Net Results, Hurricanes' 6-footers stand out on volleyball court
BY JAMES CLARK
Friday, December 10, 2004
The Amherst Regional girls volleyball team fell just short of a Western Massachusetts Division 2 championship this
season, losing 3-1 to Agawam in the final. Leading the Hurricanes was a pair of six-foot middle hitters.The efforts of
senior Tara McNerney and sophomore Bethany Stosz, who combined for 442 kills, earned them spots on this year's
Daily Hampshire Gazette All-Star team.
''They were easily the two most dominant middles in Eastern Division in my opinion,'' Amherst coach Kacey Schmitt said.
''Probably the two best in western Mass.''
McNerney, the floor general of the team, recorded a team-high 224 kills, 114 blocks and 50 aces, while making just
seven serving errors all season.
''She's just a natural teacher-coach,'' Schmitt said. ''She's very positive, she pulls the team together, fires them up and
never places blame. She always holds a team perspective and tries to be a better team player.''
Stosz, who started playing the sport of volleyball as a freshman and completed just one year of junior varsity
competition prior to this season, complemented McNerney's attack with 218 kills, 95 blocks and 48 aces.
''It's a luxury to have a talented six-foot athletic sophomore, knowing she will only get better,'' Schmitt said. ''She is a
very intense competitor and she sparked the team in a competitive way. It's extremely important to have someone with
her talent and drive.''
When the time came for McNerney to rotate into the back line, Stosz was rotating up front which meant there was no
break for the opposition's defense.
''We always had a six-footer on the front line,'' Schmitt said. ''We had a tall blocker and dominant hitter (at the net) on
The pair led the Hurricanes (17-6) to a 3-2 victory over previously unbeaten Taconic in the western Massachusetts
As for next year, ''Bethany is someone you can build a team around,'' Schmitt said.
Frontier Regional also made it to a western Massachusetts final in Division 3, where it lost 3-1 to Turners Falls. The
Red Hawks were led by a trio of stars who also are members of the Gazette All-Star team.
A big reason for this season's success by Frontier (20-3) was the all-around play of junior outside hitter and co-captain
Abby Majewski who registered a team-high 307 digs, 183 kills and 55 aces.
''Abby can make anything look easy - she's such a pure athlete,'' Frontier coach Sean MacDonald said. ''She's so quick.
She can be totally out of position and still make a play.''
The other co-captain, senior outside hitter Sarah Goodridge, contributed with a steady effort. Playing an entirely new
position this year (after playing middle last season), Goodridge finished with 150 digs, 123 kills and 54 aces.
''As far as the Northern Division is concerned, I think she's the most improved player,'' MacDonald said. ''Her passing
has gotten better every day. Her court awareness and hitting has improved tremendously.''
From a confidence standpoint, ''she's starting to feel that she belongs and can compete with anyone in western Mass.,''
While the two were described as ''the team MVPs'' this season by MacDonald, the Red Hawks also got great play from
junior setter Nikki Wiseman, who led the team with 302 assists and 77 aces. While doing most of the setting, she also
was able to throw down 60 kills.
''Nikki served us back into the game so many times,'' MacDonald said. ''She uses a nice low flat serve that knuckleballs
On the court, Wiseman was responsible for running the offense and being a vocal floor leader. ''She pumped everyone
up,'' MacDonald added. ''She was our sparkplug.''
With Majewski and Wiseman returning, the Red Hawks look forward to continued success. ''It's going to be nice to have
the core of people come back, so the system wont have to start from scratch,'' MacDonald said.
Rounding out the all-stars are Amanda Czerwiec and Jessica Parent who led Easthampton in its first year of competition
in the Southern Division.
Czerwiec, the setter and team captain, recorded 193 assists while adding 53 aces and 48 kills (second highest on the
''Amanda is just a born leader,'' Eagles coach David Adler said. ''She ran the team on and off the court. She brings a
warrior mentality. She never wants to come out of the game or sit out of a practice.''
Adler said the Easthampton volleyball team has been built around the senior for the last two years.
''When I set up an offense, I put players around her that will complement what she can do,'' Adler said.
Parent, a junior who plays outside hitter, led the team with 339 digs, 56 aces and 47 kills while finishing the year with a
serving percentage of 91 percent.
''She's such a strong, excellent player who gives 100 percent all the time,'' Adler said. ''She leads by example and is so
mentally tough. She doesn't let pressure get to her and just doesn't make mistakes.''
Excellence and consistency are the two words that describe Parent's unselfish play, Adler added. ''She's willing to put
the team on her back and will play any position or do whatever she can to help the team.''
