Gazette All-Stars: Volleyball

Friday, January 5, 2007

NELLY DENEHY (Frontier Regional) - The senior was a key contributor for back-to-back Division 3 state
championship teams with her intimidating presence at the net, ... Denehy led the Red Hawks with 42 blocks and added
108 kills. ... Northern League All-Star.

MARY SPADOLA (Frontier Regional) - The junior had 242 kills, 53 aces, and 326 digs this season as an outside
hitter. ... Contributed 13 digs and eight kills in the 3-1 Division 3 state final win over North Reading. ... Northern League

ALYSSA STANKOWSKI (Frontier Regional) - The sophomore hitter was the top offensive threat for the Division 3
state champion Red Hawks. ... Led the team with 321 kills and added 370 digs and 42 aces. ,,, Recorded 20 kills, 17
digs and three aces in state title game win over North Reading. ... Northern League All-star for the second consecutive

MOLLY McCUTCHEON (Amherst Regional) - The senior setter and tricaptain had 517 assists this year for an average of
23.5 per match. ... Added 54 aces on the season. ... Contributed 17 assists for Hurricanes in Division 2 state semifinal
loss. ... Eastern League All-Star.

BETHANY STOSZ (Amherst Regional) - The senior tricaptain registered a team-high 309 kills this season for an
average of 14 kills per match. ... Also led Hurricanes in blocks (123) and aces (74). ... Member of the West team which
won the gold medal in the Bay State Summer Games. ... Division 2 All-State selection and Eastern League All-Star.

MORGAN TAGGART-HAMPTON (Amherst Regional) - The senior tricaptain was the Hurricanes' strongest defender. ...
Recorded 114 kills and 146 digs this season. ... Eastern League All-Star.

DAVI CHUONG (Easthampton) - The senior went from being a role player last year to team captain this season. ... Set
single-season school record for aces with 97. ... Second on team with 88 percent passing efficiency. ... Southern
League All-Star.

ALLYSON RANNIKKO (Easthampton) - The sophomore had double-digits in kills nine times this season for a total of
185, an average of eight per game. ... Set school record for kills in a game with 16 Oct. 23 against Commerce. ...
Southern League All-Star in her first year playing organized volleyball.

KORI GUENTHER (South Hadley) - The senior setter led the Tigers to the postseason after going 0-18 in 2005. ... Set
single-season school record with 536 assists. ... Registered 48 kills and 24 aces.

Meg Baker, senior, South Hadley

Lauren Hartwell, senior, Belchertown

Danielle Lazarz, junior, outside hitter, Amherst

Mary Mancuso, sophomore, setter, Belchertown

Alice Ndikumana, senior, middle hitter, Amherst

Becca Parent, sophomore, setter, Easthampton

Mandy Zajac, senior, libero, Frontier

Female Athlete of the Week

Alyssa Stankowski
Frontier volleyball

Class: Sophomore
Position: Outside hitter
Accomplishments: Stankowski led the Red Hawks to their second consecutive Division III state
championship and was the only Western Massachusetts player named to the Division III All-State team.

Interests, Favorites
Subject: Psychology
Athletes: Misty May, Kerri Walsh (beach volleyball)
Team: New England Patriots
Music: Country
Superstition: Eats an apple before every match
Of note: Stankowski had 20 kills, 17 digs and a block in Frontier's 3-1 state final victory over North Reading.
Although only a sophomore, she was one of the team's tri-captains.

Immediate Reaction
On being named to the All-State team: "It's crazy. I don't think that one's hit me yet."
On her improvement through three varsity seasons: "I wanted to work hard to get better as a volleyball
player. It took a lot, but it's paying off."
On replacing 2005 All-Stater Abby Majewski as Frontier's No. 1 option: "I knew other players would be
looking for me. I just had to keep working on my hitting, as well as my serving and defense."

