FALMOUTH — Grace Martin was heroic.

But Annika Hester was unstoppable.

As a result, Falmouth’s volleyball team will once again play for a state championship.

The top-ranked Yachtsmen welcomed No. 4 Biddeford for a Class A semifinal Wednesday night that lived up to billing as a hotly contested battle between two of the state’s top teams and top hitters.

While Martin’s high school volleyball career ended with 21 kills, Hester produced 33 kills and Falmouth prevailed in four close sets, 25-17, 25-17, 17-25, 25-16.

The Yachtsmen improved to 15-1, ended the Tigers’ season at 11-5, and advanced to meet No. 2 Gorham (16-0) in the Class A state championship match at 1 p.m. Saturday in South Berwick. The teams didn’t play this year.

“(Biddeford was) everything they’re supposed to be, and then some,” said Falmouth’s first-year coach, Larry Nichols. “It was probably a great match to watch.”

Falmouth won the first set on the strength of its serving game, as Holly Barney had a pair of aces and Hillary Bouchard produced seven service points. The Yachtsmen shot to a 10-3 lead, and while Biddeford got as close as 18-15, kills from Hester and Rose Riversmith closed it out.

Biddeford led the second game 12-11, and the score was deadlocked at 17-17 after a Martin kill, but the final eight points went to Falmouth. Katie Phillips finished the game with seven straight service points, including two aces.

Biddeford rallied in the third set, with Martin and Grace Boisvert each producing four kills and Brooke Reissfelder assisting on six points. Martin, who plans to play basketball at Harvard University next year, had a pair of timely kills, then added one more on set point to extend the match.

“(Grace is) an all-around athlete,” said Biddeford Coach Ruth Shaw. “A pleasure to coach.”

Biddeford led early in the fourth game, but a kill from Hester put the Yachtsmen ahead for good at 8-7. With the score 15-13, a pair of Hester kills opened it up for Falmouth. Two more kills and a block by Hester and a Phillips kill made it 23-15.

The final two points were a kill by Riversmith and a Hester serve that the Tigers couldn’t return.

“We all felt we had it in us to win,” said Falmouth setter Summer Spiegel. “We had a little hiccup in the third set, but we finished strong.”

Phillips and Speigel each finished with 18 assists.

“Between Summer and Katie, they really do a great job setting me,” said Hester. “I was a little tired and couldn’t jump as high tonight, but the sets were really good.”

Reissfelder had 23 assists and Boisvert added seven kills for Biddeford.

“We had a run there and took a game, but we started slow, and if we hadn’t started slow, it would have gone five,” Shaw said.


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