Western Mass. volleyball: Lee earns No. 2 seed in D-III field, three other county teams also in bracket
AGAWAM — The MIAA released the seeds for the 2017 Western Massachusetts volleyball tournaments on Tuesday at Agawam High School and four county teams earned the chance to compete for a Western Mass. title.
All four teams compete in Division III. Lee is the highest ranked team, earning a No. 2 seed. Lenox is seeded third, followed by Wahconah (No.7) and Mount Greylock (No. 9). Frontier, the team that saw its state championship streak end at six in a row last season, is the top seed.
Lee and Lenox have first-round byes. Wahconah earned a home game in the opening round. The Warriors will host No. 10 Ware at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday. The winner of the 7 vs. 10 matchup will face Lee. The Mounties will hit the road to face No. 8 Mahar, at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday. The winner will face top-seeded Frontier. Second round matchups will be on Monday at 6:30 p.m.
Lee missed out on the No. 1 seed despite beating Frontier 3-2 in its regular season finale. Red Hawks coach Sean MacDonald said he was surprised initially after seeing his team earned the top spot, but after going over the numbers, his team's strength of schedule correctly allowed them to squeak past Lee in the Walker ratings.
MacDonald added that the loss served as a wake up call to his team.
"The girls are probably a little more motivated in practice to fix some things," he said. "Lee's a really good team and John [Warner] is doing a great job. I'm really impressed with how much they've lost and they're just as good as last year."
After a 3-0 win over previously unbeaten Lenox in early October, Warner said teams in Division III know what his program is capable of. Lee's replaced stalwarts Kendra Williams and Shenna Tyer with an equally talented group led by Ahna Schlaefer and Lydia Morawiec and have not missed a beat.
Lenox earned its highest seed under coach Bessena Cabe. The Millionaires were a 10 seed in his first year. They missed the postseason in 2015, earned a No. 5 seed last season and are now the No. 3 seed.
Wahconah and Ware have faced off in the tournament each of the last two years. Ware was the higher seed in both contests, earning back-to-back 3-2 wins over the Warriors. This year, Wahconah coach Dave Lussier said he hopes playing at home will give his team an advantage in trying to advance.
"That is important to get a home match," he said. "Hopefully this year now that we're going to be hosting Ware, seeing them for the third time, we'll be able to use our home-court advantage and get into the field of eight."
Akeem Glaspie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @TheAkeemGlaspie on Twitter and 413-496-6252.
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