Frontier wins second straight title

Monday, November 20, 2006

HUDSON - For the second straight year, the Frontier Regional girls volleyball team felt right at home at Hudson High
School.Playing in a gym decked out in Frontier's red and white colors, in a school that shares the same mascot, the Red
Hawks came back from a game down to beat North Reading, 20-25, 25-16, 25-15, 25-22, and captured their second
consecutive state Division 3 championship on Saturday.

Frontier swept Mount Alvernia of Newton in last year's state final at Hudson High School.

"This is absolutely amazing," said senior Mandy Zajac, who finished with 23 digs. "To be able to win state titles in
back-to-back years is such a great accomplishment."

The Hornets, who were looking to avenge last year's state semifinal loss to Frontier, jumped out quickly in Game 1,
turning a 16-16 score into a 25-20 win. The Red Hawks seemed nervous early on as a few errant serves and poor
passing allowed North Reading to close out the frame.

"I think we came out kind of slow. We had some jitters," said sophomore Alyssa Stankowski. "After that first game,
though, we decided we just had to play the way we are capable of playing and put that first one behind us."

Frontier (23-2) immediately looked like a completely different team in Game 2, jumping to a 14-5 lead when Stankowski
converted a poor North Reading pass and spiked it home, forcing Hornets coach Kerianne Forrest to call a time-out.

A huge block by Samantha Clairemont pushed the score to 24-13 before a miscommunication at net allowed the final
point to fall in for Frontier, tying the match with a 25-16 victory. Game 3 appeared to be a carbon copy of Game 2, as
the Hawks stormed to a 9-2 lead and pushed it to 15-6 on a block by senior Nelly Denehy. Stankowski came up big
throughout, converting five kills en route to the 25-15 win, deflating the Hornets and their entourage that made the trip.

"We did a lot of things that we shouldn't do in the first game," said Frontier coach Sean MacDonald. "Of the first six
points they scored in Game 1, five were our own mistakes. But the girls showed a lot to be able to put that aside and
come back strong in the second and third games."

North Reading (19-4) pulled out all the stops to force a decisive Game 5, evening the score at 9-9 when Keri McCarthy
registered a kill. An 8-2 Red Hawks run pushed the lead to 17-11 and Frontier looked poised to close out the match,
leading 24-16 before the Hornets made one final run. A 6-0 spurt, highlighted by a few Frontier miscues, cut the lead to
24-22 before junior Mary Spadola (eight kills) finished things off, putting home a kill off a Franny Cicia pass for the
25-22 victory.

"I'm so happy. I can't believe we made it back here and won again," said Denehy. "At first I think we started to panic a
little bit, but we just had to play one point at a time. To be able to accomplish this during my senior year is just fantastic,
there's no better feeling."

Stankowski finished with a match-high 20 kills while chipping in 17 digs. Sophomore setters Cicia and Amanda Koldy
combined for 26 assists.

"This is just really sweet," said MacDonald. "I've said that winning Western Mass. was amazing, but to win states is just
over the top. What makes it even better is this is a really special group, a great mix of kids."

While Frontier loses three seniors - Zajac, Denehy and Ruqayyah Munir - the future is bright as a strong sophomore
class still has two years left in South Deerfield.

Frontier returns to final
By Mike Moran
Created 11/16/2006 - 05:00

high school sports sports
WORCESTER - The Frontier Regional girls volleyball team was as dominant as ever Wednesday night.

The Red Hawks were one victory away from a chance at defending their state title and they wasted no time in achieving
that goal.

Frontier took apart Ursuline Academy in just over an hour to win their state Division 3 semifinal match 3-0 at Worcester
Technical High School.

After a close first game, the Red Hawks cruised to a 25-21, 25-11, 25-15 win.

"We didn't know what to expect from them in the first game," Frontier sophomore Alyssa Stankowski said. "Everyone was
just nervous, so in the second and third we realized we can play at this level."

Frontier (22-2) will face North Reading (19-3), which defeated Ashland (18-6) 3-1 in the other semifinal match
Wednesday night. The championship game will be held Saturday at noon at Hudson High School.

