TROJAN VOLLEYBALL: WHS rattles off three straight wins after losing first gameWORTHINGTON — After seeing a late two-point lead slip away in an opening-game loss Tuesday evening, the Worthington Trojans claimed impressive wins in each of the next three sets to earn a 3-1 victory over the Canby Lancers in a key non-conference high school volleyball match to close out the regular season in style on Senior Night at Worthington High School.
By: Lucas Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — After seeing a late two-point lead slip away in an opening-game loss Tuesday evening, the Worthington Trojans claimed impressive wins in each of the next three sets to earn a 3-1 victory over the Canby Lancers in a key non-conference high school volleyball match to close out the regular season in style on Senior Night at Worthington High School.
The Trojans won via game scores of 23-25, 25-19, 25-12 and 25-19 to improve to 19-10 overall and will learn their seeding for the upcoming Section 3AA tournament at noon today.
“This was a special night and a very fun match for us to end the regular season with,” summed up Worthington head coach Melissa Schutz. “We have a really good group of girls who are dedicated to the sport of volleyball and have worked hard all year long. It’s nice to have a chance to celebrate a good all-around win, as we played very well and defeated a tough Canby team.”
Worthington recorded a total of 14 blocks and 11 ace serves as a team, once again featuring a balanced approach both offensively and defensively. Tara Svalland, Allie Bruns and Brooke Henning were each credited with five blocks, although many of those were of the tandem variety.
“Our blocking was good once again,” Schutz said. “We were able to slow down Canby’s attack at the net and we covered the court nicely in the back row, as well. Those things allowed us to have good ball control and get into a consistent offensive flow, as we stayed pretty steady for most of the match.”
KC Riley (23-for-26, six aces), Henning (16-for-16, two aces), Becca Linder (16-for-17, two aces) and Paige Gravenhof (11-for-11) sparked the Trojans from the service line and helped Worthington string together several multi-point runs to take control of the action.
“We served aggressively and kept Canby out of system at times, which helped,” Schutz said. “There were at least a couple of stretches where we were able to swing the momentum in our favor with some tough serving.”
Henning (11), Svalland (10) and Morgan Johnson (seven) combined to knock down 28 kills for Worthington, while Gravenhof and Moran Harberts distributed 18 and 11 set assists, respectively.
Riley and Gravenhof both came up with 12 digs to pace the Trojans, while Paige Kinley collected 10 digs to further highlight Worthington’s defensive efforts.
“Those three girls did a great job in the back row and kept a lot of balls alive,” Schutz said. “We knew that Canby is a good team and has lots of powerful hitters, but we defended them well and dug up all kinds of their hits.”
Canby rallies for win in Game 1, WHS takes next three sets
Worthington jumped out to an early 5-1 lead in the first game, receiving an ace serve from Riley and kills from both Svalland and Henning.
But Canby (18-10 overall) stayed close and gained a 12-11 lead following an ace serve from Dani Kontz. Ricki Kallhoff and Taylor Gorder also made plays at the net to fuel the Lancers.
The teams traded points for the next several side outs, and Worthington took a 20-17 lead after Riley scored on a tip. Riley pounded a kill a bit later, and Svalland found the floor with a tip to put the Trojans up 23-21.
However, the Lancers used a timeout and scored four straight points to steal a 25-23 win. Gorder and Lauri Hopp each had a kill, while Kontz dropped in two more ace serves to put Canby up 1-0.
“It was too bad that we lost the first game, which was kind of back-and-forth the whole way,” Schutz said. “We let it get away near the end a little bit, but we responded and really played well as a team in the second set.”
Worthington again started strong in Game 2, this time rattling off the first seven points with Linder (two aces in that span) at the service line. The blocking prowess of Henning, Bruns and Svalland was also big, as the Trojans extended their 7-0 lead to 11-2.
Henning and Svalland drilled a kill apiece to help Worthington maintain a 17-6 advantage later, but Canby chipped away and was within six (21-15) on the strength of kills from Hopp and Alenni Nemitz.
Johnson then delivered a big-time kill for the Trojans, who went on to secure a six-point win (25-19) with the help of an ace block from Svalland and a back-row kill by Anna Koepsell to end it.
Worthington continued the trend of getting out of the gate well in Game 3, bolting to leads of 8-3, 12-4 and 17-5. Svalland, Henning and Johnson blasted kills from various angles to trigger the Trojans’ fast start.
Johnson hammered a big kill to make it 18-7, and back-to-back blocks by Linder put Worthington up 21-8. Svalland and Henning followed with kills to wrap up a dominant 25-12 win for the Trojans, who took a 2-1 lead in the match.
Canby reversed roles to begin Game 4, taking a 7-3 lead behind a pair of kills from Gorder. The Lancers later held an 11-9 lead after Kallhoff smacked a kill.
But Svalland countered with a kill, and the Trojans ripped off the next 12 points to surge to a 22-11 bulge. Riley was serving during that game-changing sequence, firing a trio of aces during Worthington’s impressive 13-0 burst that included two consecutive kills from Svalland.
“KC took control with the serve there and turned it up a notch,” Schutz said. “Canby came out strong and was looking to force a fifth game, but that was a huge run we put together and really swung the momentum in our direction — helping us clinch the win in four sets.”
Indeed. Worthington continued to make plays at the net and got a kill in the middle from Bruns to hold off a late comeback by Canby and seal a 25-19 victory, winning the match 3-1.
The Trojans will open the Section 3AA tournament Friday, October 26, with their opponent and a location to be determined today.