Scarborough sophomore Maddie Strouse soars for a kill during the Red Storm’s 3-0 win over Biddeford in Saturday’s Class A state quarterfinal. Scarborough advanced to meet Gorham in Wednesday’s semifinal round. Photos courtesy Jim Mueller. More photos below.

SCARBOROUGH—Scarborough’s second-ranked volleyball team made sure it didn’t give upset-minded No. 7 Biddeford any reason for confidence in Saturday’s Class A state quarterfinal round match.

The Red Storm never trailed in the first set and rode the serving of juniors Mayne Gwyer and Shaelyn Thornton and the passing of Gwyer and senior Bella Dickinson to a 25-13 victory.

The Tigers held a 14-10 second game lead, but Scarborough, paced by the hitting and serving of sophomore Maddie Strouse, won 13 of the next 15 points and took the set, 25-19, when senior captain Maya Brooks closed it out with a kill.

The Red Storm then rolled to victory in the third game, as a Thornton kill ended it, 25-9, and Scarborough took the match, 3-0.

The Red Storm improved to 13-2, ended Biddeford’s season at 7-9 and in the process, advanced to take on No. 3 Gorham (12-3) in the state semifinals Wednesday in Scarborough at a time to be announced.

“Playoffs is a whole new season and we know anything can happen,” said Red Storm coach Kim Stoddard. “One bad day and your season is over, so we don’t take any team for granted. We play tough and play our game no matter what.”

Taking care of business

Scarborough lost in the semifinals a year ago, to Gorham, but this fall, the Red Storm have been in the upper echelon throughout the season.

Scarborough started with 3-0 wins at Bonny Eagle and at home against Cheverus. After surviving host Gorham in five-games, the Red Storm downed visiting Windham in four sets, rallied from a 2-0 deficit for a five-set victory at Cape Elizabeth, then blanked visiting Portland and Marshwood. After a four-set home loss to defending Class A champion Falmouth, Scarborough lost at defending Class B champion Yarmouth in five-games, but the Red Storm closed the regular season on a five-game surge, blanking visiting Massabesic and Biddeford, beating host South Portland in three-games, then defeating host Kennebunk and visiting Deering by 3-1 scores.

Biddeford, meanwhile, went 6-8 against a tough schedule, then Thursday, blanked visiting Bonny Eagle, the No. 10 seed, in the preliminary round, to advance.

In the teams’ regular season meeting, host Scarborough won in three games.

The Red Storm and Tigers had played three previous times in the playoffs with Scarborough taking two, including a 3-0 victory in the 2017 Class A state semifinals, the most recent encounter.

Saturday, the Red Storm did a little of everything to ensure they’d advance.

The first set saw Scarborough grab a quick 6-1 lead, as Strouse and Thornton each had a kill and Thornton served up an ace. Biddeford would get as close as 8-6, after an ace from freshman Laura Perrault, but a kill from Brooks and two from Thornton forced Tigers’ coach Ruth Shaw to call timeout. It didn’t help, as an ace from Gwyer stretched the lead to 18-8. Consecutive Thornton aces got the Red Storm close and after a kill from Strouse, Biddeford couldn’t return the ball and Scarborough won the first game, 25-13.

Gwyer had seven service points and four assists, Thornton added six service points and three kills and Dickinson came off the bench and had five assists.

The second set would be much more competitive, but the Red Storm came to life when they needed to.

The Tigers started with great energy and opened up a 7-4 lead. Scarborough rallied to tie, 9-9, on a Strouse kill, but Biddeford got a kill from senior Stephanya Kaminski and another from junior Dadrian Brown to go back on top, 14-10.

Stoddard then called timeout and the Red Storm answered.

Thornton started the rally with a kill, followed by an ace. Another Thornton ace and a Strouse kill highlighted a 7-0 run that put Scarborough ahead for good. The Tigers crept back within a point at 17-16, but the next six points went to the hosts, as a kill from sophomore Gwen Dorsey and an ace from Strouse made it 23-16. Biddeford got three straight points to make things interesting, but after an amazing save from Dorsey, the Red Storm won the point, then Brooks ended the game with a kill to close out the 25-19 decision.

“That was all energy,” Gwyer said. “They wanted it more than us, so we had to restart. We took a deep breath and came back.”

“Biddeford came out so strong and played fantastic and that caught us on our heels,” Stoddard said. “We remembered we had to earn it. We know we can come back from being down.”

The Red Storm then carried their momentum into the third set and put the match away.

The Tigers did lead, 3-2, and the game was tied, 4-4, but a kill from Dorsey put Scarborough ahead to stay and the Red Storm would rattle off 10 consecutive points, highlighted by five kills from Brooks and nine straight service points from senior captain Meredith Winslow.

“In practice, we’ve really worked on serve consistency,” Gwyer said. “I attribute our success today to that.”

“It was huge for us to serve tough like that in the third game,” said Stoddard. “Serving is a huge focus for us. I have plenty of kids who can serve well. Making (Biddeford) earn points was huge.”

Biddeford got two straight points, but never drew closer and an ace from Gwyer, which hit the net, then fell over, and kills from Strouse and Thornton set up match point. The Tigers stayed alive when a Strouse kill attempt sailed just long, but a kill from Thornton ended the match in exactly an hour and the 25-9 third set victory gave Scarborough a 3-0 win.

“We knew we were favored, but we knew we couldn’t let up,” Gwyer said. “We knew we were facing a good team. We know we have great hitters and a good defense. We didn’t want to give them room to come back, so it was really good to beat them in three.”

“Our goal today was serving tough and coming out strong and not letting up,” Stoddard said. “We did that in game one. We figured out how to do that in game two, then game three was ours to take. Any team, if you let up, they can come back. Biddeford is strong, but we shut the door. ”

Gwyer finished with 20 assists and 13 service points.

Strouse had 10 kills and seven service points.

Thornton contributed 12 service points and seven kills.

Brooks added 10 kills.

Winslow finished with a dozen service points and Dickinson had seven assists.

“All of our hitters took big swings and scored points for us and our setters did a good job moving the ball around,” said Stoddard.

Biddeford got four kills apiece from Brown and freshman Baylor Wilkinson.

Semifinal showdown

Gorham (which blanked No. 6 Thornton Academy in its quarterfinal Saturday) was a state finalist a year ago and will be a daunting foe Wednesday. The teams went the distance Sept. 17 in Gorham before Scarborough prevailed.

The teams have split four prior playoff encounters, with the Rams’ 3-1 victory in last year’s semifinals the most recent.

“We lost in the semifinals last year, so we want to win this year that much more,” said Gwyer.

“States is our ultimate goal, so we need to continue to serve tough, pass and be relentless on defense,” Stoddard said. “We have a couple small things still to work on to get to the next level.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Scarborough senior Katherine Mueller lunges to reach a shot.

Scarborough sophomore Gwen Dorsey blocks Biddeford junior Dadrian Brown’s shot.

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