The Red Hawks defeated North Reading 3-2 in last year's state semifinals, before beating Mount Alvernia 3-0 for the

Reaching the final again was pretty much an afterthought at the beginning of the season for Frontier. The Red Hawks
lost many key players to graduation who were instrumental in their state title run last season.

"A title defense at the beginning of the season was not even close to a realistic goal," Frontier coach Sean MacDonald
said. "We were hoping to go 15-5 and that was an optimistic goal. After we lost so many people, to win the league and
western Mass., and (now) going back to the state finals is just a treat."

Frontier jumped out to a 12-4 lead in the first game as Amanda Koldy served six straight points during the run. The
Bears (17-7), who lost in the state semifinals for the third time in four years, came back after a time-out. Laila Gudrais
served seven straight points as Ursuline took a 14-13 lead.

Frontier then called a time-out to regroup.

"We're really good at getting each other back up when were in a rut," Frontier senior Nelly Denehy said. "We talked to
each other. It's really about the team support on the court that helps us bounce back from something like that."

The two teams fought back and fourth but with the game tied at 18, Frontier made its move.

A side-out gave the Red Hawks a 19-18 lead, then Koldy served back-to-back aces for a 21-19 lead. The Bears got a
point on a side-out, but a Tessa Goodhind kill made it 22-19 in favor of Frontier.

Stankowski followed with an ace before the Bears answered with two straight points to pull within 23-21.

Frontier answered as Stankowski dug the ensuing serve. Koldy (14 assists) set the ball back to Stankowski whose kill
made it 24-21.

Franny Cicia then served and Denehy ended the game with a block at the net.

"I love winning the first game," MacDonald said. "I always feel more comfortable when you win the first game and so do
the girls. You get a little momentum going. Ursuline really played tough in the middle of the game so we felt fortunate to
win the first game."

Frontier looked at ease after the first game. Mary Spadola served seven straight points with Stankowski (15 kills) picking
up three kills as the Red Hawks jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the second game.

Back-to-back aces by Denehy gave the Hawks an 11-2 advantage. Later in the match, Cicia served four straight points
with one ace to give Frontier a 22-9 lead. The game ended on a Stankowski kill.

"Coach has always told us that serving will take us far," Stankowski said. "We put more concentration into our serving
tonight because we knew it was going to be key."

Frontier jumped out to a 9-2 lead in the third game behind the serving of Cicia (16 assists) and Spadola. Ursuline came
back behind the play of Caitlin Burchill to make the score 13-9 but the Red Hawks fought off the Bears.

Two aces by Mandy Zajac (16 digs) gave Frontier a 17-9 lead. Cicia, Spadola (10 kills, 10 digs) and Denehy then
served out the match.

"Everybody played great," Denehy said. "I'm so impressed and the younger girls stepped up so much. I thought they
were going to be nervous the first couple of games but they stepped out and were here to play. We were all here to play
and here to win."

Comeback leads to title: Frontier tops in Division 3
By Undefined
Created 11/13/2006 - 05:00

HOLYOKE - With their backs against the wall and the pressure mounting, youthful exuberance proved to be the secret
weapon for the Frontier Regional School girls volleyball team.Behind the play of a talented sophomore class, the
top-seeded Red Hawks came from behind to capture their second straight Western Massachusetts Division 3
Tournament championship on Saturday, edging No. 2 seed Turners Falls 18-25, 25-20, 24-26, 25-12, 15-8 at Holyoke
Community College's Bartlett Athletic Center.

"This feels awesome," said sophomore Alyssa Stankowski. "Some people doubted us in the beginning of the season, but
I think with this win, we proved we're back."

Frontier moves on to the State Division 3 semifinals, where it will face South champion Ursuline Academy of Dedham, a
3-0 winner over Bristol-Plymouth in the South finals. That match will take place Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at Worcester
Polytechnic Institute.

"We're glad to win but we're going to keep pushing the rest of the way," said Stankowski. "We've got nothing to lose, so
we just want to play as hard as we can and see how it goes."

