“She did a fantastic job blocking for us,” Tanzillo said of Jones.
“I’ve just been practicing trying to get my block better,” said Jones, at 5-foot-7, Clinton’s shortest starter. “I had to block to keep us in the game.”
Pleasant Valley didn’t make it easy on Clinton, though. The Spartans scored four straight to pull within 24-23, an ace from Emma Whigham giving them their final point. But a PV error gave Clinton the winning point.
Clinton raced to a 5-0 lead in Game 4 on the strength of Nelson’s serving.
“When we got that lead, it helped a lot,” said Nelson, who had her lone ace during the stretch. The Queens managed just two aces, well below their average. “Our game plan was don’t serve to Waterman (Morgan Waterman, PV’s libero). She’s a really good passer. If we served to the corners that would work because then they were out of system.”
Clinton never lost the early lead, though Pleasant Valley made several attempts to get back in it. The Queens started to pull away with four straight points for a 23-15 lead, the last coming on a kill by Wenzel after Jones made consecutive digs, the second while still on her knees from the first.
Neither team could break free in the final game. Clinton scored the first two points, but the Spartans came back to pull even at 3 and go ahead 4-3. Clinton tied it at 4-4 and 5-5, then, after the Spartans scored two in a row, the Queens scored three straight for an 8-7 lead. But, once again, PV rallied, tying it at 8-8, 9-9 and 10-10 before three straight kills by Wenzel put Clinton on the verge of winning.
But Strawser led one final push with a kill and two aces to tie it at 13 before Clinton finally pulled it out.