Muriel Abeledo, senior, hitter, Amherst Regional
Katie Fournier, junior, hitter, Easthampton
Sharon Osetek, junior, defensive specialist, Easthampton
Meghan Prendergast, junior, middle hitter, Easthampton
Alyssa Stankowski, 8th grader, setter, Frontier Regional
Nashalie Vazquez, senior, defensive specialist, Amherst Regional
TARA McNERNEY (Amherst Regional): The 6-foot senior led the Hurricanes in kills with 224. - Also led the team with
114 blocks. - Registered 40 aces this season in 23 contests while making just seven serving errors. - Considered by
coach Kacey Schmitt to be one of the two most dominant middles in the Eastern Division with teammate Bethany Stosz. -
A natural teacher and coach who shows a positive attitude on the court at all times.
BETHANY STOSZ (Amherst Regional): The 6-foot sophomore recorded 218 kills this season, second on the Hurricanes.
- Her 95 blocks were also second on the team. - Considered by coach Kacey Schmitt to be one of the two most
dominant middles in the Eastern Division with teammate Tara McNerney. - An intense competitor who sparked her team
- Played just one season of junior varsity volleyball at Amherst before moving up to varsity this year.
SARAH GOODRIDGE (Frontier Regional): The senior contributed steady play for the Red Hawks after shifting
positions this year from middle to outside hitter. - Recorded 150 digs despite being substituted for on the back line. -
Finished with 123 kills. - Also had 54 aces. - Considered a co-MVP of the Red Hawks with teammate Abby Majewski by
coach Sean MacDonald. - The most improved player in the Northern Division, according to her coach.
ABBY MAJEWSKI (Frontier Regional): Led the Red Hawks with 307 digs this season as a junior. - Finished with 183
kills. - Also recorded 55 aces. - Considered a co-MVP of the Red Hawks with teammate Sarah Goodridge by coach
Sean MacDonald. - Quick and athletic, she also excels at basketball and track.
NIKKI WISEMAN (Frontier Regional): The junior setter led the Red Hawks in both assists (302) and aces (77). - Also
contributed 60 kills. - Used a low, flat knuckleball serve that confused opponents. - A vocal leader on the court who was
considered the quarterback of the Red Hawks' offense.
AMANDA CZERWIEC (Easthampton): Senior captain of the Eagles. ... Recorded the second most kills on the team (48)
as the setter. - Finished with 193 assists and 53 aces. - An athletically talented player who was the centerpiece of the
Eagles for the past two seasons.
JESSICA PARENT (Easthampton): The junior had 339 digs. - Third on the Eagles with 47 kills. - Served the ball into play
91 percent of the time this season while recording 56 aces. - Coach David Adler described her as a quiet leader who is
mentally and physically tough, doesn't feel any pressure and does whatever it takes to help the team.
Frontier falls in final
By TIM ANTAYA
Monday, November 15, 2004
HOLYOKE - After losing seven seniors last season, the Frontier Regional girls volleyball team were supposed to spend
this year rebuilding.Instead the Red Hawks ended up in the final of the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Volleyball
Tournament where they lost 3-1 Saturday to Turners Falls at Holyoke Community College.
''To go 20-3 in a rebuilding year is pretty good,'' Frontier coach Sean MacDonald said. ''Nobody thought we would be
able to have this type of season.''
The top-seeded Red Hawks lost 19-30, 25-30, 30-21, 21-30 to the No. 3 Indians.
With Turners Falls (16-6) ahead 12-10 in the first game, Indian senior Jillian Sicard stepped behind the service line and
reeled off five straight service points, and Frontier could not recover from that deficit.
The second game stayed tight until Indians sophomore Amy Shattuck began to serve with the game tied at 21. With the
help of two aces by Shattuck, Turners Falls pulled ahead 26-21 and went on to win the second set.
Facing elimination, the Red Hawks refused to be swept. Behind the play of Abby Majewski who finished the match with
19 kills and four aces, Frontier extended its season to one more game.
''I didn't think we had our strongest performance,'' said MacDonald. ''But we didn't lay down and die.''
The Red Hawks jumped out to an early lead in the fourth game. But Turners Falls began to pull away after tying the
score at 18. With the score 28-21, Katelyn Mailloux finished off Frontier with two aces.
''Turners Falls played very well,'' said MacDonald. ''They hit well and they served well, and we just didn't have the best
game - but it was a great year. You've got to put the year into perspective.''
The Red Hawks will lose seniors Logan Fannin and Sarah Goodridge to graduation.
''Next year shapes up real well,'' MacDonald said. ''We are losing Logan and Sarah and we'll miss them, but I know we
have players who can step up.
''The future for Frontier volleyball is bright.''
Hawks will seek crown
By TIM ANTAYA
Thursday, November 11, 2004
Even though the Frontier Regional girls volleyball team won Wednesday's Western Massachusetts Division 3 semifinal
3-0, Belchertown did not go quietly.The top-seeded Red Hawks (20-2) advanced to the final by beating the feisty No. 5
Orioles 30-26, 30-23, 30-25. Frontier will face No. 3 Turners Falls (15-6) in the Division 3 final at 4 p.m. Saturday at
Holyoke Community College. The Indians beat No. 2 Greenfield 3-1 in the other semifinal.
