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GIRLS VOLLEYBALL: Knockout blow: Clarkston ousts Lake Orion in five-game thriller for district crown

| November 4, 2016 | Comments (0)

BY DAN STICKRADT

SENIOR EDITOR

dan.stickradt@northoaklandsports.com

Twitter: @LocalSportsFans

LAKE ORION — Momentum can be a strange animal in the sport of volleyball.

The moment you feel you have it, a play can quickly develop and spin the pendulum the other way faster than one can say the first string of letters in the alphabet.

Ask Clarkston and Lake Orion.

The two perennial powers had enough lead changes and runs Friday night that would make any schizophrenic or bi-polar person proud. In the end, it was second-ranked Clarkston which grabbed the momentum one final time to post a 3-2 victory over the host Dragons in the Class A district finals.

Clarkston posted a 23-25, 25-23, 25-14, 21-25, 15-12 triumph over Lake Orion, avenging a five-game loss to the Dragons in OAA Red Division league play.

“They beat us last year, and that wasn’t the district final, but we have had so many great games with them over the years. I expected it to go five games,” said Clarkston coach Kelly Avenall-Pinner. “It’s feel nice to get back on the district train again.”

Locked in a 12-12 tie in Game 5, the Wolves closed with a 3-0 run, capped by Abbey Malinowski’s kill from the left side.

Clarkston (49-5-0), which will visit the New Baltimore Anchor Bay regional next Tuesday and face fellow state-ranked foe Macomb Dakota, captured its sixth district crown in nine years.

“A lot of the time when we play Lake Orion, it is a mental game for us,” said Malinowski. “It’s not all about skill. We’re pretty evenly-matched I would say. So most of the time it’s going five games. We knew it would be a great game. It feels great to get them this time because they beat us in the league and in districts last year.”

Like they have so many times before during the past decade, the two rivals played a high emotional match. Besides Clarkston’s 11-point edge in Game 3, neither team could never build a large lead in the other four sets.

In Game 5, Lake Orion held leads of 5-2, 8-6 and 10-9 but could never get into a complete groove to pull out win. Clarkston had defeated Lake Orion at two tournaments over the past month and are now 3-1 against the Dragons this season.

“We played with a lot of emotion and played very well, but we had some mistakes at the wrong times,” sighed Lake Orion coach Tony Scavarda. “I won’t say we played bad because we took one of the top teams in the state down to the wire. If we would have played with the same amount of energy as we did tonight — because we’ve been a little up-and-down lately — we’d be in the top five in the state. All I can say is we left it all out on the floor. We just came up a couple of points short in the last game. This was a high-emotional game between two good teams.”

Danielle Sargent and Leah Kalugar both slammed 12 kills and Mallorie Berriman added 11 kills for Lake Orion (45-15-1). Lindsay Wightman added 18 digs and three aces for the Dragons, who entered the postseason as honorable mention in the state rankings.volleyball - set 2

Malinowski had 18 kills and Sarah Austin added 15 kills for Clarkston. Madi Jidas added 27 digs and three aces for the Wolves.

“I think some people think it’s all about Sarah and Abbie, but to be honest with you, we do have two of the best hitters in the state and we do have some other hitters that contribute. You just can’t try to block those two,” said Avenall-Pinner. “We’ve done a good job with our right side hitters, getting some points there. I think we do a good job of having an balanced attack. We saw that tonight.”

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Category: Clarkston, Featured Articles, High School, High School (M-Z), Lake Orion, Most Recently Updated Stories, NOS reference, Prep Wraps, Sport, Top Stories, Uncategorized, Volleyball

About Dan Stickradt: DAN STICKRADT | SENIOR EDITOR dan.stickradt@northoaklandsports.com View author profile.

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