Aaron Hagen

The Globe

WORTHINGTON -- Anneke Weg remembers how nervous she was in her first varsity match.

Now a senior, Weg is hoping to share her experience and lead a young group of players on this year’s Worthington volleyball team.

“It’s gone fast,” Weg said. “Looking back, I remember my first games and how scared and timid I was. I’ve developed a lot as a player individually and I’m trying to carry that across with my teammates too.”

The Trojans return just four letterwinners this season with a roster that features five seniors and two juniors.

“We came into it knowing that we didn’t have much experience on the court besides the few seniors,” senior Emma Thuringer said. “It’s been a lot of learning, but it’s been going really well. The younger girls are taking it in really well, it’s impressive that they are doing so well. We knew kind of what to expect and I think it’s going better than we did expect.”

Leading the Trojans will be Weg, who returns for her fourth year of contributing at the varsity level, and Thuringer, who will be a force in the front row.

“They are kind of going to be the bookends, holding everything in place,” WHS head coach Jessica Hogan said. “I think they are ready to accept a different type of leadership this year than they have in the past. They are both natural leaders, but it’s going to be different for them as well. I think it will definitely be them that makes our team go and they are ready to accept that this year.”

Senior Cassidy Bruns and sophomore Nyamer Diew also return as letterwinners from a year ago.

“It will be a new look for the Trojans, but we have a good experienced core that can really be the charge,” Hogan said. “We have a lot of willing and ready-to-learn inexperienced kids. It’s just going to be a matter of meshing the two together and getting it all to fit into place.”

Along with Diew and Thuringer, Hogan looks for Natalie DeMuth, Sophie Wietzema and Madisyn Huisman to make plays in the front row. Along with Weg, Stephie Bauman will see time setting, while Payton Sauerbrei and Bruns will anchor the back row. She also expects Kara Thuringer, Jacee Turner, Anna Meyer and Taylor Hastings to play significant roles this season.

“I think this week, especially, we’re really pulling together as a team,” Weg said. “After graduating a lot, a lot of the younger girls have really stepped up. We’re all just taking advantage of the situation we have.”

One key for the Trojans this year will be serve and serve receive.

“We’re trying to improve our serving and scoring off serves and serve receives to make some plays to get our hitters hitting,” Emma Thuringer said. “That’s kind of what we’ve been focusing on, trying to use those as our strengths.”

WHS opens the regular season Thursday at Heron Lake-Okabena in what will prove to be a tough schedule for the Trojans this year.

“I think we are definitely going to compete hard and I think the start of the year, our biggest opponent will be ourselves,” Hogan said. “Then we can start looking at who we can knock off and get some big wins. I think any given night we do have the pieces that can make some noise and shake some things up.”