GORHAM — Senior outside hitter Maiya Carlson had a difficult time keeping her composure after Gorham won its Class A volleyball semifinal Wednesday night against Scarborough to advance to its first state championship match.

“This was the most intense match I’ve ever played in. This is the most amazing team,” Carlson, a four-year varsity player, said through tears.

Carlson’s hard hitting helped lead the second-seeded Rams to a 3-1 win over No. 3 Scarborough, the defending state champion.

Gorham (16-0) won the first two sets, 25-22 and 25-18, before the Red Storm (13-3) extended the match by taking the third set, 25-23.

Gorham then prevailed in the fourth set, 25-23.

“We talked about this all season, that the playoffs would go to five sets. We wanted to be mentally ready,” said Gorham’s second-year coach, Emma Tirrell, who graduated from Scarborough in 2015.

The Rams came out with the intensity they wanted, jumping out to a 13-5 lead in the first set. Scarborough fought back to take a 22-19 lead, but Gorham won the next six points, including a Meg Perry kill and a clever tip, a block by Katie O’Donnell.

Gorham led the entire second set. Evelyn Kitchen had two kills, a block and two tips, while Carlson contributed two kills and two tips.

Scarborough fought back in the third set, first pulling even at 12-12, then leading the rest of the set. Gwen Dorsey had two kills and a tip, Madeline Strouse also recorded two kills, and Amelia Hardy had a kill and a block.

But the Rams led throughout the fourth set. Meg Perry had two kills, and O’Donnell and Kitchen were tough at the net, each with two blocks. Carlson helped Gorham close it out with four kills and a tip.

Scarborough was paced in the final set by Gwen Dorsey, Catherine Shaw and Shaelyn Thornton, who each had three kills.

Kim Stoddard, Scarborough’s first-year coach, said Gorham’s hard-hitting style was a challenge, but she was pleased her team fought back in the third set.

Carlson said when the Storm won the third set, the Rams told themselves that’s what they wanted – to be tested.

“We were happy for them the way they fought back. But then we really started swinging,” Carlson said. “We wanted to play in the fourth set harder than we’ve played.

“I have never been more proud of a team, ever.”

Deirdre Fleming can be reached at 791-6452 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: FlemingPph

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