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Scarborough holds off Cape in volleyball showdown to remain unbeaten
CAPE ELIZABETH, ME - SEPTEMBER 13: Scarborough celebrates after winning a point during a match with Cape Elizabeth Monday, September 13, 2021. (Staff Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer) Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

CAPE ELIZABETH—In its first three outings this fall, Scarborough’s volleyball team won with ease.

Monday evening, the Red Storm got pushed, but they pushed back and as a result, further cemented their status as an elite team in Class A.

Visiting Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough overcame a sluggish start to win the first set, 25-23, but the Capers, behind their strong serving, won the second game, 25-19, and the third set as well, 25-16.

The Red Storm were on the ropes and for the first time this season, had to dig deep and that’s exactly what they did, taking game four, 25-17, then eking out a back-and-forth 15-13 win in the fifth set to take the match in dramatic fashion, 3-2.

Scarborough improved to 4-0 and in the process, dropped Cape Elizabeth to 3-2.

“It’s easy when you’re just serving out a team or racking up kills, but we want to be tested like this,” Red Storm coach Kim Stoddard said. “We need to be tested like this if we want to end up where we want to end up at the end of the season. Win or lose, we’ll take the competition.”

Start of something big

Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough each have their eye on winning their respective state title this spring and both squads are in the midst of a schedule stretch testing them against the top teams in the state.

The Capers started by beating visiting Gray-New Gloucester in straight sets and won at Greely, 3-1, before falling at home to nemesis Yarmouth, 3-1. Saturday, Cape Elizabeth went to Falmouth and beat the Navigators in straight sets, ending their 31-match win streak in the process.

The Red Storm, meanwhile, enjoyed 3-0 victories over visiting Windham, host Bonny Eagle and visiting Cheverus to open their season.

The teams hadn’t met since Sept. 24, 2019, when visiting Scarborough rallied from a 2-0 hole to prevail in a five-set thriller.

That win gave the Red Storm an 11-5 lead in the all-time series, dating to 2008 (see below).

Monday, Scarborough had to rally again to capture a very entertaining, hard-fought match.

The Red Storm scored the first point of the first set on a kill from senior Maddie Strouse, but the Capers got the next six points, thanks in large part to the serving of senior captain Maeve McQueeney. With senior Mya Jones hinting at a big match to come, Scarborough rallied and went back on top, 13-12, after an ace from freshman Natalie Moynihan. An ace from Cape Elizabeth junior captain Amy Rasco tied it at 14-14, but a service fault put the Red Storm ahead and a pair of Jones aces made it 19-15. Kills from senior Elisabeth LeFebvre and Moynihan opened it up to 22-16, but the Capers won the next six points, as senior Annaliese Rudberg had a kill and a pair of aces. Cape Elizabeth tied it again at 23-23, but a Capers service fault and a shot from sophomore Julia Strouse which landed just inbounds, gave Scarborough the set, 25-23.

Jones had six assists and three aces in the game, while Moynihan added five kills to help counteract six service points and three kills from Rudberg and five service points and four assists from McQueeney.

Cape Elizabeth answered in the second set.

The Capers scored the first two points on a kill from Rasco and an ace from McQueeney, but the Red Storm tied it at 4-4, 6-6, 7-7 and 8-8 before the hosts went on top to stay with a 6-1 run, forcing Stoddard to call timeout. Scarborough got as close as two at 14-12 and 16-14, but a kill from junior Madalynn Vaine, a block from Rudberg and a kill from Rudberg made it 19-14. An ace from senior Gwen Dorsey got the visitors within 22-19, but out of a timeout, Cape Elizabeth finished it off, as junior Maddy Simopolous had a kill and an ace, then the Red Storm hit the ball out, giving the Capers a 25-19 victory.

McQueeney led the way with six assists and five service points while Simopolous added five service points and two blocks, which neutralized six kills from Jones and four from Dorsey.

Cape Elizabeth then took the pivotal third game with relative ease.

The Capers went up 4-1 and after Scarborough got the next three points to tie it, a kill from senior Anastasia Chepurko put the hosts ahead to stay and sparked a 7-0 run, which was punctuated by a block from Simopolous. The Red Storm crept within 11-6, but a service fault sparked a 6-0 Cape Elizabeth run, which was punctuated by a Rudberg kill and a Vaine ace. The Capers went ahead by as much as 21-7 before Scarborough came to life, going on a 7-1 run, but Simopolous served up an ace that hit the top of the net and dropped over and the Red Storm hit the ball out to give Cape Elizabeth a 25-16 win and a 2-1 lead in the match.

“(The Red Storm) block too well to just pump it outside all the time,” said Capers coach Sarah Boeckel. “In the second and third games, we spread the offense around.”

Chepurko had seven service points and Vaine added five in that game, while Scarborough was led by LeFebvre, who had six service points and three blocks.

The Capers got off to a fast start again in the fourth set, but couldn’t close it out.

A pair of blocks from Vaine opened up a 6-2 advantage, but the Red Storm answered and tied it, 7-7. Rudberg then had a kill and an ace for a 10-7 lead, but out of a timeout, Scarborough would rattle off seven consecutive points, highlighted by kills from sophomore Olivia Smith and senior Lindsay Fiorillo, to go up, 14-10. Cape Elizabeth tried to come back and drew within 19-17 on an ace from Rasco, but the final six points went to the Red Storm, as Maddie Strouse had a kill, Moynihan an ace, Jones a kill, Moynihan another ace and the Capers hit the ball into the net to end it, 25-17, extending the match.

Dorsey had seven service points in that game, while Moynihan added five.

