The Yarmouth volleyball dynasty continues to roll along.

Last week, the Clippers made it four straight Class B state championships and seven overall since 2011 by culminating a 16-1 season with two more emphatic victories.

Yarmouth, the top seed for the state tournament, beat No. 8 Cony in straight sets in the quarterfinals, but figured to get a tougher challenge from No. 4 York, a team the Clippers beat twice during the regular season, in last Wednesday’s semifinal round. Instead, the Clippers won in three games, 25-11, 25-11, 26-24.

Yarmouth’s Dorcas Bolese goes up for a kill during the Clippers’ semifinal round victory over York last week.. Brianna Soukup / Portland Press Herald

“I’m proud of the girls,” said longtime Yarmouth coach Jim Senecal. “It’s one of the youngest teams we’ve had in a while. But we have five seniors who provided leadership.”

That sent the Clippers to the University of Southern Maine in Gorham Friday to take on No. 2 Gardiner. The teams didn’t meet during the regular season and had no playoff history. The Tigers featured 6-foot-3 hitter Lizzy Gruber and posed a mighty challenge, but Yarmouth passed it in straight sets (25-23, 25-16, 25-20).

Gardiner took a 6-0 lead in the first game, but freshman Grace Keaney helped provide a spark with three kills. Nine straight service points from Brianna Torres after a Dorcas Bolese kill turned an 11-3 Gardiner lead into a 13-11 advantage for Yarmouth. The rest of the game was nip-and-tuck, but the Clippers closed it with a Bolese hit that could not be returned and a Keaney kill.


“I think the whole match could have been different if that first set had been a little bit different,” Senecal said.

In the second set, Yarmouth built a 20-6 lead and after a Tigers’ run, put it away. The Clippers wouldn’t be denied in the third game and finished it off to unleash another celebration.

Yarmouth’s Dorcas Bolese, left, and Grace Keaney hug while celebrating a point during the Clippers’ Class B state match victory over Gardiner, Brianna Soukup / Portland Press Herald

“Everyone contributed and even the ones who didn’t get in today, they were the ones who got us here,” said junior hitter Annie Vinnakota, who had seven kills (Bolese added eight kills).

“It never gets old,” said Senecal. “It never gets easy, but it never gets old, Friday night was special. Like us, Gardiner had only lost one match in the last two years. We had not played them or even scrimmaged them, so that made the state final more exciting I think. They were a great team and certainly deserved to be there.

“Back in the summer, we had a backup setter from 2021, Alla Elhai, who had just broken her foot. Our rightside hitter, Leila Tati-Pambou, saw limited playing time the previous year. We had Annie Vinnakota, Brianna Torres and Dorcas Bolese who all played key roles in 2021. The rest of the team was going to be reserves from last year or new kids from the JV team, so I guess you could say I was cautiously optimistic.

“It turned out that Alla got healthy and provided confidence and poise as one of our two setters. Leila and Dorcas became a blocking combination that changed the way other teams had to play us. Both of them provided power offensively as well. Annie continued her growth as a hitter as we moved her back to the outside hitter position where she absolutely shined. Brianna just got better and better in the back row and became one of the state’s premier liberos. Sam Beaudoin saved her best match for when we needed her most, as she was outstanding in the state final. We focused on the basics every night in practice and over time our good players became great. I am so proud of them.”


Don’t be surprised if Yarmouth is leading the charge to win another Gold Ball in 2023.

“‘l expect us to once again be a strong team next year,” Senecal said. “Annie returns and our regular playoff rotation this year featured five additional underclassmen who all contributed greatly for us. Grace Keaney, Laila Brewer, Norah Lushman, Lilly Burrows and Madi Beaudoin. This group of young players will be pushed by a very talented group of reserves who also saw plenty of playing time this season.

“I am excited for next year.”

Press Herald staff writers Steve Craig and Deirdre Fleming contributed to this story.

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

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