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High school volleyball: Trojans hope experience puts them over the top

Aaron Hagen Daily Globe WORTHINGTON - With a large contingent of returning players, consistency is going to be the key for the Worthington volleyball team. "That's one of our goals this year is to be more consistent and a lot of that is the menta...

Aaron Hagen

Daily Globe

WORTHINGTON – With a large contingent of returning players, consistency is going to be the key for the Worthington volleyball team.

“That’s one of our goals this year is to be more consistent and a lot of that is the mental piece that we’ve been talking about,” WHS head coach Jessica Hogan said. “A lot of these girls have put a lot of time in their skills and fundamentals so all of that should be improved as well. The mental piece is big and with them having that court time under their belt and we were in a lot of close matches last year. I feel like we’ll come out on top of those this year.”

The Trojans finished 15-15 last year, but struggled in close matches. With eight returning letter winners, Hogan is hoping the experience will make the difference this year.

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“I think that’s where the experience will play in and the maturity will play in because they’ve been in those situations before and they can make those one or two different decisions or those one or two better plays and the difference will show in the outcome,” Hogan said.

WHS will be led by six seniors: Paige Heidebrink, Kourtney Bauman, Abbi Mulder, Maddi Woll, Emily Shaffer and Jasmine Williams.

“They want to contribute even more this year and they are hungry for a good season,” Hogan said of her seniors. “I think that will show when it’s time to hit the court.”

Juniors Emma Thuringer and Anneke Weg are also listed as key contributors this season for the Trojans, who will have the hitters who can put the ball away. With Mulder and Thuringer in the middle, Shaffer on the right, Woll on the left and Weg setting, WHS should have no trouble getting kills, according to Hogan. However, one of the keys will be the back row. That’s where Heidebrink, Williams and Bauman will come in.

“Serve and serve receive have been a huge focus for us,” Hogan said. “We’re also very improved defensively. With our height, we’re hoping to get a lot of blocks, but also our back row has improved a lot with reading the ball and covering the court. I think you’ll see a lot more defense out of us than you have in the past.”

While the back-row play will be a big factor in the Trojans' success this season, Hogan is hoping the height at the net will wreak havoc for opposing teams.

“We did graduate some height, but we actually have a lot returning,” Hogan said. “Most of our returning players are pretty tall and that’s one of our strengths. We definitely have that to take advantage of, I think. Our back row is improving as well, we lost one of those spots last year, so I think as the year goes by, we’ll improve a lot. I think at the start of the year we’ll be better than we were last year.”

The Trojans won’t have to wait much longer for the start of their season. WHS opens the volleyball season Thursday at home against Heron Lake-Okabena.

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“We have to be ready,” the coach said. “Heron Lake-Okabena is always a good opponent for us and they’ll be ready to play too. It will be interesting to kick off the season.”

The schedule won’t get any easier for Worthington playing in the Big South Conference.

“We always talk about that our schedule is tough and that only makes you better,” Hogan said. “It’s about how you’re playing throughout the season and hopefully peaking at the right time. Having a good schedule, like we do, only helps us with that.”

Related Topics: VOLLEYBALL
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