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Prep volleyball: Windom Area rallies, beats Worthington in four

Brian Korthals/Daily Globe Worthington Trojan senior Becca Linder (6) spikes the ball past two Eagle defenders during Tuesday night’s Southwest Conference volleyball match in Worthington.

WORTHINGTON —Tied for the match with Worthington in the third set, it looked as if Windom Area senior Rachel Sorensen and her Eagles would fall behind 2-1 for the night and find their three-match win streak in jeopardy.

Sorensen and the Eagles would fight, however, to turn the tables from a 20-17 deficit in that third set to beat Worthington 25-23 and set up an entertaining win in the fourth frame to put away Worthington 3-1 on its home floor. Sets went in favor of the Eagles 23-25, 25-15, 25-23, 25-20 on Tuesday night.

“It was just a really up-and-down match the whole night. I wasn’t real happy in the first set with our energy level, but in the second set we played well to get them down and keep them down,” Windom Area coach Ron Wendorff said. “It was just a battle, and I thought we had a decent gap there in the fourth set, but then they just came back and fought us hard even to the last point.”

Worthington took the first set, leading most of the way by three or less, bringing a strong effort from its front row. Windom extended an early lead in the second frame to 6-2 on a kill from eighth-grader Porsha Porath, and the advantage would eventually be pushed to 9-2. Sorensen had an ace serve and senior Kelsey Hanefeld provided two key kills that moved Windom to a 21-11 lead.

The Trojans made their move in the third set, storming back from a 10-5 hole to dig out with a 4-0 run helped by strong play at the net on both sides from sophomore Allie Bruns and seniors Becca Linder and Brooke Henning. Linder knotted the set at 11-all before Worthington led 13-12 for its first advantage in the stanza.

Windom Area had what it took, however, to get the win in that set, with Sorensen serving. Wendorff said that third set, with the adversity his team had to fight through, was a turning point that provided a spark for the win in the fourth set and the win for the night.

“In the third set, I thought we’d maybe go, but we let them back in,” Wendorff said after the match. “They came back really strong, and hats off to Worthington for that third set. We found a way to pull that one out, though. Obviously that was the big set of the match.”

Despite the loss, the Trojans weren’t without successes on their Senior Night. Worthington had strong hitting all night from its front row, and that wreaked havoc on the Eagles at times and provided the home team life when needed, especially in the first and third sets.

Henning led the team with 17 kills for the night to go with 29 digs. Linder had seven solo blocks and one assist while Gravenhof had 24 set assists for the night offensively.

The Trojans honored their group of seven seniors at the game, and coach Jessica Hogan said her group of leaders has been a fun group to coach. The team will learn its seeding for the opening round of the tournament today.

“Our senior class has been outstanding and they’re great leaders,” Hogan said. “They’ve set the tone this year with team chemistry and they work hard. They’re just a great group to coach and I was happy they all played well tonight.”

Windom Area has two matches remaining in the regular season, against Minneota on Thursday night and Blue Earth Area on Monday night. The Eagles were led Tuesday with junior Hannah Redmond’s four aces and 22-for-23 effort from the service line. Windom junior Michaela Hacker had a hand in five blocks, two solos and three assists, while Hanefeld had 19 kills offensively. Jasmine Carlson led the team with 16 digs.

“I told the girls that 15 wins looks a lot better than 14 wins. It just does. This will be the first time we’ve been sent to Section 2. We only had two on our schedule and we played a third over the weekend in Marshall,” Wendorff said. “We’ve only played three of the 11 teams. We’re just hoping we get a fair seed over there. Right now we’re just continuing to grow.”

The Trojans find themselves on the same trek, done now with the regular season and preparing for a first round game next Friday, Oct. 25. They finish the regular season at 13-14 and will look to even things up in the first round of sections.

“I think we’ve just scratched the surface of our goal to play our best,” Hogan said. “Now we’ve tasted that. For us to be able to do that, that is what we really want, and I think we’re going to do it.”

Caleb Nelson
Caleb Nelson is the Daily Globe sports writer. He hails from southwest Iowa and served as sports editor at the Audubon County Advocate Journal there for 2 ½ years before moving to Worthington in October 2013. Caleb trys to enjoy life and everybody that he meets. He enjoys music, playing guitar and drums, and is an avid sports fan. 
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