Stankowski came up huge for Frontier (21-2) throughout, but saved her best stuff for the fourth game as her squad
trailed 2-1 and was on the verge of elimination. The outside hitter recorded nine of her team-high 22 kills in the fourth
frame, including three in a row that pushed the Hawks to a commanding 12-4 lead.

"Alyssa was great," said Frontier coach Sean MacDonald. "When you can get that type of leadership and veteran play
from a girl who just turned 16, there's not much more you can ask."

Turners Falls (14-5) clawed back to within 16-10, but the Red Hawks forced a decisive Game 5 when Amanda Koldy (16
assists, nine digs), also a sophomore, served out the last five points for the 25-12 win.

Frontier carried its hot play over to the fifth game, scoring the first five points before jumping out to a 7-1 advantage on
a Koldy ace. Turners Falls got as close as 8-4 when senior Laura Babij (eight kills, 10 digs) converted a kill, but the Red
Hawks would not be denied, securing the title when an Indians' serve went long for the 15-8 win.

"I'm just so excited," said sophomore setter Francene Cicia (12 digs, 23 assists). "We kind of had some jitters early, but
we played harder and harder as the match went along because we knew that time was running out."

The Indians turned a close score in Game 1 into a sizable lead, extending an 11-10 advantage to 23-14 before closing
out the game on a net call against Frontier. Turners' duo of Babij and Angela Marguet were key in the first game,
combining for seven kills en route to the 25-18 win.

Frontier rebounded in Game 2, building a 9-4 lead behind the serving of Koldy. A 5-0 Turners Falls run would even the
score at 15 and the Indians led 20-18 before the Hawks rattled off a run of their own, scoring the last seven points for
the 25-20 win. Stankowski registered four kills in the seven-point run, while sophomore Tessa Goodhind added a huge
block that fell in for Frontier.

With the Indians playing most of the match with five seniors on the floor, a Game 3 Turners win looked like it would be
enough. Frontier led 24-23 before a few mistakes cost them the final three points, giving Turners a 26-24 win, and more
importantly, a 2-1 advantage.

"We had them in Game 3, but we missed six serves and you can't make mistakes late in a game and hope to win," said
MacDonald. "We hadn't been playing as well as we could have in the first few games, but the girls had been down
before and they've come back."

Frontier outscored Turners, 40-20, over the final two games, and did so with a loose and confident attitude, something
that has been a staple for the squad all year.

"I knew we weren't going to give up (after being down 2-1)," said senior Mandy Zajac, who finished with 39 digs. "We get
in ruts sometimes but we played better when we got behind. I knew if we just kept our energy up, then we'd be capable
of anything."

Frontier back in final

Thursday, November 9, 2006

SOUTH DEERFIELD - The Frontier Regional volleyball team warmed up before its home Western Massachusetts
Division 3 semifinal match against Pioneer Christian Wednesday by leaping in the air and slapping each other high
fives.The warm-up was just a preview of the contest as hitters Alyssa Stankowski, Mary Spadola and Nelly Denehy
pounded numerous spikes and lifted the top-seeded Red Hawks to a 3-0 sweep of the No. 4 Eagles (18-4).

"You can't come out flat and pick it up 10 minutes in and expect to win a game like this," said Frontier coach Sean
MacDonald of the pre-game activity.

The defending western Massachusetts and state champion Red Hawks (20-2) won 25-11, 25-15, 25-13 and advance to
their second straight sectional final. Frontier will face No. 2 Turners Falls (14-4) at 4 p.m. Saturday at Holyoke
Community College.

The Red Hawks took a commanding 15-4 lead in the first game and prompted Pioneer Christian coach Sue Capen to
call time-out. But that did not stop Frontier's momentum as it cruised 25-11, led by the hard hitting of Stankowski (10
kills, seven digs, four aces) and Denehy (three kills, three blocks).

