G ‘n A worked in concert at the net, Savannah Meyer zipped all over the back zone, and the Cleveland Clipper varsity volleyball girls swept host Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton on Tuesday.
Cheered on by a raucous crowd, underdog JWP matched the Clippers early, but the Clippers stuck to their game plan.
“When I’ve coached in this gym, their student section is loud and crazy,” said head coach Dave Nixon. “They do a great job of cheering, so I knew they would be fired up at the start. They were digging a lot of our balls, and we weren’t getting into our offense, but we just had to withstand a fast start and be patient, not try to do too much before we started to click.”
With her team down 3-0, Laci Hollerich extended for an ace block for the first Clipper point. After a Clipper hit out of bounds, Greta Hahn hooked up with Ava Hahn for a cross-the-court kill that pulled the Clippers within one, 4-3. But the Bulldogs responded with a pair of kills before Sophie Perkins delivered back-to-back ace serves to tie the game 6-6.
From there, Ava Hahn battered the JWP defense with a kill and a pair of service aces during a six-point spurt that gave the Clippers a 12-6 advantage. The Bulldogs hung around, but the Clippers never lost the lead. After Hollerich and Hahn kills down the stretch, Melia Sathoff’s kill punctuated the 25-18 victory.
Hollerich posted an ace block for the first point of game two, and, helped by the net, Greta Hahn served up an ace to follow. The Bulldogs took advantage of a serve the Clippers watched drop to the floor, a kill and a net infraction to take a 5-3 lead, but Ava Hahn tipped over an ace and followed it up with a kill during a six-point Clipper spurt for a lead they would never give up.
With a pair of Ava Hahn attacks and an ace tip off the fingers of eighth grader Anika Sathoff, the Clippers led 14-10. After an Ava Hahn-to-Greta Hahn-back-to-Ava Hahn winner, Hollerich bashed down a kill as did Melia Sathoff. The game ended 25-18 on an Anika Sathoff spike.
“Greta and Ava weren’t clicking right away,” Nixon said. “It was neither one’s fault, but sometimes you just aren’t clicking, but when you do click, you get more, and they did that. Ava had a real high efficiency in sets two and three. When those two get rolling and the rest of us are playing solid defense, and we’re getting good production from Melia on the left side and Laci on the right side, and getting some block production out of the middles, we’re really fun to watch.”
The Bulldogs were dead on arrival for game three with the Clippers taking a 6-0 lead and later going up 17-4 when Meyer assisted Ava Hahn on a kill. The Bulldogs took advantage of five Clipper miscues and a kill in a six-point run, but the game ended 25-12 when they hit into the net.
Ava Hahn led the offense with 15 kills while her sibling Greta added three kills. Melia Sathoff had 10 kills while her sister Anika had a pair of kills. Hollerich had four kills, and Jocelyn Bartell had one kill.
Greta Hahn looped 20 set assists with most going to her sister.
“Ava made me stay after the last practice, setting a bunch of balls to her until we got it down,” said the senior setter.
Meyer (above) lifted 18 digs.
“Savannah was everywhere tonight,” Nixon said. “She saved a lot of balls and did a great job. She’s fearless. I love that we have her this year and next year because she sets a good example of how to play libero, just like Emma Sweere did. And she’s a coach on the floor. Just like Greta leads our offense, Savannah leads our defense and our serve receive, and I trust she will do the right thing.”
“Their fan section was really loud. It spurred me on,” explained the junior. “I really wanted to beat them.”
Chloe Anderson scraped 10 digs as did Perkins. Melia Sathoff had seven digs. Ava Hahn had six digs and Greta Hahn had five digs.
Ava Hahn, Mya Lassiter and Anika Sathoff each put up one solo block. Hollerich had three block assists, Lassiter and Bartell each had two block assists, and Ava Hahn had one block assist.
The Clippers missed seven serves. Ava Hahn and Perkins each served two aces.
The varsity girls will return to their home court when they take on non-conference Mountain Lake on Tuesday.
Laci Hollerich spikes the ball across the net.
Chloe Anderson on the dig.
Greta Hahn winds up for a serve.
Ava Hahn watches her hit make its way to the floor.
The Clipper student section's theme wasn’t as brash as JWP’s neon, but it did add energy to the girls on the floor.