Parke Heritage outside hitter Atlantis Clendenin is having fun.
And why shouldn’t she be? The Wolves won the battle of Wabash River Conference volleyball unbeaten teams with a 3-0 win at South Vermillion on Tuesday and her Wolves reached their ninth overall win in just 11 matches.
Clendenin herself is one of the most fearsome hitters in the Wabash Valley and she is committed to play volleyball at IUPUI.
Sounds like fun to me. Clendenin and her Wolves teammates are trying to add to their fun by adding a Wabash River Conference title, a goal that became closer with the sweep of the Wildcats.
“We go into the gym everyday that this might be our last practice or that this might be our last game. Our effort is astronomical. No one wants to be done. We have something to prove. The effort is there because everyone knows this is our year and we can do this,” Clendenin said.
Clendenin had 29 kills in the win on Tuesday, including 11 in the first set. She also had three aces from a lethal jump serve. Clendenin has supreme confidence in her hitting right now.
“I’ve become more confident. Going to play at the next level? I feel like there’s no pressure. This is my game. This is what I love to do. It’s all fun,” Clendenin said.
South Vermillion (7-6, 2-1) did their best against the Wolves. Clendenin was always the presence in the background waiting to serve up a bullet hit, but Parke Heritage has more to contend with than just Clendenin.
Libero Madison Millspaugh anchors the back line well. Jenna Brown is a good hitter herself and Jillian Gregg and Grace Ramsay form a solid defensive wall at the net. The combination of all of the above proved too much for the Wildcats.
South Vermillion hung in there, however a 6-0 run by Parke Heritage in the first set, with Clendenin serving, fueled an early Wolves run. The Wildcats would be as close as 16-11 before they succumbed to the Wolves 25-15.
The play of the match occurred in the second point of the second set. South Vermillion appeared to have Parke Heritage in trouble as a hit ricocheted off of a Wolves defender towards the back wall of the South Vermillion gym.
Millspaugh retrieved it, one-armed no less, and managed to flick it to Clendenin, who cleared the net about 30 yards off the net. After the rally was kept alive, Clendenin later finished it with another kill. The Wolves would go on to win the set 25-14.
The Wolves (9-2, 5-0) controlled the third set, taking a 7-1 lead on their way to a 25-15 victory.
“The challenge is when you have girls who are still figuring each other out? The chemistry seems to be different and that’s what we talk about at just about every timeout we called tonight,” South Vermillion coach Alison Cottrell said.
“We talked at the end of the game how we have to come out and play at a higher level every time we come out on the floor,” Cottrell said.
Parke Heritage co-coach Samantha Gregg was pleased.
“A lot of teamwork went on. There was a lot of movement. A lot of talking. It was just a team effort,” Gregg said.
As for winning the WRC? That’s very much within the grasp of Parke Heritage. Covington had won six WRC titles in a row entering the season, but the Wolves have already beaten the Trojans. The WRC is theirs to lose.
“Racking up the WRC wins? That’s huge. Covington hasn’t lost it in [six] years, so the fact that we’re racking them up is amazing,” Clendenin said.