What a way to start off

FULDA -- Worthington took Fulda to the distance -- and then some -- as the Trojans came back from two games down before falling to the Raiders 22-20 in Game 5 of a non-conference volleyball match Friday night.

FULDA -- Worthington took Fulda to the distance -- and then some -- as the Trojans came back from two games down before falling to the Raiders 22-20 in Game 5 of a non-conference volleyball match Friday night.

The Raiders looked as though they were in complete control, winning the first two games, 25-21 and 25-17. But the Trojans edged the Raiders 25-20 in Game 3 and forced a fifth and deciding game with a 25-19 victory in Game 4.

"I was really proud of the way the girls battled back," Worthington head coach Jen Clark said. "After we picked up the win in Game 3, we had all the momentum."

That momentum carried over into Game 5 as the Trojans took an early 8-4 lead. Fulda head coach Jessica Hogan called a quick timeout to rally the troops. The brief break settled the Raiders down a bit as Fulda roared back behind the net play of senior middle hitter Laura Kramer to close within one point at 8-7. Clark then called a timeout to stop the bleeding.

From that point on, the game went back and forth, with neither team gaining more than a two-point advantage.


Tied at 20-all, Laura Kramer found the floor with a well-placed tip and followed that shot with a similar effort for the game-winner.

"Their middle was open the whole time, so I tried to put it there," Laura Kramer said. "This win will really give us a boost heading into the next match."

Both sides were a little shaky to open the match, with unforced errors making up most of the scoring. But as Game 1 progressed, the Raiders seemed to get the edge at the net as Laura Kramer, Kaitlyn Kramer and Mandy Gunderman were able to knock shots through the blocking efforts of the Trojans. Sam Raddle was instrumental in cleanly getting the ball to her hitters and the Raiders forged a 24-19 lead.

The Trojans fired back as Alex Wetering and Ashley Aggen found the floor on several shots. But Laura Kramer put the game away with a blistering kill to give the Raiders a 1-0 advantage.

Game 2 played out in much the same way as the first, with fine net play by the Raiders and several miscues by the Trojans. Gunderman's jump serve also kept the Trojan defense off balance and accounted for a number of points.

Never trailing in the game, the Raiders pulled away with five unanswered points to lead 24-16. Holli Aggen managed to gain the serve with an acute kill, but Ashley Aggen's serve fell into the net, giving the Raiders a 2-0 lead.

Fulda opened up a 2-0 lead in Game 3 and appeared on its way to a sweep of Worthington. But the Trojans dug deep and mounted a comeback -- one that would take them to the brink of victory.

As the third game progressed, it looked as though the Raiders lost their focus -- hitting many serves into the net. Fulda's errors, compounded by terrific net play from Alex Wetering lifted the Trojans to a 10-5 advantage.


Two consecutive kills by Ashley Aggen and a Lizzy Wetering block gave the Trojans a 13-5 advantage and Worthington was back in the match.

"After Game 2, I told the girls that we needed to start playing our game," Clark said. "They needed to pick their heads up and play the way I knew they could."

The Trojans maintained a four-point lead well into the game before the Raiders regained their touch.

Gunderman found the floor on a pair of shots to pull Fulda within two points at 20-18, but Ashley Aggen rallied back with a pair of her own to give the Trojans some breathing room at 22-18. The serving of Rachel Pavelko was key in putting the Raiders on their heels and helping put the game away for the Trojans.

Game 4 was all Worthington, as the Raiders' serving woes continued, and the Trojans used their momentum to pressure the net. Holli Aggen was again sharp at the net, hitting several shots to the floor along the left sideline. When the sophomore gained the serve, she hit two consecutive aces and helped the Trojans post seven straight points.

Leading 23-17, Ashley Aggen took charge, pounding a pair of kills to tie the match at 2-all.

"We went really flat in Game 3 and then couldn't come out of that in Game 4," Hogan said. "We finally got it back in Game 5 and during our last timeout I said I wanted to see determination, perseverance and heart. They came through with that in the end."

Laura Kramer led the Raiders in kills with 17, followed by Gunderman (15) and Kaitlyn Kramer (9). Laura Kramer had four solo blocks, while Raddle posted 38 set assists. Susan Fenske led the Raiders in digs with 14.


Ashley Aggen posted 14 kills to lead the Trojans, along with 27-of-28 serving for 19 points (five aces). Holli Aggen and Alex Wetering each had 13 kills on the night. Alex Wetering also had two solo blocks.

SF Christian 3, Luverne 0

LUVERNE -- Lindsey Olson served up 10 points and three aces, but it was not enough to hold off Sioux Falls Christian, 25-22, 25-14, 25-22.

Meghan Cronberg added eight kills for Luverne (0-1).

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