For Jordyn Klingel, Cleveland 3, Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial 0 on Tuesday was an opportunity for some on-the-job training.
The 5-foot-5 sophomore, who mostly had hitting duties prior to Saturday afternoon, was thrust in to the setter position after regular setter Taylin Gosch injured an ankle during the TCU tournament.
But the match against the visiting Knights was more of refresher course for Klingel as she had teed up the B-squad hitters last season. Quickly adapting to the varsity likes of McKenna Robb, Emily Kern and Lexi Hollerich, she ended the night with 25 assists.
“I was a little nervous at first, but my team was real supportive,” Klingel said. “They let me know how high or how low to set it, and before the game they said ‘you’ve got this,’ and it made me feel like I knew I could do it.”
While Gosch, a sophomore, was on a pace to break the 1,293 career school setting record yet this season before the injury, head coach Bree Meyer also knew the Clippers could rely on Klingel.
“Taylin will be out for the rest of the season, and that’s devastating, but we have full confidence in Jordyn. She set a little bit at TCU, we got her in in the last set, and she set a little bit at Madelia. It is going to take a while, an adjustment connecting with the hitters, but it was nice we had Lake Crystal and JWP this week to get into that groove. I am proud of Jordyn and what she did today.”
The Clippers got off to a 7-2 start in set one, but the Knights went on a four-point spurt, hung with the Clippers and finally caught up at point 22 after a Cleveland serve and then an attack went out of bounds.
But Grayce Kortuem came up with an ace block, and Mya Krenik set up Robb for a cross-court kill to quickly regain a Clipper lead. Cleveland triumphed 25-22 when Klingel found some open space on a lob return.
“We were a little rocky to start off,” Meyer said, “but they have to trust they are great players and trust their training. We’re a great team, and they can figure it out and work together.”
With the Knights taking what the Clippers gave them, set 2 was similar to set 1 until the halfway point when the Clippers scored seven of eight points for a 20-11 advantage. With kills by Robb and Kern and a pair of Kern service aces the Clippers triumphed 25-12.
“Once we won the first game, we weren’t as nervous for the second game,” Klingel said.
Like set 1, set 3 started with a LCWM kill out of bounds. It ended like set 2: with a Kern service ace for a 25-14 win.
Robb had 22 kills and 11 digs in the outing while Kern had six kills, six blocks, eight digs and four ace serves. Hollerich scooped 14 digs. Emma Sweere had eight digs. Kortuem had two ace blocks and one kill.
The Knights fall to 2-4 in the Valley Conference. The Clippers, who are leading the Conference at 7-0, will take on host JWP (3-4 in the Valley) on Thursday.