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College volleyball: West falls in three to Ridgewater

Brian Korthals/Daily Globe Minnesota West Lady Jay Christine Kazemba (left) battles above the net with a Warrior defender during Wednesday night’s volleyball match in Worthington.

WORTHINGTON — The Minnesota West Lady Jays had visions of pulling off an impressive upset Wednesday night. But it all went up in a puff of smoke against the Ridgewater Warriors.

Showing why they’re ranked No. 4 in the latest NJCAA Division III volleyball poll, the Warriors rolled to a 25-21, 25-15, 25-17 victory over the Jays at the Worthington High School gymnasium.

The Lady Jays had their moments. But the Warriors had more of them. When the Warriors played as a unit, the Lady Jays looked flat. When the Warriors showed their dominance at the net, the Lady Jays were unable to match it. Inconsistency was the problem, said West head coach Marie Johnson.

“They came out excited to play. Unfortunately, I don’t think we played at the level we’re capable of, or expected to,” Johnson said of her players.

The end result moved Ridgewater to 9-4 overall and 4-1 in the Southern Division as Minnesota West dropped to 3-6 and 2-3.

Both teams showed inconsistency in the beginning, especially at the serving line. West took an 8-7 lead in the first game but relinquished control when the Warriors’ 5-9 sophomore setter, Tiffani Karbo — a Tracy-Milroy-Balaton graduate — stepped up to serve eight straight points for a 16-8 lead. The Jays refused to fold, however, and came to life at the net to cut the margin to 20-19. But they could get no closer.

In the second game, West took a 4-0 lead. But Ridgewater quickly tied it at 5-5. It was 10-10 midway through, but the Warriors scored 15 of the final 20 points.

Ridgewater’s Morgan Meyer drilled a hard ace spike to start the third game, then Karbo served four points and the Warriors were in command 5-0. Though the Lady Jays made small dents in the visitors’ armor after that, they never seriously threatened to turn the match around.

“Inconsistency is something that we need to keep working on —keeping that intensity level high the whole match,” said Johnson, who added that some of her players are vocal and others are more naturally reserved. The more reserved players need to “come out a little more,” she said.

Kristen Anderson, a freshman from Worthington, led Minnesota West hitters with eight kills. Christine Kazemba added six and Hanna Bosma five. Morgan Harberts had 15 set assists. Maddie Rasche had 17 digs and Lindsey Drooger two blocks.

“I’m disappointed with the outcome. Not disappointed with my players, but I do expect more,” Johnson said.

Doug Wolter

Doug Wolter is the Daily Globe sports editor. He served as sports reporter, then sports editor, news editor and finally managing editor at the Daily Globe for 22 years before leaving for seven years to work as night news editor at the Mankato Free Press in Mankato. Doug now lives in Worthington with his wife, Sandy. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Doug, retired after a lengthy career in fast-pitch softball, enjoys reading, strumming his acoustic guitar and hanging around his grandchildren. He also writes books on fiction. Two of his stories, "The Genuine One" and "The Old Man in Section 129" have been distributed through a national publisher.

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