ELLSWORTH — Another tight battle between the Ellsworth and Mount Desert Island volleyball teams has gone the way of the Trojans.
MDI defeated Ellsworth in four sets in Tuesday afternoon’s match at Ellsworth High School. The Trojans claimed a 25-18, 25-20, 26-28, 25-21 victory to notch their third consecutive win and complete a regular season sweep of the Eagles, whom they previously defeated in a grueling contest earlier this month.
With the two teams tied 9-9 early in the first set, the Trojans (5-2) gave themselves some breathing room as a kill from Maddy Ford and five straight service points from Nevaeh Warren put the visitors up six. The Eagles scored six of the next nine points to cut the deficit to three, but MDI responded with seven of the final 10 to notch an opening-set win.
MDI continued its surge into the second set as it scored the first five points to claim an early lead. Ellsworth (4-5) prevented the Trojans from establishing a large advantage throughout the set, but the Eagles failed to get out in front as MDI earned a five-point win to move within one game of victory.
The third set was a back-and-forth affair with Ellsworth scoring the first six points, MDI roaring back to take a 22-16 lead and Ellsworth then fighting off five consecutive match points to claim a come-from-behind win. Yet the Trojans prevailed in a tightly fought fourth and decisive set to secure the match victory and claim a regular season sweep of the Eagles.
“We slipped a little bit there in that third set, but I think also ended up giving us just the push that we needed,” MDI head coach Corey Papadopoli said. “They came together as a group in the fourth set and pulled it together, which was great.”
Warren recorded 10 aces, eight kills, two blocks and four digs for MDI in the win. The Trojans also got eight aces, four kills and two digs from Addie Boyce and two aces, one kill, 17 assists and 11 digs from Victoria Del Cid.
Warren’s all-around play was key to MDI’s victories in the first and fourth sets. The senior was particularly effective serving as she followed her five consecutive service points in the first set with six straight in the fourth to turn an 11-10 deficit into a 16-11 lead.
“I do really well under pressure, especially when I’m serving,” Warren said. “We needed some points, so when it was my turn, I went up there and said, ‘You know what, I’m just going to hit this as hard as I can.’”
MDI’s win followed two victories over Bucksport (0-9) in a home doubleheader Saturday. Although playing back-to-back matches took its toll physically on the Trojans, the team was able to persevere and claim 3-0 (25-18, 25-10, 25-5; 25-17, 25-13, 25-16) victories in both contests.
“That was tiring,” Warren said of the doubleheader, the second match of which began less than 10 minutes after the first ended. “We were exhausted after it, but it was good that we were able to win 3-0 in both. … I’ve never played [in a doubleheader] like that before.”
The win over Ellsworth was MDI’s seventh straight against the Eagles, who have not defeated the Trojans since posting a 3-2 victory in the matchup to open the 2017 season. MDI’s previous win over Ellsworth this year came in a 3-2 (25-21, 14-25, 25-23, 17-25, 15-10) triumph March 9 in Bar Harbor.
MDI will return to action Thursday, April 1, for a 6 p.m. home match against Brewer. The Trojans will then host Narraguagus at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 3, before closing out the regular season on the road against Sumner at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 6.
“We have three left, and our goal is to win all three of them,” Papadopoli said. “We want not only to go into the playoffs with some momentum but also to be in a good position to get a home playoff game and extend our season for as long as we can.”
Ellsworth had defeated previously unbeaten Brewer 3-1 (25-19, 25-18, 16-25, 25-23) in Thursday’s match at Brewer High School. The Eagles will play their final regular season match when they host Sumner at 5:45 p.m. Thursday.