering’s Divine M’Bambi in the net, an ace by Julia Murray and then two bad digs.

In the decisive set Deering grabbed an early lead but hitters Grace Boisvert (nine kills) and Mia Martel (six kills, three blocks) took over. With the score 9-9, Boisvert recorded five kills – with the final four points of the match off her kills – and Martel added three as Biddeford outscored Deering 16-8 the rest of the way. Setter Brooke Reissfelder (14 assists, two aces) had six assists in the run.

“Grace Boisvert had a little trouble hitting early,” Tourigny said. “She came back later a little conservative and then had all the kills at the end.”

Avery Donovan (nine kills, seven blocks), Maddy Broda (15 assists, four aces), Dianne Dervis (three kills, six aces) and Ava Spasch (five blocks) led Deering.

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