GORHAM — Annika Hester had 11 kills in the final set Friday night, powering top-ranked Falmouth to its second straight Class A volleyball state title with a 3-1 victory against Scarborough at the University of Southern Maine.

The Yachtsmen (17-0) capped their perfect season with a 25-20, 25-18, 23-25, 25-19 victory over the second-seeded Red Storm (14-3).

Hester said she was proud of how her team, after losing the third game, regained its composure in the fourth. And how she varied her kill shots, not just with power but with soft lobs that fell perfectly into holes.

“We came into the fourth calm and collected,” Hester said. “I get so motivated when I get blocked. Honestly, right now I feel like I could play another game.”

Scarborough took the lead in the first set but after Falmouth went in front 4-3 – and Hester added a kill on the next point to make it 5-3 – the tone was set for the next two sets. Falmouth grew the lead to 24-16 before Madeline Strouse had two kills to help pull the Red Storm within four, but it wasn’t enough.

The second set was similar. Scarborough took an early 6-0 lead, again fueled by two Strouse kills. But after Holly Barney of Falmouth had a kill to make it 7-2, Barney won seven service points to put Falmouth up by two. In the series, Hester added two kills.

Hester totaled eight kills in the set, including a light punch that dropped the ball in a hole on the winning point.

In the third set, Scarborough setter Mayne Gwyer won five service points – one with an ace – to help build a 16-10 lead. But Falmouth came back to regain the momentum.

After the Yachtsmen won a point on a Rose Riversmith kill, Strouse answered with a kill on the next point. Then Hester won a kill but the Red Storm still led, 17-13.

Later in the set, Hester had two straight kills followed by a Katherine Phillips kill for the Yachtsmen. Still, Scarborough held a 22-18 lead.

Falmouth made one more late rally with Phillips serving – and adding two aces – to pull within 24-23, but Scarborough prevailed 25-23 when Falmouth hit it out.

“We felt that set, we got on the offensive and were not playing great defense,” said Falmouth Coach Larry Nichols. “We talked about it. We felt we gave them some points. We like to protect the ball better and be smarter. We got back on balance in the fourth.”

In the final set, Falmouth dominated from the start, with a Hester kill opening the scoring. Phillips won the next point with an ace and Falmouth led the rest of the way.

Falmouth middle blocker Rose Riversmith added two kills in the set and three other Yachtsmen had aces: Riversmith, Holly Barney and libero Gretchen Barney.

Maya Brooks had three aces late in the set for Scarborough and Strouse added two kills, but it wasn’t enough.

“(Hester) is really tough. She played really well and she stepped up,” said Scarborough Coach Kimberly Stoddard. “We had moments. I knew our team could come back when we were down. You will see us again.”

 

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