The Eagles took a 2-0 lead to start the second game but the dominance continued for the Red Hawks as Spadola (11
kills, seven digs, four aces) hit 12 straight service points that featured three key blocks by Samantha Clairemont (five

Luckesha Stamp-Dunkelly (five digs, four kills, two blocks, two aces) kept Pioneer Christian close during the early points
of the third game until Frontier, which made very few mistakes, pulled away.

"I couldn't be happier," MacDonald said of his team's play. "Everything has come together."

Gone from last year's state championship team are all-conference selections Abby Majewski and Nikki Wiseman, who is
now the team's assistant coach.

The remaining players are excited to return to the Western Massachusetts Division 3 final.

"It feels really good being back," said Stankowski, a sophomore. "Losing what we lost from last year and having a team
of mostly sophomores this year, we've worked so hard to get to this point."

Denehy added, "It feels amazing. Last year we did great and I didn't expect we would get back. Now we have and I'm just
so proud of this team."

MacDonald said, "I'm expecting a close match in the final. We can't afford to make a lot of mistakes against a really good

Red Hawks overcome Wave

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

SOUTH DEERFIELD - Greenfield provided a tremendous test for top-seeded Frontier Regional, but the Red Hawks
survived the scare with a 25-20, 25-22, 25-22 Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament quarterfinal win
Monday.The Wave had been beaten twice in the regular season by Frontier, but was a much better team this time
around, staying close throughout, with no team leading by more than five points at any time.

'Greenfield played a very good match today,' Frontier coach Sean MacDonald said. 'They definitely gave us a harder
time than the other two times. We hit some balls at them and they dug them all up. They didn't make very many

Next up for the defending state champion Red Hawks (19-2) is No. 4 Pioneer Christian (18-3) at 7 p.m. Wednesday in
South Deerfield.

Greenfield's defensive back-row specialists kept the Wave in the game, forcing long rallies that often ended with a
Frontier mistake.

Carol Bitters and Stacy Minor seemed to handle everything that was hit their way, each of them posting 10 digs, but in
the end the power punch of Alyssa Stankowski (12 kills) and Jenelle Denehy (seven kills, four blocks) proved to be too
much for the Wave to overcome.

Frontier was not expecting to get as far as it has, given the loss of six seniors (four starters) from last year's
championship team. The Red Hawks are so young, in fact, that only four of them were old enough to drive when the
season began, so jitters in the first tournament match was to be expected.

Greenfield led at several times in each of the three games Frontier did not take over in the first until falling behind,
14-12, and running to a 17-14 lead, with a Denehy kill ending the game.

Game 2 was much the same, with the score tied at 19-19 before Stankowski gave the Red Hawks some breathing room
with a couple of huge kills.

In the third game, it looked like Greenfield was going to extend the match as the Wave led 18-15, but Mary Spadola
stepped up for Frontier at the net and fired a few bullets down to get even before the Red Hawks went ahead 24-20.

'They were in every game,' MacDonald said, 'I mean every game. It might have been a great game to watch, but it was a
nervous game to coach. We could have done some things better, and we know that if you want to go further, the
performance that we had tonight isn't going to get us there.'

Top-seeded Red Hawks begin title defense

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Very rarely does a team get the opportunity to repeat as state champion.The Frontier Regional volleyball team finished
a perfect 25-0 season in 2005 as the Division 3 state champion and a year later is poised for another run at the title
after going 18-2 in the regular season.

The Red Hawks earned the No. 1 seed in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament for the second straight
year. The tourney brackets were announced Wednesday.

Frontier opens its title defense at home at 7 p.m. Monday against the winner of the No. 89 Greenfield at No. 8 Mount
Greylock contest. That game is at 7 p.m. Friday.

'Repeating was not on anybody's mind at the beginning of the season,' Frontier coach Sean MacDonald said. 'This team
has exceeded everyone's expectations, including mine.'

