The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

High School Sports

October 31, 2012

Clinton volleyball season ends in agony

Bulldogs win regional with 5-set victory

DAVENPORT — As the volleyball fell to the court, Alyssa Wing did the same. There was no mistaking the feeling.

She dropped to her knees in emotional agony.

“It was heartbreaking,” said Wing, the Clinton outside hitter who became the school’s all-time leader in kills in her senior season. “I don’t even know what’s going through my mind.”

Several feet away, Erin Wenzel sprawled on the court where she had tried to reach the ball, her hands covering her eyes. A few feet beyond her, on the other side of the net in stark contrast, Bettendorf players mobbed each other in celebration.

After five emotionally and physically draining games, the seventh-ranked Bulldogs (20-11) had prevailed 25-20, 25-18, 23-25, 22-25, 15-11. They were headed to the Class 5A state tournament; the sixth-ranked River Queens (21-10) weren’t.

“I can look back and say we did our best,” Clinton senior middle Marquel Schultheis said. “There was not a ball that wasn’t dove after. You could tell the heart of both teams. It came out in the end that the team that made fewer errors won.”

That didn’t lessen the pain.

“We didn’t want to let them have it again,” said senior Devin Matheny, referring to a five-set loss to Bettendorf in last year’s regional semifinal. “It was our turn.

“It’s really tough. It’s my last game, my last season, my last year.”

Bettendorf earned its trip to the state meet by pulling out a hard-fought fifth game that saw players diving all over the court to keep the ball in play.

“I just think we did not come this far to lose in Game 5,” Bettendorf junior Anna Willey said.

Especially since Clinton had beaten Bettendorf in a five-set match in conference play.

“I feel that helped us,” Willey said. “It gave us a ton of motivation to beat them when it counts the most.”

The fifth set swayed back and forth, with Clinton holding leads at 1-0, 4-3 and 5-4 and Bettendorf going ahead at 2-1, 3-2, 6-5, 7-6, 8-7 and 9-8. The Bulldogs finally went ahead to stay at 10-9 on a kill by Willey from the left side.

“We needed to squeeze a couple of points out of the middle of the fifth game,” Clinton coach Mark Massey said.

Shelby Brandt delivered Bettendorf’s final ace of the night on the following serve to make it 11-9. A kill by Wing pulled Clinton within 11-10, and the teams traded the next two points before Bettendorf scored the final three, finishing it with a push over the net that fell to the floor just out of Clinton’s reach.

It gave the Bulldogs a first-round match against third-ranked Dubuque Hempstead on Wednesday.

“It’s been a goal since the beginning of the season,” Bettendorf’s Anna Willey said. “We haven’t gone since 2008.”

Willey, a junior, played a key role in the win. She finished with 12 kills, 26 assists, two aces, seven blocks and 14 digs. But more important, she was an integral part of Bettendorf’s focus to make things difficult for Wing. Often, the Bulldogs served and hit to the Nevada-Las Vegas recruit to keep her from getting in the offensive flow. When Wing had the opportunity to get to the net, Bettendorf had its block set up for her.

“We would serve to her a lot to take her out of her process to swing, and I’d try to line up with her to take away the line or her angle,” Willey said. “She’s a great player.”

Even great players can get frustrated, though, and Wing said it was a frustrating start for her.

“Apparently, I’m a threat,” she said. “They had a really good block on me. I’m not used to getting blocked that much. Finally, I found a way in Game 3 to get around it.”

The Bulldogs never trailed in the first game, scoring the first three points with freshman Megan Sharkey serving. The second point came on the first of 17 ace serves for Bettendorf.

Wing’s first kill of the game cut the gap to 5-4, but she followed with a serve into the net that started a four-point run for the Bulldogs. Danielle Pennington added one of her 19 kills for the next point, an ace by Willey made it 8-5 and a block finished the run.

Clinton eventually pulled within 17-16 on a kill by Wenzel, who finished with 16, but Caitlin Wernentin, who led all players with 26 kills, got one to start a three-point run that helped finish off the victory.

The River Queens showed a spark to start Game 2, with Wenzel serving the three straight points, the last an ace. But Bettendorf scored seven of the next nine points. Clinton pulled even at 8-8 on a hitting error by Wernentin, but she smacked a kill off the Clinton block on the next point to give Bettendorf a lead it didn’t lose.

On the verge of a three-game sweep, the River Queens dug deep and started a comeback in Game 3.

“I think we realized if we lose the next game, we’re done for good,” Wing said. “We didn’t want to let the fans down.”

A large Clinton contingent certainly supplied energy to the team.

“They definitely helped in games 3 and 4,” Wing said. “That’s the loudest crowd I’ve ever heard. They pumped us up. They’re an amazing fan group.”

Massey also gave his hitters some advice heading into the game.

“I told Alyssa and Erin that this isn’t chess, don’t go out and out-think themselves, play your game,” he said.

The comeback began after Bettendorf scored the first two points. But Bettendorf committed errors on the next three points, then Monique Harris scored off a pass from Wing for a 4-2 lead. Moments later, Harris capped a five-point run with three consecutive ace serves to put Clinton ahead 9-4.

The Queens maintained a comfortable lead until late, when a four-point run pulled the Bulldogs within 20-18. A kill by Wenzel ended the surge, and she added two more after Bettendorf closed within a point, and Clinton held on.

Clinton kept the momentum going in the fourth game that featured four Clinton leads and four ties until Bettendorf took its first lead at 12-11 on a back-row kill by Wernentin that capped a four-point run.

