Although the Clipper varsity girls didn’t play their best against Mountain Lake on Tuesday, flubbing some easy returns, they got the job done and then went on to also down host Madelia 3-0 on Thursday.
“At times we looked really good and at times we looked…not very good,” said head coach Dave Nixon. “There were points here and there where we just looked uncomfortable. We had trouble getting going at times.”
With kills off the arms off middles Sophie Perkins and Jocelyn Bartell and outside hitters Ava Hahn and Laci Hollerich along with a Perkins ace serve and a Hahn-Bartell ace block, the Clippers won a dozen of the first 16 points in game one to make an early statement.
Greta Hahn pushed over a pair of aces, and Melia Sathoff swung at the net for a winner and followed it up with an ace block to extend the Clipper advantage to 22-5.
The Wolverines managed the next five points, but Greta Hahn two-handed over another ace, Hollerich made a nice save on the edge to help the Clippers win the next point, and the game ended 25-9 when Greta Hahn served up an ace.
As is typical, game two was a tighter affair, but the Clippers took a 4-3 lead on a Sathoff tip and never were down from there. With an Ava Hahn kill and then a roll for a point, the Clipper led 8-4. The Wolverines pulled within one, 13-12 on a kill, but Sathoff laid down a kill that was the start of a four-point Clipper spurt.
Not a team that tosses in the towel, the Wolverines scored five of the next six points to narrow their deficit to one, 18-17, but Perkins and Hollerich went on the attack to give the Clippers some breathing room. With a Hollerich ace serve, a Maya Lassiter kill and then another Hollerich ace serve, the Clippers won 25-18.
Nixon said he wanted his Clippers to play the Wolverines more consistently than they did on the road a year ago, when the Clippers, executing well, were up 2-0, but Mountain Lake won the third set. In the fourth set, the Clippers had a lead, but Mountain Lake came back, and the game went back and forth before the Clippers managed the win.
“We wanted to make sure we finished this match strong because last year, they didn’t go away, and they almost forced a fifth set. It was back and forth at the end, so we won not playing well, and this year we wanted to play them much better.”
A Sathoff kill was the first point of game one. Mountain Lake scored the next three points but petered out from there. After an Ava Hahn kill, Hollerich unleashed a winner to deadlock the game 3-3 before Ava Hahn lasered another kill, this one registering about a 7 on the Richter scale.
Anika Sathoff’s hit was the next Clipper winner, and the Clippers lead 14-6 when her sister hit into an open slot of gym floor. Ava Hahn and Hollerich each hit for a couple of kills down the stretch, and Chole Anderson dished an ace from the serve line before the game ended 25-11 on an Anika Sathoff strike.
“We went on a huge run, which was nice, because we got some other girls in,” Nixon said. “It was a good team win. I’m proud of how we finished.”
Melia Sathoff led hitters with a dozen kills. Ava Hahn had 11 kills.
“Ava and Melia struggled at times but still were productive,” Nixon said. “We just have to figure out how to eliminate some of those errors, but overall, we kept our errors down. We only had nine hitting errors.”
Hollerich had six kills, Perkins hit four kills, Greta Hahn had three kills, Maya Lassiter and Anika Sathoff each had two kills, and Bartell had one kill. Greta Hahn tossed 29 set assists.
Ava Hahn excavated 10 digs while her older sib pulled up seven. Hollerich hoisted six digs, and Perkins scooped five digs. Savannah Meyer had five digs. Mariah McCabe had four digs, Anderson had three digs, Lacey McCabe had two digs, Anika Sathoff had one dig.
Anika Sathoff had one solo block while Ava Han and Jocelyn Bartell each had one block assist.
Meyer was 14 for 14 from the service line. Ava Hahn was eight for eight, Perkins was seven for seven, and Anika Sathoff was five for five. Melia Sathoff and Hollerich each served a pair of aces. Ava Hahn, Greta Hahn, Anderson, Perkins and Delaney Thompson each dispatched an ace.
In their first conference match of the year, at Madelia on Thursday, the Clippers won 25-20, 25-14 and 25-19.
Madelia has a strong setter and a strong middle,” Nixon said. “They are much better than they’ve been. They were competitive last year, and they were competitive this year, so we had to play well.”
Ava Hahn: 15 kills with an efficiency of 0.300. She also put up a pair of set assists, scraped 10 digs and was nine for 11 in serving with one ace.
Greta Hahn hit for five kills and an efficiency of 0.357. She set up 31 points, pulled up 10 digs, assisted on one block and was 11 of 13 from the service line with three aces.
Hollerich decked seven kills, had four digs, two block assists and was nine for nine in serving with a pair of aces.
Meyer raised a dozen digs, boosted three set assists and safely landed all nine of her serves.
Melia Sathoff had seven kills and four digs and was four for four from the service line.
Perkins had three kills for an efficiency of 0.286. She completed one set assist, two digs and one block assist and was 13 for 13 in serving with one ace.
Anderson had one set assist, five digs and was perfect in her nine serves. Bartell extended for a pair of block assists. Lassiter had one kill. Anika Sathoff had one kill and one dig. Mariah McCabe had one set assists and five digs. Thompson had two digs and was five for five in serving.
The Clippers won the Waterville tournament on Saturday (see separate story).
Above: Greta Hahn wasn’t taller than the defender she faced, but she won this battle at the net for a point.
Libero Savannah Meyer pulls up a Mountain Lake serve receive
Sophie Perkins and Melia Sathoff reach to block a Mountain Lake hit.
Greta Hahn leans forward to bring up a Mountain Lake hit.
Ava Hahn hammers a spike.
Melia Sathoff watches her hit clear the fence.
It was RWB day in the student section at the Mountain Lake game.
Nathan Strobel was the standard bearer.