Gone from last year's team are all-state selections Abby Majewski and Nikki Wiseman. MacDonald looks to junior Mary
Spadola and sophomore Alyssa Stankowski among others to continue contributing as a unit to replace Majewski and
Wiseman. 'Those two were definite out-front leaders and standout players,' MacDonald said. 'This year we have six,
seven, eight people doing a good job but not one that is incredible.'

The Red Hawks return Spadola and Stankowski as well as seniors Jenelle Denehy and Mandy Zajac from last year's
team and will look to them for tournament experience. MacDonald said that the tough schedule they played in the
regular season may also help his team handle the pressure of the tournament.

'We've had some intense games against teams who we'll probably face in the tournament,' MacDonald said. 'There's no
way to simulate a tournament game in practice but with the tough games we've had I'm confident these guys can make it
a long way.'

Other teams in the Division 3 tournament include No. 7 Easthampton (11-9) and No. 11 South Hadley (9-9).

The Eagles are back in the tournament after a one-year absence but without much experience. No player from the 2004
tournament team returns for Easthampton's first-round game at home against Dean Tech at 7 p.m. Friday.

'It's a whole different team,' said Easthampton coach David Adler. 'They're excited about being in the tournament and
bringing it back for this school.'

Adler is optimistic about his team's chances with the play of sophomores Becca Parent, who he described as 'one of the
best around' from the setter position, and middle hitter Ally Rannikko, who has the school record for kills in a game with

The Tigers are in the tournament in their second year of varsity play, completing a turnaround from last season's 0-18

The Tigers, led by seniors Kori Guenther and Meghan Baker, will face Mahar in Orange at 3 p.m. Friday.

Division 2

Amherst Regional, which has lost in the last two Western Massachusetts Division 2 championship games, is seeded
fourth this year after a 14-4 regular season. Amherst coach Kacey Schmitt said she is irked about the way the seedings
are calculated.

'If you go on records, then we are where we're supposed to be,' Schmitt said. 'But records in this league are very

Schmitt said the Eastern League's strength-of-schedule should play a bigger factor in seeding than the overall record.
The Hurricanes played a schedule that included tow games apiece against No. 1 seed Minnechaug, Agawam (No. 5)
and East Longmeadow (No. 8).

Amherst begins tournament play at home against Agawam November 7 at 7 p.m. Tuesday after losing to the Brownies
3-1 Monday to close the regular season.

'Maybe we'll remember how badly we played and come out with more fire,' Schmitt said. 'You gotta beat the best to be
the best and we've had a week to prepare for a home game, so hopefully we'll be ready."

Red Hawks volleyball recovers in 3-1 win over Turners Falls
By Staff reports

Thursday, October 5, 2006

The Frontier Regional girls volleyball team bounced back from its loss to Belchertown with an impressive 3-1 victory over
Turners Falls Wednesday.

''We turned it around,'' Red Hawks coach Sean MacDonald said. ''We had a group therapy session at practice Tuesday
and that was beneficial. We played loose. We weren't as tense. If we made a mistake we shook it off. I think we
underestimated Belchertown a little bit but there's no way to underestimate Turners Falls.''

Frontier dropped the first game 16-25 but came back to win 25-16, 25-19, 25-23.

The victory moved the Red Hawks percentage points ahead of the Indians for first place in the Northern Division.
Frontier is 9-2 overall, 8-1 in the league. Turners fell to 6-1 overall and in the league.

On Monday, Belchertown handed Frontier its first league loss with a 3-0 setback.

''It was a motivation to get back into a tie with'' the Indians, MacDonald said. ''It's Turners Falls. This is the Red
Sox-Yankees. Turners Falls has been a powerhouse in western Mass., and anytime you can beat them home or away
it's a big deal. It's a team we respect.''

Mary Spadola passed well and had 14 kills while Alyssa Stankowski added 13 kills. Amanda Koldy chipped in with 12
service points, four aces and 15 assists.

There was also some coaching strategy during the match. MacDonald spun three positions to take advantage of some
mismatches at the net in the second game. Indians coach Kristin Mullins then did the same for the third game and at one
point, her team led 9-4.