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Jordan Rowe healthy, eager for state field hockey semifinal

Jordyn Roberts of Frontier Regional, center, celebrates her goal with teammates Rose Moscaritolo, left, and Jordan Rowe during the Western Massachusetts Division 2 Tournament final Saturday at West Springfield High School. Frontier defeated Mohawk Regional 2-0.

Jordyn Roberts of Frontier Regional, center, celebrates her goal with teammates Rose Moscaritolo, left, and Jordan Rowe during the Western Massachusetts Division 2 Tournament final Saturday at West Springfield High School. Frontier defeated Mohawk Regional 2-0. Purchase photo reprints »

WEST SPRINGFIELD — It wasn’t until after last season ended that Jordan Rowe found out she played the 2011 postseason with a torn ACL.

Rowe, now a senior for the Frontier Regional field hockey team, hurt her knee during the final home game of the regular season and was initially diagnosed with a sprain. She played through the pain as the Red Hawks defeated Mohawk 2-1 in the Western Massachusetts semifinals and then outlasted Smith Academy 1-0 in double overtime in the finals.

“I was struggling. My leg kept giving out,” she said. “I wore a knee brace because they said it was just a sprain, but I knew something else was wrong.”

Rowe fought through the pain in the team’s state semifinal game against Oakmont, but it finally became too much to bear and she spent the second half and overtime on the sidelines as her team fell 1-0 during 7-on-7.

“I just couldn’t do it anymore,” Rowe said. “It kept giving out (after the season), so I got an MRI before basketball season and found out the ACL was completely gone.”

Rowe had surgery to fix the tear and then needed another one to clean up some scar tissue. She came into this season still rounding back into form.

“She worked her way through the regular season and to see her in the postseason have her game is really nice to see, especially as a senior,” coach Missy Mahar said. She was back to normal “by midseason, eight, nine games, it took her that long. It’s a tough injury to come back from. You can’t help but be a bit timid because of what you just went through. Her getting her confidence back was huge for us.”

Rowe has been able to enjoy this year’s title run much more and is looking forward to getting a chance to give her 100 percent in tonight’s rematch against Oakmont (17-0-3) at West Springfield at 5 p.m.

“I am so excited. I’m really pumped,” she said. “I don’t even know what to say. It’s going to feel so good to be able to play the whole game in the semifinals.”

Frontier hopes to snap CMass’ recent domination of the state semis. Since the Red Hawks’ trip to the state title game in 2004, where they lost to Canton in overtime, the only WMass team to win a state D-2 semifinal was Mohawk Trail in 2008.

The D-2 tournament began in 1983 and only seven WMass teams have reached the state championship game. Only two (Greenfield in 1999 and Smith Academy in 2000) have won the title.

Frontier reached state championship games in 1975, 1976, 1979, 1980, 1983, and 2004, but has not won since going back-to-back in 1975-76.

BARNES HAD A FEELING — Amherst Regional boys soccer goalkeeper Curtis Barnes had at least some premonition of Sunday’s incredible victory over Ludlow in the WMass D-1 finals.

“We had a playoff when were in fifth grade and he saved a PK to send us to the finals,” senior Erik Schleeweis said. “I tackled him then and he told me before this game that if it goes to PKs, if he’s the reason we win, he wanted me to tackle him again.”

When the deciding PK attempt sailed wide for Ludlow, Barnes stepped toward his teammates, who were rushing to him, and pointed to Schleeweis, who led the charge.

Schleeweis laid a big-time hit on his keeper to begin the big celebratory pile in front of the goal.

“I had a feeling that was going to happen,” Barnes said. “It was a great moment (the first time) and I’ve thought about it. I got to relive that (Sunday). It was a great feeling.”

The Hurricanes (11-2-5) head to Nashoba Regional in Bolton tonight at 7 p.m. to take on CMass champion Leominster (9-5-7).

QUILL’S CAST — Hopkins Academy boys soccer senior Sean Quill wasn’t going to let splitting the fifth metacarpal on his right hand slow him down.

The Golden Hawks sweeper, who has anchored the team’s outstanding defense all season, was terrific again Sunday in the team’s 3-1 victory over Smith Academy, holding off an early Falcons onslaught before his offense took over.

Quill suffered the injury a week earlier and had his cast wrapped for safety for the game.

“I wrapped it up and was there for my team,” Quill said. “I won’t let them down.”

Hopkins Academy (18-1-2) has allowed just six goals all season, with three coming in a 3-2 loss to D-2 tournament team Hampshire Regional. That stands as the team’s lone loss of the season.

Hopkins plays Sutton (18-0-1) in the state D-3 semifinals tonight at West Springfield at 7 p.m.

RED HAWKS REIGN — The Frontier Regional girls volleyball team winning the WMass D-3 tournament has become one of the all-time locks in recent years.

The Red Hawks (21-1) rolled to their eighth straight sectional title with Saturday’s 3-0 win over Mahar Regional.

Now they get to their main event — the state tournament.

The two-time defending state champs take on South champion Archbishop Williams (16-6) tonight at Hudson High at 7 p.m.

Frontier has won four state titles since 2005 and reached the title game five times.

Over the last six years, Frontier is 122-0 (19-0 in the postseason) against WMass teams. The Hawks are 134-6 overall.

FOOTBALL RATINGS — Playoff spots are getting scarce with the season winding down. The latest MIAA Western Mass. Football Power Ratings were released earlier this week.

Northampton is 0.33 behind Chicopee Comp for the fourth spot in Division 1.

South Hadley is No. 1 at 15.33, while Amherst (9.75) trails Hoosac (11.33) for No. 4 in D2.

Belchertown (19.56) is locked in at No. 1 in Division 3.

Easthampton (No. 3, 10.00) is holding off Ware (No. 4, 9.50) in Division 4.

BOYS HOOP TOURNEY — The inaugural Pioneer Valley Tip-Off will be held Dec. 15-16 at the Curry Hicks Cage on the campus of the University of Massachusetts.

Amherst, Northampton, Holyoke, Cathedral, West Springfield, Chicopee, South Hadley and Agawam are scheduled to play.

On Day 1, Chicopee plays West Springfield, and Agawam faces South Hadley in the Hampden Bracket. Holyoke and Cathedral meet, while rivals Northampton and Amherst battle in the Hampshire Bracket.

The winners and losers meet on Day 2.

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

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