Frazier volleyball extends string of success
Years of hard work and consistency reached fruition this fall for Frazier High School's girls' volleyball team.
The Perryopolis Commodores won the program's first-ever WPIAL Class A championship by completing a remarkable run through the playoffs with a 3-0 victory over Bishop Canevin in the finals contested at Hershey.
Frazier won by scores of 25-18, 25-19 and 25-15. Previously the Commodores earned 3-0 tournament victories over Bentworth, Shenango and Brentwood High Schools.
Bentworth, which reached the semifinals before facing Frazier, finished fourth overall and missed qualifying for the state tournament after losing the third-place consolation match to Elderton.
Frazier was making its 13th consecutive appearance in the playoffs.
The Commodores advanced to the semifinals in 2004. Frazier's playoff run began in WPIAL Class AA with preliminary victories before first round defeats in 1998 and 1999.
Veteran head coach Mandy Hartman guided the team to a perfect 16-0 overall record heading into the program's first-ever state tournament. In the tourney, Frazier traveled to Slippery Rock University for pool play against Maplewood, Elderton and Clarion.
Frazier defeated Elderton 3-0, lost 3-0 to Maplewood and 2-1 to Clarion. Frazier's set record was 4-5 and top-seeded Clarion (8-1) and Maplewood (5-4) advanced to the championships.
Interestingly, the WPIAL championship was not the first for Frazier's coaching staff. Hartman's assistant is her husband, Don Hartman, who is the longtime head baseball coach at California Area High School. He guided the Trojans to WPIAL titles in 2001 and 2006 along with a WPIAL runner-up showing in 2007. He has served as an assistant under his wife at Frazier since 2000.
"I really love coaching with my wife, and to be honest, I take a back seat to her in the household anyway," said Don Hartman about Mandy, who is also a sixth-grade language arts teacher at Frazier. "At first it was a little tough because the head coach in me would come out and I would speak over her, but after a year or so I realized my role as her assistant."
Frazier volleyball is a passion for the family. The Hartmans have three daughters and reside in Perryopolis.
"We have a great time and our kids are always at the gym," he said. "Unlike baseball, volleyball is a family affair. I'm fortunate in that respect."
The assistant coach is understandably pleased to be part of another championship.
"My wife is a great coach and this championship is all about the young ladies on this team," he said. "They had a dream as freshman to do this and simply made the commitment and sacrifice necessary to become champions. That may sound like a cliche but it's the truth. I could not be happier for them and the Frazier community."
Frazier's five seniors on this fall history-making volleyball team were Giovanna Bitonti, Laurissa Ellis, Gena Keebler, Amanda Pato and Savannah Prue.
Shashura takes third
Brownsville Area High School's Sarah Shashura finished a strong third at the state Class AA girls tennis singles championship.
A junior, she lost to Lancaster Country Day's Julia Casselbury, the eventual Class AA champion, in the semifinals in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4.
Shashura opened the two-day tournament with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over South Williamsport junior Maria Cioffi.
She advanced to the semifinals by rallying from a one-set deficit to defeat sophomore Hannah Drayton from Harriton High School, 3-6, 6-3 and 6-2. Shashura was awarded third place after Springfield Township High School's Cristina Kaiser retired due to an injury in the consolation finals. Before the injury, Shashura won the first set 6-3 and owned a 3-0 advantage in the second set.
Shashura transferred to Brownsville from California Area and last spring won the won the WPIAL Class AA boys' singles title. She finished this season with a 21-2 overall record and is ranked 78th in her class by tennisrecruiting.net .