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High School Notebook: Sisters Alyssa, Cassidy Stankowski to have shared number 13 retired by Frontier volleyball

  • COURTESY FRONTIERVOLLEYBALL.NET<br/>Cassidy Stankowski sits with all the awards and titles she won during her time as a volleyball player at Frontier Regional. The program will retire the No. 13 in honor of Stankowski and her sister Alyssa, who was a standout in the program as well.

    COURTESY FRONTIERVOLLEYBALL.NET
    Cassidy Stankowski sits with all the awards and titles she won during her time as a volleyball player at Frontier Regional. The program will retire the No. 13 in honor of Stankowski and her sister Alyssa, who was a standout in the program as well. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Alyssa Stankowski, right, of Frontier, digs the ball while backed up by her sister, Cassidy Stankowski, during a match in South Deerfield in 2007.<br/><br/>GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

    Alyssa Stankowski, right, of Frontier, digs the ball while backed up by her sister, Cassidy Stankowski, during a match in South Deerfield in 2007.

    GAZETTE FILE PHOTO Purchase photo reprints »

  • Alyssa Stankowski of Frontier Regional smiles during a practice in 2008.<br/><br/>GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

    Alyssa Stankowski of Frontier Regional smiles during a practice in 2008.

    GAZETTE FILE PHOTO Purchase photo reprints »

  • COURTESY FRONTIERVOLLEYBALL.NET<br/>Cassidy Stankowski sits with all the awards and titles she won during her time as a volleyball player at Frontier Regional. The program will retire the No. 13 in honor of Stankowski and her sister Alyssa, who was a standout in the program as well.
  • Alyssa Stankowski, right, of Frontier, digs the ball while backed up by her sister, Cassidy Stankowski, during a match in South Deerfield in 2007.<br/><br/>GAZETTE FILE PHOTO
  • Alyssa Stankowski of Frontier Regional smiles during a practice in 2008.<br/><br/>GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

For nine years, sisters Alyssa and Cassidy Stankowski were the faces of the Frontier Regional girls volleyball team’s dominance.

Now, the No. 13 jersey both wore with the Red Hawks is being retired to join the trophy case that houses all the trophies they helped win.

“It’s going to mean a lot to me,” Cassidy Stankowski said of sharing the honor. “She really is not only my sister, but also my best friend. I wouldn’t be where I am without her. To have something permanent that represents us is really special. For us to share that honor is amazing.”

Alyssa, a 2009 graduate, and Cassidy, a 2013 grad, will be honored with a ceremony between the Red Hawks’ junior varsity and varsity games against Agawam on Friday. The ceremony should start at approximately 6 p.m.

The jersey “represents just a whole bunch of great memories for us,” Alyssa Stankowski said. “Cass and I are always saying that yeah we played volleyball, but the best part was the two years we played together. It will always been there for us as a great reminder of the time together and the success we had.”

Frontier coach Sean MacDonald had the idea when he was ordering new uniforms for the season and decided not to get a number 13.

“It just didn’t feel right,” he said. “And no one specifically asked for it. Lately everyone thinks that 13 is Cassidy, but Alyssa certainly put her stamp on number 13. It just didn’t feel right in the foreseeable future for somebody to wear 13.”

MacDonald had conversations with school administrators and others around the sport and decided to retire the number.

“It’s kind of cool to have the sisters wear that number, both of them have stellar careers and retire the number on behalf of both of them,” he said.

Alyssa Stankowski played five years on the varsity squad and led the program to four straight Western Massachusetts Division 3 titles (2005-08) and two state titles. She finished with nearly 1,000 career kills and more than 1,500 career digs, was a three-time all-state selection and finished with a career record of 112-8.

“Neither of us really ever thought about” having the number retired, said Alyssa Stankowski, who played at Westfield State and then coached a year at Wilbraham & Monson last year before becoming an assistant at Frontier this season. “We always wondered who would wear where it next.”

Cassidy Stankowski was her older sister’s teammate for two years as a seventh- and eighth-grader and wore the No. 1 during that time. She switched to No. 13 for her final four years and went on to have one of the most successful varsity careers of any WMass athlete.

“I knew right when she left that I wanted to take” number 13, Cassidy Stankowski said. “She is my biggest role model. I look up to her so much. I knew that the player she had become was the player I wanted to become. I wanted to continue the legacy that she left behind, so I figured that taking her number was a good step in that direction.”

Cassidy Stankowski won six WMass championships — including the first two with Alyssa — and finished as a three-time state champion with more than 1,000 career kills. She was a two-time state Gatorade Player of the Year, a three-time Prepvolleyball.com All-American and a four-time all-state selection who finished with a 137-6 career record.

Stankowski, now a starter and multiple-time conference rookie of the week at Central Connecticut State, will attend her first Frontier game from the crowd since 2006 on Friday.

“It’s going to definitely be weird to be in the stands and not on the court, but I can’t wait to watch my teammates from last year and some of the players who were on JV have a good time and play the way volleyball should be played at Frontier,” she said. “I had a really close relationship with a lot of the girls. We were a family, basically, so it will be nice to be reunited with my family.”

COLUMBUS WEEKEND CLASH — Four of the region’s top field hockey teams will square off in a small tournament over the holiday weekend at Smith College.

Northampton and Longmeadow, which played in last year’s Western Massachusetts Division 1 Tournament final, will meet on Saturday at noon.

Longmeadow (10-0) defeated Northampton 1-0 in the title game and then handed the Blue Devils (8-2-2) a 3-0 defeat on Oct. 4.

Rivals Frontier Regional (8-2-1) and Smith Academy (6-4-1) then square off at 2 p.m.

The Red Hawks, who are the two-time defending WMass D-2 champion, beat the Falcons 2-0 on Sept. 9. The teams play a third time on Oct. 21 in Hatfield.

On Sunday, the previous days two winners and two losers square off in games at noon and 2 p.m.

LEADING SCORER — Catie Laraway, of Westfield, broke the Williston Northampton field hockey program career scoring record Saturday when she posted four goals against Berkshire School.

Laraway has 62 career goals, breaking the record of 60 set by 2012 graduate Bridget Instrum, of South Hadley. Instrum plays field hockey and lacrosse at Middlebury College.

HOOPHALL SCHEDULE — The schedule for the five-day 2014 Spalding Hoophall Classic at Springfield College was released this week and included a doubleheader for the Granby girls and boys basketball teams.

The girls square off against Sabis on Jan. 16 at 4 p.m. The boys follow with a game against Greenfield at 5:30.

GAME OF THE WEEK — Amherst Regional boys soccer at Ludlow, Friday, 6 p.m.

The first round of the rivalry series settled nothing, as the Hurricanes and Lions played to a 2-2 draw in Amherst on Saturday.

The squads played in the 2012 WMass D-1 title game with the Hurricanes winning on penalty kicks.

MISCELLANEOUS — The Belchertown girls soccer team continued to draw national attention this week, moving up to No. 11 in the Girls Fall Soccer Fab 50 rankings by studentsports.com. The Orioles (10-0) were the 22nd-ranked team last week and are the top team in New England. No. 23 Central Catholic of Lawrence (10-0) and No. 39 Newton North (8-0-1) were the other ranked teams from Massachusetts. ... The Amherst Regional boys and girls cross country teams were ranked at No. 13 and No. 17, respectively, in the large school rankings released by the Massachusetts State Track Coaches Association on Tuesday.

Jim Pignatiello can be reached at jpignatiello@gazettenet.com.

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