September 19, 2012 - Spikers fought on their side of the net to beat their OAA Red foe in the Lady Wolves' home opener last Thursday.
Sarah Bullen hits the ball past Seaholm's Kathy Quigley and Natalie Nepa. Photo by Larry Wright (click for larger version)
They won the first game after taking the lead after two points and kept adding to the board until they were at 25-14.
"It was probably one of the best starts we have had so far over the last few years," said senior Rachel Dickerson.
They carried the momentum into the second game as they opened with 3-0. It didn't take long for Seaholm to catch up to take the lead and give Clarkston a challenge.
Both teams were neck and neck once Sarah Bullen tied the score 25-25 with her hit over the net. Seaholm finished after taking the lead 28-26.
"I think maybe we just got lackadaisical," said Coach Kelly Avenall. "It is hard to beat a team 25-14 and stay focused. It woke us up a bit."
The third game started with Seaholm taking the lead but it wasn't long before both teams were close in points again.
Seaholm pulled into the lead at 22-19 and it was the last time they would lead again. Katie Chadwell and Dickerson brought Clarkston up to the lead. Chadwell sealed the their fate minutes later when her block went unreturned and the girls won, 25-22.
The Lady Wolves won the game 3-1 after winning the deciding and fourth match, 25-13.
"We struggled a little bit in the middle but we came back and fought," said Dickerson."The biggest thing was getting our middles in transition. Once we got our middles in transition everything was just flowing and we were able to get into a rhythm."
Avenall pointed out it was a good game.
"Typically first matches at home don't play well," she explained. "I have been preaching that. I don't know if it's nerves. Their friends are in the stands. We have a louder atmosphere because we have a bigger gym. They are high school girls - they have distractions. As much as I preach against those distractions - they get distracted.
Dickerson had 20 kills. Emily Malinowski had 21 digs and two aces. Bullen had 12 kills and Chadwell had 10 kills.
"We have been struggling getting Chadwell on the offense," said Avenall. "We used her better tonight and it helped."
Dickerson added playing their first league game helped prepare the team for the rest of the season.
"We can't take anyone for granted," she added. "Even if we don't think they are the same level as us we need to take every as though they are the best team. We have to try our best every time."
The Lady Wolves won the Flushing Invitationl on Saturday going 6-0 for the day. They defeated North Branch in the finals, 25-16 and 25-15, bringing their record to 25-3-1.
Dickerson had 42 kills and 38 digs, Brianna Frakes had 28 aces, and Emily Popp had 52 digs and 10 aces.
"It is a good tournament," Avenall said going into Saturday. "They have good teams - North Branch, Flushing and more. There are a few teams we have to watch out for."
Clarkston hosted a quad with Marian, Stoney Creek and Troy Athens on Tuesday. They head to Farmington on Thursday for a league game.
"I think they are going to surprise people in the league," Avenall added. "They are going to be a lot better than people think. We shouldn't be surprised. Like I tell them no league match we play is going to be easy. They are going to battle and people will play their hearts out against us because they hate us right now."
JV begins at 5:30 p.m., varsity follows.
Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.