GORHAM — Yarmouth High’s volleyball team may have started a bit slow Friday night, but the Clippers showed they know how to finish.

The top-seeded Clippers (16-1) won their fourth straight Class B volleyball state championship, beating No. 2 Gardiner 25-23, 25-16 and 25-20.

Yarmouth has won seven of the last 11 Class B titles.

“It never gets old. It never gets easy but it never gets old,” said Yarmouth Coach Jim Senecal.

Gardiner was playing in its first state final. The Tigers had never reached the semifinals prior to the 2021 season.

The match couldn’t have started better for the Tigers, who rolled to a 6-0 lead on the strength of Emily Grady’s serves and Lizzy Gruber immediately making her 6-foot-4 presence felt with two kills.


Freshman Grace Keaney helped provide a spark with three kills in the first game. Nine straight service points from Brianna Torres after a Dorcas Bolese hard kill turned an 11-3 Gardiner lead into a 13-11 advantage for Yarmouth. The rest of the game was nip and tuck, but Yarmouth closed it with a Bolese hit that could not be returned and a Keaney kill.

“I think Gardiner played fantastic tonight. I think the whole match could have been different if that first set had been a little bit different,” Senecal said.

Yarmouth had the edge the rest of the way with its diverse and explosive attack.

Bolese used her impressive vertical jump and timing to record eight kills and several key blocks, including one solo knock back against Gruber. While Gruber excelled with 12 kills and four blocks, she rarely got a free pass.

“She’s 6-foot-4, a virtual giant, so that’s scary to anyone,” Bolese said. “Being able to get through that feeling was just an opening for our team.”

Outside hitter Annie Vinnakota, who never came off the court, contributed defense, passing and seven kills, including a cool-as-ice spike for the 24th point in the second game that halted a bit of momentum by Gardiner, which had trailed by as much as 20-6.


Samantha Beaudoin (four kills), Leila Tati Pambou (five kills), Keaney (six kills) and Lilli Burrows (three kills) were also threats. Tati Pambou and Burrows gave Yarmouth an attack on the right-side – or opposite side for most teams – which meant when Gruber was at the net, she had to try to defend the whole area, a daunting task.

The versatility also meant that Yarmouth was never without a threat during its rotations.

“Everyone contributed,” Vinnakota said. “And even the ones who didn’t get on today, they were the ones who got us here.”

Yarmouth got strong service games from sophomore reserves Norah Lushman, Laila Brewer and Madi Beaudoin.

Gardiner’s Yana Montell gave the Tigers a boost in the third game when she recorded five kills.

Gardiner’s first season of varsity volleyball was 2017, said Coach Tiffany Ouellette.

“Yarmouth had the titles on the line and we said we were going to go in and swing big and play aggressive, and we did that,” Ouellette said. “They’re loaded. Anyone in the front can swing. So when Lizzy goes to the back, we struggle because we lose our big blocker. Yana had a great game. She played great, but Yarmouth is loaded, so it’s hard to defend them at all times.”

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