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Volleyball has always been a popular sport at Washington Academy. Former coach Mike Look had great success coaching the Raiders back in the eighties and early nineties.

At that time, the only goal a team had to play for was the Downeast Athletic Conference championship. In those days, it was just a DAC sport. Gradually more teams started volleyball as a varsity sport.

In 1997, the state held its first state championship and Jonesport-Beals was crowned the state’s volleyball champion. The Royalettes would win three in a row before Rich Nutter and his Woodland Dragons would rise to the top.
Nutter’s Dragons won three states in a row and the last one came in 2002 at the expense of the Greely Rangers, who would be heard of in the years to come.

The Rangers rose to the top in 2003 and would win seven consecutive state volleyball titles. The last was in 2009 when they were moved up to Class A.
In 2009, the smaller schools had a chance once again. That year, Calais won the first Class B title and Washington Academy was runner-up with current Raider coach Chris Davis as coach.

Davis started in 2005 and shared Coach of the Year honors with Amy Fritz and the Raiders have been at or near the top of Class B every since.  In 2010, the Raiders won the school’s first state volleyball title with a win over Calais.  Yarmouth High School moved to Class B and their Clippers were state champs right away in 2011.

In 2012, the Raiders won state volleyball title number two, which brings us to the current year.

The Raiders lost key players from last year’s title team, but came back strong this season.  During the regular season, WA finished at 10-4 with only one defeat against a Class B team, which was Yarmouth.  The Clippers edged out WA for the top spot in Class B by a close margin.  The Raiders would play at home until the state final at Windham High School if they kept winning.

WA hosted seventh seeded Narraguagus in the first round and won in three straight sets, 26-24, 25-10 and 25-15.  Next up for the Raiders was third seeded Machias, who nearly got upset by sixth seeded Woodland in the quarterfinals and a team they had beaten handily on three previous occasions.

The Raiders took the first set against the Dogs rather handily. The Raiders won the second set, 29-27, lost the third, 25-15, and won the fourth, 25-23.  The win sent WA to the state championship game once again to face top seeded Yarmouth, who defeated the Raiders earlier in the season, 3-1.  The Raiders started off really well and had the top seeded Clippers up against the wall, winning the first two sets, 25-20 and 25-23.  The Clippers came alive in the next set and won, 25-13. They continued to dominate, winning the fourth, 25-13, and the fifth set tie breaker, 15-9, to win their second state Class B volleyball title in three years.

The Raiders bowed out at 12-5 after having a great season.  WA will say goodbye to some key players, like Whitney Porter, Chelsea Holmes, Zixi Daisy Zhong, Kathlyn Carl, Kassidy Seeley and Keirstin Burker.

Key people returning will be Britnie Holmes, Emily Lobley, Loren Raye, Delaney Gardner and Kalyn Otto.

The Machias Valley News Observer is located at 41 Broadway in Machias, Maine.
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