Trojans sweep past Arrows

WORTHINGTON -- Starting Thursday night's Southwest Conference volleyball match with a pair of dominant 14-point victories, the Worthington Trojans swept the Pipestone Area Arrows (25-11, 25-11, 25-21) to pick up their 16th victory of the season.

Brian Korthals/Daily Globe Trojan senior Holli Aggen blasts a shot by Pipestone Area defenders Brooke Woelber (9) and Kaila Hamann (2) during Thursday night Southwest Conference volleyball action in Worthington.

WORTHINGTON -- Starting Thursday night's Southwest Conference volleyball match with a pair of dominant 14-point victories, the Worthington Trojans swept the Pipestone Area Arrows (25-11, 25-11, 25-21) to pick up their 16th victory of the season.

Worthington (16-2, 3-2) was 70-for-73 from the service line on the night and opened up commanding leads in both of the first two games on its way to the sweep.

"Our serving was really on tonight," WHS head coach Melissa Schutz said after the match. "We kept the Arrows off-balance and spread them around the court with our serves, which got us some easy points and also allowed our defense to get set up. We kept the pressure on them the entire night and continued to put together little runs -- especially in the first two games."

Anndi Russell (18-for-18 with two aces), Kristen Dierks (14-for-14), Anneli Dudley (13-for-14) and Carrie Timmerman (12-for-12 with three aces) were the top servers for Worthington, which took an 8-7 lead -- its first of the night -- on an ace block from Holli Aggen (14 kills, 12 digs, two blocks).

PA (10-12, 2-4) started the first game by opening up a pair of three-point leads (4-1 and 6-3) behind a trio of kills by Rachel Tinklenberg (seven kills) and an ace serve from Brooke Henderson (nine digs).


Aggen, though, sparked the Trojans on a 5-1 run to gain that 8-7 lead -- hammering a pair of kills on sets from Dudley (24 set assists) and scoring twice on ace blocks.

Worthington continued its surge by scoring the next four points to go up 12-7, as Russell's ace tip capped a nice service run by Dudley.

Two points later, Russell put down a kill to make it 13-8, and the margin remained the same (15-10) until the Trojans -- with Russell serving -- rattled off nine consecutive points to take a 24-10 bulge.

Russell (five kills) knocked down two ace serves -- both just barely clearing the net and zipping to the ground in front of the back-row defenders-- and Tiffany Harberts (three kills, three blocks) scored on an ace block in that stretch.

Martha Alwal (eight kills, four blocks) also scored in that burst, putting down a kill in the middle on a feed from Dudley -- who later scored the game's final point on an ace block following a diving, one-handed save at the net by Harberts.

"We always strive to have a balanced offensive attack," Schutz said. "Plus, our girls take a lot of pride in playing good defense. We had some nice blocks and covered the court very well, as our front-row players read the hitters well and our back-row players hustled and kept the ball alive."

Worthington carried its strong play into Game 2, jumping out to a 7-1 lead on the strength of three kills from Alwal and two more by Aggen.

PA's Brooke Woelber (six kills) later served back-to-back aces to bring the Arrows within two (7-5), but Timmerman knocked down an ace serve before Aggen slammed a kill to help the Trojans regain a six-point advantage (11-5).


Behind another service run from Dudley -- this time a five-point streak -- the Trojans later extended the gap to 17-7. Russell had a cross-court kill to create the 10-point spread.

Consecutive kills from Aggen and Harberts made it 19-8 a little later, and Harberts came up with another tremendous one-handed save at the net -- leading to a point for the Trojans and a 22-10 lead.

PA's Bailey Bouman (five blocks) put down a kill for the game's next point, but Worthington scored the last three to close out another 14-point win. Alwal had an ace block before Dudley set Aggen up for a kill to account for the final two points.

"We communicated well and were aggressive offensively," Schutz said. "Everything started with our serving and defense, and then we were able to move the ball around to all of our hitters. We put good swings on the ball tonight."

PA stayed with the Trojans the entire way in Game 3, as an ace block by Megan VanderPoel (five blocks) staked the Arrows to an early 5-3 lead.

A pair of ace serves from Timmerman (17 digs) later gave Worthington an 8-5 lead, but the Arrows came back to regain an 11-10 edge after a service ace from VanderPoel.

Worthington later put together a four-point run to go up 18-14, as Dierks (10 digs) had a nice dig to lead to a point and served an ace to trigger the Trojans.

Tinklenberg and VanderPoel sparked another Arrows' rally with a kill apiece, helping slice the deficit to one twice (19-18 and 22-21).


But Worthington scored the final three points, as after a hitting error on the Arrows, Alwal and Harberts each pounded a kill from the left side on sets from Russell -- completing the sweep for Worthington.

The Trojans also swept both the C-squad and B-squad matches, winning by scores of 2-0.

Worthington is back in action beginning today at the Subway Classic in Marshall. The Trojans, who are in the 12-team Gold Division, play Murray County Central at 4 p.m.

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