It wasn’t that long ago that the Washington Academy and George Stevens Academy volleyball teams squared off in their last regular season game. It was Oct. 19.
Washington Academy of East Machias triumphed over the visitors from Blue Hill three sets to one.
They will play again on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Brewer High School gym and there will be a lot more at stake: the State Class C championship.
Top seed Washington Academy is 15-0 while George Stevens Academy, the second seed, is 13-2 with the other loss coming to Class B Mount Desert Island.
Washington Academy captured the state title in 2018 in the second year of Class C. The Raiders had won the Class B state crown in 2015.
Since 2010, Washington Academy has played in seven state title games — five in B and two in C, and has won three in B and one in C.
George Stevens Academy is in its first state championship game since adding volleyball in 2016.
The Class A state title will also be decided on Saturday as top seed Biddeford, 17-0, will take on No. 2 Scarborough, 15-2, at 2 p.m. in Biddeford.
Biddeford hasn’t won a state title since 2010 while Scarborough last claimed the crown in 2017. It was Scarborough’s second in three years at the time.
The B final will be on Monday at 6 p.m. at Yarmouth High School between top seed Yarmouth, 17-0, and No. 3 Cape Elizabeth, 13-4.
It will be the third straight time those two rivals have met in the state final. Yarmouth won the previous two.
There were no state title games in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Washington Academy coach Corey Schwinn, who has guided the Raiders since 2015, said the game with George Stevens Academy should be a “hard-fought” battle.
“I expect them to really challenge us,” Schwinn said. “When we played them last time, we won the first set 30-28. They are well-coached and they have some talented players.”
George Stevens Academy is the only Class C school to take a set from Washington Academy, which dropped just two other sets to B schools Mount Desert Island and Ellsworth.
Washington Academy won 30-28, 25-13, 23-25, 25-10.
The junior-laden Raiders are led by their three junior captains: center Isabel Cates, libero Rachel Vose and outside hitter Chloe Dinsmore.
Cates has been lost for the season due to a knee injury and junior setter and outside hitter Sarah Moulton has replaced her at center.
“Sarah is super athletic. It took a little bit of an adjustment but she has done really well,” Schwinn said.
Junior middle hitter Kate Taylor has been another important contributor, according to Schwinn.
“Our team has a lot of playing experience and a lot of passion for the game,” Schwinn said. “They are a real delight to coach. And they have a high volleyball IQ. They are students of the game. They have made my job a lot easier.”
Schwinn is assisted by Kalyn Stevens, a member of his 2015 state title team.
George Stevens Academy’s catalysts have been Evelyn Dagan, Hailey Vogell, Sophia Biggie-Jannings and Frances Spangler.
The Eagles are coached by Aleta Schmidt along with Bonnie Marckoon and Stephanie Garmany Hess.