Instead, the Queens finished it, scoring three of the match’s final points, with kills by Erin Wenzel (27 kills) putting Clinton ahead 14-13 and 15-14, and sophomore Elle Tubbs (19 kills) delivering the clincher and triggering an on-court celebration
“Exuberation would be the word,” Tanzillo said, describing her feelings as Clinton scored the final point.
Another apt word would be relief since the Spartans appeared to reclaim the edge when back-to-back aces by Sydney Strawser, who finished with seven to go along with a team-high 25 kills, capped a three-point run and tied the fifth set at 13-13 after Clinton had run off three straight.
“We just had to stay focused and not let those two plays determine the whole match,” Harris said.
The entire comeback required that same determination.
“Down 2-0, it’s, ‘Oh, my God,’ “ Dehner said of her thoughts heading into Game 3. “I think the biggest thing was communication, energy and focus.”
“We just knew we could play our game, and if we did, we could beat them,” Jones said.
Harris (53 assists), who became Clinton’s all-time leader in assists (2,348) late in the fourth set or in the fifth, said “passion and fire” keyed the turnaround.
Much of that came from the team’s more unheralded players.
Jones recorded four blocks and 15 digs; Jordan Nelson also had 15 digs and served several key points; Dehner and McKenzie Petersen added key blocks and kills in the middle; and Shannon Shovlain recorded key kills.
“They stepped up,” Harris said. “They knew we needed them. We couldn’t do it without them.”
Jones recorded three blocks in the third game and Dehner two, including one that got Clinton a point back right away after the disputed call. Moments later, Clinton scored four straight points for a 24-19 lead when sophomore middle blocker Petersen joined Jones for a block and then capped the run with a kill.