NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. – Even after losing nine members from last year’s Division 3 state championship, Frontier Regional had enough in the tank to pull out a gutsy 3-2 victory against Case.
Saturday marked the third straight season in which the Red Hawks (23-1) and Cardinals (22-2) met in the title match.
The Red Hawks came from behind to pull out a dramatic fourth set, 26-24, forcing a deciding set. They settled down in the fifth set, taking a 15-11 win and giving the program its fourth state championship Saturday at Algonquin Regional High School.
“I have to tip my cap to Case,” Frontier head coach Sean MacDonald said. “They made us work for every point. I think this one stands up as one of the sweetest ones.”
Although the Red Hawks lost most of their rotation from last season, they still relied on junior outside hitter Cassidy Stankowski providing an array of powerful kills with a strong service game.
“Cassidy came up big for us,” MacDonald said. “She struggled a little at the end, but we ask too much from her, more than anybody should ask from one player.”
The pivotal moment of the match game in the fourth, when MacDonald rallied his troops to force a deciding fifth set.
Then, the Red Hawks were two points away from losing the match. Down 23-22, Frontier came back to force a fifth set with Stankowski providing a tip block on Case’s Danielle Robillard.
Having to work for this one only sweetened the victory.
“Last year was a twenty-six-and-oh season, but this it was like, ‘Oh, it’s a rebuilding year,’” “Obviously, it was not. We proved that today and it was amazing for my team. I’m so proud of them.”