Girls on volleyball court

Above: Emma Sweere, Greta Hahn, Ava Hahn, Lexy Waldron and Harley Connor unite after winning a point. 

It will be like déjà vu all over again on Thursday when the Clipper girls head to Mankato East to take on Cedar Mountain in the subsection championship.

Last year, the Clippers beat the Cougars at East in three-straight games.

Cleveland earned the right to advance after beating Springfield 3-0 on the St. Peter High School court on Tuesday. While the Clippers never really lost control, they had trouble putting the Tigers away.

“We played hard but not real consistent,” said head coach Dave Nixon. “I feel like errors, service errors and hitting errors, prevented us from going on bigger runs.”

Later, on the same court, Cedar Mountain swept Martin County West. Their first and third games were close in that match. The second game not so much.

The Clippers and Springfield had trouble with the net early in game one. Ava Hahn strung together a couple of kills to put the Clippers within one, 4-3.

With the Clippers trailing 6-4, Greta Hahn’s pretend set fell onto the Tiger side of the floor to  start a four-point spurt. The Tigers errored twice, and Laci Hollerich slammed down a kill to put the Clippers up 8-6.

Springfield engineered a kill, but the Clippers followed with another run of four which featured a Hollerich ace tip, a Lexy Waldon ace block and a Harley Connor kill. The Clipper kept the pressure up and went in front 24-12 before the game ended 25-14 after Sarena Remiger, hitting from the right side, redirected the ball to a gap down the right line for a winner.

Game two was filled with carry and two-touch calls, and the Tigers managed to go in front by three, 10-7 before they sent a serve out of bounds. From there, Waldon ratcheted a hit to the floor and Springfield sent the ball outside the boundary to knot the game at 10.

The game see-sawed for the next 25 points with both teams having trouble at the service line. Ava Hahn’s kill put the Clippers up 23-22 before an error tied the contest.

But Greta Hahn once again tricked the Tigers on a fake set. Redirecting the ball over the net is usually a last-second decision, she said.

“If there is pressure on the hitters, I like to try to side out for us.”

The game ended 25-22 when Springfield committed a double touch.

“I think we had nine hitting errors and five serving errors, 14 errors that we want to prevent,” Nixon said. “Luckily, we were able to overcome that one in a close second set, but we didn’t finish that one. Instead of something happening out of our control, we want to get a kill or an ace or a block.”

A Greta Hahn kill was the first point of game three. After Connor sent a hit across the court, Savannah Meyer served up an ace, and Springfield’s hit went out of bounds, the Clippers led 4-0.

Springfield took advantage of a Clipper hitting error and three winners from there for a 4-4 tie, but Connor followed an ace tip with an ace serve to give the Clippers a lead they would never abandon.

Similar to game one, after an Ava Hahn attack, the Clippers were up 22-12, but Springfield put up a fight, scoring the next five points before Melia Sathoff’s kill halted the uprising. The game ended 25-18 after a Tiger hit over the boundary stripe.

“Our serve receive was off for a while,” Nixon said. “We have to continue to pass and execute. We gave them three easy balls in the run they had, but that can be prevented if we take care of the ball. That’s on us. We have to execute better down the stretch.”

The Tigers had a strong back row, but Greta Hahn agreed with her coach that the Clippers had room for improvement.

“If we could have played the rest of the games like the first game, that would have been fun.”

With a dozen winners, Ava Hahn led the attack squad. Connor had eight kills. Hollerich had four kills. Waldron, Greta Hahn and Remiger each had three kills. Sathoff had one kill.

Greta Hahn quarterbacked 25 set assists.

Meyer had 15 digs. Greta Hahn had 11 digs. Ava Hahn had 10 digs. Emma Sweere and Chloe Anderson each had five digs.

Remiger put up one solo ace block and helped with one ace block. Waldron had a pair of ace block assists. Ava Hahn, Connor and Hollerich had one ace block assist.

Meyer landed in bounds all 16 of her serves with a trio of them aces. Greta Hahn was 10 for 10 from the service line. Connor had a pair of services aces. Sathoff and Waldron each served up one ace.

While Cedar Mountain will be gunning to avenge last year’s loss to Cleveland, Nixon and company had a chance to scout Cedar Mountain after the Springfield game and said the Clippers will come ready to play.

Game time on Thursday at Mankato East is about 7:30 pm, after the Mayer Lutheran vs. Bold to decide the north subsection champion.

Savannah Meyer on the dig.

Greta Hahn sets up Sarena Remiger.

Under the watchful eye of coach Dave Nixon, Ava Hahn slaps a hit over the net.

Emma Sweere on the bump.

Laci Hollerich attacks from high.

Lexy Waldron on the attack.

Sarena Remiger battles at the top of the net.

Harley Connor on the pass.

Jersie Kelley props the ball up from the back row.

Melia Sathoff slams a hit.

It was an early Christmas in the student section.

Tom and Holly Connor got into the Christmas spirit.