November 20, 2013 - Spikers finished their season after a 3-1 loss to Marian in the MHSAA Regional Finals last Thursday.
"We should have beaten them," said Clarkston Varsity Volleyball Coach Kelly Avenall. "It all came down to our passing. Our passing just really struggled. If we would have passed better we probably would have had a different match."
The games between Marian and Clarkston were close when they battled each other throughout the season and the playoff wasn't any different.
The Mustangs took the lead in the match by winning the first game, 25-21.
The Lady Wolves rallied back by taking the lead in the second game with points scored by senior middle hitter Kacy Robinson, junior outside hitter Emily Malinowski and a block from senior middle hitter Katie Chadwell and senior setter Brianna Frakes.
The girls continued to block Marian from scoring and sophomore middle hitter Maggie Collins and junior outside hitter Taylor Dellinger scored four points as they blocked Marian's hits.
The Wolves finished the second game 25-12, tying the match 1-1.
Marian created a 11-point lead halfway through the game. Robinson started the climb up for the Wolves with three hits. They narrowed the difference to three points by the end of the game. The Mustangs scored the last two points they needed to win the game, 25-20.
"It gave us a little bit of momentum," said Avenall.
The momentum led into the fourth game as Clarkston took the lead and held onto it throughout the entire game.
Marian slowly caught up on points and tied the score 24-24 before they scored the last two points to win the game and the regional title, 26-24.
"We had them the entire fourth game until the last five points," said Avenall. "Then, we just struggled."
Dellinger led with 18 kills and Robinson had 12 kills during the game. Frakes had 34 assists.
Clarkston won the regional semifinals on Nov. 12 against Troy-Athens with three quick games, 25-10, 25-9, 25-11. Chadwell had eight kills and Dellinger and Robinson both had seven kills. Frakes had 14 assists and seven aces.
"Our main concern was staying focused in a match like that," Avenall said, adding all the players produced well. "That's what we worked was playing our game and playing our pace. It's nice we can use Emily every so often. Our middles played well. Maggie is getting better and better every game. It helps being able to use her, too and our outsides are always good."
The Lady Wolves finished the season with a 44-13-1 record.
"It was a good season," Avenall added. "I am proud of what they did accomplish. They won their seventh consecutive district title and league title. After this, those are the kinds of things we can latch onto."
The team said farewell to seven seniors - Kacy Robinson, Katie Chadwell, Tessa Manilla, Melanie Aguayo, Samantha Moraw, Brianna Frakes and Megan Sutherland.
"They are very passionate kids," Avenall added about this year's seniors. "They loved playing the game. They loved their team. They left the legacy of having passion for their team and wanting their team to win."
The Lady Wolves have eight players coming back next year and their finish for 2013 will help for the 2014 season.
"It will definitely give them something to be hungry for," said Avenall. "We were close."
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.