BANGOR —The top ranked Washington Academy Raiders won their second Class B state championship in three years, defeating Calais 25-11, 25-18, 19-25, and 25-20 in a rowdy Newman Gym at Husson University Saturday evening.
The Raiders of East Machias dominated the first two sets before stumbling in the third and giving Calais (11-6) hope. Washington Academy (14-2) would regroup in the fourth set and take home the title.
“I told them the game is not over and they have to focus on one play at a time and one scoop at a time and to regroup,” said Washington Academy coach Christine Davis.
In the Class A match, the Greely Rangers went on to defeat the top-ranked and undefeated Biddeford Tigers 25-17, 22-25, 25-16 and 25-7 to win the state title.
In the Class B match, Kassidy Seely delivered three great serves on the last three points of the contest for Washington Academy to lock up the victory. Serving is not something Kassidy is normally accustomed to.
“I haven’t served all season,” said Cassidy. “I was just glad I could do it.”
The Raiders dominated play early, scoring 12 straight points in the first set to jump out to a 16-4 lead and went on to win the set easily 25-11.
“We struggled to get into the flow offensively and they did a really good job of attacking and forcing us to play defense,” said Calais Stephen McGinley.
It was more of the same in the second set as the Blue Devils cut the lead to 17-15, but the Raiders scored the next four points and went on to win 25-18.
Things started to get exciting in the third set. Calais took its first lead of the day at 3-2 and seemed like a different team.
“Our passes were much better and that leads to better sets and better sets allow us to attack,” said McGinley.
The teams traded points until they were deadlocked at 17. The Blue Devils would score six straight points, giving them a 23-17 lead and an eventual 25-19 win, forcing a fourth set.
“In the second game we started to get down on each other, but as a team we just needed to get together,” said Cassidy. “I was very worried.”
In the fourth set Calais jumped out to a 5-1 lead and seemed to have the momentum. The Raiders regrouped with Cassidy dominating the net. After it was tied 19-19, Washington Academy would score six of the next seven points to defeat Calais 25-20.
“They are a very determined group of young women and I am very proud of them,” said Davis.
This was not the first time these two teams have faced off in championship play. Calais defeated the Raiders 3-2 in 2009 for the state title, and Washington Academy came back to win the championship the following year 3-0. Both teams were defeated in the semifinals last year.
“We have a huge group of girls that love the sport, and we are trying to gain a lot more recognition for the sport itself, and the more we can get out there and win, then even more girls will be involved,” said Davis.
In the Class A match, Greely senior Haleigh Roach was the best player on the court, continually scoring points with spikes, and setting up other teammates with perfect sets. Senior Katie Ventre was the other offensive catalyst for the Rangers (15-2), using hard diagonal spikes to keep the Tigers scrambling.
Greely jumped out to huge leads in the first, third, and fourth sets that were too large for the Tigers(16-1) to overcome. Greely led 7-0 in the first set, 13-3 in the third, and 19-3 in the fourth to earn the state title.