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Frontier’s run of upsets ends in boys volleyball final

GETTING A PIECE — Frontier seniors Erik Hatten (center) and Dylan Durni go up for a block in the Class A sectional final. Photo by David Marino.
As the fifth seed in the sectional tournament, the Frontier boys volleyball team pulled two upsets on the road to reach the Class A final, but couldn’t finish the playoff run.

Frontier head coach Bill Faust said the high level of volleyball in the area was on display even as his team fell in straight sets to Lockport in the final on Nov. 6 at Hamburg.

“My kids are survivors,” said Faust, whose team battled numerous injuries this season, but lost for a second straight year in the finals. “We made it to the finals, and I think that says a lot about what my team was this season.”

Junior setter Jake Gleason had 30 assists in the loss for the Falcons, and seniors Dylan Durni and Erik Hatten combined for nearly 30 kills.

Second-seeded Lockport won the school’s first sectional championship. The Lions won the first set 25 – 21 and then cruised to 25 – 18 and 25 – 19 wins in games two and three, to complete the sweep.

The play of 6-foot-8 middle Jason Donorovich was the difference for Lockport, but the supporting cast also did its job and it was a full team effort, their head coach noted. Brad Schneider led the Lions with 13 kills, while Shawn Moore recorded seven kills and seven blocks.

“We filled a lot of our gaps on the floor,” said Lockport head coach Joe Whalen, whose son Jack helped bring home the title, with his play. “We were solid all around. We passed well and we hit well. It doesn’t hurt to have a 6-foot-8 man.”

Lockport defeated Kenmore West in the first round of the playoffs, and then avenged an earlier season loss to third-seeded Clarence, in the semifinals. The coach said he thought all facets of his team were clicking in its championship win.

“This is a team sport, and this is a year where I have a full team of players,” Joe Whalen said. “We were running our offense fast. We weren’t giving them time to set up triple and double blocks.”

Durni and Hatton will leave behind a young Frontier team, which gained quality experience and will benefit from it in the long run.

“There’s a lot of potential here,” said Durni, after the match.

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