GORHAM—The Rams rallied from early deficits in the second and third sets to sweep visiting Bonny Eagle 3-0 on Tuesday evening, Oct. 10.
“We actually have seen [Bonny Eagle] this year, and when we did see them, they had a lot of players injured, which is really unfortunate, because they have a really strong team,” Gorham head coach Emma Tirrell said. “So this time, coming around, I told [the girls] that, ‘We can’t take them lightly, because they’re a really strong team and they have a lot of their players back.’”
The Rams snatched a quick lead in the first set, going up 4-0. The Scots, however, immediately battled back, scoring six unanswered to jump out front 6-4. From there, play seesawed: The teams tied at 6-6, 8-8, 9-9 and so forth, until Bonny Eagle finally assembled another run, reaching 17-13. Gorham then answered, hashing five in a row to scoot ahead 18-17. 18-18 followed before the Rams finally broke away for the W, dashing to 21-18, 22-19 and 25-20.
“The first set was really big for us, because it gets us off on a good start,” Tirrell said. “Gets [the girls] in good positive energy. They were setting things up really well in the beginning.”
The second set saw the Scots take a turn barreling to an early advantage: Bonny Eagle went up 3-0, 6-2 and 9-5 before the Rams really found their mojo. When they did, the balanced the scoreboard at 9-9 and 10-10, then surged ahead to 16-12 on an ace by Meg Perry and 19-14 on a slick smash by Katherine O’Donnell. 22-15 ensued, as did 25-17 – a point Perry claimed with a little tip over the net.
“[The girls] have a tendency to start in a rut, as we say, with points down,” Tirrell said. “But they usually always come back and we just try to instill energy in them, and I tell them, if you work hard and have fun you’ll succeed and not the other way around. So, yeah, we battled back and forth and sometimes you get into ruts, but that’s just what volleyball’s about.”
“[In the first set,] their middle was really getting us in the back corner, so I think it’s really cool that, in the next sets, our middles were blocking them and knew what they had to do. There was definitely a change in our play throughout the sets.”
The Scots again seized the lead to begin the third set, building to 4-1. But Gorham overtook Bonny Eagle once more, assembling a 5-0 run to reach 6-4. Scot Morgan Drinkwater made it 6-5 with a great smash at the net, but the Rams were on a roll. They never trailed again, and in fact slowly increased their advantage as the match wore toward its close. From 10-5, the score ratcheted to 15-8, 21-13, and 25-16.
“It’s a really big feat for them,” Tirrell said of her girls’ sweeping the Scots. “Because they get intimidated by names, and they get intimidated when they know a team is good and they see their record. And we do drop sets, so it was big for them to take all three.”
Tirrell praised a handful of her players: “Meg Perry did really well, and Evelyn Kitchen did a really good job blocking. And one of my liberos, Talia Catoggio, did a really good job running the back row.”
Gorham advances to 8-5. The Rams close out their regular schedule with a road matchup vs. Marshwood (2-9) on Thursday the 12th.
Bonny Eagle, meanwhile, slips to 5-8. The Scots currently occupy ninth – and only the top nine teams reach the postseason. Bonny Eagle does look reasonably secure in their berth, though, as No. 10 Windham would need to manage a huge upset in their remaining contest, on the road at Yarmouth (No. 2 in Class B, 11-1) on Thursday, to break into the bracketing. The Scots can grab some additional critical Heal Points with a win in their own final bout, vs. No. 8 Thornton (6-6) on Thursday. Should they manage to do that, they might actually overtake the Trojans in the standings.
Adam Birt can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @CurrentSportsME.
Isabelle Kolb gets underneath a ball for the Rams.
Rams Collette Romatis (11) and Evelyn Kitchen (17) take to the air to block a ball by Bonny Eagler Makala Greene.
Morgan Drinkwater drops a ball over the net for Bonny Eagle.
Whitney Regan lofts up a ball for the Scots.