Spikers dig into Cougars

By Wendi Reardon Price
Clarkston News Sports Writer

Clarkston Varsity Volleyball bounced back from their loss to Northville to defeat South Lyon East in three sets, Sept. 6
The Wolves won their first set 25-7 and won both the second and third sets with a 25-17 score over the Cougars.
“There were some things we focusing on cleaning up after the Northville match,” said Ali Smith, head coach. “Just cleaning up our execution and being a little more aggressive from the service line. I think we were able to accomplish those things against South Lyon East and have some success.”
Players standing out for the night were seniors Cayla Cogan, Kiley Gallagher, junior Izzy Henry and freshman Marley Smith.
Cogan had 15 kills with a .652 hit percentage and had four block assists and two digs. Smith had six aces, 14 kills and 14 digs. Henry had eight kills with a .545 hitting percentage and had two digs.
“Marley hit very well and served very well,” said Smith.
She added they did play South Lyon East in a pre-season scrimmage and both teams played different lineups.
“We experimented with different things and gave some kids some opportunities,” she said. “It was definitely a different look on Wednesday.”
The Wolves lost to Northville on Aug. 31, 3-1. Northville won the first set, 25-22. Clarkston took the next set 25-22. Then, the Mustangs won the next two sets, 27-25 and 25-14.
“Northville is currently ranked No. 1 in the state. We are No. 2,” said Smith. “They executed fairly well. They were in system more than we would have liked them to be. There were really aggressive at the service line. They are a very well coached, really clean team. I thought we competed well.”
Smith added they have a good mix of new player and returners from last year’s team which finished in the MHSAA Division 1 Volleyball Quarterfinals.
“The younger kids, with the exception of one, have been around the program,” she said. “They have all very quickly bought into what we want to accomplish this year. We feel like we fell a little bit short of our goals last year.”
Smith shared she is “super excited” for the season.
“I like the direction we are moving in,” she said. “We are kind of in the position we were in last year. We have to figure out how to beat the top five percent and continue to stay consistent with everybody else. We are somewhat young. We have two freshmen in our starting line up right now. I like the feeling where we could end up in six weeks.”
They will have good competition as always in the OAA Red.
“I think it will be more even,” Smith said about how the league looks this season. “In years past there have been us and Lake Orion at the top. I think it will be more consistent across the board. I look forward to doing well in the league. But, we are going to have come out and compete every night because with what we accomplished last year we will have a target on our back. Everybody is looking for an opportunity to beat the teams that are ranked in the state.”
Clarkston played in the Program Cup last Saturday. The tournament in Pontiac included all three levels from all 16 schools competing. The champion is determined based on the outcome for all three levels.
The Wolves have a break until they head to Birmingham Seaholm on Tuesday, Sept. 19. They host Troy on Thursday, Sept. 21. JV plays at 5:30 p.m., varsity follows.

Senior Emery Kuebler sends the ball over the net during a set against Northville, Aug. 31. Photo: John Ransom

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