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Different foe, similar results

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington volleyball team is still looking for that missing ingredient for its blue-ribbon recipe, as the Trojans lost a tight five-game, non-conference match to the visiting Fairmont Cardinals Monday, 15-25, 25-23, 25-17, 14...

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington volleyball team is still looking for that missing ingredient for its blue-ribbon recipe, as the Trojans lost a tight five-game, non-conference match to the visiting Fairmont Cardinals Monday, 15-25, 25-23, 25-17, 14-25, 15-13.

Senior outside hitter Megan Forster led the way for the Cardinals with 10 rocket kills, many of which coming in the fifth and deciding game. Junior Courtney Harris added five kills on the night for Fairmont.

Stephanie Andersen ran the Cardinal offense recording 13 set assists, while Samantha Beck was 15-of-15 behind the service line with two aces. The junior also had 64 digs on the night. Ashley Alleven, Brittany Barnes and Michelle Schultze each had three blocks for the Cardinals.

Sophomore Holli Aggen led the Trojan attack with 14 kills, followed by Ashley Aggen with 13. Holli Aggen and Lisa Viessman served as playmakers, each recording 17 set assists. Viessman was a perfect 18-of-18 on the night from the service line.

Ashley Aggen and Rachel Pavelko had 13 and 12 digs, respectively, while Alex Wetering led the Trojans in blocks with five.

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The Trojans came out very strong to open the match. Sophomore outside hitter Anndi Russell -- starting for the first time this season -- sparked a Worthington rally midway through the game. Her play at the net helped the Trojans quickly grab Game 1, and the match and the Cardinals looked to be well in hand.

But Fairmont head coach Mandy Lloyd must have opened the cage on her team as the Cardinals (3-6-1) bounced back with a strong Game 2 effort followed by an even more impressive victory in Game 3.

With their backs against the wall, the Trojans rose to the occasion to take Game 4. The Aggen sisters teamed up on several points as Holli set Ashley up for five of her 13 kills during the game. Wetering, meanwhile, finished off the Cardinals in Game 4 with back-to-back blocks of Fairmont junior Kayla Swanson.

But the Trojans couldn't maintain the momentum heading into the final game, quickly falling behind 7-4. Fairmont clung to a two-point advantage until Forster took the game into her own hands, earning three consecutive points with punishing kill shots -- giving the Cardinals a game point at 14-9.

"Stephanie was giving me great sets at the end and I knew I just had to slam them down," Forster said. "We've struggled a bit this season, so this was a big victory for us."

The never-say-die Trojans, behind the serving of Pavelko, roared back to close within one at 14-13. But again Forster made her mark, tipping the ball off the Trojans' block attempt -- lifting the Cardinals to victory.

"The girls have such power and were only using 50 percent of that early on," Lloyd said of the Cardinals. "In that fifth game, the sets all went to Megan because we knew she was on."

Although the Trojans (1-6) have shown a lot of heart in forcing several matches to five games, the team must begin to post some "Ws" in the standings if they are to gain some confidence and make a playoff run later this season. Worthington head coach Jen Clark must find a way to get her team to play to its capability for an entire match.

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"We have to carry our intensity through each game," Clark said following the match. "It's a tough thing to achieve mentally. But we'll keep plugging away, and hopefully we'll get there soon."

The road doesn't get any easier for the Trojans this week, as Worthington travel to Windom to face the 10-3 Eagles on Thursday. Fairmont is in New Ulm today.

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