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Amherst seeks experience at Volleyball Hall of Fame event

  • Frontier's Alexis Foley serves during  Frontier's 3-0 victory Friday night at Belchertown High School.<br/>JOSH KUCKENS

    Frontier's Alexis Foley serves during Frontier's 3-0 victory Friday night at Belchertown High School.
    JOSH KUCKENS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Frontier's Alexis Foley serves during  Frontier's 3-0 victory Friday night at Belchertown High School.<br/>JOSH KUCKENS

    Frontier's Alexis Foley serves during Frontier's 3-0 victory Friday night at Belchertown High School.
    JOSH KUCKENS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Frontier's Alexis Foley serves during  Frontier's 3-0 victory Friday night at Belchertown High School.<br/>JOSH KUCKENS
  • Frontier's Alexis Foley serves during  Frontier's 3-0 victory Friday night at Belchertown High School.<br/>JOSH KUCKENS

With her team battling for a postseason bid, Amherst Regional girls volleyball coach Kacey Schmitt thinks the Volleyball Hall of Fame Showcase of Champions is exactly what her Hurricanes need.

Amherst is 6-5 heading into tonight’s match against Westfield and must go 3-3 in its final six games to reach the Western Massachusetts Division 2 Tournament.

On Monday, the Hurricanes take a break from their regular schedule to play in the all-day event at Holyoke Community College.

“This is exactly the kind of team that the hall of fame tournament works for,” said Schmitt, whose team has played in the event each year since its inception in 2007. “I’ve got a little less experience than I have had in the past and I think it will really be beneficial for them.”

Teams are broken into two pools of six and play each team in their group in one-set matches.

Amherst is in a pool with Chicopee, Concord-Carlisle, Lenox, Mount Saint Charles (R.I.) and Wahconah. Belchertown is in the opposite pool with Chicopee Comp, Greeley (Maine), Lee, Mahar and Westfield.

The top two teams in each pool move on to the gold bracket, the next two go to a silver bracket and the bottom two to a bronze bracket.

“That’s a great thing about (the showcase) is that everybody makes it to the playoffs,” Schmitt said. “It gives the girls a chance to get that playoff intensity. They are athletes, they want medals. We’ve been in the finals three or four times and when they get in the finals, they all of the sudden get renewed energy after a long day.”

One high school program is the “work team” for each match, serving as the down official, line judges, scorekeeper, Libero tracker and scoreboard operator.

“I think that’s a really good experience for the kids to have to be officials,” Schmitt said. “It’s hard to be the down ref in a championship caliber game. It’s a good experience. It’s a really good team-bonding day and everyone gets to play. It’s a lot of things packed in to one day for the kids. The kids have always really looked forward to it.”

The event opens Sunday at two locations, with 12 teams stationed at Holyoke High and 12 more at HCC.

Two-time defending state Divison 2 champion Frontier Regional plays Sunday at HCC in the same pool as D-1 state champ Barnstable and New Hampshire state D-1 champion Hollis-Brookline.

The other pool features D-1 state finalist Central Catholic, D-1 Central/West champ Lincoln-Sudbury and D-2 WMass champ Longmeadow.

NATIONAL RECOGNITION — MileSplit, a national high school track and field and cross country network, recently listed the Amherst Regional girls cross country team in the honorable mention list of its U.S. Top 25 rankings.

Of the 25 ranked teams and 47 honorable mentions, the Hurricanes (7-0) were the lone squad from Massachusetts and one of two from New England.

SMITH VOKE RACE/WALK — Smith Vocational will hold its third annual 5K race/1.5-mile walk at the state land on Burts Pit Road in Northampton near the Community Gardens on Oct. 13.

The event is sponsored by the school’s wellness team and athletic department.

Last year’s proceeds are being used to purchase physical education T-shirts for this year’s incoming freshmen.

Registration for the event starts at 9:30 a.m. Walkers will start at 10. Runners will begin at 10:30.

The pre-registration cost is $10, while race-day registration is $15. Students under 18 are $5.

GAME OF THE WEEK — Palmer at Belchertown boys soccer, Monday, 4 p.m.

The Panthers (4-1-4) and Orioles (6-0) square off in a contest between heated rivals and two of the top teams in Division 2.

Belchertown has outscored its opponents 43-1 on the season, while Palmer has enjoyed an 18-9 advantage.

The Panthers’ lone loss was a 1-0 decision to Smith Academy.

CHIP SHOTS — Hopkins Academy golf coach Rick Berger is one win shy of 100 for his career. The Golden Hawks (11-1) play at rival Smith Academy at the Country Club of Greenfield today at 3 p.m. ... The inaugural PVIAC Invitational Golf Tournament is Monday. The shotgun start is scheduled for noon at Cold Spring Country Club in Belchertown.

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