2013-10-11 / Sports Spotlight

Player, program continue rapid ascent

By Michael Kelley Staff Writer


Mary Cleary, a senior on the varsity volleyball team, is looking to help lead Scarborough to a Class A title. Cleary has been playing varsity volleyball since her freshman year. (Michael Kelley photo) Mary Cleary, a senior on the varsity volleyball team, is looking to help lead Scarborough to a Class A title. Cleary has been playing varsity volleyball since her freshman year. (Michael Kelley photo) Mary Cleary, a senior on the Scarborough High School varsity volleyball team, is proof that hard work in athletics can pay off.

In three years, Cleary, one of the team’s captains, has gone from a freshman trying to get the rhythm of varsity volleyball to one of the top players in Maine.

“Her journey from freshman to senior has not been easy for her,” said head coach Jon Roberts. “When she was a freshman I told her, ‘You are tall, you can jump. You are going to play varsity.’ I don’t think she was ready for that. The first two years she struggled a bit, but now she is one of the best players in the state.”

Roberts said Cleary is a candidate for the Gatorade Maine Volleyball Player of the Year. The annual award honors the top student athletes from each state in a variety of sports. Brittany Bona, who graduated in 2012, won the award in 2011.

Cleary has been playing volleyball for five years. She became interested in volleyball after seeing her sister, Caitlin, a 2009 Scarborough High School graduate, excel in the sport.

“My sister played and said I should try it out. Once I did, I really liked it,” Cleary said.

In her four years on the varsity team, Cleary said she has seen the program grow to what it is today.

“It’s amazing seeing how the whole program has developed,” Cleary said. “There are a lot of girls who are interested in playing. We had more girls turn out this year than ever before. The level of play has really improved. I can only see it getting better.”

Roberts said the team, which was 10-0 as of Wednesday, Oct. 9, has been able to come up big during tough matches this season.

“We’ve had some big challenges and hurdles to get over for the program. We haven’t been able to beat Greely, a powerhouse. This year we have been able to beat them twice,” he said.

Scarborough lost to Greely twice last season, including 3-2 in the semi-final round of the playoffs.

This year, Scarborough’s biggest competition looks to be Falmouth High School, which Scarborough beat 3-2 on Tuesday, Oct. 8.

This year’s team, Roberts said, is not ready to go down without a fight.

“This is the most experienced team I have ever had,” Roberts said. “This year’s seniors have been with me since I started. They haven’t known any other coach. This group epitomizes my style of play and work hard.”

Cleary said the key to the rest of the season is to “keep the energy up.”

“We have got to keep working hard. We have done a good job so far. We got to keep pushing and playing hard,” Cleary said.

As this season winds down, Cleary, president of the Interact Club and a member of the Key Club, will continue her hunt for a school to study international relations this fall. Her top school is the University of Chicago, but she is looking “countrywide.”

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