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Spikers blocked from state finals by familiar foe



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Rachel Dickerson returns a hit. Photo by Larry Wright (click for larger version)
November 14, 2012 - The Lady Wolves have dug themselves out of sticky situations throughout the season but last Thursday they couldn't pull ahead.

They finished their season with a loss to Birmingham Seaholm in the MHSAA Regional Finals, 3-0 (25-18, 25-16, 26-17).

Clarkston Girls Varsity Volleyball Coach Kelly Avenall knew it was going to be tough. The Wolves had played Seaholm three times during the season and they had improved by the time the two teams met again last week.

"Their kids have improved, real aggressive," she said. "I give them all the credit they deserve it. They played better than we did."

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Avenall added Seaholm were swinging harder and the Wolves blocking errors made it tough to get ahead.

"We have been struggling all year," she said about blocking. "I have been telling them all year if we want to get far we have to clean up our blocking on the right side. Seaholm exposed it tonight."

Rachel Dickerson had 15 kills and Emily Popp had 12 digs during the game.

Clarkston beat Utica Eisenhower in the regional semifinals, 3-0. They scored 25-9 in the first set.

"We came out real aggressive," said Avenall. "Our blocking was definitely on."

They opened the second set with the lead but Eisenhower slowly climbed to catch up. Towards the end of the match both teams were battling point for point.

"They came back and made it interesting," Avenall added. "Our matches against Romeo and Lake Orion definitely helped us see how we can maintain."

Blocks from the Lady Wolves helped push them into the lead and for the 25-23 win.

"We struggled in a lot of areas especially serve receives," Avenall said. "Some girls just had better passes. Once it happens it's a domino effect. You can't get the passes to the setter. Then the setter tries to get too much to happen and not where the hitters want it."

Clarkston fired to the lead with kills from Dickerson and a block from Brooke Huisman to put the score 8-3. They continued adding points to the board and ended with a 25-15 win.

Dickerson led with 13 kills and four blocks, Katie Chadwell had eight kills and six blocks, Huisman had four blocks and Brianna Frakes had 22 assists.

The team said goodbye to six seniors -Courtney Blaszkowski, Sarah Bullen, Dickerson, Huisman, Kaley Konjarevich and Popp. Avenall added the seniors added a caring element to the team as every one cared for each other.

"These girls wanted to have each other's backs and cared for each other all season long," she continued. "It was refreshing to have that team personality. We are getting better year after year in caring about each other. You will have four months with each other might as will work hard and play hard for each other."

The team has nine returners coming back for next fall. Avenall said she hopes they will learn from this year and hopes they will want to continue the tradition as playing as a team. The Lady Wolves finished with a 53-7 record, winning the OAA Red league and the district title.

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.
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