Sister act: Woodwards named All-State
Frontier Regional School was rewarded for its hard work this year by winning its fourth consecutive MIAA State Division III Girls’ Volleyball championship on Nov. 16.
Red Hawks head coach Sean MacDonald also learned that two of his players — senior Sarah Woodward and sophomore Emily Woodward — were selected to the Massachusetts Girls’ Volleyball Coaches Association Division III All-State Team for their outstanding individual seasons.
Sarah Woodward, who had been a role player for Frontier during the two previous championship seasons, took over a leadership role as a co-captain and became the Red Hawks’ offensive leader on a squad that was best known for its balance. The 5-foot-10 outside hitter led the team in kills with 257 (3.7 per set), and hitting percentage (.284), while registering 138 digs and a serving percentage of 88.6 percent with 44 aces.
“Last year there was a lot of talk about Cassidy (Stankowski) and Julia (Wan) as our offensive leaders, and we graduated both of them,” said MacDonald. “I thought Sarah really stepped into that role, and a leadership role, really well. What she did well was she put the team ahead of herself, and she made sure she kept the team on track. She reminded others to put the team first and she did a good job of keeping everybody focused.
MacDonald also knew that the elder Woodward was motivated throughout the season.
“A lot of people around town, and the area, felt that we weren’t going to be that good since Cassidy and the other (three) All-Staters graduated,” said MacDonald. “I just think she wanted to win in her senior year and silence the doubters who thought we were going to fall off the mountain. ... The bottom line was she came through when we needed her.”
Emily Woodward, a 5-foot-9 setter, had even bigger shoes to fill as she earned the starting spot in the Red Hawks’ 5-1 offense. But the younger sibling responded in spectacular fashion with a single-season record 672 assists (9.3 per set), including 40 in the state championship victory over Fairhaven High School. She also recorded 107 digs, 34 kills and a serve percentage of 84.0 percent with 52 aces. Her last ace came on championship point to win the state title.
“She certainly has the skills to do it,” said MacDonald. “Being a setter in a 5-1 is tough. There’s a lot to think about and a lot of pressure because you’re involved in every play. She’s still young, and she definitely stressed out and doubted herself at times, but she did a great job running our team and the stats bore that out.
“This is how I know it’s going well: I didn’t have to think about her play,” he added. “One of my faults as a coach is when I see people doing things the right way, I don’t praise them enough because that’s the way it should look. She did well this year, and she’s getting better all the time.”
Frontier, which finished 20-4 overall, wound up fourth in the state and 169th in the nation in the respective final maxpreps.com polls.
It is the second time in Frontier’s history that sisters were named to the All-State squad in the same season — senior twins Katy and Tori Daniels were selected to the squad in 2010 during Frontier’s record-breaking 26-0 season.