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High school volleyball: H-BC out-hits W-WG in thrilling five-setter

HILLS -- In the fifth game, it was time for the Patriots to show what they're made of. That's serving and attacking, according to head coach Susan Bork. In a matchup of two outstanding high school volleyball teams Tuesday night, Bork's Hills-Beav...

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DOUG WOLTER / DAILY GLOBE Hills-Beaver Creek senior hitter Avery Van Roekel (14) goes high to slow down a hit attempt by W-WG's Camryn Bunting (10) Tuesday night at Hills.

HILLS -- In the fifth game, it was time for the Patriots to show what they’re made of.

That’s serving and attacking, according to head coach Susan Bork.

In a matchup of two outstanding high school volleyball teams Tuesday night, Bork’s Hills-Beaver Creek Patriots edged Westbrook-Walnut Grove in an exciting, high-caliber five setter. Westbrook-Walnut Grove, which entered the match with an 11-1 record, won the first two games 25-22 and 25-23. Hills-Beaver Creek won the next two, 25-16 and 25-17, then took charge in the third for a 15-7 win that moved the Pats to 13-1 on the season.

“They finally grabbed what they needed to do to take control. Our dominance is serving and attacking, and they took care of it,” Bork said of her players.

Senior hitters Jasmine Lingen and Avery Van Roekel dominated early at the net to push H-BC to a 5-1 fifth-game lead that forced W-WG to call for a time-out or get routed. But the Patriots scored the next two points for a 7-1 lead. Still pumped, the 5-10 Van Roekel drilled a rocket spike that bounced high off a Charger defender straight up, causing a gymnasium light hanging from the ceiling to wobble.

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The lead was 8-2 and the Patriots could feel a victory coming on.

A Lingen serving run pushed the lead to 11-6 and inspired another Charger time-out in hopes of changing the momentum. It never happened, however. The Chargers never got into sync and the Patriots never let up. A Sidney Fick ace block made it 13-6. An Olivia Richards ace hit made it 14-6.

Westbrook-Walnut Grove got its seventh point when Fick ran into a teammate going for a bump, bruising her nose. Time-out was called, this time to give Fick time to recover. She did. It was Fick who delivered a hit for the 15th point.

The Chargers’ victories in games one and two showed toughness and resilience. Hills-Beaver Creek is a tall and powerful team, but the shorter Chargers are scrappy and athletic. They trailed the Pats 20-23 in the second game yet fought back to win it.

The Patriots showed their resilience, too, to win games three and four to set up the decisive fifth game.

“We knew what we had to do, and we all did it together,” said Van Roekel, who had 15 kills and five blocks in the contest. “The first couple of games they were a little more scrappy than we were. We just had to hit their holes and cover our own.”

Hills-Beaver Creek’s defensive prowess at the net was evident in the statistics. Lingen had five blocks to go along with Van Roekel’s five, and Fick added four more blocks. Lingen, a 5-11 middle hitter, led the team in kills with 24. Fick added 13.

Avery Wysong had 29 set assists and Mekayla Kolbrek had 19. Courtney Kruger had nine digs.

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Van Roekel said Bork got the girls ready for the fifth game. “We had to be more aggressive. She pretty much told us what we had to do. She told us it was our last chance,” Van Roekel explained.

Westbrook-Walnut Grove’s court coverage showed in its digging numbers, with Grace Woelber accounting for 38, Emma Woelber 22 and Cassidy Mischke 22. Emma Woelber had 30 set assists while putting all 15 of her serves in play for four aces. Grace Woelber was 23-for-24 with four aces. Mischke had 18 kills.

The latter portion of the match wasn’t nearly as good as the first for W-WG, admitted co-head coach Mark Takle.

“We didn’t play smart. We hit into the block. They just controlled the net the last three games, really. We didn’t pass well,” Takle said.

Said Bork: “I wasn’t nervous. I knew they had it in ‘em. It’s just a matter of finding themselves. Finishing is the key to success. And we finished tonight.”

Related Topics: VOLLEYBALL
Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at dwolter@dglobe.com.
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