TROJANS VOLLEYBALL: WHS volleyball sweeps LuverneWORTHINGTON — An impressive 17-4 surge to begin the second set was one of the many highlights for the Worthington Trojans Thursday night, as they received quality contributions from several players and claimed a quick three-game sweep over the Luverne Cardinals in a Southwest Conference high school volleyball match.
By: Lucas Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — An impressive 17-4 surge to begin the second set was one of the many highlights for the Worthington Trojans Thursday night, as they received quality contributions from several players and claimed a quick three-game sweep over the Luverne Cardinals in a Southwest Conference high school volleyball match.
With the pep band playing and lots of fans waiting to “Meet the Trojans” in the locker room afterwards, Worthington won on game scores of 25-16, 25-11 and 25-17 to improve to 8-5 overall and 2-1 in conference action.
“It was a fun night all the way around,” summed up Worthington head coach Melissa Schutz following the match. “We played very well to earn a nice win, and there was another good crowd here to show their support for the girls. We came out ready to play and seemed to feed off the energy from the fans a little bit, which was fun to see.”
Worthington’s final statistics showed nine players among the team leaders in various categories. Junior outside hitter Brooke Henning paced the Trojans in both kills (nine) and serving (14-for-14, four aces), while senior Morgan Harberts (14) and junior Paige Gravenhof (12) combined to distribute 26 set assists.
Seniors Anna Koepsell (libero) and KC Riley (outside hitter) each played well from the service line and in the back row for Worthington. Koepsell was 13-for-13 serving and collected 12 digs, while Riley went 9-for-10 serving with two aces to go along with a team-high 14 digs.
Senior hitters Morgan Johnson (six) and Tara Svalland (five), along with freshman hitter Allie Bruns (four), smacked 15 kills collectively for the balanced Trojans. Junior middle hitter Becca Linder recorded a team-best five blocks, and Svalland added a pair of stuffs at the net.
“We limited our errors and were able to get good swings on the ball,” Schutz said. “Our serve receive was very good, we picked up a lot of balls defensively, our blocking was improved from what it has been and we had lots of good passes to our two setters, which allowed us to run an effective offense.”
Trojans use a pair of 6-1 bursts to take control of the first set
Luverne (1-6, 0-3) bolted out to an early 7-3 lead in the opening game. Logan Herman (four kills) pounded a pair of kills, Taylor Stratton (four kills, 7-for-10 serving) fired an ace serve, and Lexi Rust (13 digs) scored a point on a block at the net to spark the Cardinals out of the gate.
Johnson then spiked two kills to the floor and registered an ace block to help Worthington score six of the next seven points and claim a 9-8 lead.
That was the first of two separate 6-1 scoring spurts for the Trojans, who moments later broke from a 10-10 tie and built a 16-11 advantage behind ace serves from Riley and Linder in addition to a tip and a kill from Svalland.
Ellen Dahl (four kills) knocked down a left-side kill for Luverne, but Worthington maintained control and was up 21-13 after Harberts served an ace, and Henning delivered a kill from the left side.
The Trojans, aided by a tip from Johnson and two service points from Koepsell, then closed out a 25-16 win to start the match in front.
“Anna had a solid match in the back row and also served well,” Schutz said. “I thought that, overall, we were ready for everything defensively and covered most of Luverne’s shots pretty well. We kept the ball alive with several nice plays, as we got in good position and communicated with each other.”
Worthington dominates second set, leads 17-4
The Trojans carried their momentum into the second game, scoring the first three points on a kill by Linder, an ace block by Henning and an ace serve by Riley.
A 7-0 run with Linder at the service line came after the Cardinals scored their first point, as Henning started to wreak havoc at the net with a kill and two tips. Linder (ace serve) and Svalland (right-side kill) also teamed up to score on a tandem block in that span, pushing Worthington’s lead to 10-1.
The Trojans continued to extend the margin and held a commanding 17-4 bulge after Henning (kill, ace serve), Riley (two kills) and Harberts (tip) scored points to highlight a dominant sequence for Worthington.
“That was a great stretch of volleyball for us,” Schutz said. “Everything was clicking and everybody was contributing.”
Luverne put a brief stop to the bleeding by scoring four of the next six points, using an ace block by Herman and kills from Stratton and Paige Baker to make it 19-8.
Worthington then sealed a 25-11 win, getting an ace serve from Henning and tips from both Svalland and Bruns to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
Trojans complete sweep, play at Marshall next Thursday
Luverne’s Ashlinn Curtis (9-for-9 serving) took a set from Ashley Olson (7-for-7 serving, seven set assists) and smacked a kill to start the third game, and Dahl fired an ace serve a bit later to give the Cardinals a quick 3-1 lead.
Harberts, though, dropped in back-to-back ace serves to spark a 15-5 surge that gave the Trojans a 16-8 lead. Johnson powered two straight kills to the floor to benefit Worthington in that 10-point run.
The Trojans’ lead stayed right around eight the rest of the way, as Worthington clinched a 25-17 win to finish things. A pair of tips by Linder and a kill apiece from Henning and Bruns were among the last highlights of the night.
Worthington has a week off until it travels to take on the Marshall Tigers next Thursday. Luverne hosts Lennox (S.D.) Tuesday.