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Trojans fall, PA advances

PIPESTONE -- Even after a close first game, the Marshall Tigers swept the Worthington Trojans in the Section 3AA volleyball tournament Friday night.

Marshall (20-6) won the first game, 25-20, before taking the second, 25-11. The Tigers won the third game, 25-12 to complete the sweep of the Trojans.

"We started a little slow, but once we got going, we thought we did a nice job of establishing the middle," Marshall head coach Dan Westby said.

Marshall middle hitter Anna Full proved to be an almost unstoppable force for the Tigers.

"She (Full) played very well," Worthington head coach Jen Clark said. "I think she played better the second and third games. She really came out swinging strong in the last two, and that made a big difference."

Full ended with 17 kills, six digs, five blocks and was nearly perfect from the service line (12-of-13, one ace).

Hope Weilage, another Marshall middle hitter, ended with 13 kills, and added a block.

"Our middles did a nice job of making themselves available, and they were the two kill leaders tonight," Westby said. "Part of that is due to the fact that we passed the ball pretty well."

Kayla Wallerich and Kelsey Deragisch led with 19 and 17 set assists respectively.

Both teams traded points to start Game 1. Tied at 4-all, Marshall went on a 5-2 run behind two hits from Weilage to take a 9-6 lead.

The Tigers then built their lead to 22-13 before the Trojans (16-8-1) turned the tide.

Worthington responded with a 6-1 run behind a tip from Anneli Dudley (four kills, 10 set assists, eight digs), and Holli Aggen (seven kills, six digs).

After a Marshall timeout, the Tigers scored their last two points to take the 25-20 victory.

"Worthington is a good team; they don't make a lot of mistakes," Westby said. "I thought we had a nice lead in that first game, and we kind of let them off the hook; we had too many errors."

Even though the Trojans suffered a Game 1 loss, Clark said that was how the team wanted to play.

"We were excited about the first game. We played well with them and we fought through some stuff," Clark said. "We were down a little bit, and we came back strong. We felt good going into the second game, and we struggled and got behind. That sent us down the wrong path."

In the second contest, Marshall held an 8-1 lead to start the game.

The Trojans fought back to within eight at 14-6, but the Tigers answered with an 8-3 run behind two hits from Full.

Worthington managed just two more points as Marshall went on to claim a 25-11 victory.

"I think the biggest thing was our blocking," Clark said of the second game. "Our blocking kind of wore down, and we weren't able to get our hands on them, and they were swinging hard. You have to be able to block, and that hurt us."

The start of the third game wasn't any better for the Trojans.

Marshall jumped out to a quick 9-0 lead to start the game, behind four kills from Full and a solid serving effort from Shay Birath (19-of-19, two aces).

Worthington was able to cut the deficit to 15-8, but Marshall retained a 22-10 lead late in the match.

The Trojans tried to rally in the closing moments of Game 3, but fell short, 25-12.

"I was really proud of them that they didn't quit," Clark said. "They were down that third game, and they didn't completely fizzle. They fought back, and they had a little bit of a rally and didn't quit."

With the loss, the Trojans end their season, and with Clark leaving at the end of the year, marks the end of an era.

"It's disappointing," Clark said of the loss. "It's never fun to come to the end, but that's part of the inevitable, so you take it the best you can."

Marshall will advance to play Jackson County Central Tuesday night in Worthington.

"I think every step you take is more difficult; this is an extremely competitive section," Westby said. "We played them (JCC) a week ago, and they are a very good team. It will be a very difficult match, that's for sure."

Game time is slated for 6 p.m.

PA 3, Luverne 0

After a 12-day layoff, the Pipestone Area Arrows recovered from a slow start to sweep past the Luverne Cardinals in Section 3AA playoff volleyball action Friday.

"We hadn't played a match in 12 days, so I knew that we'd come out a little slow and rusty," PA head coach Todd Texley said. "After the first game, we started to pick it up a little bit. Give Luverne credit, they came out ready to play tonight. Once we started getting into the flow of the game, we did pretty well."

