TROJAN VOLLEYBALL: Eagles take down TrojansWORTHINGTON — Sparked by 17 kills and 23 digs from senior outside hitter Amber Pater Thursday night, the Southwest Christian Eagles claimed a four-set victory (25-23, 25-13, 17-25 and 25-16) over the Worthington Trojans in a non-conference high school volleyball match.
By: Lucas Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Sparked by 17 kills and 23 digs from senior outside hitter Amber Pater Thursday night, the Southwest Christian Eagles claimed a four-set victory (25-23, 25-13, 17-25 and 25-16) over the Worthington Trojans in a non-conference high school volleyball match.
The Red Rock Conference-leading Eagles, who are a perfect 7-0 in league play, improved to 13-5 overall with the win.
“This was a good win for us, as we defeated a solid Worthington team at their place,” summed up SWC head coach Brian Busker after the match. “We didn’t necessarily start out that well in the first set and also struggled a bit in the third game, but you have to give the Trojans credit for not backing down and playing good volleyball, as well.”
Worthington, which is currently in fifth place in the Southwest Conference standings at 2-3, is now 13-8 overall.
“We missed a lot of serves tonight, which is uncharacteristic because we are a pretty good serving team,” Worthington head coach Melissa Schutz said. “We had a lot of service errors at key times throughout the match, which killed our momentum and prevented us from building any kind of a lead in the first two sets.”
Brooke Henning (11 kills, four blocks), Morgan Johnson (10 kills), Paige Gravenhof (13 set assists) and KC Riley (20 digs) were among the statistical leaders for the Trojans, while Morgan Harberts (nine set assists), Tara Svalland (four kills), Becca Linder (four blocks) and Anna Koepsell (12 digs) also contributed for Worthington.
Hannah Van Dyke (31 set assists, 12 digs), Jennifer Schmidt (13 digs), Morgan Van Hulzen (nine kills, four blocks), Shelby Klarenbeek (16-for-17 serving, three aces) and Tianna Top (four blocks) paced SWC’s well-balanced performance in addition to the big night from Pater.
Eagles take 2-0 lead with two-point win and 12-point triumph
Worthington held a slight lead for most of the early stages of Game 1, as a tip by Svalland, an ace serve from Harberts (11-for-13 from the line) and a tip by Johnson gave the Trojans a quick 4-1 advantage. A tip by Allie Bruns made it 5-2 a bit later.
Koepsell fired an ace serve, and Riley came up with an ace block at the net to give Worthington an 8-4 lead — forcing an SWC timeout.
The Eagles, though, put together a 7-2 run out of the break to gain their first lead of the set (11-10). Pater smacked a left-side kill, Van Hulzen recorded an ace block, and Klarenbeek dropped in an ace serve to highlight that surge.
Another kill by Pater, followed by an ace block from Schmidt, lifted the Eagles to a 15-13 lead after a sequence of back-and-forth side outs. SWC then stretched its cushion to 20-16 after two straight kills from the left side by Carissa Tinklenberg.
But Worthington rallied and tied the score at 21. Johnson and Svalland knocked down kills, while Henning scored on a tip to bring the Trojans back.
Henning scored twice more on kills down the stretch, but a pair of service errors on the Trojans — plus a kill and an ace serve by Tinklenberg — helped the Eagles emerge with a narrow 25-23 win.
“We were fortunate to win that first game,” Busker said. “We missed quite a few serves of our own, but we found a way to get the job done. We played better and were steady in the second set, as both our passing and our blocking were solid.”
SWC did indeed look improved in Game 2, bolting out to a quick 11-5 lead behind a tip and an ace serve from Van Dyke, back-to-back kills by Pater and an ace block by Top. Van Hulzen and Schmidt also pounded kills to benefit the Eagles in that span.
Tinklenberg and Top combined for a tandem block to make it 13-6, and the Eagles continued to stay in command. Tinklenberg smacked consecutive kills to boost SWC’s lead to 17-8.
Pater then helped the Eagles close out a 25-13 win, hammering a trio of kills and collecting an ace block to put SWC up 2-0.
“We wanted to keep putting pressure on Worthington at the net,” Busker said. “We cut down on our mental mistakes and were able to run an effective offense to score some big points.”
Trojans win Game 3 25-17 before Eagles take Game 4 to clinch it
However, Worthington came roaring out of the gate to begin Game 3. Henning found the floor with a kill for the first point, and Linder (15-for-17 at the line) then rattled off five straight service points — including an ace — to give the Trojans a 6-0 lead.
A tip and a “hang-time” kill in the middle by Johnson increased Worthington’s lead to 10-3, as the Trojans appeared to be playing with a little more fire.
“We came out with more energy in the third game,” Schutz said. “We were more aggressive with our attacks and we were more ready defensively. We also focused on getting our hands on more balls and slowing SWC down a little, as our blocking was a key factor in that game.”
The Eagles did come back and were within one (15-14) on the strength of two kills apiece from Van Hulzen and Pater, but a four-point service run by Gravenhof (11-for-13 from the line) helped put the Trojans back in control.
A tip by Johnson and a kill by Svalland were among the other plays that allowed Worthington to secure a 25-17 win, extending the match to a fourth game.
Game 4 was close until SWC scored 10 straight points to turn an 11-10 lead into a 21-10 bulge. Savannah Tinklenberg fueled that burst a tip and a kill, while Klarenbeek fired back-to-back ace serves.
Linder smacked a kill to put the brakes on SWC’s run, but Pater scored on an ace block to help the Eagles shut the door on a 25-16 win — wrapping up a four-game victory.
Worthington travels to Windom Tuesday, while SWC visits Fulda Tuesday.