2017-09-01 / Sports Spotlight

From volleyball novice to court leader

By Michael Kelley Staff Writer

Scarborough senior Ivy DiBiase, at left, serves during volleyball practice last week. DiBiase is working this season to be a setter for the Red Storm, which, despite a having a young team, will strive for back-to-back-to-back appearances in the Class A championship. (Michael Kelley photo)Scarborough senior Ivy DiBiase, at left, serves during volleyball practice last week. DiBiase is working this season to be a setter for the Red Storm, which, despite a having a young team, will strive for back-to-back-to-back appearances in the Class A championship. (Michael Kelley photo)
Scarborough High School senior Ivy DiBiase was always a soccer player in the fall, but that changed after attending a summer camp in Gray right before the start of her freshman year.

After being introduced to the game of volleyball at the camp, she was hooked and now four years later will be one of the leaders on a team that is facing uncertainty this year both in terms of team makeup and competition.

“I had always played soccer and I wanted something new,” DiBiase said Aug. 25, the final day of preseason. “I tried it at a camp and thought it was really fun. (It had) good energy and everybody got excited for every point.”

After that experience, DiBiase turned her fall focus from soccer to volleyball and decided to try out for a spot in the Scarborough program.

“I got in the gym and didn’t know if I was going to make it or not. It’s a great group of people. We have great coaches. They took me and I was overjoyed,” she recalled.

Heading into her senior year, DiBiase is being counted on to be one of the leaders on the court this fall, something her coach said she is ready for.

“Ivy is in a position were she is doing a lot of work to make us a better team,” said head coach Jon Roberts.

DiBiase is taking on a new position this year: setter: a position held last year by seniors Libby Chadbourne, Caroline Goodwin and Lilly Young.

“She is learning a new position this year. Others are too, but since she is a senior and a leader on this team, that part is coming naturally for her. She is doing a really good job,” Roberts said.

This year’s team has a much different look than the one that came one win away from back-to-back Class A state titles last season.

“It’s a really different year because we graduated 14 seniors. People expect us to be a very young and inexperienced team,” DiBiase said.

Roberts said it is a big loss, but players are ready to fill the void.

“We had a lot of strong players who haven’t really had a chance to play much (because of the strong senior class of 2017). I am seeing kids that have been in the background now have the opportunity to play,” Roberts said.

The season also looks different for the Red Storm because several of the opponents Scarborough has played in the Class A final in previous years have been moved to Class B due to a reclassification.

Last year, Scarborough lost to Greely High School in the Class A state championship in Gorham and because of the realignment Scarborough’s route to the Class A championship may be a little easier this fall. Greely, a volleyball powerhouse which has played in 11 state finals since 2012, winning nine of them (including two over Scarborough), is one of the teams that have been reassigned to Class B after a volleyball restructuring by the Maine Principals’ Association. Competing against Scarborough in Class A will be Biddeford, Bonny Eagle, Brunswick/ Mt. Ararat, Cheverus, Deering, Gorham, Marshwood, Massabesic, Portland, South Portland, Thornton Academy and Windham.

“It’s interesting because Greely, Falmouth and Cape Elizabeth, some of our strongest competitors were moved to Class B. It has opened us to a different pool of teams,” DiBiase said.

Although Scarborough still plays those three teams in the regular season, they cannot meet up with them in the playoffs. Scarborough’s last four Class A state final appearances were against Falmouth and Greely (losses to Greely in 2016 and 2011, a loss to Falmouth in 2013 and a victory against Greely in 2015). Roberts is not a fan of shifting volleyball from two classes to three classes, which was unanimously supported by the MPA’s classification committee. The change was made to evenly split volleyball teams into three classes based on high school enrollment. Previously Class A had 22 teams and Class B, which was created in 2010, had just 13.

“They asked me if I wanted that change, I said no. I always want to play Greely. This is going to change who we play,” he said.

Some of the Class A teams for Scarborough to look out for this season are Biddeford (which the Red Storm goes up against Oct. 12), Deering, which Roberts said “looks good this year” and Gorham, a Oct. 3 opponent that is coached by former Scarborough High School volleyball player and 2015 graduate Emma Tirrell, who is studying mathematics and playing volleyball at St. Joseph’s College in Standish.

Roberts is excited to go up against his former player.

“She is doing a great job. I am super proud of her,” he said, adding it would not be surprising to see Gorham among the top teams in Class A this year.

Staff Writer Michael Kelley can be reached at news@scarboroughleader.com.

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