In the first-team-to-15-points fifth set, a Rudberg kill after a long volley gave Cape Elizabeth the jump, but Smith and Maddie Strouse answered with kills and a Moynihan ace made it 3-1 Scarborough. The Capers answered, as Rudberg had a block, Chepurko a kill after a long point, Rudberg an ace and after the Red Storm hit the ball into the net, Chepurko had another kill for a 6-3 lead. After trading points, Dorsey had a kill and Cape Elizabeth hit the ball out to pull Scarborough within one. After trading service faults, Dorsey tied it with a kill and Boeckel called timeout.

The Capers retook the lead on a kill from Rasco, then the Red Storm hit the ball into the net, but LeFebvre answered with a soft kill. Rudberg gave Cape Elizabeth an 11-9 lead with a kill, but after a Capers service fault, Moynihan had a kill to tie it, then Jones put Scarborough ahead to stay with an ace. On the next point, Cape Elizabeth had a miscommunication and couldn’t return the ball and one final time, Boeckel called timeout.

The Red Storm service faulted to pull the Capers within one, but a kill from Smith put the visitors on the brink of victory. The Capers staved off one match point thanks to a service fault, but at 7:59 p.m., after nearly two palpitating hours, Jones set up Dorsey for a kill and Scarborough had the fifth set, 15-13, and the match, 3-2.

Scarborough celebrates its victory after the final point. Hoffer photo.

“Gwen’s one of our best hitters,” Jones said. “I’ve played with her since we were young. We have a great connection and I’m very confident in her. I knew she’d finish it for us.

“I think it just really showed us coming together as a team. We’re so close and it’s so nice to show our full potential. This was a great test to show how we can play under pressure and I’m really proud. Cape’s been good since I was a freshman, so this was expected. It was a good challenge for us. It showed how tough we can be and how we can bring each other up no matter how down we are. We never stopped swinging and kept playing really powerful.”

“We could have collapsed and lost game four and gotten back on the bus, but we stuck together and that’s been our main focus,” Stoddard said. “I have a strong group of seniors and a strong group of sophomores who don’t have a ton of experience altogether, so I’m really proud of this team to come in here and beat a great Cape Elizabeth team. We stayed aggressive. We were ready to take those big swings. That last point by Gwen was exactly what we’re trying to do. We’ll win or lose based on playing that way.

“Cape’s relentless. That ball doesn’t hit the floor. That’s what I love about playing against them. Your hitters have to take big swings or they’ll stuff it right back in your face. I love coming into this gym and playing against them.”

Jones led the way with 21 assists, including seven in the final game. She also had nine service points.

“I serve pretty often for us,” Jones said. “I’m pretty confident and I was able to keep it going.”

“Mya really ropes the ball,” said Stoddard. “She just went out and was our clutch server.”

Dorsey added 12 service points and 10 kills, including the grand finale, Maddie Strouse had nine kills, Julia Strouse 14 assists, Moynihan finished with 11 kills and LeFebvre six blocks and three kills.

“Everyone on the team contributed tonight in their own way,” Stoddard said. “Individually, they’re fantastic volleyball players, but they’re jelling really well and coming together as a team. They trust each other on the court. They trusted each other to make a great set and take a big swing. We all believed in each other.”

Cape Elizabeth was led by McQueeney’s 21 assists and 11 service points, Rudberg’s 13 service points, nine kills and four blocks, Chepurko’s dozen service points, Rasco’s eight kills and nine service points and Simopolous’ six service points, four blocks and three kills.

“I was super-impressed that we came out fired up in the first game,” Boeckel said. “We had a couple errors here and there. I told them, ‘If we don’t play flawless, we’ll lose 3-0.’ We played pretty flawless in the second and third sets. I love that we were aggressive and playing to win. That fourth game we played a little not to lose and gave up that seven-point run. They served tough and we couldn’t really run our offense.

“I take nothing but positives from this. Of course we wanted that ‘W,’ but I’m so impressed that we lost a tough game and came back. That’s the best we’ve blocked and swung and served. Maeve did a great job spreading the offense out. Defensively, we’re scrappy and we’ll make you earn your points. We played our game plan.”

On to the next

Cape Elizabeth’s schedule will get a little easier for the time being, as the Capers host Wells Friday, then play at York and Westbrook next week. Then, it gets daunting again, with home matches versus Biddeford, Falmouth and Greely, as well as trips to Gorham and Yarmouth.

“It’s a learning process every day,” Boeckel said. “This will help us down the road.”

Scarborough, meanwhile stays on the road and will be sternly tested at Gorham Thursday, followed by trips to Yarmouth, Falmouth and Biddeford.

“It’s a good time to be playing top teams,” Jones said. “We need to keep playing like this. We just need to stick together.”

“We’re very ready to play the top teams, bring it on,” Stoddard said. “The kids are fired up and they play at their best when they’re under pressure.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Previous Scarborough-Cape Elizabeth results

2019
Scarborough 3 @ Cape Elizabeth 2

2018
Cape Elizabeth 3 @ Scarborough 0

2017
@ Cape Elizabeth 3 Scarborough 0

2016
Scarborough 3 @ Cape Elizabeth 0

2015
@ Scarborough 3 Cape Elizabeth 1
@ Cape Elizabeth 3 Scarborough 0
Class A semifinals
Scarborough 3 @ Cape Elizabeth 1

2014
@ Cape Elizabeth 3 Scarborough 2
Class A quarterfinals
Cape Elizabeth 3 Scarborough 2

2012
Scarborough 3 @ Cape Elizabeth 0

2011
@ Scarborough 3 Cape Elizabeth 0
Scarborough 3 @ Cape Elizabeth 1

2010
Scarborough 3 @ Cape Elizabeth 0
@ Scarborough 3 Cape Elizabeth 0

2009
Scarborough 3 @ Cape Elizabeth 0

2008
Scarborough 3 @ Cape Elizabeth 0