BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Spikers defeated their first OAA Red foe last Thursday with a 3-0 win over Farmington Hills Harrison.
“It’s good for us to start out on a win,” said Clarkston Varsity Volleyball Head Coach Kelly Pinner. “Our goal every year is to win the OAA Red and last year we fell short.”
The Lady Wolves won the first set 25-12 before winning the next set with a close 25-22. They finished the game against the Lady Hawks with a 25-13 in the third set.
Junior Abbey Malinowski had 18 kills and two aces. Senior Sarah Austin had 14 kills and junior Grace Kraft had 43 assists.
“The juniors are really stepping up and being good leaders for us which helps,” said Pinner. “Sometimes it’s just the seniors stepping up. I think the juniors because of the returners and they feel confident enough to be vocal and lead this team. Having that strong leadership all together instead of just a couple of seniors is helping us.”
The girls will spend each practice focusing on their goal on winning the league as the next few weeks have them taking on teams in the OAA Red.
She added tournaments and quads against North Branch, Sept. 7, and at home against Marian, Birmingham Seaholm, and Macomb Dakota, Sept. 8, will help.
“Marian has been playing great,” Pinner said. “They may not have the state ranking recognition right now, but I wouldn’t be surprised in the next couple weeks that changes. They have won at least one tournament and have beat some solid teams. Marian is always one of those teams we find hard to beat. Beating them was definitely a confidence builder. “
She added Dakota was ranked ninth in the state when Clarkston played them and are now out of the top ten.
“They are a solid team with solid hitters,” Pinner said. “I try to give us a tough schedule for us so everything we are doing is preparing us for the first week of November.”
The Lady Wolves went 5-1 in the Novi Invitational, Sept. 10, with a huge win in the semifinals against Novi, who was ranked No. 1 and finished as state champions last year.
“They are a solid team,” Pinner added.
The lone loss was against Portage Central in the finals, who is now ranked No. 1.
The Lady Wolves (21-2, 1-0 OAA Red) opened the week against West Bloomfield.
“They are returning some good players,” Pinner said, adding they are new to the OAA Red and are moving up from the OAA White.
“They know you can’t take any league match lightly,” she said. “We are one of the toughest leagues in the state. I think most coaches would agree with that when you have to play the likes of Lake Orion, Stoney Creek, Seaholm, Bloomfield Hills, who is going to be very good this year. They went deep in the state playoffs last year. They are all going to be tough.”
Clarkston heads to Stoney Creek on Thursday. They are back home next Tuesday when they host Lake Orion. JV begins at 5:30 p.m., varsity follows.
BY WENDI REARDON PRICE