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Lightfoot digs Lady Wolves to wins

October 19, 2011 - Spikers head into their last matches this week as they prepare for playoffs beginning Oct. 31.

Part of the preparation started last Saturday as the Clarkston Girls Varsity Volleyball team went 5-1 at the Beasts of the East tournament in Warren.

The only loss during the day was to Farmington Hills Mercy in the semifinals, 25-20 and 25-15.

The Lady Wolves led in the first game 12-5 but soon found themselves behind.

"We came out real strong," said Coach Kelly Avenall. "My girls, even after losing, were still happy with the way they played. They were able to start off a lead and know they can compete with them. Mercy is such a solid team. They didn't lose their composure. They don't make silly mistakes. They do what they can with what they have. They are just a solid team that is why they are one of the top teams in the state."

The team faced a close game against Novi in the quarterfinals and finished with a 2-1 win, scoring 25-22, 17-25 and 19-17.

Maddie Lightfoot had 30 digs for the match and Kaley Konjarevich had nine kills.

"Novi is a ranked team in the state so they were a good, solid defensive team," said Avenall.

The Lady Wolves also faced rivals Lake Orion for the third time this season at the tournament. They played them at the Marian Invite, Oct. 1 and lost to them twice.

During Beasts of the East, Clarkston beat their foes in their game going 2-1 in matches, winning 30-28 and 16-14 and losing the second match, 25-16.

"They were really tight matches," said Avenall. "They could have gone either way. We were pretty focused. Maddie had an outstanding match and was probably the deciding factor. Pretty much any dig she had was going up to our setter and running our offense off of it instead of bailing out."

Lightfoot finished the tournament with 108 digs and nine aces. Stephanie Marani had 37 kills and 17 blocks.

Another player helping offensively was Sarah Bullen and scored kills against Lake Orion.

"Orion wasn't expecting it because when we played them a few weeks ago she wasn't part of offense," said Avenall. "She wasn't touching the ball well and we kept it away from her. The last couple of weeks and at the tournament we fed her the ball and she got a couple of kills off of it for key points in the match. Her confidence level has definitely helped."

The girls beat Rochester on Oct. 1, 3-0, scoring 25-14, 25-8 and 25-13. Marani had 15 kills and five blocks and Lightfoot had 11 digs.

"Stephanie is a solid player," Avenall added. "She hits 60 percent kill efficiency when the ball hits her hand she is going to kill it and score points off of it. It is a pretty high efficiency level. She has just gotten smarter and smarter finding places to hit the ball where defense isn't."

The Lady Wolves played Lake Orion for the fourth time on Tuesday for the OAA Red league title.

"We have a lot of confidence knowing we can compete with them," said Avenall. "Beasts of the East definitely helped, seeing we had the capability beating them."

Clarkston hosts a Quad match on Thursday with Seaholm, Farmington and Rochester Adams.

"It is a final match to get us ready for the playoffs," said Avenall. "Plus playing the tournament helped us with things we have to work on in the next couple of weeks. There are still things we have to work on if we want to compete with a team like Mercy.

The Quad begins at 5:30 p.m.

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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