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Clarkston picks up key early season OAA Red win over Seaholm

Volleyball   | Jeff Dullack

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BIRMINGHAM – After watching her team put together a strong showing at a quad last week as Clarkston finished a perfect 3-0 on the night, including a convincing win over Seaholm, head coach Kelly Pinner want her team to be cautious and not overlook the Maples as they would face off one week later.

The Wolves were focused on Thursday night as they jumped out to take game one from Seaholm and after the Maples bounced back to win the second game, Clarkston proceeded to win the final two games for the four game win, 25-13, 16-25, 25-22 and 25-23.

“We lost to Lake Orion on Saturday, so I think our mindset was that we can lose to anybody and we need to play hard against everybody,” said Pinner. “They’ll never say it and they’ll hate for me to say it, but losing sometimes makes us better. I think that helped this week, I think that they know they’re vulnerable and they have to work hard against everybody.”

After Clarkston (24-3-1) and Seaholm (19-5-2) exchanged convincing wins in games one and two, Clarkston picked up a narrow win in the third game to take a 2-1 lead heading to game four.

Pinner said that after big momentum shifts between the first and second games, both teams settled in and it turned out to be a key win for the Wolves early on in OAA Red play.

“In the first game, we got hot pretty early,” she said. “I think that got them on their heels pretty early and maybe took some confidence away from them and in the second game, they (Seaholm) came out really fast and that took some confidence out of us. They’re a tremendous team, they’ve won some tournaments, they’ve been ranked and it’s a big win for us.”

In the fourth game, Seaholm jumped out to an early 7-5 lead after a kill from Annie Schechter, but the Wolves bounced back to take an 11-10 lead after a Lauren Tait kill.

The two squads proceeded to go back and forth throughout much of the game until the Wolves managed to widen the gap to 23-19 after another kill from Tait.

But Seaholm battled back late, trimming the Clarkston lead down to 23-22 after a kill and an ace from junior Anna Stachler and another kill from Schechter. But the Wolves held off the late charge from the Maples as a kill from sophomore Sarah Austin sealed the match win for the Wolves, 25-23.

Abbey Malinowski led the way for Clarkston, registering 16 kills on the night, while Austin chipped in with 10 more kills and junior Ashley Schwartz ended the match with 19 digs.

Seaholm head coach Heather Lippert said that her team had been looking ahead to facing Clarkston with it being a key league game along with it being Seaholm’s first home game, and added that after the Maples found a rhythm in the second game, her team was much more effective in the final three games.

“We played Clarkston last Thursday and we knew this was going to be a big match,” she said. “We had been preparing to play them, it was our first home game with the crowd. It’s a totally different stage than at tournaments, so I think in the first set, a lot of it was just nerves and getting accustomed to playing in a match. Second set, coming out we served a lot tougher and I think that was the difference, started following what we wanted to do and it made it a lot easier.”