Amber Bretton of Gorham returns a shot during a Class A volleyball semifinal at Scarborough last fall. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

Dorcas Bolese, Yarmouth senior, middle hitter: Bolese broke into the starting lineup last year and kept improving. Her ability to jump and hang in the air is remarkable. At 6-0, she’s formidable at the net and easily hits over most blocks. Last year, she had 40 kills.

Amber Bretton, Gorham junior, outside hitter: More than a few coaches named Bretton as a power hitter to watch. An intimidating presence at the net, she can “hit hard enough to break blocks,” Gorham Coach Emma Tirrell said. In recent years, the Rams have been a tough defensive team, and with Bretton leading the way this year, the tradition should continue.

Charlotte Donovan, Biddeford senior, defensive specialist: A natural athlete who was the Varsity Maine Player of the Year in softball, Donovan was a vocal leader last season and a strong presence for the Tigers, who lost to Scarborough in five sets in the Class A state final. Donovan had a 98-percent serve percentage, to go with 54 aces, 98 kills and 165 digs.

Danielle Emerson, Biddeford junior, setter: Many coaches say Emerson will be the best player in the state. She is a dynamic setter who led her team to an unbeaten regular season and a state final appearance in 2021. Emerson finished her sophomore year with a 98-percent serve percentage, 74 aces, 155 kills and 33 digs.

Emma Lizotte, Cheverus junior, middle hitter: A star basketball player, Lizotte is coming into her own as a dominant volleyball player. At 6-2 and possessing remarkable athleticism, Lizotte will be an impact player and a formidable blocker. Last year, she had 2.3 kills and 1.4 blocks per set.

Natalie Moynihan, Scarborough sophomore, outside hitter: Moynihan delivered the winning point in the Red Storm’s state-title match victory over Biddeford. Red Storm Coach Kim Stoddard said Moynihan is hitting harder and smarter this fall. Last year, she had 110 kills, 160 digs and 63 aces.


Chloe Slovenski, York junior, setter/hitter: Slovenski is a key reason why the Wildcats will be a team to watch this fall. A natural athlete who has evolved into a strong volleyball player, Slovenski hits hard and sets the ball with accuracy and skill. During the 2021 regular season, she had 54 aces, 35 kills, 63 digs and 195 assists.

Gianna Smith, Portland junior, outside hitter: A fast-reacting player, Smith excels when Portland Coach Thanh “Matt” Nguyen hammers a ball near her in practice. Nguyen said his most veteran player anticipates and executes a hard return well – and other coaches have noticed. Now that Portland’s young program has an experienced coach, Smith should flourish.

Olivia Smith, Scarborough junior, setter/hitter: Smith played a critical role in the state final win when she dove for a ball in the fifth set to save match point. Last year, she had 17 aces, 41 kills and 26 assists. Scarborough Coach Kim Stoddard said Smith will play an even bigger role this year.

Annie Vinnakota, Yarmouth junior, outside hitter: The 5-8 hitter was instrumental in helping the Clippers win another Class B championship, delivering a key kill in the final set as Yarmouth finished with a 17-0 record. She finished the season with 87 kills, 30 aces and 53 digs. Vinnakota is one of the Clippers’ strongest, experienced players and should help give Yarmouth a formidable front row.

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