Trojans sweep Cardinals
LUVERNE -- Ahead of Worthington, 17-16, in the first game, the Luverne Cardinals volleyball team looked poised to win the first game in its Southwest Conference opener.
"In the first game, we came out strong," Luverne head coach Kristin Schomacker said. "We did the little things right, our passing was right on target, and our hitting was solid."
However, the Trojans would not be denied their first conference victory, as they went on a 9-1 run to win the first game 25-18 en route to a 3-0 sweep Thursday night.
"We stopped playing at about 18 points, and that was the end of that," Schomacker said. "We were right in it until 18, and Worthington pushed, and we kind of fell apart."
For Worthington head coach Jen Clark, it was just good to get that first conference victory.
"It was not our best, but it was good to get that first conference win," Clark said. "So we're excited and feel good about that."
Worthington (1-0 conference, 3-4 overall) won the second game 25-18 and finished the sweep with a 25-12 victory in Game 3.
"To start out 1-0 versus 0-1, that's just huge," Clark said. "We feel really good about getting that first win. We talked about this (being) our first conference game, and we have a tough conference. This just gives us an extra boost going into the rest of our season."
Worthington's Holli Aggen, who finished with 12 kills on the night, scored two of the first five points in Game 1 as the Trojans held a 5-1 lead. But Luverne (0-1, 1-3) rallied back behind two serves by Callie Sawtelle, who ended with six aces, to take a 7-6 lead.
The two teams would battle back and forth until Worthington's late rally gave the Trojans a Game 1 victory.
In Game 2, Luverne once again held an early lead, but Mara Dixon had two of her six kills on the night to bring the Trojans back within one point.
Worthington slowly built a lead and Aggen put the exclamation point on Game 2 with a kill to give the Trojans the 25-18 victory.
In the third game, Worthington jumped out to a lead early and continued to build a lead as the Trojans took the 25-12 victory.
Clark said she was happy with her team's performance in the third game.
"There were times that our communication fell apart and we stopped talking," Clark said. "At the end of the third game they bounced back and they kind of picked it up and gave themselves some momentum to finish out strong."
Schomacker said that Luverne still has a long way to go in the conference season, so she is not worried about one loss.
"We have plenty of conference teams left to go," Schomacker said. "I would have loved to have taken a game or a couple of games from Worthington."
For the Trojans, the offense could not find the rhythm they were looking for.
"I'd rather see us be able to set up our offense and run it well, rather than just kind of back and forth," Clark said. "That was something we didn't do well tonight, but the next night, we'll be on."
Aggen had a solid overall night for the Trojans, with six digs, three set assists, and two aces.
"We had a couple of times where we had a couple of ace serves right in a row, and that helped us out," Clark said. "And we had a couple of big kills by Holli the last game and that put us on the road to doing well and finishing strong."
Anneli Dudley set up the Worthington attack all night, as she had 22 set assists, and also had four blocks.
On the opposite side, Sawtelle had five kills, while Kat Dahl and Erika Rust each had three kills.
Luverne will host the Cardinal Invitational on Saturday and will travel to Round Lake-Brewster on Monday before returning to conference action on Thursday at Pipestone Area.
"The Southwest Conference is tough; they are all great teams," Schomacker said. "It would have been nice to get a little confidence going into the rest of the teams in the conference, but we're just going to have to work that much harder."
Schomacker said that all the Cardinals need a little momentum.
"I told my girls that winning is contagious, and we don't have that drive to win yet," Schomacker said. "But as soon as we get it, I know we're going to succeed and do well. It's just getting them confident enough to know that we can play with everyone in the conference. They just have to believe in themselves."
The Trojans will host Red Rock Central on Tuesday and Marshall on Thursday.