Clyde was three points away from a victory over Edison in the Sandusky Bay Conference this week before suffering a setback.
The experience re-enforced the importance of every point. The Fliers demonstrated they took the lesson to heart Thursday with a 25-9, 25-10, 25-17 victory over Port Clinton in the conference.
“My girls were focused,” Clyde coach Betty Hasselbach said. “They wanted to go out and show they’ve got life. They had a tough loss to Edison letting it get away. They ran some plays I was happy with and it was a team effort.”
Bre Michaels needed no reminder that every point counts as she can often be found sacrificing her body to make plays on the court. But it was still impressive that Michaels had her third pancake dig in two matches Thursday.
“I love pancaking,” Michaels said. “It’s one of my favorite things. It gets the girls excited. You think it’s going to drop and it goes up. We have a chance for a point when they thought we wouldn’t.”
A pancake dig comes when a defender is able to narrowly slide her hand flat on the court under the ball to prevent a point for the other team. Michaels said the key to defense is an ability to read opposing attackers. Hasselbach said Michaels thrives on speed and a low stance.
“She’s so quick, she can get those balls,” said Hasselbach, who tries to occasionally provide the batter for pancake opportunities during practice. “We all get excited when that happens. Sometimes that’s the only thing you can do. You slo-mo it on tape and the girls enjoy it.”
Jenna Hoppe and Cassi Cronin also are capable of executing pancakes.
“The girls work hard on defense,” Hasselbach said. “We want to be anywhere from 98-100 on serve receive. That’s a key to the game. If you don’t receive you won’t do anything else.”
Hasselbach has been impressed with newcomer Jacey Groover.
“We knew she had a decent hit, but she’s a freshman,” she said. “She’s come through. She fits in great and her blocking and hitting have picked up. She’s working to get better.”
The Fliers (9-2, 6-1) work to play a consistent game rather than getting up or down for an opponent based on their caliber of execution.
“No matter who we play, we go in respecting the other team,” Hasselbach said.
“I want my girls to play the game they should be playing. We expect to play our best game and we have to have that minsdet.
“That’s been a key to our success.”
Clyde’s girls kept level heads after the loss to Edison, and Hasselbach was able to get a few girls some experience Thursday.
“We kept going hard,” Michaels said. “We worked as a team. We know every point counts. We only needed three more to win the match and (the Chargers) extended it. It was a reminder every point counts. Up or down — go for everything.”
There are defensive specialists. And then there are defensive spatulas like Michaels.