August 1, 2014

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High school volleyball: Clearview stands tall at top of PAC after downing Keystone in battle of division leaders

Clearview's Heather Younkin hits over Keystone's Darcy Irish on Tuesday.  STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

Clearview’s Heather Younkin hits over Keystone’s Darcy Irish on Tuesday. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

LAGRANGE — There are difference-makers and then there’s Clearview senior Heather Younkin.

All she did Tuesday was set a school hitting record with 30 kills in leading the Clippers past Keystone in a Patriot Athletic Conference match featuring the two division leaders of the league.

Clearview won 20-25, 25-20, 25-16, 25-22 to improve to 12-2 overall and a spotless 10-0 in the Stripes Division. Keystone is 11-5 and 8-2 in the Stars.

“I didn’t want to have a bad night,” Younkin said. “(Sarah Ernst) put it where the block wasn’t. She helps me out a lot. We all have our off and on days. This was a big match.”

Not only did Younkin find the open floor, she had 14 blocks and eight block kills. On defense, she had 13 digs. Ernst set a school assist record on the same night with 46.

“This is the fun part about Heather,” Clearview coach Dave Dorinski said. “She’s going to get instructions every now and then. She’s so talented. It’s nice to pull her aside and say, ‘Heather, this is what we need’ and she’ll do that.

“Every coach always wants a player like that. I went five years without one but now I’m the lucky one.”
What Clearview and Dorinski needed was Younkin to take control after Keystone won Game 1 behind two late runs of four and six points in coming from a 16-11 deficit.

“It was obvious, even with (Keystone’s) double block, Heather was jumping really high,” Dorinski said. “She was hitting the ball very well. I just said,
‘let’s feed her.’ To beat a good team, you have to exploit their weaknesses.”

Not that Keystone had many, but with Younkin dominating things from that point, the Clippers staved off a late six-point run by the Wildcats in Game 2 and pretty much controlled Game 3 before holding off another rally to in the final game to claim the victory.

“She’s a great player,” Keystone coach Bud Trego said of Younkin. “Clearview’s a great team. We just didn’t do enough of the little things to come through.”

Keystone simply couldn’t climb out of the hole in the final game. The Wildcats trailed 14-2 at one point and it appeared time to wave the white flag. However, with Younkin rotating to the back row, Keystone sliced the lead to 22-20 before a service error and hitting error gave the momentum back to the Clippers.

“We kept getting down,” Trego said. “Seemed like our focus wasn’t there. Once we got down, then we started focusing. We’d fight back but it was a little too late.”

“It was a good win,” Dorinski said. “Our timeouts included the words ‘everybody get points’. It happens every now and then. I have some very young girls in the front row. I’m running three sophomores in the front row (when Younkin moves to the back).”

Sophomore Madison Fortney had eight kills and 15 digs. She scored 17 points with an ace. Ernst had 20 points and three aces. Senior liberio Irmalys Candelario had 21 digs and senior Chania Sturgill added seven kills.

For Keystone, Emily Peters had 16 kills and Elizabeth Hayes eight. Morgan Myers had 27 digs while Brooke Trego had 31 assists. Athena Townsley had 12 service points.

Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or timothygeb@msn.com.