Everything was going so well for the then-No. 1 Malcolm volleyball team last weekend.
The Clippers had slammed through pool play like any top-ranked team would, but, for the first time this season, they met their match in the championship of a tournament they were hosting.
The young Clippers were out of sorts and standout Jaela Zimmerman, one of only a few members on the team with experience, could only do so much as the upstart Lincoln Lutheran Warriors won in straight sets.
It was a humbling loss but not one that Malcolm coach Amber Dolliver will lose sleep over.
“They didn’t do anything that hurt us, what we need to do right now is just overcome our youth,” Dolliver said. “We have experience back with Jaela, obviously, but we just really need to get better at everything overall right now. With more experience, things will get better, things are just moving a bit faster than middle school for a few of our players.”
Before the loss, the Clippers had been off to dazzling start and looked more than qualified for the top ranking in a loaded Class C-1. They ran through teams on their way to a 6-0 record and had yet to drop a set going into their match with Lutheran.
“Our coaches know where the holes and what we need to fix and improve on,” Dolliver said. “We just hadn’t had many tough games coming into the tournament and we just weren’t able to see those weaknesses in our game. We know now and we’ll adjust from it.”
The lack of experience may be a theme now for Malcolm, but as the season continues and the young players on the roster start to gain some confidence, the Clippers will be a tough out come November.