Frontier Pulls Away From Lee in Sectional Final
WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The Frontier volleyball team pulled away late in each set to earn a three-set win over Lee and a 15th straight sectional title in Saturday’s Division 2 Championship match at West Springfield.
Junior Olivia Dean led the Red Hawks offense as Frontier stopped Lee’s season in the sectional final for the fifth straight year.
Lee led as late as 16-15 in the first set and 14-12 in the second, but Frontier got its offense in gear to take the match by scores of 25-17, 25-18, 25-18.
“I’m proud of what they were able to put on the court tonight,” first-year Lee coach Julia Warner said. “Unfortunately, it was just a few points too short, it seems like.
“I think in each set we were very much in it until a certain point — around 15 to 17. From there, they were able to put together a few longer runs than we were able to. Congratulations to Frontier. They’re a great program, and I wish them the best moving forward.”
Top-seeded Lee (18-3), which has had a problem with slow starts this season, was strong from the get-go on Saturday. A kill by Emma Puleri on Rachel Wendling’s serve gave the Wildcats a 6-4 lead in the first set.
Frontier then rolled off four straight points, but the the set quickly settled down to a back-and-forth affair with neither side able to get more than a point ahead.
That is, until Sydney Scanlon went to the service line for Frontier at 16-16. She served the next seven points, giving up the serve with a service error to make it 22-17, Red Hawks.
Frontier got a sideout right away and completed a 10-1 run to finish the set and take a 1-0 lead.
The second set was tied, 17-17, on Lee’s serve when a service error gave Frontier the ball. Dean won three straight points on her serve, the last on a Jalen Sullivan kill to make it 21-17. Two rotations later, Jillian Aparell served out the set with three straight points for the Hawks.
Warner said that Lee’s struggles late in sets were not for lack of effort.
“I think our passing needed to be a little bit more on target,” she said. “When that was the case, we were able to generate more offense. They really hustled their asses off. … They put in some work, and they picked up a lot of balls.”
Frontier (13-8) built a working margin a little bit earlier in the third set, getting three straight points on Aparell’s serve and prompting Warner to call a timeout down, 10-7. Lee never got closer than three points the rest of the way. Aparell’s next time at the line included a Charlotte Doulette kill to set up match point at 24-16.
But Lee fended off a pair of match points before Sullivan finally ended the contest with a kill at the end of a long rally.
“They kept their composure,” Warner said of her team. “They did not crumble at any point. It didn’t turn into sloppy volleyball with tears in their eyes. They completely kept their composure until the end.
“They knew they were in it all the way until the score reads, now, 18 to 25. We could have pulled every single one of those sets out. It was just a difference of a few points here or there.”