Clarkston’s Katie Chadwell (R) tips the ball over Troy Athens’ Katie Scudder (L) during the first set of the MHSAA Class A Regional semi-final played on Tuesday Nov. 12, 2013 at Lake Orion High School. Clarkston swept Athens 25-10, 25-9, 25-11. (Special to the Oakland Press/KEN SWART)
VOLLEYBALL: Clarkston rolls past Athens, sets up showdown with Marian WITH TOUT VIDEOS
Taylor Dellinger (18) of Clarkston goes up for the block attempt on the hit by Dakota Stanichuk (5) of Troy during the first set of the MHSAA Class A Regional semi-final played on Tuesday Nov. 12, 2013 at Lake Orion High School. The Wolves beat the Red Hawks 25-10, 25-9, 25-11. (Special to the Oakland Press/KEN SWART)
Troy Athens’ Lauren Atwell (14) and Alexis Van Hoef (15) go up for the block attempt of the hit by Clarkston’s Maggie Collins (16) during the third set of the MHSAA Class A Regional semi-final played on Tuesday Nov. 12, 2013 at Lake Orion High School. Athens lost to Clarkston in straight sets 25-10, 25-9, 25-11. (Special to the Oakland Press/KEN SWART)
Troy Athens’ Katie Scudder (8) makes a pass during the second set of the MHSAA Class A Regional semi-final against Clarkston. The match was played on Tuesday Nov. 12, 2013 at Lake Orion High School. The Red Hawks lost to the Wolves 25-10, 25-9, 25-11. (Special to the Oakland Press/KEN SWART)
LAKE ORION — When Clarkston volleyball stays focused throughout a match it can be nearly impossible to overcome, as the Troy Athens Red Hawks found out in a regional semifinal Thursday night.
Clarkston raced out to a 5-0 lead in the first set, and the Wolves never took their foot off the accelerator, ultimately triumphing 25-10, 25-9, 25-11.
“Our main concern was staying focused in a match like that,” Clarkston head coach Kelly Avenall said. “I think we did a good job of that.”
Clarkston senior setter Brianna Frakes caused trouble for the Red Hawks all night, whether serving, finding the right attacker for a kill, defending the net or attacking herself. Frakes finished with 16 assists, seven aces, seven kills and two blocks.
“(Frakes) is our best server on the team,” Avenall said. “She leads us in aces, but even if she doesn’t get an ace, she’s going to keep the opposing team out of system a lot. She’s been our starting setter since she was a sophomore. She has tremendous leadership skills. The girls respond to her well. We’re going to miss her being a senior.”
Frakes was able to spread the ball around, but her teammates were able to put the ball away when given a chance. Leading the Wolves attack were junior outside hitter Taylor Dellinger with eight kills, senior middle hitter Katie Chadwell with seven kills and senior middle hitter Kacy Robinson with five kills.
“They all produced well (offensively),” Avenall said. “Our middle played well, and our outsides are always solid.”
Athens head coach Christine Stanichuk was disappointed her squad wasn’t able to make Tuesday’s regional semifinal match more competitive, especially coming off of the first district final in eight years for the school.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t come to play tonight,” Stanichuk said. “Clarkston didn’t even have to do much to beat us. They’re a great team, but we were sleeping pretty much all three matches. It was just disappointing coming off of such a big high on Friday’s win and winning districts.
“We’re ecstatic about our district championship. That’s what we’ve been striving for is that flag on the wall in the gym and to finally achieve that is just a huge milestone for us at Athens.”
Athens will hope to build on that milestone, and a 42-36 overall victory, next season, as the Red Hawks return all but four members of this year’s squad.
“Another district title, hopefully,” Stanichuk said. “A few seniors are leaving us, but we have strong underclassmen and they’re going to dominate, no doubt, next year.”
The win improves the Wolves to 44-12-1 and advances them to the regional finals Thursday night when they will face Birmingham Marian, which entered postseason play ranked number 3 in the state by the Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association. Clarkston is ranked 10th by the Association.
“Marian is a great team,” Aveanll said. “We’ve played them twice. We took them to three games both times. I think the third game we lost by two points both times. I’m looking forward to a good match on Thursday. We have a lot of things we’re going to work on tomorrow in practice. I’ve been watching some film trying to pick up on some things. I don’t want to say it’ll be the state champion that comes out of that, but it’s a battle of, I think, two good teams.”