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Worthington volleyball looks for consistency this season

WORTHINGTON -- For the Worthington volleyball team, consistency is going to be a key this season.

"We have to find the middle ground where we can be consistent and be solid and not have those high highs and low lows," Worthington head coach Jen Clark said.

It was the highs and lows that haunted the Trojans in their first match against Fulda Friday night. After losing the first two games, the Trojans recovered to win the third and fourth games before losing in five.

"I was impressed on Friday night," Clark said. "Overall, I think we did some really great things. We talked today that those first two games really hurt us. We came out flat, and that doesn't really help us."

Clark said the fact that her team fought back showed character.

"I think the teams that we had maybe wouldn't have fought back the way they did, so it says a lot for their determination and their willingness to work at it," Clark said. "We just happened to come out on the wrong end of it. It's early, and you have to let that one go, and now, we go back out and hit it hard."

Worthington will be back on the court tonight against Round Lake-Brewster.

"We learned some things against Fulda," Clark said. "We have to make some changes and make those adjustments for Round Lake."

In a tough conference, Worthington hopes to improve each and every day.

"You plan to build and work toward tournament time," Clark said. "If we can improve throughout the season and be ready, then we're good to go."

Clark said the competition is tough, but it helps motivate the players.

"It's (the competition) always tough, and we know that," Clark said. "I think that has made us better. We have a really tough conference, but to me, I like that because it makes us more competitive. So, I think it's a good motivator sometimes."

To offset the tough competition, Clark is looking to her seniors to lead this year's squad.

Alyssa Smith, Ally Rotert and Rachel Pavelko are the trio of seniors on this year's team. Worthington has six returning letterwinners this season.

Rotert is one of the captains and had 10 kills Friday.

Pavelko is another captain for the Trojans and is entering her second year in the libero position.

Smith is a versatile player for Worthington.

"She's played a lot of different places for us the last couple years, and she's adjusted well to that," Clark said of Smith.

At the setter position, Anneli Dudley and Holli Aggen will split the duties.

However, Clark said that with a large number of juniors, the rotation may be changed from match to match.

"Because we have a pretty balanced group, I think there is some potential for change along the way," Clark said. "If we find a group that's really working well together, we'll stick with it."

For Worthington, it will take some time until the best rotation is formed.

"I think it's going to take this group a little while to fall into something that we really find works for everybody overall," Clark said. "It's not going to happen overnight for us."

One area the group will work on throughout the season is blocking.

"We've never really been a real strong blocking team. We're not real big, so we have to make up for that in being able to block," Clark said. "We're working on it throughout preseason, and even today, we focused a little bit more on it."

As the 2007 season is now under way, this year's Trojan team is not short on determination.

"I think our strengths are determination and heart," Clark said. "They could have given up pretty easily on Friday night after those two and said 'we're done,' but they didn't."

After facing Round Lake-Brewster tonight, Worthington will travel to New Ulm on Thursday.