ELLSWORTH — After three losses to tough opponents to start the year, the Ellsworth volleyball team is finally in the win column.
Ellsworth defeated Bucksport in straight sets in Monday’s match at Ellsworth High School. The Eagles won decisively in the first set and fended off challenges from the Golden Bucks in the second and third for a 25-12, 25-21, 25-21 victory.
After cruising to an easy victory in the opening set, Ellsworth (1-3) appeared headed to another lopsided win in the second as it established a 21-11 lead. Yet the visiting Golden Bucks (0-2) scored 10 of the next 11 points to cut the Eagles’ advantage all the way down to a single point before the home team finished the set on a 3-0 run.
“I’m glad we kept our composure,” Ellsworth senior Ella Hubbard said. “[We] stayed confident throughout [the match] even though Bucksport started to battle back.”
Determined to stave off defeat, Bucksport took a 17-11 lead over Ellsworth to begin the third set. The Eagles, though, remained resilient and swung the momentum back in their favor late in the game as sophomore Skyler Clayton served 8 of 8 to power the home team to a lead it would hold the rest of the way.
“Our team is great, but we have these random swoons where we just forget how to play smart volleyball,” Ellsworth head coach Jamie Calandro said. “I thought it was a testament to them that they didn’t let themselves quit in that last set and battled back for the win.”
Rachel Endre had 23 service points, 10 aces and five kills for Ellsworth, and Hubbard added four aces, five kills, 10 assists and eight digs. The Eagles also got seven kills, six assists and one block from Jocelyn Jordan, five kills and 12 digs from Alli Dorr, 14 digs from Jocelyn Boudreau and 10 digs from Sydney Garrity.
Calandro said that Ellsworth’s two setters, Hubbard and Bailey Clarke, were key in helping the Eagles through the match’s difficult moments. Their efforts near the net set up numerous kills from Dorr, Endre and Jordan just when the home team needed them most.
“Ella and Bailey really controlled the game well throughout the match and made all the right decisions,” Calandro said. “That helped us play a lot more consistently.”
Monday’s match was the first of four in as many days for Bucksport, which is scheduled to George Stevens Academy (1-0) at 5:30 p.m. today, March 16, at Bucksport High School and Wednesday, March 17, in Blue Hill. The Golden Bucks will then play home games at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 18, against Brewer and 1:30 p.m. Saturday, March 20, against Hampden Academy.
Ellsworth which had lost to Mount Desert Island, GSA and Brewer to open the season, will return to action at 6:30 p.m. Friday, March 19, when it plays on the road against Sumner. The Eagles will then play rematches against GSA and Bucksport at 5 p.m. Monday, March 22, at Ellsworth High School and 5:30 p.m. next Tuesday, March 23, at Bucksport High School, respectively.
“[This win] is going to boost our confidence,” Boudreau said. “It helps us to better understand the flaws we have to work out in the early stage of the season.”