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Winning formula eludes WHS

WORTHINGTON -- In a match featuring two surging volleyball clubs Thursday night, Southwest Star Concept finished the regular season with a four-game victory over the Worthington Trojans, 25-18, 22-25, 25-20, 25-18.

"We knew that Worthington has been playing very well the last two weeks," SSC head coach Rick Haberman said following the match. "We knew they were going to be hungry for a win, and I think we responded pretty well, especially after we lost Game 2."

Worthington (8-13), which had won five of its last six matches coming into the contest, rallied to win Game 2 and tie the match at a game apiece.

However, SSC jumped out to a 6-0 lead in Game 3, catapulting the Quasars to victories in the final two games for the match victory.

"SSC did a good job of reading our defense and placing the ball where we couldn't get it," Worthington head coach Jen Clark said. "There were times when we played really well, as we were scrappy on defense and aggressive at the net."

SSC (21-5), which extended its winning streak to 12 matches, took the early advantage with a 25-18 Game 1 victory, as Shannon Hussong (16 digs, 13 kills) helped set the tone with a trio of kills and an ace serve to stake the Quasars to a 10-6 lead.

Back-to-back kills from Sydney Place (18 digs, 15 kills, four ace blocks) later extended SSC's lead to 17-9, and two ace blocks from Adri Rasche (six ace blocks, five kills) helped make it 21-12.

Worthington answered with three straight kills by Alex Wetering, Lizzy Wetering and Ashley Aggen, but two kills by SSC's Michelle Olsem helped the Quasars close out the game.

SSC again took command in Game 2, as a 9-3 run -- keyed by two more ace blocks from Rasche, and two kills from Hussong -- gave the Quasars a 13-8 lead.

Two kills apiece from the Aggen sisters (Ashley and Holli) were a part of Worthington's 7-3 surge, pulling the Trojans within one at 16-15.

Alex Wetering's ace block tied the game at 18-all, and the teams traded points to a 21-all tie. Worthington then scored four of the final five points to win 25-22, as Ashley Aggen (11 kills) drilled two kills, including one for the final point off of Holli Aggen's set.

SSC then vaulted out to its 6-0 lead in Game 3, as Chelsey Knutson (nine kills) served for five points after Place's kill opened the game. Hussong had a pair of kills to help trigger the burst.

Worthington came back with a kill and two ace serves from Holli Aggen (16 kills, 14 set assists), closing the gap to 8-5.

The Trojans continued to stay close, as Alyssa Smith, Alex Wetering, Ally Rotert and Lisa Viessman (19 set assists) each tallied a kill before Holli Aggen's blast made it 17-14 SSC.

Continuing their aggressive and scrappy play, the Trojans climbed to within one (21-20). But kills by Knutson and Place helped seal the 25-20 victory for SSC.

It was Worthington that grabbed a quick lead in Game 4, as Holli Aggen had two kills and Alex Wetering (16 digs) had an ace block to help give the Trojans a 5-3 lead.

Three kills from Knutson helped the Quasars go up 11-7, but Holli Aggen crushed two kills to help keep Worthington down by just one (11-10).

SSC, though, broke the game open by going on an 8-2 run, earning a 19-12 lead.

Two ace serves from Katherine Kazemba (15-for-15, seven points, three aces) helped the Quasars secure the 25-18 victory, giving SSC the match.

Erika Post was 15-for-17 serving with nine points and two aces, while Knutson was 20-for-22 with 15 points, and Chelsey Cranston was 17-for-17 with eight points. Cranston also had 38 set assists.

Kristin Beyer had 14 digs for SSC, which plays Hills-Beaver Creek next Friday in Luverne in the first round of the Section 3A South tournament.

Alex Wetering (13-for-13, five points) and Holli Aggen (11-for-12, three aces) led the Trojans in serving.

Rachel Pavelko had 15 digs for the Trojans, who play at Litchfield next Thursday to open the Section 2AAA playoffs.