Head coach Bree Meyer is asking around, even going back to Nancy Hanson, who coached the volleyball teams of the late ‘70s, trying to determine if the Clippers were ever before volleyball conference champions.
“It would be back a ways, but it might never have happened,” Meyer said.
But with a 3-0 win at Janesville Thursday, the Clippers sewed up the Valley. They face 5-2 Nicollet on Tuesday. Unlike with Valley softball, the head-to-head outcome determines if there is a sole conference champion, and the Clippers already beat Alden-Conger, which will likely end up 8-1.
“It’s always been my goal to win the conference,” said McKenna Robb, who ended the night with a dozen kills and 14 digs. “Since it is my senior year, it is so much bigger than that, and I think it’s going to give us so much more confidence going into playoffs.”
With all their points on Clipper errors, the Bulldogs led 5-4 early in set 1, but the Clippers scored the next six points, three of them delivered by Robb from the service line.
The Bulldogs, doing a good job of resurrecting Clipper hits, hung around and scored three points down the stretch. As sitting around a campfire, the Clippers let a few lobs drop during the set, but Emily Kern’s tip won it 25-18.
Set 2 was similar with the 25-17 final coming after Robb’s tip fell to the center of the floor. With a JWP hit out of bounds, set 3 started just like set 1. It ended 25-10 after a pair of Robb kills and an out-of-bounds return.
“McKenna came in focused, even with homecoming and everything that’s going on,” Meyer said. “She brought the team together.”
Kern swatted seven kills. Jordyn Klingel, in her second game starting as varsity setter, handed off 17 assists.
“Jordyn has been amazing as adapting,” Robb said. “She has given big shoes to fill but she has the confidence for it, but I tell her ‘you’ve set for how many years?…you don’’t need to worry about it…that’s our job as hitters to adjust to your set, so you don’t need to worry about having a perfect set each time.’ Volleyball is about adjusting to your teammates, and I think the more we trust her, and the more she trusts us, that’s just going to take us further.”
The Clippers missed only three serves. Robb was 11 for 11 with four aces. Mya Krenik was 9 for 9 from the service line while Hollerich was 8/8. Krenik exhumed 10 digs. Lexi Hollerich scooped 14 digs. Brianna Connor had two kills off the bench. Grayce Kortuem had one kill and five ace blocks.
Emma Sweere, who alternates between libero with Mazie Anderson, elevated eight digs. Although just a freshman, Sweere said that her upperclassman have taken her in.
“McKenna and Lexi have been really supportive. They give me pointers, and if I’m down, they’re the ones who cheer me up.”
Meyer said Sweere’s hard work earned her spot as a varsity starter, a big leap from being a C-squad player last year.
“She practiced with us this summer. She really has a great work ethic. She has been a clutch server, and as an ninth grader that’s huge. I think next year she’s going to come out even stronger and lead our back row.”
The Clippers travel to Sibley East on Monday before they take on the Raiders in a Dig’N Pink Night, a fundraiser to fight breast cancer.