Final huddle

The 2022 Clipper volleyball girls did something none of their predecessors had ever done: they both swept the Valley Conference and won the subsection.  

But while they went down swinging in the section final at St. Peter High School on Saturday, like a year ago, they couldn’t handle Mayer Lutheran’s firepower and ability to seal off the net and fell 3-0.

“We put up a fight, but they were on tonight,” said head coach Dave Nixon. “Mayer Lutheran makes a good, solid team. There are no weakness over there. When there are holes in their defense, they’re not very big holes, and it’s tough to get the ball to those holes because their block is so big. They were state champs last year for a reason, and I think they easily could be state champs this year.”

The Clippers only scored sporadically in game one and fell 25-9. Sarena Remiger’s kill was the first winner. Later she posted an ace block. Melia Sathoff’s kill was point four for the Clippers. Another Remiger hit resulted in Clipper point six, and Lexy Waldron stretched for ace block and Clipper point seven. Ava Hahn found holes down the stretch for the last two Clipper points.

“They make you uncomfortable,” Nixon said. “They serve aggressively. It doesn’t take them much to get into their offense, and they pass really well, even when we served tough. They don’t pass the ball behind the 10-foot line very often and if their setter sets inside the 10-foot line, they’re going to get a good swing.”

Game two was a different kettle of fish. After a couple of Lutheran errors, Harley Connor’s ace serve put the Clippers up 3-1, and Remiger’s attack led to a 4-4 draw.

Taking advantage of Crusader errors, the Clippers continued to hang around. Sathoff threw a kill into the mix, and Waldron put up another ace block. After another Connor ace serve, the Clippers were within two, 18-16.

Sathoff swatted down a hit, and Emma Sweere dished up an ace serve, and with a Crusader hit out of bounds, the Clippers were back within two, 22-20. But from there, they hit into the net and then beyond the boundary line, and the game ended 25-20 on a Crusader ace tip.

“We did make a run at them when we put up some aggressive serves, but they put a lot of pressure on your defense,” Nixon said. “They put a lot of pressure on your hitters to try to do something when you’re out of system. If you give something easy to them, they are hammering back at you. It puts a lot of pressure on your defense and your block to do more. We were out of system the majority of the match. Even when we did pass well enough, their block is so good.”

Mayer went up 9-2 in game three before Remiger’s hit found the floor. Later, Sathoff and Waldron spiked winners, and the Clippers were within five, 14-9, but the Crusaders scored the next five points, three on winners, before Connor’s kill put the Clippers into double digits.

Remiger went on the attack for Cleveland point 11, and Sathoff dropped down a pair of kills down the stretch before the game ended 25-16 on a Crusader kill.

So overall, Mayer Lutheran, ranked in the top five in the state, outscored the Clippers by 30 points, just one point more than in the section championship a year ago, when the Clippers game scores were 20, 17, 9.

Greta Hahn had 17 set assists. Sathoff led the hitters with half a dozen kills. Remiger had five kills. The Crusaders put the block on Ava Hahn, limiting her to two kills. Waldron had four kills. Connor had one kill.

Ava Hahn led the excavation crew with 15 digs. Sweere had nine digs. Greta Hahn had eight digs. Savannah Meyer had six digs. Connor had eight digs. Sathoff had five digs, and Chloe Anderson had four digs

Waldron extended for a pair of ace blocks. Remiger and Connor each had one ace block.

The Clippers only missed three serves. Sathoff was eight for eight from behind the service stripe. Meyer was seven for seven and Hahn was five for five. Connor sent over two ace serves while Sweere had one ace serve.

It was the last time in a Clipper uniform for seniors Connor, Remiger, Sweere, Waldron and Jersie Kelley.

Of the quintet, Sweere has spent the most time on the court as she was pulled up to varsity as a freshman.

“I’m so sad that it’s done,” said the libero, who owns the school career record in digs. “Every year, I’ve made my best friends through volleyball, every grade. It was amazing. It’s weird being done, but maybe I will play in college.”

“We lost some great seniors,” Nixon said. “We got a lot of great leadership from them. They really improved on the year, and we’re going to miss them, but we’ve got some key pieces returning, and they’ll lead us, and hopefully we’ll get back here.”

Above: Sarena Remiger, Harley Connor, Emma Sweere and Jersie Kelley in the final huddle with the section runner up trophy. 

Setter Greta Hahn swings the ball up from in front of the net.

Harley Connor finds a small opening between two Crusader blockers.

Sarena Remiger battles at the top of the net.

Emma Sweere on the dig.

Lexy Waldron bumps a set.

Melia Sathoff goes up high at the net.

Laci Hollerich swings through a hit.

Laci Hollerich and Lexy Waldron stretch for a block attempt.

Chloe Anderson on the dig.

Ava Hahn’s hit goes through Mayer Lutheran’s defense.

Sarena Remiger bumps near the net. 

Camo was the theme in the student section.

Sisters Caitlyn and Brenna McCarthy in camo.