Flower night in memory of Hana

Senior Carleigh Turek sets up to serve against Clarkston. Photo by W. Reardon-Price.

 By Wendi Reardon-Price

Leader Special Writer

It was a special night for Oxford Volleyball as they celebrated Flower Night in honor and memory of Hana St. Juliana, one of four students who lost their lives at the Nov. 30 school shooting, last Thursday while hosting Clarkston.

St. Juliana played on the freshman team last season and each roster shared memories from her volleyball coach Jeff Kincaid.

I spent most afternoons with Hana last August through November as her freshman volleyball coach,” Kincaid wrote. “I learned there was a lot to love with the bright young star. Her volleyball attitude was a perfect mesh with mine. She was very competitive but always kept it fun, often silly. She was a leader on the successful team. Her approach seemed to keep the team serious and focused while always keeping things fun.”

He added it was appropriate the game against Clarkston was flower night as it was one of St. Juliana’s best of the season.

I’m sure our entire freshman team probably averaged fewer than six hitting winners during a full 25-point set,” he wrote. “Hana had six attack winner in set one at Clarkston. Even with all the fun and laughter that seemed to follow Hana around, her competitiveness showed through. Hana’s freshman team was undefeated against the tough OAA league teams with 19 wins except for one loss against Troy Athens where Hana twisted her ankle and had to leave the game.

I’m hoping OHS Volleyball Flower Night can honor the wonderful spirit of Hana. As an alternative to more grieving and sadness, I think the best way to honor Hana is to enjoy life with the same spirit she had tonight enjoying the game and the teammates she loved.”

Along with flowers for people to take home, they could also take home Snowdrops and Peter Pan Crocus bulbs.

It was a super emotional night,” said Ali Smith, head coach for Clarkston Varsity Volleyball. “It was an honor that Oxford chose to include us in this. Not knowing how that was going to be emotionally for everyone was kind of a variable. We played very hard. We had an emphasis on going after and touching every ball. I think we had several plays that showcased that and really highlighted that. I was really proud of us. I was proud of our overall mental focus and overall effort.”

The varsity team lost to Clarkston, 3-0, 25-18, 25-11, 25-16.

The first set began with the Wolves taking a 4-0 lead. Oxford closed in with a block and kills from senior Rachel Townsend to tied the game 6-6. A few plays later, they took a 1-point lead, 8-7, before Clarkston went on a 8-point run to take a 15-8 lead. The Wolves took the first set, 25-18.

The next two sets Clarkston jumped to a quick lead and finished with 25-11 and 25-16.

The Wildcats (16-14-2, 3-2 OAA Red) opened the week on Tuesday, Oct. 11 against Lake Orion. They host Bloomfield Hills on Thursday.



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