Volleyball: Clintonville drops NEC road match to Oconto Falls

Truckers unable to finish off first set
Morgan Rode
Sports Editor

OCONTO FALLS — The Clintonville High School volleyball team could not finish off Oconto Falls in the first set and were unable to bounce back in an eventual North Eastern Conference setback on Thursday.

Oconto Falls won in three sets by scores of 26-24, 25-13, 25-17.

Clintonville jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first set before Oconto Falls responded with the next three points to tie the set. The Truckers surged back ahead and stayed ahead until the final points of the set.

The visitors led 23-19 and looked to be on their way to winning the first set, but the Panthers took seven of the next eight points to steal the first set.

“We came out very strong. Our first game was just like I knew our girls could play,” said Clintonville coach Stephanie Pinno. “We just couldn’t finish it, and then I think after that, it was just a little downhill. We got down on ourselves, weren’t talking well to each other. We just have to remember that we are a team and are in this together.”

Oconto Falls carried the momentum into the second set, taking a quick 5-0 lead. Clintonville battled behind sophomore Josie Colla and senior Lindsy Carpenter, but was never able to overcome the deficit.

Clintonville got back into a groove in the third set, taking a 10-6 lead after a pair of tip kills. An attack error out of a timeout allowed Oconto Falls to close to within three points, and the Panthers took control after that.

The hosts finished the game on a 19-7 run to finish off the sweep.

Despite the loss, Pinno was pleased with the way the Truckers played and hopes they can take away positives from the setback.

Colla led Clintonville with eight attack kills and also had four digs.

“I feel like our mindset was kind of off today. We just didn’t communicate like we usually do and I think that really hurt us,” said Colla on the loss. “Especially in the second set where we started off bad, we just kind of went downhill even though we were still in the game. And then we could have won that last (set) and then there would have been two more after that that I think we totally could have won.”

Senior Emma Zwirschitz had five attack kills, while junior Autumn Steede had four kills and added eight digs.

Carpenter and fellow senior McKinzie Fields each had two kills. Carpenter also posted a team-leading 18 assists, served two aces and had eight digs.

The Truckers fell to 2-6 on the season. The team will look to bounce back in its home opener against Waupaca on Thursday.