HS volleyball preview: Can Frontier streak reach 15?

  • Frontier’s Olivia Deane (9) hits against Lee last season in West Springfield. Deane is one of the top returning players for a Red Hawks club seeking a whopping 15th consecutive sectional title. STAFF FILE PHOTO

  • Mahar’s Ava Liberty is one of the key returning pieces to the puzzle for the Senators this fall, as the young team looks to make noise in the bunched-up Northern Division. STAFF FILE PHOTO

  • Pioneer's Abby Briggs (25) lunges to return a serve against Turners Falls in the second set Wednesday in Northfield, Oct. 10, 2018. Staff/Dan Little

  • Turners Falls’ Dabney Rollins (7) will once again be in the middle of the attack for the Thunder as it aims for a Northern Division championship run. STAFF FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 9/8/2019 1:34:23 PM

As has been the case in recent years, if you want to win the Western Mass. championship, you’re going to have to go through Frontier.

Sean MacDonald returns for his 17th year as head coach of the Red Hawks, and his squad has won the last 14 sectional titles.

While Frontier lost two All-State players in Lauren Davenport and Ashley Telega, the team brings back enough talent to once again make them the local favorites.

Outside hitter Olivia Deane and libero Reilly Isler return to the starting lineup, while senior Jalen Sullivan should slide into the second outside hitter spot.

Junior Olivia Rosewarne started at setter in the team’s exhibition match against Nantucket High School, finishing with 11 assists.

Charlotte Doulette, Kimani Topolski, Morgan Martineau and Jillian Apanell all seem primed to step up and have a big year for Frontier.

MacDonald knows it isn’t easy replacing talent like Davenport and Telega, but as has been the case during his tenure, the train keeps rolling and he continues to develop players to replace lost talent.

“It’s going to be a big adjustment from what we lost,” MacDonald said during the team’s second practice of the year. “We lost a lot of offense. We lost our top three (players) in kills. That’s going to have to come from someplace else. It’s not something new, people graduate all the time. It happens.”

Turners and Mahar were other local teams to qualify for the postseason a year ago.

The Thunder suffered a setback in the summer, as Taylor Murphy, a key middle hitter, went down with a shoulder injury. She had surgery in the winter, and this summer, her shoulder popped out again while playing volleyball. Due to the re-aggravation, Murphy will miss the 2019 season.

With the loss of Murphy, and two key graduates, five JV players from a year ago could see starting time with Turners this season. 

Despite all that, there is still reason to be optimistic. 

Head coach Kelly Liimatainen didn’t expect her team to finish 17-5 a year ago, and the team returns key players like Dabney Rollins, Lindsay Whiteman and Hailey Bogusz, giving her confidence the squad can perform well again. 

“We’re just young,” Liimatainen said. “Replacing Taylor won’t be easy. I wasn’t expecting to be as good as we were last year and we did well. I’m hoping for good things this year, even though we’re young. New JV players will have to step up.”

One player expected to step up is Isabelle Farrick, who didn’t start last year but saw varsity minutes as a weak side hitter. 

Mahar enters the season with a very young team that will have to grow as the season goes on.

The Senators don’t have a senior on the roster, forcing coach Sarah Woodward to rebuild and find new players to step up.

Madison Harrington is a strong candidate to take over the setter position, and Quincey Drew will be the top outside hitter. Both players are team captains this year as juniors. 

The other two returning varsity players from a year ago are Hailie Meeker and Keanna Thompson. 

“We have a lot of work to do,” Woodward said. “Everything is looking promising. We do have some returners, who have the knowledge. It’s replacing a setter, replacing another middle and the libero position, those are the key things we lost. We want to make playoffs and do well in playoffs. That’s always our goal. Once they start knowing what they’re doing, I think we can do that.”

Sophomore Ava Liberty has impressed Woodward in the preseason as someone who could play either the middle or right side.

Another name to remember is eighth-grader Deanna Smith. Smith is the third middle schooler to make the varsity team during Woodward’s tenure, with the other two going on to play collegiate athletics. Smith has shown promise early as a defensive specialist.

The remainder of the local teams are all looking to improve from a year ago.

Greenfield won four matches a season ago, but with over 30 kids showing up to practice the first day, the interest and buzz gives coach Lisa Moore confidence in the direction they’re heading in her 26th season.

“We have a group of athletic kids coming up through, some freshmen and sophomores which is nice, a lot of softball kids,” she began. “We have a great team vibe. As a program, it’s still going strong. Our goal is to get to dance.”

With 10 players returning to the team, the Green Wave are hoping for a shot at making it into the postseason.

The Pioneer program has had its struggles, not making it to the postseason since 2010. After graduating six varsity players a year ago, this season will be dedicated to improving every day, with the Panthers not concerning themselves with wins and losses.

Abigail Briggs returns with varsity experience, while Lillian Faille will be a starting outside hitter and Emily Tibbetts will have a shot to be the team’s setter. The coaches have been impressed with her developed skill set.

For co-coaches Kathy Malsh and Claire Brennan, the goal is to create a team identity in 2019.

“They didn’t play as a team last year, they tried to win the individual matches,” Malsh said. “We need goals that aren’t wins and losses, but goals to finish better, play as a team, anticipate what’s coming next and play with full effort.”

Mohawk Trail won six matches a year ago, and the team returns four seniors to a squad that is two years removed from a tournament appearance.

