BAR HARBOR — In front of about 100 fans at Mount Desert Island High School’s Bernard Parady Gymnasium, the MDI volleyball team saw a successful 2017 season come to an end.
MDI was eliminated from playoff contention Saturday with a 3-0 home loss against Greely in the Class B quarterfinals. The Trojans were competitive early, but the Rangers took advantage later in the match to earn a 25-20, 25-17, 25-12 victory.
Greely took a 5-1 lead early in the opening set before MDI used a series of long volleys to win five of the next six points to tie it. The teams then exchanged advantages several times with neither gaining a lead of more than two points over the next 20 points.
With the Trojans trailing 17-14, Mackenzie Hanna gave the team some momentum by hitting a soft strike to the right side of an unsuspecting Greely defense. Yet the Rangers bounced back to win the first set 25-20 for an early edge.
In the second set, Greely (8-7) took a 6-2 lead early after extending several volleys and taking advantage of a few balls the Trojans hit into the net. MDI fought back to get within two points, but a series of Greely runs proved too much as the visitors won 25-17 to take a two-set lead.
Although MDI (9-6) won the first point in the third set, Greely took over and never looked back. The Rangers ran off nine consecutive points to take a 19-10 lead to send the Trojans to a season-ending defeat.
Hanna led MDI with five kills, nine assists and six digs. Alexis Clarito added four kills, one ace and 10 digs for the Trojans, and Maddy Candage had three kills, one ace and four digs.
MDI Coach Richard Grant said the team’s serving and hitting were factors in the loss. The Trojans have been known for their success in those areas in the past, but on Saturday, their shots couldn’t find the floor.
The loss was the final high school appearance for Hanna, Sara Todd and Dori LeMoine. Fellow senior Megan Moore missed the matched with a leg injury.
For Grant, the match marked the end of his first season as MDI’s coach. He had coached Maine Juniors club volleyball in previous years, but the varsity circuit was a new frontier.
“[The season] definitely had its ups and downs, but I really enjoyed it,” Grant said. “It was different getting used to a varsity schedule and the practices, but every game helped me become better prepared. I think I have a lot more experience now going into next year.”
Despite the loss, MDI finished the season with a winning record once again. With Clarito, Candage, Julia Watras and Hannah Chamberlain returning for the Trojans next season, the team should find itself in the mix once again.
“I definitely think we grew as the season went on,” Grant said. “We went through a lot with our players having injuries and sicknesses, and I think that made us stronger as a team. I’m really proud of what we accomplished.”