Hawks seal finals date
Special to The Recorder/Sue Jubb Frontier’s Sarah Conlisk (7) and Remi Quesnelle attempt to block a hit by Sutton’s Julia Rabutto (8) Wednesday night in Hudson, where the three-time defending state-champion Red Hawks beat Sutton in the state Division III volleyball semifinals. Next up for Frontier is Saturday’s state final against an opponent still to be determined.
HUDSON — Frontier Regional School will get its shot at history.
The Red Hawks continued their run of postseason dominance Wednesday by rolling to a 25-17, 25-12, 25-18 victory over Sutton High School in the semifinals of the MIAA State Division II Girls’ Volleyball Tournament Wednesday night at Hudson High School.
The Red Hawks (19-4) will have a chance to win their fourth consecutive state championship Saturday at noon at Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough. They’ll face the winner of the other semifinal tonight at 7 at Taunton High School between North champion Lynnfield High School and South champ Fairhaven High School.
No other area school has won four consecutive state titles in any sport. Turners Falls High School’s softball team also won three straight from 2004-06.
The Red Hawks pulled off the three-set sweep in spite of some struggles at the net and a dozen service errors.
“We’re excited about playing Saturday,” said Red Hawks head coach Sean MacDonald. “Obviously we need to clean up a few things. I didn’t think we looked real sharp with a few things in the first and third sets.
“We’re definitely going to work on trying to smooth out some things on offense and defense but are not going to go an entire match without an error. The key is managing and limiting them,” he added.
The Suzies (17-5) were not intimidated by the three-time defending state champions, playing them to a virtual standstill in the first part of the opening set. Once Frontier took the lead for good at 9-8, it steadily built its lead to 20-14 before senior Sarah Woodward (10 kills, four digs, two aces) served for three points to make it 23-14.
After Sutton battled back to within 23-17, Remi Quesnelle got the serve back for Frontier with a kill and Haley Dacyczyn (eight digs, team-high five aces) served a close-out ace.
Dacyczyn had another ace and Cassidy Ciesluk (five kills, five digs) registered both of her aces early in the second set to help Frontier jump out to a 6-3 lead. Sutton was only able to get as close as two for the remainder of the set before sophomore setter Emily Woodward (27 assists, four aces, two digs) served for five straight points and a 13-5 lead.
The Suzies tried to cut into the deficit but were hindered by eight errors in the set, and Frontier kept the pressure on. Two more aces by Dacyczyn, coupled with kills from Remi Quesnelle (three kills two aces), Sarah Woodward and Sarah Conlisk (five kills), allowed the Red Hawks to build a commanding 19-9 lead.
Quesnelle reached the service line at 20-10 and served four straight to reach game point. After the Suzies got a couple points back, Ciesluk ripped a kill off a Sutton block to win the set.
“Even with some of the struggles here and there and some of the nerves, we had just enough of an edge,” said MacDonald. “Haley had a nice serve going, and Emily had a run there, and we were able to put pressure on them.”
Sutton refused to go away quietly, even though Frontier began to pull away at the midpoint of the set, building a 13-7 lead. The Red Hawks were able to keep the Suzies’ service runs to a minimum and continued to build the lead behind Sarah Woodward’s five kills and some solid defensive play in the set, leading by as many as eight (22-14) before the defense went south and sophomore Taylor Dunster served them back to 22-18.
After a Sarah Woodward kill got the serve back at 23-18, Courtney Newsome fired home her fourth kill of the night and Woodward ended the match with an ace — the Red Hawks’ 16th of the evening and 79th in four postseason matches.
“It’s certainly going to be a lot tougher on Saturday but I think they are (on a mission),” said MacDonald. “Win or lose, I think we’re going to be in a match, and I’m really proud of them regardless of what happens.”