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Division 3 girls volleyball: Frontier wins 26th straight sectional tournament game

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Make that 26 in a row.

The Frontier Regional girls volleyball team was never seriously threatened at any juncture and won its 26th consecutive Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament match with a 25-13, 25-11, 25-17 victory over Ware on Monday night at Goodnow Gymnasium.

The top-seeded Red Hawks (16-4), who will host No. 5 Lee (18-3) in Wednesday’s semifinal, used solid passing and a superb serving performance to roll to an easy victory in just 54 minutes. They served for 22 aces as a team, and some serves that didn’t go for aces weren’t easily returned.

“I thought we passed well and I thought we served very well,” Frontier head coach Sean MacDonald said. “I thought they had a tough time with our serve, and we passed better than we had in the past few games. If you’re going to win a match, you have to serve and pass, and we did those two things well.”

After the Indians scored the match’s first point, Frontier took control and jumped out to an 11-4 lead behind the setting and serving of Emily Woodward (26 assists, six aces, four digs) and the tough front line play of Sarah Woodward (15 kills, five digs) and Cassidy Ciesluk (nine kills, four aces, five digs). Ciesluk and Woodward each had a pair of aces in that run.

Ware (19-3) could never gain any traction after the start. The Indians got as close as six (15-9) before Frontier pulled away with two more aces from Ciesluk, and Emily Woodward finished the set with four straight service points, three of them aces.

Ware was scrappy in the second set and held two early leads behind the serving of Meg Adams. Frontier tied it at 5-5, then methodically built the lead before Sarah Conlisk stepped to the service line and fired six consecutive aces to blow the set open, 19-6. Ciesluk finished off the set with a blast off a nice pass from Kimmi Logan.

From the midpoint of the second set, MacDonald substituted liberally and continued that trend in the third set, as the Red Hawks built an 8-3 lead.

The Indians rallied to tie it 10-10, but a bad serve put the Frontier back ahead to stay. The Hawks rode the momentum to a 20-13 lead before Ware made one last push and got within four, 21-17, but Frontier regained the serve and Haley Dacyczyn (four aces, four digs) closed out the match with three straight aces.

MacDonald stressed the importance of keeping the team focused, regardless of the opponent.

“For us, we just need to control the things we can control,” he said. “If we serve and we pass well, we’ll be good against most teams.”

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