HENRIETTA TWP. — Clearview junior middle hitter Heather Younkin is quiet and unassuming, but boy can she play volleyball.
Younkin helped the Clippers rally for an 18-25, 25-19, 25-10, 25-22 win over Firelands in a Patriot Athletic Conference crossover game Tuesday night. With the win, Clearview improved to 11-2 and 9-1 in league play. Firelands fell to 10-4 and 7-3.
“I just try to do my best,” said Younkin, who had 21 kills and six block kills. “I like to win.”
“(Firelands) was doing a nice job in the middle,” Clearview coach Dave Dorinski said. “But their outsides weren’t coming in to help, so I moved my offense to the middle and that opened it up for Heather. Heather was able to go left-right and do pretty much what she wanted in the middle ’cause they weren’t closing.”
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If the ball was anywhere in Younkin’s range, she was swinging away.
“I try,” said Younkin, who was 37-of-42 hitting. “I have our senior captain (Katlynne Baker) behind me yelling which way to hit the ball.”
“When she gets the set she wants she’ll punish you, but she’s also a smart player,” Dorinski said. “Every time they’d get a nice double-block on her, she’d dink it and get a nice kill. She’s a nice, wonderful player.”
Firelands started as if it was going to polish off the Clippers in quick fashion. The Falcons used near-flawless play to pull away after running off five straight points in the first game to grab a 14-11 lead.
Juniors Paige O’Connell and Casey Morrissette combined for a block kill, and O’Connell came up with a solo block during the run. The Falcons increased the lead to 23-15, then staved off a brief Clearview rally spurred by two kills from Chania Sturgill that closed the margin to 24-17 before a Clippers hitting error finally ended the game.
“They played a perfect game,” Dorinski said. “They didn’t do anything wrong. Their blocking was good. Their serving was excellent. Their passing was perfect. When it comes to the second, third and fourth games, you’re looking at the same expectations and in the game of volleyball, that’s not there.”
“That is what we’re capable of,” Firelands coach Diane Price said of the Game 1 effort. “Unfortunately, we broke down again with unforced errors. I don’t think I counted but two or three unforced errors in Game 1 and then they started compiling.”
The second game was almost a carbon copy of the first only it was the Clippers behind the serving of Nerelis Belances. Firelands had worked to tie the game at 17 and briefly led 18-17 before Clearview finally pulled away with a six-point serving run from Belances.
Game 3 was all Clearview as the Clippers jumped out to a 6-0 lead. Once again, Belances’ serving was key with runs at both the start and finish. She had 15 points and five aces.
“I just had to stay focused,” Belance said. “If it wasn’t for my team, I wouldn’t be able to do it.”
In Game 4, Firelands battled from a 21-15 deficit to pull within 24-22 before Younkin put the final touch on the win with her 21st and final kill of the match.
Clearview’s Katynne Baker and Rachel Bolmeyer did a great job passing the ball to setter Sarah Ernst, who finished with 34 assists. Bohlmeyer had 13 digs and Baker finished with 11 kills.
“We need to get back on track,” Price said. “When everything falls into place we are great, but when the momentum takes us down and momentum leaves us high and dry — we’re done. Clearview didn’t let down after that first loss.”
O’Connell had 11 kills to lead Firelands, and added two solo blocks and three block assists. Morrissette finished with 25 digs and eight kills, including a pair of solo blocks. Mikayla Walborn had 15 assists while Amanda Spears had a pair of aces. Senior Maison Mastellone had eight kills.
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.