RICHMOND - An Ali Frantti-led Richmond-Burton girls volleyball team got revenge for an early conference loss to Burlington Central, winning, 22-25, 25-12, 25-21, to tie for the top spot of the Big Northern Conference East Division. Frantti ended the match with 31 kills and almost single-handedly changed the entire momentum of the match.
The Rockets (18-10, 9-1 BNC East) started every set exactly how they wanted to, moving out to early leads over Central. In the first set, however, they were unable to hold on to their early 9-5 advantage and ended up losing the set, 25-22.
The game took a huge swing in favor of R-B early in the second set, when it was Frantti’s turn to serve for the Rockets. Frantti’s three aces helped turn a 5-3 lead into an 11-3 lead that BC never recovered from.
“I try to be the go-to person for them, and someone they can rely on,” Frantti said. “We really stepped it up as a team today, and it was a huge confidence booster.”
Richmond-Burton ended up dominating the second set, 25-12, setting up the match for a decisive third set. The Rockets again went out to an early 9-5 advantage, but this time they never surrendered the lead, winning, 25-21.
The combination of Kelsey Burlini and Frantti led to eight points in the third set alone and fueled the team to get the victory. Burlini had 33 assists in the match, with most of them on Frantti kills.
“They’re not only good friends, but have been playing together forever,” R-B coach Kaycee Kaywood said. “Last year, Kelsey was such a versatile player and Ali was special in everything she does, so when you put those two together, it’s very fun to watch.”
The Rockets played well defensively, which made things difficult for the BC hitters. Jenna Mazur led the team with 19 digs, while Frantti contributed 11 of her own. Frantti and Burlini each had two blocks as well. Kayla Volling added six digs and three kills in the win.
The most important takeaway from the match is the new look at the top of the BNC East Division. Burlington Central and Richmond-Burton are now tied for the top spot, with each team’s lone conference loss coming against the other team.
“This was huge for us. This is a whole new team this year compared to the one that went to State last year,” Kaywood said.
“We have a couple of seniors and a bunch of underclassmen that are still learning how to play together; I’m impressed with the adjustments they made to get the win tonight.”