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Frontier finishes long fourth game to capture Class AA title

FINALS SPIKE — Senior Rachel Stephenson helped Frontier to a four-set win over Lancaster in the Class AA final. Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes.
Alyssa Buck, seen here earlier in the season getting ready to serve, and her Frontier teammates won a grueling four-set championship match with a feisty Lancaster squad. Photo by Mike Petro
The seventh time proved to be the charm for the Frontier girls volleyball team in the Section VI Class AA girls volleyball championship match against Lancaster.

Fighting with all they had to extend the career of their legendary coach, the Redskins fought off six match points in the decisive fourth game on Tuesday night. But the Falcons finally got that elusive sectional-championship winning kill.

When it ended, the Falcons had their first sectional title since 2010 with a 25-22, 22-25, 25-20, 28-26 victory over the Redskins on Tuesday (Oct. 29) night at Sweet Home High School.

"I just knew — we better step it up, like right now," Frontier middle hitter McKyla Brooks said.

It was Brooks that ended the marathon fourth set, but it didn't come easy. The Falcons were on the brink of the title with a 24-19 win in the fourth set. But the Redskins rattled off six straight points, taking a 25-24 lead on back-to-back kills by Kelly Fellner. Frontier responded and took a 26-25 edge but Lancaster tied it again.

Sydney Rojek and Brooks finally clinched it for the Falcons.

"It’s kind of our thing all year,” Frontier coach Debby Schruefer said. “We would take a lead and then all of a sudden get sloppy. But they knew what they had to do; they knew there would be a lot of attacks and counter attacks. They played as a team that was the big thing.”

It was also more of the same for the Redskins, who entered the postseason as a No. 5 seed. After road wins over Clarence and Orchard Park, the Redskins were on a roll and they weren’t going to quit until the final point.

"I knew it wasn't over," Pernick, said of the 24-19 deficit, after her final game coaching the Redskins. "I was hoping it wasn't over, but I knew it wasn't over, too. We've got a lot of push and a lot of fight."

With that hard-fought win, Frontier advanced to the Far West Regionals against Section V champion Mercy. That match will be held at noon on Saturday, Nov. 9, back at Sweet Home.

“Mercy is big and strong,” Schruefer said. “We’re one of the smaller teams, but we play with big hearts.”

Brooks led Frontier with 18 kills in the match, but the Falcons had plenty of contributions up and down the roster.

“That’s a good team,” Pernick said,” and that’s the best I’ve seen them play all season long.”

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