Belchertown finished at 12-8.
The Orioles jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the first game. Frontier eventually knotted the score at 18. The Red Hawks then
went on a 12-8 run, sparked by the serving of Sarah Goodridge to close out the game.
''We were down in game one, but we came back,'' Frontier coach Sean MacDonald said. ''It shows the heart we have on
this team. I knew if we came back to win game one, we would be in good shape.''
Game two was close until Frontier junior Abby Majewski stepped behind the serving line. With Frontier up 17-13,
Majewski scored three aces and seven service points to start a run that put the Red Hawks ahead 24-13.
''It was one of my better games,'' Majewski said. ''My serve was on for once. But it was definitely a team effort.''
The Orioles came back after being down by 11 in the second game. Brianna Smith collected five service points to bring
Belchertown back to 25-21.
''Belchertown is a good team,'' MacDonald said. ''They never quit. I like having them in our conference - they're good
Frontier closed out the game, however, as Majewski added three more service points for the Red Hawks.
In the final game, the Orioles fell behind the Red Hawks 18-12. This time it was Stephanie Weibel who sparked a run for
Belchertown which tied the game at 19 behind her four service points.
Frontier answered with two aces by Jennifer Berry.
With Frontier up 25-23, Goodridge's two straight service points put Belchertown three points away from elimination.
Minutes later, with the Red Hawks up 29-25, a Belchertown shot sailed a little long and the Orioles season came to an
''I thought that Belchertown played well, but I think they could have played better,'' Majewski said. ''They're a team that
could beat us at any time. We feel very confident - after a game like this it gives us a lot of confidence.''
Red Hawks ace Spartans
BY JAMES CLARK
Tuesday, November 9, 2004
The Frontier Regional girls volleyball team aced its way through the quarterfinals of the Western Massachusetts
Division 3 Tournament.The top-seeded Red Hawks (19-2) recorded 36 aces as they swept No. 8 Monument Mountain
3-0 (30-12, 30-14, 30-15). They host No. 5 Belchertown (12-7) in the semifinals at 7 p.m. Wednesday
The Orioles advanced with a 3-1 quarterfinal win over Pioneer Valley Christian Monday.
''Serving is really important,'' said senior hitter Sarah Goodridge, who finished with a game-high 14 aces. ''We practice
serving a lot because you can't get a point if the ball doesn't go over the net. Serving is the only thing you have total
Frontier gained control from the early minutes of the match. After conceding the first point of game one, the Red Hawks
went on a 22-4 run that was helped out by six straight service points by senior Logan Fannin. With the score 27-11,
junior Abby Majewski threw down a kill for point 28, then served out the game's final two points, the last via an ace.
''We've been working on a serving a lot in practice,'' said Majewski, who finished with a game-high 10 kills, four aces,
four digs, and 11 service points. ''We know that serving is very important if we're planning on getting to (the final). It just
all came together.''
The Spartans (10-8) led early in game two at 4-2. However, again it was the serving of Majewski and junior Emily Rowell
that regained the lead for the Hawks at 13-6 as the two combined for nine service points and four aces during the run.
With the score 15-9, Goodridge served eight straight points (six by ace) making it 23-9.
''With the rally scoring, if you don't serve the ball well you're not going to be successful,'' Red Hawk coach Sean
MacDonald said. ''We really served the ball well tonight. We had a lot of aces and not many errors.''
Frontier carried its momentum into the third game while completing the sweep. Junior setter Nikki Wiseman recorded
four aces, three kills and nine service points while eighth-grade libero Alyssa Stankowski had four digs.
''I'm really proud of this team,'' MacDonald said. ''I don't think it's sunk in. If you told us at the beginning of the year that
we'd be 18-2 and the top seed we probably would have laughed at you. It wasn't even on the radar screen.''
''It kind of puts a target on our backs,'' Majewski added. ''We just have to work that much harder to prove to everyone
that we are capable of being number one. We're ready for anyone.''
Red Hawks outhit Brownies
BY STAFF REPORTS
Thursday, October 21, 2004
Two of the best teams in girls volleyball met Wednesday and Frontier Regional proved to be just a little better than
Agawam.The Red Hawks handed the Brownies their second loss of the season as Frontier pulled out a 2-1 victory on
the road. The Hawks won 30-28, 26-30, 30-20.
''We really played well,'' Frontier coach Sean MacDonald said. ''It might have been the best we played all year.''
Frontier (14-2) is the top team in the Northern Division at 12-1. Agawam (14-2) is the top team in the Eastern Division at
Abby Majewski had 19 kills, 19 digs and three aces in her best offensive performance of the season according to
Mary Spadola added 15 digs, four kills and one block while Sarah Goodridge contributed 10 digs, seven kills and three
aces. Nikki Wiseman played well with 39 assists.
