Girls volleyball: Athol improving in summer league

  • The Athol Pioneer Valley Juniors summer league team. (Top left to right)  Reilly McLaughlin, Madison Harrington, Danielle Swan, Skyleigh D’Ambrosia, Madelynn Kenniff and Paige Michaud. (Bottom, left to right) Shaelynn Doherty, Katelyn Mahan and Lexi Forte. STAFF PHOTO/ADAM HARGRAVES

Staff Writer
Published: 7/24/2019 9:41:38 PM

SOUTH DEERFIELD — For the first time in four years, the Athol girls volleyball team has a squad at the Pioneer Valley Juniors High School Summer League.

Athol ended its competition with a pair of wins over Westfield on Wednesday. The set scores were 25-17 and 25-18 at Frontier Regional.

In the first set, the Raiders overcame a 8-0 deficit to beat the Bombers. Athol’s Katelyn Mahan sparked the comeback with her serve.

“We will get right into the season after playing all summer,” Mahan said. “It will be a big plus for us. We will improve a lot this season.”

Shaelynn Doherty also led a run from behind the end line in the first set for Athol.

“It was great to see a win,” Mahan said. “We don’t wins often. Serving was probably top for us and our passing. I think we did well passing.”

Lexi Forte, Mahan and Danielle Swan led the defense.

Paige Michaud and lefty Madison Harrington led the hitting efforts for Athol.

The Pioneer Valley Juniors started in 2011 with the help of Frontier Regional coach Sean MacDonald.

“We run this league to get some of the rust off before the fall season,” MacDonald said. “It's really perfect timing. This is really nice right before the season to get out there and play. It’s good practice and nobody is getting stressed out.”

Frontier Regional has two teams in the league. The Hawks (A) team and the Hawks (B) team.

The Red Raiders are 6-14 this summer.

“I am excited about it,” MacDonald said. “I think this will help them (Athol) a lot.

The Hawks (B) team split with Amherst 9-25 and 25-17 on Wednesday.

Georgia Sackrey  and Sydney Scanlon led the Hawks.

The Hawks (A) team defeated Longmeadow, 25-21 and 25-19.

Outside-hitter Jalen Sullivan had a strong game for the Red Hawks. 

There are 14 teams in the league, and the playoffs begin on August 7.

Playoffs are divided into two divisions. The top teams play in the gold bracket at Frontier Regional, while the silver bracket plays at Elms College. 

Athol dropped two matches to begin the night to Longmeadow 25-16 and 25-15.

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