SHEFFIELD TWP. — Now that’s how you finish off a championship.
Clearview already had a share of the Patriot Athletic Conference Stripes Division volleyball championship, but the Clippers wanted the title all to itself, only to trail Lutheran West 13-10 in a fifth and deciding game Monday night.
“I just wanted the ball and I wanted to do my job as captain of the team,” Clearview’s all-time kills leader Heather Younkin said. “I know what we’re capable of and I wanted to take over to win this match.”
Youkin did just that with three straight kills to carry the Clippers to a 25-16, 26-24, 15-25, 20-25, 15-13 victory over the Longhorns and the outright division title.
The win gave the Clippers (16-4, 13-1) their fourth straight Stripes Division title.
“We wanted this fourth conference championship, it’s really a good feeling,” said Clippers senior setter Saran Ernst, who last week became the school’s all-time assists leader. “We just needed to get back to talking to each other and finding the energy to push through after losing those two games.”
Clearview had plenty of energy in winning the first two games. Younkin was able to get plenty of swings going in the two wins with nine of her 19 kills setting up a chance at a three-game sweep.
Not that Lutheran West wasn’t putting up a fight. The Longhorns led 24-23 in Game 2 before a setting error and a pair of hitting errors derailed their chances.
But the ’Horns had the momentum despite the loss and won the next two games to set up a deciding fifth game.
Lutheran West began dominating at the net as Anne Kennedy (five kills), Emile Hausmann (seven kills, two blocks) and Gabby Schultz (five kills, six blocks) took over against a Clearview team that was having trouble with serve-reception and rarely got into its system.
Despite their troubles in the fourth game, the Clippers led 19-16, but Schultz gave the Longhorns four straight points with blocks. A Clippers serving error gave the Longhorns the game.
“I was really proud of the way we came back and built momentum after losing those first two games,” Hausmann said. “We have trouble starting games and you could see us building up to the wins in the third and fourth games.”
The Longhorns’ momentum carried right over as they jumped out to a 4-1 lead behind two aces from junior Callie Grenig.
The Clippers, who had looked confused at the start of Game 5, battled back to tie the score at 10 as Younkin picked up a solo block and paired up with Madison Fortune for another. But a hitting error and kills by Kennedy and Hausmann gave the Longhorns a 13-10 lead.
Clearview called time out and it must have helped because Lutheran West didn’t score another point.
The Clippers, however, picked up one on a hitting error, three on Younkin kills and the match-clincher on a Fortune ace.
“They (Longhorns) really came to play and I expected nothing less from a team coached by Stephanie Rivera,” Clearview coach David Dorinski said. “She made some adjustments and stopped their unforced errors.
“Our passing went awry and they kept us out of our system and kept us from getting the ball to Heather. Luckily in that fifth game — it helps when it’s only 15 points — we had the right people at the net.”
“There are very few kids in the state of Ohio that can say they won four championships. It’s hard enough to even play as a freshman and win every year. This is a really special group of seniors.”
Contact James Brady at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
HITTING: (LW) Emile Hausmann 18 kills, Gabby Schultz 8 kills, Anne Kennedy 8 kills; (C) Heather Younkin 19 kills, Jackie Kokinda 8 kills, Madison Fortune 6 kills.
SETTING: (LW) Abby DeSimpelare 49 assists; (C) Sarah Ernst 108 of 110, 35 assists.
SERVING: (LW) Margaux Thompson 13 points, Callie Grenig 9 points; (C) Ernst 11 points, Younkin 10 points, Madison Fortney 10 points.
DIGS: (LW) Lexi Rivera 17; (C) Ernst 16, Fortney 15.
BLOCKS: (LW) Schultz 7; (C) Younkin 15 (7 kills).