Volleyball is one of Thornton Academy’s newest varsity sports, as well as one of its most popular. Thornton Academy sponsored its first volleyball program in 2012 when 44 girls, many of whom were freshmen, competed on the first sub varsity-level teams. Today, Thornton Academy offers four volleyball teams and accommodates the interests of nearly 70 participants annually; no other high school in the state of Maine offers more teams in this sport. At this time, interscholastic volleyball in the state of Maine is open only to female participants.
The Thornton Academy volleyball program is open to student-athletes of all levels of ability and experience. For each of the school’s four teams, the focus is on learning the fundamental skills of the sport while incorporating practice in understanding tactical and team play. The Thornton volleyball program is also committed to serving the greater community and regularly conducts fundraising activities for various causes.
Despite its relatively short history, Thornton Academy volleyball has been highly competitive and plays against some of the top programs in the southern Maine region. In 2015, during its third year of existence, the Golden Trojans finished the regular season with a record of 12-2 and captured the Southwestern Maine Activities Association (SMAA) championship. Thornton Academy has made three appearances (2015, 2017, 2018) in the Class A state championship tournament in the past four seasons. The Golden Trojans won their first postseason match in 2018 with an exciting four-set victory over rival South Portland High School.
Thornton Academy volleyball players have earned a number of postseason accolades from SMAA coaches. Kylemore Austin was a two-time all-conference player and is now a standout collegiate volleyball player at the University of Southern Maine. Ashley Howe was selected as an SMAA all-star in all three seasons that she competed as a varsity player and is the only Thornton Academy player named to the Maine Sunday Telegram All-State Team (2015). Julia Chasse and Laura Fortier earned all-conference recognition on two occasions apiece.
All practices and matches take place at Linnell Gymnasium. The process for earning a slot on the varsity squad is typically quite competitive. However, students with less experience or who may be looking to improve their skills have an opportunity to participate in one of the school’s three sub varsity teams. The junior varsity team plays a schedule that mirrors that of the varsity. The Maroon team consists primarily of freshman players and plays a mixture of contests against conference opponents and in the Saturday league held at Greely High School. The Gold team is designed to serve novice and recreational players and also competes in the weekly league at Greely.