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D3 GIRLS’ VOLLEYBALL FINAL: CASE 3, FRONTIER 0

Case closed: Cardinals end Frontier’s reign as D3 volleyball champ

DAN MCLOONE

The Case girls’ volleyball team finished off a 25-2 season with the Division 3 state title Saturday afternoon at Shrewsbury High.

By Dan McLoone Globe Correspondent 

SHREWSBURY — After surviving a shaky 26-24 win in the first set, the Case girls’ volleyball squad settled down in the final two, sweeping Frontier with 25-20 and 25-12 victories on Saturday afternoon at Shrewsbury High.

Case (25-2) ended a six-year reign atop the division for Frontier (12-12).

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“Any time you’re on a big stage like this, there’s going to be nerves, especially when you have an experienced team who has been here before,” said coach Michaela Goncalves, now in her third year at the helm for the Cardinals. “My goal was to really minimize the nerves on our end, turn it into positive energy and really tell the girls to play it point by point.”

Senior captain Julia Bushell led the way for the South champion Cardinals, notching seven kills and three blocks. Classmate Lauren Davidson added seven kills, and senior setter Madison Majewski tallied 22 assists.

Case ran through the state tournament without dropping a set, a feat that appeared to be in jeopardy early against Frontier. Numerous service errors and uncharacteristic mistakes by Case allowed Frontier to maintain a lead throughout the first set. Down 24-21, the Cardinals reeled off five consecutive points, taking their first lead of the set at 25-24 and winning it a point later.

“How it played out just attributes to the strength that we have on our team,” said Goncalves. “To miss 10 serves in the first set and still come out victorious says a lot about the rest of our play.”

Frontier jumped out to another early lead in the second set, but Case once again came back. After claiming a 7-6 lead, Case did not trail again, weathering Frontier’s efforts and thoroughly dominating the final frame.

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“When you get to this stage, it’s not necessarily always the best team that wins,” said Goncalves. “You have to bring it point by point, you have to stay mentally tough. I’m just very, very proud that they were able to dig deep and pull it out.”