AUGUSTA — A proposal to expand high school volleyball from two to three enrollment classes was approved unanimously Thursday by the Maine Principals’ Association’s volleyball committee.

The proposed change – creating three classes of 10 to 13 schools – would take effect in 2017 if approved by the MPA’s membership in the spring.

The sport now has 22 schools in Class A and 13 in Class B.

“A big part of this consideration is the fact right now you have a small Class B and a very large Class A,” said Jack Hardy, North Yarmouth Academy athletic director and chair of the volleyball committee. “It’s not balanced. It makes sense to have three classes more equal in size. Plus you have a big Class A that could potentially get bigger.”

The proposal places 12 schools in Class A, ranging in size from Thornton Academy (enrollment of 1,412) to Marshwood (781). Class B would have 13 schools, ranging in size from Falmouth (696) to Wells (432).

Class C would have 10 schools, ranging in size from Washington Academy (417) to Jonesport-Beals (67).


Committee members said the changes would make travel easier in a sport with rapid growth. Six schools launched varsity teams in 2016, four in 2015. All but one of those programs is in southern Maine.

The proposal would keep Class A schools in southern Maine and all but two Class B schools (Ellsworth and Mount Desert Island) in southern or central Maine. Class C would be made up of Down East schools, except for North Yarmouth Academy.

Coaches had mixed reactions.

Jim Senecal of Yarmouth, the coaches’ liaison to the volleyball committee, said the change will make Class B stronger. Some of the top Class A teams – Falmouth, Cape Elizabeth and state champion Greely – would move down to Class B.

Corey Huot, Thornton Academy’s first-year coach, said Class A has had too many schools. Reclassification sounds reasonable, he said, providing an even mix of strong and newer teams in each class.

“Honestly, I think as long as everyone plays a lot of top teams it can work,” Huot said. “I definitely think it’s good for programs in Maine, and it will bring a lot of excitement and competitiveness to volleyball in Maine.”


South Portland Coach Nicole Kane said, “Something has to be done.

“Class A is too big. You can’t keep things the same because before you know it there will be 30 schools in A. How do you run playoffs with 30-plus schools?”

Kelvin Hasch of Greely, the winningest volleyball coach in Maine, is against the proposal.

Hasch, who won his 10th championship a week ago, said the MPA should wait five years because, he said, they’re going to end up making more changes after more schools enter the sport.

Having 12 teams in a class that has 14 regular-season games is too few, he said.

“I’m not real jazzed,” Hasch said. “I don’t think 22 teams is that many. You have (as many as 18 to 21) teams in basketball.”

The proposal next will be discussed with the coaches of varsity programs who may want to move up or down from the three proposed classes. Then it will be brought to the MPA’s classification committee in three weeks. If accepted, it will go out for comment from all volleyball schools before it is voted on at the MPA’s general membership meeting in April.

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