Hawks dispatch Eagles

  • The ball crosses the net during the women's beach volleyball semifinal match between Austria and Lithuania at the 2015 European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan, Saturday, June 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky) Dmitry Lovetsky

Staff Writer
Published: 11/5/2018 10:19:07 PM

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Frontier Regional School coach Sean MacDonald pulled senior captain Lauren Davenport aside before the Red Hawks’ WMass Division 3 quarterfinal. He told her she would be sharing the floor with some nervous teammates during the match.

“You’ve been in a lot of these games, and they have not,” he said. “I’m going to need you to give them an encouraging word and tell them ‘you’re doing okay.”

The nervousness manifested in a three-point hole at the start of the opening set. Davenport kept a calm countenance, smiling and joking with first-time playoff participants like sophomore libero Reilly Isler.

“We’re used to having that kind of start sometimes, so that made us aware we had to kick it into gear,” Davenport said.

The Red Hawks ripped off eight straight points in the first set and never looked back in a 3-0 win Monday. The No. 1 seed and 14-time defending champions will face No. 4 Turners Falls in the semifinals at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Pioneer Regional.

“We’re trying to ramp up, get a little better,” MacDonald said.

One of their focuses this season has been on slow starts. Frontier (19-2) trailed 3-0 in the first set and 5-1 in the second.

“It helps that we have a lot of confidence in ourselves and in our ability to come back from an early deficit,” Isler said. “That helps keep us focused.”

An Olivia Deane kill ended No. 8 Easthampton’s 3-0 run to start the match, then Deane went to work at the service line. She served eight straight points, accruing five of her match-high nine aces.

“As a team that’s one of our strongest parts,” Davenport said. “Since the start in seventh grade we’ve focused on accurate, hard serves, and I think that’s what gets us through.”

Easthampton (10-8) didn’t know what to expect. The Eagles haven’t played Frontier since 2014.

“It’s nothing like what you faced all regular season. The power behind the hits, the jump float serves, we’ve never seen that before,” Easthampton coach Molly Jacobson said. “It was a struggle and an adjustment for the girls to get used to that.”

Davenport led the way with 12 kills, while Deane added nine. The Red Hawks hit .729 in the match with just two errors. Hitting percentage is calculated like a batting average with kills instead of hits, and errors are subtracted.

Setter Elizabeth Fuqua distributed the offense with 24 assists.

“She did a great job for her first playoff game,” MacDonald said.

Frontier won the first set 25-7 before Easthampton settled in for a 25-16 loss in Set 2. The Red Hawks closed the match 25-12 in the third.

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