Wolves win close sets in regional final for crown

Clarkston News Sports Writer
Senior Sydney Hasenfratz blocked the hit from Utica Eisenhower in the third set of the MHSAA Division 1 Volleyball Regional 2 Final last Thursday, tying the score 24-24.
A block from Clarkston junior Elizabeth Adams and hit from sophomore Paige Giehtbrock ended the set and the night to win the championship, 26-24.
“I felt like my sides hurt,” said Kelly Pinner, head coach for Clarkston Varsity Volleyball. “It was pretty stressful – lot’s of long rallies. We had a huge lead and then let them back in. Super stressful, but happy about the outcome.”

The Clarkston Varsity Volleyball team wins the regional championship against Utica Eisenhower. Photo by Larry Wright

The Wolves opened the third set ahead and kept the momentum going, building a 10-point lead. The Eagles closed in on a 8-2 run and continued to score until the two teams were within a few points of each other.
Pinner added they had a tough time stopping Eagles’ outside hitter Sydney Palazzolo in the third set.
“A couple of timeouts we just talked about trying to calm down, make some good passes,” she said. “We are super balanced. There are a lot of people we can go to. We just said find somebody and start swinging.”
The Wolves won the first set, 25-23, after Eisenhower opened with the first six points.
They closed in with points off a hit from senior Claire Nowicki and serves by junior Summer Jidas.
“We started off real slow,” said Pinner. “It was a lot of our own errors, unforced errors. Then, we settled in. I think we were trying to do too much to begin and maybe it was a little nerves. We settled in, we found our groove, we found our game – stuff we do best.”
Senior Shay Bordine and junior Elizabeth Adams blocked a hit, catching the Wolves up to Eisenhower, 20-20. They battled point for point until the Wolves grabbed the last two points with an error by the Eagles and a hit by Giehtbrock.
Eisenhower opened the second set with a two-point lead before Clarkston went on a 9-point run to take the lead. The Wolves finished the set with a 25-17 win.
Nowicki and Giehtbrock had 11 kills each. Nowicki had ten digs and two aces.
Jidas had six aces.
“She had a couple runs serving and that helped,” Pinner said. “Our middles did a great job blocking.”
Hasenfratz had eight blocks, Adams had seven blocks and Bordine had five blocks. Sophomore Kaitlyn Hoffman had14 digs and both Jidas and Bordine had nine digs.
The Wolves defeated Troy in the regional semifinals on November 10, 3-0; 25-13, 25-15, 25-17.
Nowicki had 12 kills. Hasenfratz had 14 kills and 12 blocks. Jidas had two aces and 12 digs. Bordine had four blocks and 23 assists and freshman Emery Kuebler had 20 assists.
Clarkston (29-8) was scheduled to play Grand Blanc in the Quarterfinals, Nov. 17. As of now, MHSAA has suspeneded all fall tournaments per the emergency order to pause activity by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to limit COVID-19.

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