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Hawks sweep up ninth state crown

  • Joyous Frontier celebrates its MIAA Division III volleyball championship win against Bourne Saturday at Worcester State University. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Euphoric Frontier celebrates its MIAA Division III volleybal championship win against Bourne Saturday at Worcester State University. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Above, Frontier’s Hailey Orloski (4) and Ashley Telega (8) jump up for a block attempt against Bourne’s Emma Fenton (20) Saturday as Red Hawks teammate Ella Deane (20) looks on from the rear on their way to another state Division III volleyball title at Worcester State University. Right, Frontier’s Lauren Davenport (2) hits from the middle as Sarah Zoly (12) looks on. RECORDER STAFF photos/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Hailey Orloski (4) is a picture of concentration on a hit at the net during her Red Hawks’ state Division III volleyball championship win over Bourne Saturday at Worcester State University. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Ella Deane (20) sets against Bourne Saturday during her Red Hawks’ state Division III volleyball championship victory at Worcester State University. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Grace Randall (18) bumps the ball Saturday against Bourne during her Red Hawks’ state Division III volleyball championship win Saturday at Worcester State University. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Lauren Davenport (2) hits from the middle as Sarah Zoly (12) looks on Saturday during the Red Hawks’ state Division III volleyball championship sweep of Bourne at Worcester State University. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier celebrates scoring a point in the first set against Bourne on Saturday at Worcester State University. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Sarah Zoly (12) serves Saturday during her Red Hawks’ state Division III volleyball championship sweep of Bourne at Worcester State University. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier competes in the second set against Bourne during the MIAA Division III championship match Saturday at Worcester State University. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE



Recorder Staff
Sunday, November 19, 2017

WORCESTER — After a one-year respite, Frontier Regional School found itself in a very familiar position Saturday afternoon.

The Red Hawks captured their ninth state title in program history, sweeping Bourne High School in convincing fashion, 25-11, 25-21, 25-15, in the MIAA Division III championship match at Worcester State University.

The state title was the seventh in the last eight years for Frontier (17-6). The lone blemish came in last year’s title match against Joseph Case High School.

“I just can’t say enough about these four seniors,” praised Frontier coach Sean MacDonald of seniors Ella Deane, Selayna Bathurst, Grace Randall and Brianna Thurber. “To have them try and live up to the name on the back of their shirt is really hard. It’s probably an unfair burden to have to live up to. I’m really happy that their last high school game ended this way.”

Bathurst amassed 11 kills and nine digs in her last Frontier match.

“It’s really overwhelming,” said the senior outside hitter. “I was not expecting to come here and win in three (sets).”

Deane dished out 28 assists to go with three aces. The senior setter closed out her career with a state championship for the first time as a starter.

“It’s just amazing to get to play with such great athletes and women on this team,” offered Deane.

The challenge on Saturday was a new one for Frontier. Bourne (25-3), champions of the South sectional, was playing in its first state final since 2009. It was the first meeting between the two programs.

Bourne was led by 6-foot-3 opposite hitter Emma Fenton, who was an imposing presence at the net, especially on the defensive end.

“We had a lot of film on them and focused on (Fenton). We did a great job defensively against her,” Deane lauded. “Everyone was making great passes. I barely had to move to get to the ball as a setter.”

Although Fenton unleashed a few kills early in the match, the Frontier defense did a nice job scrambling to keep points alive.

“They’re a good team,” MacDonald said. “Emma, she poses some challenges just trying to hit around her. They’ve got some nice pieces. We knew they were going to be tough. It went a little smoother than I thought it would. I didn’t expect a sweep.”

Frontier got off to a strong start, building an 11-5 lead on a service run from Deane. Plenty of miscues from Bourne enabled things to keep rolling early, though Frontier received late kills from Hailey Orloski and Lauren Davenport. The Canal Women put the ball into the net on game point, and the Red Hawks took a commanding 25-11 win to set the tone.

It was a much different story in the second frame. Frontier committed its share of errors that led to an 18-14 Bourne advantage.

“We made a few errors in the second set, missed some serves and had some hitting errors,” MacDonald admitted.

Undaunted, the Hawks rallied when it mattered most. Bathurst put down a pair of kills late, while a service run from Randall (three aces) enabled Frontier to close the stanza on an 11-3 run. Bourne was whistled for a net violation on set point, and the Hawks closed out a 25-21 victory to put them in the driver’s seat with a commanding 2-0 advantage.

“When we came back from that four-point hole and won, it was like, ‘OK, we can win this thing,’” Bathurst explained.

That momentum carried into the third set. With Bathurst at the line, Frontier stormed out to a quick 9-3 lead to really put Bourne up against it. Davenport and Ashley Telega keyed the run offensively with two kills each.

Bourne got on track, rallying within 12-11 on a Kameryn McAnaugh kill, but the Canal Women never pulled even in the set.

Randall smoked another ace to extend the advantage to 16-11, and minutes later, Sarah Zoly (nine digs) continued the run at the service line in helping Frontier to a 21-12 lead.

With the score 22-15, Bourne committed three consecutive errors to close things out. The final one came with Frontier’s Reilly Isler at the service line, and the Red Hawks captured the 25-15 win to secure the 3-0 sweep and a ninth state championship.

“Just about everybody on the floor had a good game,” gushed MacDonald of his team. “They serve tough. We practiced trying to pass some really hard serves and get ready for that. We knew if we could pass, then we were going to be in it. We hit well and served really well, put them in tough spots.”

Davenport, the star of the team’s state semifinal win over Academy of Notre Dame, led the offensive effort with 13 kills to go with three aces. Telega chipped in seven kills in a strong effort over the middle, while Thurber had a team-high 10 digs in the back row.

“We were really focused on our defense,” admitted Bathurst. “We made a point of going for every ball no matter how far away you are.”

Frontier improved to 9-2 all-time in state-championship matches. The Red Hawks won all five of their postseason contests (three in the sectional tournament, two in the state tourney) via 3-0 sweeps.

“I get old, but this doesn’t get old,” MacDonald explained. “I get to see the joy in the players. That’s the best part for me.”