GORHAM — Gorham was eyeing its third Class A state semifinal in a row (there was no tournament in 2020 because of the pandemic), while Sanford/Noble was making its first Class A volleyball quarterfinal appearance.

Yet, for a brief moment at the start of the second set, you couldn’t tell – as Sanford/Noble fought to change the momentum of the match and jumped out to a 6-2 lead. Very quickly, a relentless, athletic Gorham squad made it 8-8 and continued to pull away en route to a 3-0 win in which they dominated, 25-14, 25-17, 25-9.

No. 3 Gorham (13-3) will play No. 2 Scarborough in the semifinals on Thursday.

The veteran Rams – who have nine seniors including six who start – are ready for their third semifinal in a row, said senior outside hitter Ellie Perry, who had six kills and eight aces Tuesday evening. 

“Our setters made smart decisions tonight. My serving was consistent. I’m very excited for Thursday,” Perry said.

Gorham set the tone in the first set against No. 6 Sanford/Noble (9-5), going up by five, then quickly growing their lead to 20-9 with help from two aces and two kills from Perry. 

Sanford/Noble battled back, getting two aces from libero Rebecca King, and a powerful block and kill from senior Sage Study to pull within six.

But Gorham senior Ainsley Christianson finished off the set with three aces to help end it, 24-14.

Sanford/Noble stormed into the second set with a kill from Study, and an ace and a block from Kora Eckelman to take the early lead. But back-to-back Perry aces and consistent passing helped Gorham pull away.

In the third set, Gorham dominated once again, jumping out to a 13-3 lead and never letting Sanford/Noble get closer than that.

In the match, Christianson had three kills and four aces and sophomore setter Sophia DiPhillippo added four aces.

For Sanford, Eckelman finished with seven kills, three blocks and an ace, while Study – who was a force at the net – had four kills and two blocks.

“Three years ago we were a new varsity program and went 2-12. And this week we won our first state playoff match. I’m proud of how they played,” said Sanford/Noble Coach Gerald Hill. “Once Gorham got the momentum in the second, we couldn’t get it back. And it’s tough to come back against a good team when you’re down two sets.” 


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