Both Athol and Franklin Tech sport young rosters, and with a lack of veteran players, younger athletes should have a chance to get playing time and develop throughout the year. 


COACH: Nick Savoie, 3rd season



LAST TOURNAMENT APPEARANCE: 2017, lost in D3 first round

ROSTER: Seniors — Alexis Carrasquillo, OH, Liz Seaman, OH/MH. Juniors — Lexi Forte, S, Katelyn Mahan, OH, Danielle Swan, S, Shaelynn Doherty, MH, Rashelly Dalmau-Gonzalez, OH/MH, Ava Leblanc, OH/MH. Sophomores — Skyleigh D’Ambrosia, L, Madelynn Keniff, OH/MH.



FC Tech

COACH: Jade Cuevas, 5th year




ROSTER: Seniors — Kelsey Winship, OH, Alyah Sutton, OH. Juniors — Mackenzie Martel, OH, Maggie Charlton, OH, Abigail Hoynoski, OH, Paige Bonarrigo, OH, Sadie Corey, OH, Courtney Churchill, OH. Sophomores — Renee Reed, S/OH, Kelly Trudeau, OH, Emily Ryan, MH, Maddie Brodeur, OH, Brandie Soula, OH, Tessa Williams, OH. Freshmen — Lilian Poirier, S/OH, Natalia Guzman, OH, Soriya Noeun, OH, Maria LaBelle, OH/MH, Alysia Knapp, OH, Faith Smith, MH.



COACH: Sean MacDonald, 17th year



LAST TOURNAMENT APPEARANCE: 2018, lost to Bourne in MIAA Div. 3 semifinals

RETURNING STARTERS: Juniors — Olivia Deane, OH, Reilly Isler, Lib.

RETURNING PLAYERS: Seniors — Kimani Topolski, MH, Jalen Sullivan, OH/MH. Juniors — Olivia Simoneaux, OH/DS, Morgan Martineau, OH/MH, Abbe Roberts, OH/S/DS, Olivia Rosewarne, S, Charlotte Doulette, MH/OH.

NEWCOMERS: Juniors — Sophia Stilla, OH, Lannashia Ngu, OH. Sophomores — Tia Gottschalk, Lib/DS, Elise Friedrichs, S/OH, Lilah Evans, OH. Freshmen — Jillian Appanell, MH, Sydney Scanlon, S.



COACH: Lisa Moore, 26th season





RETURNING PLAYERS: Seniors — Hannah Mailloux, MH. Juniors — Cassie Mattei, RS, Gianna Conte, OH/RS, Korynne Callahan, MH. Sophomores — Kelsey Richardson, OH, Destiny Sousa, OH/RS, Taylor Gilstrap, DS/RS, Denisse Tontijo, S, Denicha Claudio, OH, Genesis Ocasio, DS/L.

NEWCOMERS: Seniors — Emilly Clarke, MH, Katherine Fortin, Oh, Mackenzie Southwick, RS. Sophomores — Phoebe Broussard, DS/L. Freshmen — Karisma Santana, MH, Rachel Dodge, S, Aisha Pruitt Gonzalez, S.



COACH: Sarah Woodward, 13th year



LAST TOURNAMENT APPEARANCE: 2018, lost to Mt. Greylock in quarterfinals

RETURNING STARTERS: Juniors — Madison Harrington, S/RS, Hailee Meeker, MH, Keanna Thompson, DS/S, Quincey Drew, OH/S.

RETURNING PLAYERS: Juniors — Makayla Mathurin, MH/OH.Sophomores — Ava Liberty, RS, Gracie Fournier, DS.

NEWCOMERS: Junior — Brooke Jenks, OH. Freshmen — Emilia Ramos, OH, Saylor Kegans, OH. Eighth Grade — Deanna Smith, DS.


Mohawk Trail

COACH: Olivia Dubrule, 1st season



LAST TOURNAMENT APPEARANCE: 2017, lost in Div. 3 first round

ROSTER: Seniors — Gabbie Bailey, Chrizza Marcial, Jada Yuryan, Cassidy Upton. Sophomores — Octavia Crawford, Alex Lilly, Elly Patnode, Nola Bloomer, Kylie Lowell. Freshmen — Hannah Plesnar, Emery King, Clare Wasileski.




COACH: Kathy Malsh, Claire Brennan, 2nd season




ROSTER: Seniors — Abigail Briggs, Morgan Lounder. Juniors — Emily Tibbetts, Lillian Faille, Isabella Daye. Sophomores — Caoilinn Lounder, Alana Redeker, Jane Potee, Amber Wozniak, Natalie Rowan. Eighth Graders — Leah Chapman.



Turners Falls

COACH: Kelly Liimatainen, 10th year



LAST TOURNAMENT APPEARANCE: 2018, lost to Frontier, 3-0, in Western Mass Div. 3 semifinals

RETURNING STARTERS: Seniors — Dabney Rollins, MH, Lindsay Whiteman, LB, Hailey Bogusz, S/OH.

RETURNING PLAYERS: Juniors — Isabelle Farrick, RS.

NEWCOMERS: Juniors — Mercedes Morales, S/OH. Sophomores — Olivia Stafford, DS. Freshmen — Stephanie Peterson, MH/RS, Abigail Holloway, OH. Eighth Graders — Taylor Greene, S/RS. Seventh Graders — Madison Liimatainen, OH/MH.

Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906


Copyright © 2020 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy