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Spikers lose to Lake Orion in quarterfinals



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Oxford's Claire Seeley springs into action as teammate Julia Walker watches. Photos by Dan Shriner. (click for larger version)
September 11, 2013 - The Wildcat varsity volleyball team traveled to Grand Blanc over the weekend to compete in the Grand Blanc Classic, which consisted of 14 teams.

They placed second in their pool. The Cats beat Lapeer East and split with Clarkston and lost two to St. Louis. Their performance earned them a spot in the playoffs.

"I am happy that we placed second and went to the gold bracket, but it could have been better. We split with Clarkston in pool play, which was huge and the girls couldn't keep up the momentum against St. Louis," said Head Coach Kristi McDevitt. "They decided to play down to their level and didn't have enough in the end to win the 23-25 games. So I was disappointed with that, as were they, but no one can take the Clarkston win away from them – they earned that."

In the gold bracket, the Oxford took a tough loss to Lake Orion in the quarterfinals.

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"We had a good game plan going into Lake Orion. We executed well and had them up against the ropes, but we made some mental errors on the final points of the game to throw it away 23-25," McDevitt explained. "The second set was just sort of blah like they couldn't keep the momentum going from almost beating them (in) the first set. Just some mental toughness the girls need to work on."

High-scorers on the day included Darien Bandel, who tallied 44 kills, along with 5 blocks and 6 aces, to lead the offense. Claire Seeley anchored the defense with 46 digs and Kennedy Orr paced the offense with 47 kill assists.

The ladies also took third place earlier in the week on Sept. 3 at the Oxford Varsity Quad, hosted by Oxford.

Oxford defeated Flushing before dropping matches to North Branch and Clarkston. Senior Darien Bandel led the offense with 33 kills, 3 solo blocks, and 4 block assists. Setter Kennedy Orr tallied 31 kill assists. Gracey Wysocki added 5 blocks and 5 kills. Libero Regan Precour finished with 48 digs.

The girls overall season record is now 7-9-1 "We are coming together," McDevitt said. "They are a weapon. It is just a matter of working together like a well-oiled machine where we are all in sync and confident."

"We have made great strides in the last few weeks and I feel it will continue as long as they continue to work hard in practice and make our Saturday tournaments worthwhile," she continued. "Beating Clarkston on Saturday was an eye-opener for them that 'Yes, we can do it together as a team.'"

The girls' next match will be Saturday, Sept. 14 at Lakeview High School starting at 8 a.m. before coming home for a quad match on Sept. 25 starting at 5:30 p.m.

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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