A promising start to the 2011 volleyball season took a detour for Clinton High on Tuesday when the River Queens were unable to finish off Davenport Assumption, then watched as the Knights rallied to win the final three games for a five-set win.
Assumption came away with a 22-25, 21-25, 25-20, 25-21, 15-8 victory in the season and Mississippi Athletic Conference opener in a match that was moved to St. Ambrose University’s Lee Lohman Arena because of unfinished refurbishing of Assumption’s gym.
“It is (disappointing),” Clinton coach Mark Massey said of the setback. “I thought we had chances, but I’ve got to believe that’s one of Assumption’s bigger wins to start a season and maybe one of the bigger wins in Assumption history.
“We have lot of young kids out there. I still like our team. Even our veterans are young kids. The MAC is always a tough race. In college football they talk about a trap game, and I thought that’s how this was for us.”
The MAC has changed its schedule this season so teams play just one conference meet a week and stays away from Thursday matches, but that meant the season began with a full conference slate Tuesday night.
“We’ve always played a tournament before our first conference match,” Massey said. “I think the home team has a pretty decent advantage with the first match at home. The good news is we played pretty tough volleyball against them.”
The River Queens simply were unable to close out the win.
“The crazy thing is that until the middle of Game 4, I felt we were pretty solidly in control. We were probably down around 6-14 in Game 1 and came back and won. I’m not sure how big we were down in Game 2, but we were down in that one, too, and came through. Game 3 was close until the middle.
“Game 4 is the one that really gave them momentum. We had leads of 5-2, 7-4, 8-6, 10-9 and maybe 12-9, and I thought we were one rotation, one lucky break from breaking it open.
“In Game 1 we had a big run on Alyssa Wing’s serve, but the rest of the night we struggled to get a run of two or a run of three.”
Massey praised Assumption libero Lexi Flynn for leading her team.
“She had an incredible night,” he said. “I don’t think there are too many times you say a libero was the star of the game for a winning team, but in my opinion she was.”
Flynn led all players with 28 digs.
Alyssa Wing led Clinton with 25 kills, while Monique Harris had team-highs of 23 digs and 42 assists. Erin Wenzel had five blocks, and she and Harris each delivered three ace serves.
DAVENPORT ASSUMPTION 22-21-25-25-15, CLINTON 25-25-20-21-8
Kills — Clinton, Alyssa Wing 25, Marquel Schultheis 8, Erin Wenzel 7; Assumption, Danielle Cabel 24, Katherine Huiskamp 17.
Assists — Clinton, Monique Harris 42; Assumption, Kate Fennelly 32.
Digs — Clinton, Harris 23, Wing 20, Kylie Sterk 15, Paige Barsema 14; Assumption, Lexi Flynn 28, Cabel 13.
Blocks — Clinton, Wenzel 5, Schultheis 3, Harris 3, Wing 3; Assumption, Cabel 4, Huiskamp 2.
Aces — Clinton, Wenzel 3, Harris 3; Assumption, Cabel 3, Huiskamp 2.
Junior varsity — Assumption won 25-23, 21-18. Sophomores — Assumption won 2-0.