Boys volleyball preview: Frontier looks to earn third straight Western Mass. title

Frontier players celebrate after defeating Southwick 3-1 to win the Western Massachusetts Class C boys volleyball championship at Chicopee Comp last spring.

Frontier players celebrate after defeating Southwick 3-1 to win the Western Massachusetts Class C boys volleyball championship at Chicopee Comp last spring. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Frontier’s Tavo Vincent-Warner (3) sets against Southwick in the third set of the Western Massachusetts Class C boys volleyball championship at Chicopee Comp last spring.

Frontier’s Tavo Vincent-Warner (3) sets against Southwick in the third set of the Western Massachusetts Class C boys volleyball championship at Chicopee Comp last spring. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

By THOMAS JOHNSTON

Staff Writer

Published: 04-01-2024 3:45 PM

It’d be hard to imagine a program getting off to a better start than the Frontier boys volleyball team.

Legendary Redhawk girls volleyball coach Sean MacDonald and Courtney Parent started the boys program at Frontier two years ago and in their first season, the Hawks took home a Western Mass. championship.

Last spring, Frontier took another step forward. The Redhawks once again took home a Western Mass. Class C championship and in the MIAA Div. 2 state tournament, knocked off East Longmeadow to reach the Round of 16.

Not a bad way to get a program going.

Now, in its third year, Frontier will move from an independent to the PVIAC East, where it’ll play league games against Belchertown, Central, Putnam and Longmeadow.

“Our schedule will be really challenging,” MacDonald said. “The level of difficulty went up exponentially with our schedule this year. After going 19-3 last year, we need to recalibrate our expectations. It’s not that the wheels fell off, it’s just that the opponents are better. And that’s a good thing.”

Tavo Vincent-Warner returns as the Redhawks’ setter, and he’s already closing in on the 1,000 assist mark as a junior.

Jack Carey and Aleks Carey will be top options for Vincent-Warner to get the ball to, as both have the height and athleticism to be factors at the net.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Cleary Jewelers plans to retain shop at former Wilson’s building until 2029
Orange man gets 12 to 14 years for child rape
$427K to expand Camp Apex capacity in Shelburne
Conway resident leading pilot program to help families facing financial ‘cliff effect’
Franklin County Technical School Honor Roll, Semester 1
Greenfield Police Logs: April 2 to April 8, 2024

“They look good so far,” Parent said. “Tavo has been great at the setter spot and should hit 1,000 assists this year. The Careys will be big players for us again.”

Dean Gray and Evan Maio are eighth graders who will see time for Frontier while Theo Sargent is a senior captain who will play a role for the Redhawks. Will Reading is a newcomer as a junior who will play as a middle hitter.

Frontier opened its season with a pair of matches last week, falling to Chicopee Comp and Sci-Tech. As MacDonald noted, the schedule is much more difficult as the Redhawks will also play non-league games against Agawam and Westfield, who played in the Div. 2 state final last year.

“We’ll be competitive in our league,” MacDonald said. “We have some tough independents. It’ll be a lot different this year going up against Agawam, the defending state champs, and Westfield who is usually the state champs.” 

Despite all that, the Redhawks still have their eyes set on taking home a third straight Western Mass. title and finding a way back into the state tournament.

“We’re trying to be ranked in the top four in Class C and get into the Western Mass. tournament,” MacDonald said. “Our goal is to three-peat.”

Athol

COACH: Nate Fisher

LEAGUE/DIVISION: West/2

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 1-19

TOURNAMENT RESULTS: Missed state tournament

ROSTER: Colin Mason, Ray Castine, Caleb Leblanc, Jamieson Vincent, Jesse Casillas, Logan McGrath, Warren Taylor, Landon Mallette, Landon Collins, Jack Waslaske, Alex Hebert, Ethan Goodwin, Caunor Mason

OUTLOOK: After a 1-17 campaign, Athol returns a good chunk of its roster. Now a year older and with more experience on the court, the Bears are hoping to make a run to the Western Mass. tournament. 

Colin Mason is a senior outside hitter who will be a go-to option for Athol. LeBlanc is a senior who will play a big role as a middle hitter, as will fellow senior Castine. 

Collins and Caunor Mason will see time at setter. 

“We learned from last season,” Fisher said. “I think we have added proper position players. We’re better hitters this year and are more efficient at setter. I think we can make a run at tournament.” 

Frontier

COACH: Sean MacDonald

LEAGUE/DIVISION: East/2

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 19-3

TOURNAMENT RESULTS: Div. 2 Round of 16 finish

ROSTER: Kaisac Yath, Aleks Carey, Jack Carey, Thelonius Sargent, William Petrin, William Reading, Tavo Vincent-Warner, Ethan Rivera, Benjamin Ayotte, Tyler Belue, Eric Coldwell, Dean Gray, Charlie Tozloski, Brendan Carey, Evan Maio, Leonardo Musante