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Trojans bounce Cardinals

WORTHINGTON -- In a tightly-contested match, the Worthington Trojans came away with a 3-1 victory over the Redwood Valley Cardinals in a Southwest Conference volleyball tilt Tuesday night.

"This is really good," Worthington head coach Jen Clark said. "It gives you that confidence. We have a tough road ahead even still, so it gives us a little bit of confidence going into Thursday night and into next week too."

Worthington (2-4, 16-6-1) defeated Redwood Valley 25-22, 25-17, 22-25, 25-21.

"We did not pass the ball at all, and we had almost no offense," Redwood Valley head coach Lael Dornseif said. "If you look at the number of kills we had, it was very, very small. Unfortunately we did not control the ball and could not capitalize on the mistakes that Worthington made. We just had no offense."

For the Cardinals (1-5, 11-14-2), Casey Smith led the way offensively with 13 kills, while Kayla Anderson had five.

Behind a hit by Mara Dixon (15 kills, 2 blocks), Worthington opened an 8-4 lead in the first game. However, later in the game, RV's Bailey Koster had one of her two kills to even the game at 12-all.

Tied at 18, the Cardinal's appeared to have scored the go-ahead point and gain momentum. However, Dixon made a diving play to poke the ball back over the net for a Trojan point -- prompting a RV timeout.

The Trojans never looked back en route to a 25-22 victory.

"We played good, but not great," Clark said. "I think we've learned a lot about ourselves as a team throughout this season, and it showed in what happened tonight. They were able to fight through it and refocus."

Holli Aggen (9 kills) got Worthington on the board in the second game, but RV jumped out to a 5-1 lead to start the game.

The Trojans would recover to tie the game at 12, and behind the serving of Kristen Dierks, went on a 7-0 run en route to a 25-17 Game 2 victory.

Game 3 proved to be the only blemish on the Trojan's night.

Behind two aces from Anderson (14-of-16, 3 aces) the Cardinals held a 7-4 lead.

Trailing for the rest of the game, the Trojans tried to make a run behind key tips from Anneli Dudley (30 set assists), but could not recover in a 25-22 defeat.

"Game 3, we were stuck on our feet," Clark said. "We didn't move at all, and we had balls dropping two steps away from us. We really were flat in our footwork and that's really what made the difference."

Worthington held a 4-0 lead to start Game 4, and continued to increase the lead behind Lizzy Wetering's (12 kills, 2 blocks) play at the net.

RV tried to make a run at the end, but the Trojans would not give up the lead in a 25-21 victory.

For the Cardinals, their ability to block the Trojan attack helped keep the games close.

"We did really well blocking," Dornseif said. "That is one of our strengths, and we did well all year."

Kelsey Guetter had six blocks for RV, while Ann Buboltz had four.

Naomi U'ren had 23 set assists and 19 digs, while Molly Madsen had 25 digs for the Cardinals.

For the Trojan defense, Rachel Pavelko had 27 digs, while Ally Rotert had four blocks.

RV concluded the regular season, but will face Yellow Medicine East on Oct. 26 in the first round of playoffs.

Worthington will travel to Southwest Star Concept on Thursday to end its regular season.

"We know they are tough; they are a good ball club," Clark said. "We have to be ready to move; we can't have a flat game. It'll be a good match to test some of those things that we've been working on the past couple of weeks."

The Trojans begin postseason play on Oct. 26 against Marshall.