The Recorder – Frontier Volleyball advances to Class C Finals with win over Athol (PHOTOS)

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SOUTH DEERFIELD – In the past, local high school teams had to fight their way through the Western Mass tournament. just to qualify for the state tournament. Now, with a new post-season, the best teams have the opportunity to participate in both tournaments.

In its first season of existence, Frontier Boys Volleyball is aiming for what would be its first-ever WMass title after beating Athol in straight sets, 25-15, 25-16, 25-12, in the PVIAC Class C semi-finals. Monday at the Goodnow Gymnasium.

The No. 1-seeded Redhawks (15-2) shrugged off small deficits early in each of the first two games, then left no stone unturned in the third, building up a 10-2, 19 lead -5 before concluding. IT out.

Athol, the No. 4 seed, lost its third game of the season to Frontier and finished the spring at 4-16.

“It was a test for us. Sometimes even I forget that these boys have only been playing volleyball for three months,” Frontier co-coach Courtney Parent said. always be tested because we are still so new to this.”

Behind a pair of wins from Colin Mason, Athol scored the first three points in the opener before Frontier rallied for the next six. The game rocked until, leading 10-8, the Redhawks opened up space with five straight points, courtesy of kills from Jack Carey and Jesse Kurkulonis and two service aces from Kurkulonis.

Another winner from Deter Ngawang and three kills from 6ft 8in Aleks Carey made Frontier’s lead 23-13 before a pair of errors at net and two service errors allowed the hosts to prevail, 25-15.

Athol did better in Game 2 with an early 4-0 lead, but two kills from Ngawang, one from Aleks Carey and two blocks from Carey helped the Redhawks tie it 6-6. After the Bears took a 10-7 lead on a kill by Luke Inniss, Frontier dropped eight of the next nine points for a 15-11 lead. Going 19-15, the Redhawks ran five straight for a game point, and Kurkulonis finished it on a kill to make it 25-16.

In Game 3, Frontier was leading 5-1 and 10-2 out of the blocks before Athol called a timeout. Kurkulonis had a kill and pocket aces and Ngawang added his own kill as the Redhawks went from a 13-5 lead to 19-5. Frontier then scored the final three, getting an ace from Carey and a kill from Kurkulonis to end it.

“It’s what it is this year, but all we can do is learn and move on,” Bears coach Mark Hunt said. “The skills we developed over the season really showed me the potential of this program. It’s a young team I have, but I really feel like the next two years we can definitely be up there too.

Inniss had seven kills and Mason five to lead Athol.

Frontier was punctuated by Aleks Carey’s 11 kills and three blocks, 10 kills and 13 digs for Kurkulonis, and eight kills and 13 digs by Ngawang. Setter Tavo Vincent-Warner provided 29 assists during the match.

No. 3 seed Southwick hosts No. 3 seed Ware in the other semifinal on Tuesday, with Frontier winning the PVIAC Class C Championship on May 31 at 5 p.m. at Chicopee Comp. The Redhawks did not face Southwick in the regular season, but defeated Ware in four games on April 14.

“Our last two weeks of the regular season, we had seven games in (10) days. So I think we’re looking forward to practice time,” Parent said. “I think it’s cool to say that we qualified for the state tournament just by our record. It’s an opportunity for them to play more volleyball, and that’s really important to us as a first year program.

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