The Queens finally took control with a six-point run, going ahead 15-14 on a kill by Wenzel and upping the lead to 18-14 on an ace serve by Wing. Bettendorf was called for an illegal alignment on that ball, though, which started a long discussion between the officials and Bettendorf coach Diane Lichtenberg to sort out the matter. After about 10 minutes the Queens were awarded a penalty point, and even though they went on to win the game, they might have lost some of their momentum during the break.

“We had the momentum, serving, up four points,” Wing said. “All of a sudden we stop for 10 minutes. It was frustrating, just let us play.”

But she said she didn’t think that carried over to the fifth game. Neither did Willey.

“They totally had momentum going,” she said. “We wanted it a lot. We didn’t give up. We fought through every ball.”

And in the end, that was the difference.

BETTENDORF 25-25-23-22-15,

CLINTON 29-18-25-25-11

Statistical leaders

Kills — Clinton 62 (Alyssa Wing 24, Erin Wenzel 16, Elle Tubbs 8, Marquel Schultheis 7, Monique Harris 6); Bettendorf 69 (Caitlin Wernentin 26, Danielle Pennington 19, Anna Willey 12). Assists — Clinton 52 (Harris 52); Bettendorf 65 (Megan Sharkey 33, Willey 26). Ace serves — Clinton 10 (Harris 5, Wenzel 3, Wing 2); Bettendorf 17 (Erin Levsen 5, Shelby Brandt 3, Sharkey 3, Pennington 3). Blocks — Clinton 8 (Tubbs 3, Harris 2); Bettendorf 18 (Willey 7, Tessa Henderson 6, Hannah Matt 3). Digs — Clinton 105 (Wing 20, Harris 19, Gabby Haan 15, Schultheis 12, Shannon Shovlain 10, Hannah Dehner 10); Bettendorf 75 (Brandt 27, Willey 14. Wernentin 9, Sharkey 9, Pennington 9).

1
Text Only
High School Sports
  • Interest in Ernst rises as his game does, too

    Brady Ernst is having a summer to remember.
    The rising River King senior is spending the summer playing for the Iowa Barnstormers traveling basketball team. This weekend they're playing in the Fab48 tournament in Las Vegas.

    July 26, 2014

  • Jones leaves UNO program

    Jalen Jones is done with basketball — for now, anyway.
    The 6-foot-5 Clinton High grad who had committed to play for Nebraska-Omaha, has left the program, and according to his Facebook page, has enrolled at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids.
    The enrollment office at the community college confirmed that Jones was registered for classes this fall at Kirkwood. Kirkwood coach Bryan Petersen, a Clinton High graduate, declined to comment and gave no indication that Jones would play basketball for the Eagles this winter.
    "College basketball isn't for everybody," Clinton coach Nick Lawrence said. "A little time away might do him some good."
    Jones came home to Clinton after spending just a few days with the Mavericks, and enrolled to Kirkwood shortly thereafter.
    Jones, the Herald's Player of the Year, averaged 19 points a game for the River Kings in his senior season and finished with the second-most rebounds with 160.
    He shot 41 percent on the floor and 28 percent from 3-point territory. He committed to Omaha before last season started in October.

    July 26, 2014

  • 7-25-14 Football field Football facility receives makeover CAMANCHE — Camanche School District administrators expect updates to the high school football facility to be completed next week.Camanche Superintendent Tom Parker said crews have worked to make sure everything is complete before next week’s Clinton

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-25-14 1B-Photo, Clinton track Clinton king of Brady DAVENPORT — It might not have been the blue oval, but Clinton track can place its mark at the top of the hill.The quartet of Barrion Collins, Marquis Robinson, Quavon Jones and Deshond Robinson won the high school boys division of the Battle Up Brady

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-24-14 1B-Photo, Choice 2 Cinderella run ends DUBUQUE — The playoff run was fun while it lasted. Dubuque Hempstead, the No. 1-ranked baseball team in Class 4A entering Wednesday, ended Clinton’s chances at back-to-back appearances in the state tournament in Des Moines. The Mustangs knocked out t

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • 7-23-14 3B-Photo, Clinton baseball Kings feel re-energized (with VIDEOS & PHOTO ALBUM)

    CLINTON -- There’s nothing like a postseason run to get the juices flowing again and jumpstart a baseball season that at times was trying.The atmosphere around the Clinton High School program is upbeat these days. One game away from a second consecut

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • AGWSR silences Marquette Catholic FORT DODGE — AGWSR of Ackley pitcher Ashley Sicard can add another win to her state tournament resume.AGWSR defeated Marquette Catholic (34-7) 2-0 with both runs coming in the third inning for the Cougars (28-6).In that third inning, the leadoff hitt

    July 23, 2014

  • Trio of Queens earn honors ELDRIDGE -- Three members of the Clinton High softball team were named to the All-Mississippi Athletic Conference honorable mention squad Monday.Junior Cara Brewer and sophomores Sydney Davis and Jenna Stremlow received the honors.Brewer, a catcher-t

    July 22, 2014

  • Assumption spoils Sabers' strong start MAQUOKETA—Things fell apart quickly for the Central DeWitt Sabers on Monday night, as they fell 5-4 to the Davenport Assumption Knights in the Iowa Class 3A District 7 baseball final, ending their 2014 season.The Sabers (21-19-1) had complete control

    July 22, 2014

  • 7-23-14 1B-Photo, Clinton baseball A rally fit for Kings (with VIDEO)

    ELDRIDGE — It would have been easy for Clinton sophomore Nick Houzenga to be discouraged as he took the mound in the bottom of the first inning of the River Kings’ Class 4A substate semifinal against North Scott.After all, the Lancers had already bui

    July 22, 2014 4 Photos

Sports Updates
Facebook