Athol spikers land No. 7 seed
ATHOL — The Athol High School girls’ volleyball team will host Mount Everett in the opening round of the WMass Division III tournament.
The Lady Raiders (12-7) landed as the seventh-seed in the 10-team tournament and host the No. 10 Eagles on Thursday. The contest is scheduled for 5 p.m.
Athol is coming off consecutive WMass title game appearances — both losses to Frontier. The only shared opponents between the two teams are Mount Greylock and Lee. Both schools were swept 3-0 in those matches. With a win, Athol would travel to Lee on Monday.
Here’s a look at the qualifying teams:
No. 1 Frontier (17-3)
The Red Hawks have owned WMass (and the state) under head coach Sean MacDonald, now in his 13th year, and have won 10 consecutive sectional titles and five straight state championships. Frontier’s three losses came against Notre Dame (twice) and Westborough.
Setter Emily Woodward has amassed more than 2,000 career assists. Remi Quesnelle and Rachel Cialek are Frontier’s top hitters.
No. 2 Lee (17-2)
The Wildcats have only lost 12 sets all year which includes four-set losses to Frontier and West Springfield.
Setter Kendra Williams sets up the attack while Courtney Picard and Shenna Tyer are the top attackers.
Lee swept Athol back on Oct. 3 and defeated Northern Division co-champ Turners Falls twice (both 3-0). The Wildcats defeated Mount Greylock on two occasions.
No. 3 Mount Greylock (15-4)
The Mounties have dominated in their 15 wins and have compiled a 45-4 edge in sets in those contests. Unfortunately, they’ve proved no match for Lee while also dropping to Division II tournament teams Amherst and West Springfield. Greylock swept Athol back on Oct. 10.
Dagny Albano (457) assists sets up the attack while Hope Willis (141 kills), Serena Chow (134 kills) and Jenna Benzinger (132 kills) provide three powerful swings.
No. 4 Ware (18-1)
The Indians coasted to the Central Division championship and its only loss came in four sets to Belchertown. Ware’s record is aided by a soft schedule, but they did defeat Athol in five sets back on Oct. 22.
Emily Blair sets up the attack for hitters Sadie Simons and Meg Adams. Adams has displayed a powerful serve while racking up 142 aces this year.
No. 5 Wahconah (14-4)
The Warriors four losses have come to Lee and Mount Greylock and they seem like a strong candidate to knock off Ware in the quarterfinals.
Hailey Parker is the team’s setter while Sara LaFreniere is the primary hitter. Audrey Pierce and Chloe Warren are also involved in the attack.
No. 6 Turners Falls (12-6)
The Indians shared the Northern Division crown with Athol after the team’s split their head-to-head matchups. Turners will face-off with Greylock in the quarterfinals.
Sienna Dillensneider sets up the attack while Jordyn Fiske, Haley Whipple and Tess Hunter headline the attack. The Indians have a knack for extending play under head coach Kelly Limitainen.
No. 7 Athol (12-7)
The Lady Raiders won their third consecutive league title in a weak Northern Division. Outside of co-champs Athol and Turners, Northern Division teams were a combined 6-27 outside of the league. The co-champs were 6-11 outside the league.
Athol has picked up wins against tournament teams Chicopee, South Hadley, and Turners Falls so the potential is their for a tournament run.
Sophomore setter Julia Ramos is the key for Athol as she looks to get outside hitters Hope Parker, Sophie LaRoche and Shelby Roussel involved. Middle-hitter Tatyana Carrasquillo provides a steady presence. Abby Leadbetter, Jess Soucie and Paige Truehart will also be key contributors.
No. 8 South Hadley (11-7)
The Tigers only wins against tournament teams came against Sabis (twice). The list of losses includes Athol, Chicopee, Belchertown, Agawam and Turners Falls.
Morgan Adams is the setter while Kiana Turners and Haley Asselin are the primary hitters.
No. 9 Sabis (11-9)
The Bulldogs were able to squeak out a five-set victory over Athol back on Sept. 14, but dropped in five to Turners Falls days later. The victory against the Raiders is the only one against tournament teams for the Bulldogs who have dropped matches against Belchertown, Chicopee, South Hadley, Agawam and Ludlow.
Sabis opened the season with six straight wins, but went just 5-9 the rest of the way. Mykaela Debrito sets up for Suwayna Rowe and Danielle Wilson.
No. 10 Mount Everett (10-8)
The Eagles took advantage of the bottom feeders of the Berkshire County League to earn their postseason spot. Mount Everett was no match for Lee, Greylock and Wahconah but managed a respectable 10-2 mark against the rest of their schedule. Their best win came against Taconic (3-2) back on Sept. 30, but the Braves swept the Eagles on Oct. 13. Taconic finished the season with a 7-11 mark.
The Eagles are led by setters Chandler DeGrenier and Bria Wells. Kayla Krom and Jess Abbott are the top hitters.