The Red Hawks turned it around in the third game after falling behind early in the second.
''We played well at the end of Game 2,'' MacDonald said. ''We gave them a big lead and we were really close. We had
momentum going into the third game. ... We didn't make many mistakes. We made some mental errors in Game 2 and
put the pressure on them in Game 3.''
Three local teams have winning tradition
BY JAMES CLARK
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Three of the four local girls volleyball teams are coming off winning seasons last year while the fourth is taking on a new
challenge.Belchertown looks to begin a new era under first-year head coach Jarod Soucie after a successful 10-6
campaign a year ago that ended with a 3-2 loss to Mohawk Regional in the Western Massachusetts quarterfinals.
''Having fun is the key point for us,'' Soucie said. ''We also want to focus on fundamental skills. At the high school level,
if you can have fun the Ws will add up at the end of the year.''
The Orioles will be led by senior outside hitter Kristen Miller and junior middle Alyssa Thibodeau (tri-captain). Also
playing prominent roles will be the other two tri-captains, senior Stephanie Weibel in the middle and senior setter Jess
''The team chose the captains and they are definitely team leaders,'' Soucie said. ''It's fitting that Jess was selected
because she runs the offense as the setter.''
Amherst Regional is also coming off a solid season, which ended with a 3-0 loss to East Longmeadow in the Western
Massachusetts quarterfinals. The Hurricanes got some revenge by beating the Spartans 2-0 in the season opener last
One big change on the court has sixth-year head coach Kacey Schmitt excited. Six-foot senior Tara McNerney, who
amassed 102 kills and 50 blocks last season, will move to outside hitter while 5-foot-11 sophomore Bethany Stosz will
move into McNerney's old position of middle.
''Tara is the best overall player in Western Massachusetts in my opinion,'' Schmitt said. ''She can jump like crazy. If we
can get the set to her, nobody can block her. Bethany has been hitting and blocking very well.''
With nine new players, Schmitt hopes the team can become a cohesive unit. Two new players in particular will have
major roles - setters Sara Holmes, a senior, and Molly McCutcheon, a sophomore. ''I have high hopes for them,'' Schmitt
said. ''But how they adjust to the varsity game remains to be seen.''
Frontier Regional had an impressive 16-4 season in 2003 which ended with a 3-2 loss in the Western Massachusetts
semifinals to Pioneer Valley Regional. However, the Red Raiders lost five players from last year's team.
''It's kind of a rebuilding year,'' second year coach Sean MacDonald said. ''We're practicing hard and really putting the
effort in. These girls really want to do it, they don't want to take a big step down.''
Junior captain Abby Majewski (outside hitter), senior outside hitter Sarah Goodridge and junior setter Nikki Wiseman will
lead the squad as the only three returning starters.
''This year we have to focus on communication, because all the synergy isn't all there yet,'' MacDonald added. ''I have
some strong players, but they can't do it alone.''
Easthampton was an independent team when it went 2-5 last season. This year the Eagles will play in the Southern
Division. The competition they will experience is new territory for Easthampton.
''This is the first time we'll have home volleyball games,'' fourth-year coach David Adler said.
Senior setter Amanda Czerwiec and senior outside hitter Amanda McNeish will share co-captain status. They and junior
hitters Meghan Prendergast and Katie Fournier are the only returning starters from a year ago.
While lacking height, the team's biggest strength is its togetherness, Adler said.
''They have an all-for-one and one-for-all attitude,'' he said.
HEAD COACH: Sean MacDonald, second year
LEAGUE/DIVISION: Northern, Division 3
LAST YEAR'S RECORD: 16-4
LAST TOURNAMENT APPEARANCE: 2003, Western Massachusetts semifinals
RETURNING STARTERS (position): Senior - Sarah Goodridge, outside hitter; Juniors - Abby Majewski, outside hitter;
Nikki Wiseman, setter
OTHER RETURNING PLAYERS (position): Senior - Logan Fannin, middle hitter; Junior - Jenn Berry, setter
NEWCOMERS (position): Juniors - Samantha Jacques, middle hitter; Steph Asseng, libero; Emily Rowell, middle hitter;
Sophomore - Meaghan Tower, outside hitter; Freshman - Mary Spadola, outside hitter; 8th grader - Alyssa Stankowski,
OUTLOOK: With six newcomers, the Red Hawks will be young and untested. If the upperclassmen can lead them in the
right direction and the newcomers catch on quickly, this team could end up where they left off last season in the
tournament. If they struggle early, it could turn into a rebuilding year.
COACH'S QUOTE: ''It's a whole new team and it's almost like a fresh start. You can do anything with a fresh start and
there are a whole lot of possibilities with this team.''