PA (20-5) won a tight first game, 25-19, and the second game, 25-11. The Arrows completed the sweep with a 25-8 victory in Game 3.

"I know we can play much better than this," Luverne head coach Kristin Schomacker said. "It's sad when you put that much work and time into the season and you end very unsuccessful; our performance did not reflect that. We've had a rough year, and our record doesn't show a whole lot for us, but the girls have improved."

The Arrows started with an early lead behind an ace from Meghan Visker (16 set assists, four serving aces), but a hit from Luverne's Kat Dahl (five kills), helped the Cardinals tie the game at 4-all.

Trailing by a point, PA's Nicole Buysse (four kills, four aces, and seven digs) had two consecutive serving aces to turn the tide and give the Arrows a 1-point advantage.

However, the Cardinals (6-20) would not go quietly. Calli Sawtelle had her lone ace to tie the game at 13, as the Cardinals scored the next points to take the lead.

"We took the lead at 15-13 for a while there, and mentally we couldn't put the game away," Schomacker said. "We took the lead, and that was good enough. We talked all season long, you don't stop at 15, you stop at 25."

Tied at 15-all, the Arrows went on a 6-0 run to take a commanding lead late in the game.

Luverne countered with three unanswered points, but the Arrows proved too much for the Cardinals taking a 25-19 Game 1 victory.

The Arrows had a 3-1 lead in the second game, but consecutive missed serves allowed the Cardinals to pull back within a point.

"I thought we missed too many serves," Texley said. "Serving and serve receive has always been a problem with us, so we'll work on that more."

PA's Faith Tinklenberg's (five kills, two blocks, 11 digs, four serving aces) tip later in the game gave the Arrows an 11-5 advantage.

The Arrows' Chelsey Evans (four kills, two blocks) had a kill to spark an 8-3 run to close the game -- giving PA a 25-11 Game 2 victory.

"Physically, I know we can play with Pipestone, we did during the regular season," Schomacker said. "We just missed too many serves in the second and third games. We're usually a one or two error team, and we missed seven or eight tonight. That's completely opposite of how we played in the regular season."

Tinklenberg started the third game with two aces, as the Arrows had a 5-0 lead in the early going.

After a missed serve by the Arrows brought the score to 9-5, the Arrows went on a 9-0 run behind the play of Megan VanderPoel (six kills, two blocks).

The Cardinals would only score three more points in the game as PA went on to the 25-8 victory, ending the Cardinal's season.

"I'm not looking to next year; I wanted it to work this year. But it is what it is, and we're just going to have to work harder in the offseason," Schomacker said. "Hopefully you can look for Luverne next year."

The Arrows advance to face New Ulm Tuesday night in Worthington.

"We're in a tough section, so if we don't come out and play hard every night from now on, we're not going to keep playing," Texley said. "So we're looking forward to the challenge. Marshall and Jackson will be a tough game, and whoever we play will be a tough game too, so we just have to be ready to play."

JCC 3, Fairmont 0

JACKSON -- The Jackson County Central Huskies made fast work of the visiting Fairmont Cardinals, 25-14, 25-15, 25-14, Friday evening to advance to the semifinals of the Section 3AA volleyball tournament.

Brooke Burmeister led the charge for the Huskies with six kills, 18 digs, five blocks and two ace serves.

Ashley Lucht had a team-high 10 kills to go along with three blocks, while Erika Voss had six kills and three blocks.

Anna Meneely served as playmaker for the Huskies, dishing out 20 set assists on the night, Halee Elness followed with nine set assists.

Meneely was a perfect 13-of-13 from the service line, while Elness was 8-of-9 with two aces. Briel Hendricksen was 11-of-13 serving and posted 13 digs, while Hilary Geesman charted 18 digs. Sally Clarksean had four solo blocks.

JCC (20-6) will play Marshall (20-6) at 6 p.m., Tuesday in Worthington.