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Hamburg boys spikers best Frontier in four

It is always a battle, whenever Frontier and Hamburg get together for a sporting event.

A lot was on the line Oct. 9, as boys volleyball teams from each school went toe-to-toe in a battle of Western New York-ranked teams near the top of Erie County Interscholastic Conference Division I.

The fourth-ranked Bulldogs got the best of Frontier, which is seventh in the coaches’ poll, in a four-set win. Hamburg, which improved to 7 – 1 in ECIC Division I play – one game behind West Seneca West – pulled away in the third and fourth sets, after Frontier tied the match in game two.

The two-hour match took a toll on both teams and, with the most important games of the season still ahead, conditioning is in the minds of both coaches and players.

“We did enough to win tonight but, if we want to save our legs for the rest of the season, we have to learn to be more focused,” said Hamburg head coach Brian Carroll, who is in his 18th season at the helm. “It’s not just our team. Any team, at this point in the season, [wants] to win in three [sets] and get those games done, so you have your legs at the end of the season.”

Hamburg won the first set 27 – 25, before Frontier came back in the second and handled the Bulldogs 25 – 19. Hamburg was able to capitalize on some unforced errors and regain control of the match, winning the final two sets 25 – 19 and 25 – 21.

“Our passing broke down and we made a lot of unforced errors,” said Frontier head coach Bill Faust, about his team’s play in the third set. “Hamburg was kind of put back into a box and fought their way out.”

Hamburg got play from serving specialist Matt Touris, who came in and delivered five serves that allowed his team to build a sizable lead and pull away.

“He’s probably the smallest role on the team today, but he had the biggest part,” Carroll said. “He made five serves and had five digs, after the serve.”

Junior’s Zach Yerington and Doug Horbachewski also played decisive roles for Hamburg, during the match. Yerington came up with several plays that kept momentum in Hamburg’s favor, often off of passes from Horbachewski.

Frontier was without Dylan Durni, a Second-Team All Western New York selection, who is nursing an upper-body injury. He has been out the last two weeks and Faust said he expects him to miss another week at least, but is hopeful he will return soon after that, for the playoffs.

During that athlete’s absence, different players, who normally do not see as much action, have gotten more playing time.

“I am pleased with how we’re playing without him and I expect us to be that much better when he returns,” Faust said. “We’re learning to play very tough without him and I think we relied way too much on him, so we’re learning to play and win without him.”

Frontier Middle’s Tom Stoklosa and Pat Quinlivan have stepped up in extended roles, as well as Erik Hatten.

Hamburg will host a boys varsity tournament at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19, which will feature some local and regional competition. The Bulldogs won last weekend's Orchard Park Tournament. The postseason will get underway soon after. Hamburg will compete in Class B, while Frontier looks to return back to the Class A final.

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