It’s clear Taylor Davis has a passion for volleyball.
After all, the Machias High School standout, who plays for the Portland North 18-under Gold squad, treks about 3½ hours from Washington County to the Portland area and even longer for out-of-state tournaments.
“I love having her on the team,” said Andy Pohl, who coaches the 10-member squad. “Taylor, she is committed.”
Davis and her parents are putting all the expenditures to good use, as the 18-U Gold team has fared well in tourneys in Hartford, Conn., and Derry, N.H. the last two weekends.
The team finished 13th out of 40 in the girls 18-under division in Connecticut while coming in a strong ninth among 300 teams against teams from New England, New York, Long Island and even Delaware.
The rest of the team consists of Erin Cadigan, Michaela Campbell and Sara Warnock from Greely of Cumberland Center; Alyssa Young, Emma Wilberg and Kate Sparks of Falmouth; Biddeford’s Alyssa Drapeau, Kate Darrell of Yarmouth and Scarborough’s Abby Lalone.
The Gold practices at various locations around Portland, including Southern Maine Community College and Yarmouth High School.
The team has received a lot of exposure to college recruiters, as more than 80 scouts from the Division I, II and III levels were present at the tournament in Hartford.
“It’s amazing, most college coaches aren’t going to come up to Maine to recruit,” said Pohl, who also coaches volleyball at Saint Joseph’s College in Standish and works for the National Weather Service in Gray.
“They estimated close to 100 recruiters at the Hartford tournament. Over the weekend we had 50-55 at Derry.”
The Gold, a Junior Olympic squad, has had its fair share of former players go on to compete at the next level.
“In the last two years, we’ve graduated I think 12 seniors, and all but two are playing on college programs,” Pohl said.
The exposure the team gets to the high level of competition they face only enhances that.
“They’re not only honing their skills but getting exposed to a level of play so much harder than anything seen in Maine high school,” Pohl said. “It just improves their skills all the way around and gives them a look at next level.”
He is impressed with Davis’ commitment to the team, as all of the team’s tournaments are located at least a couple hours south of Portland.
“They’re driving 8-10 hours one way just for a tournament,” Pohl said.
Davis and her teammates have spent a lot of time on the court over the last five months, as tryouts were held just a few days after the state volleyball championships.
Storming to the top
Momentum is critical going into postseason play, and with only a week remaining in regular-season action in high school basketball, arguably the hottest team in Eastern Maine resides in Aroostook County.
Central Aroostook of Mars Hill started the year 0-2, with a two-point loss to Fort Fairfield and a one-point setback to Washburn.
Ever since, coach Rodney Codrey’s girls basketball team has been piling up wins. The Panthers have racked up 15 consecutive victories heading into tonight’s regular-season finale against Easton.
Perhaps the most impressive of those wins came Jan. 27, a 51-27 win over a Fort Fairfield squad also expected to be among the top contenders in the upcoming Class D tournament.
Central Aroostook also owns two victories over contender and rival Southern Aroostook of Dyer Brook, and should go into the tournament with the top seed in Class D.
Vicki McIntyre and Rachel Grew have been among the top catalysts in a balanced Panther attack, and McIntyre racked up 21 points, 13 rebounds and seven steals in the win over Fort Fairfield.
Rams set record
The Eastern Maine Indoor Track League’s record books were re-written often last winter, thanks to Danielle Hutchins and Ben Sinclair.
Before Saturday, no records had been snapped, but the Bangor girls changed all that.
The Rams’ 4×220-meter relay team of Jade Baumrind, Grace Maclean, Laken Thomas and Brittney Chapman posted a time of 1 minute, 50.80 seconds in a regular-season-ending meet at the University of Maine.
The previous mark of 1:51.05 was set in 2008 by Brewer’s Sarah Risser, Colleen Carr, Erika Cote and Kira Giroux.
The EMITL championship meet is slated for 2 p.m. Saturday at UMaine.
Wave of the future
The Penobscot Valley girls basketball team may have gotten a little glimpse of the future in a win over Searsport on Friday.
Even though the Howlers are only 2-14 heading into their final two contests of the season, point guard Kassy Taylor earned a few stripes against Searsport.
Taylor, who was called up from the school’s junior varsity team a couple of weeks ago, led the Howlers in scoring that night with 13 points while spearheading the defense with six steals.
She also made seven free throws in the game.