Highly-touted Rochester sweeps Lady Jays in three

The Minnesota West Lady Jays' Kiarra Danielson (14) watches as teammate Kennedy Buckneberg (20) answers the service volley from the visiting Rochester Community and Technical College Yellowjackets Monday night in Worthington.
The Minnesota West Lady Jays' Kiarra Danielson (14) watches as teammate Kennedy Buckneberg (20) answers the service volley from the visiting Rochester Community and Technical College Yellowjackets Monday night in Worthington.
Tim Middagh / The Globe
We are part of The Trust Project.

WORTHINGTON -- It is perhaps because head coach Brittney McNab expects so much more out of her Minnesota West Lady Jays that she seemed especially miffed at Monday night’s 3-0 volleyball loss to Rochester at the Center for Health and Wellness in Worthington.

Worthington Trojans gymnast Hali Bullerman, while bravely fighting a wrist injury, is a leader on the team
WORTHINGTON – The Worthington Trojans came into its second home game of the 2022-23 season Tuesday night needing to find results on offense. The Trojans showed great progress as they netted four goals against the Waseca Bluejays.

Rochester is a very good volleyball team, ranked No. 6 in the NJCAA preseason poll. The Jays played the Yellowjackets almost even in the first game on Monday and came back from a 14-6 deficit to within a point of tying the score 24-24 in the third game.

But it wasn’t enough. Rochester won in a sweep, 25-19, 25-12 and 25-23.

Certainly, McNab said after the match, she expects a better result from the 2022 Lady Jays. “We’ve got girls that can play all six positions on the floor,” said the coach.

Minnesota West Lady Jays Dannyn Peterson leaps up and slams her serve to the visiting Rochester Community and Technical College Yellow Jackets Monday night in Worthington.
Minnesota West's Dannyn Peterson leaps up and slams her serve to Rochester Monday night in Worthington. Rochester won in three sets.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

After winning their season opener, West went 2-2 last weekend at a tournament in Coon Rapids, beating Northland and Alexandria Tech but losing to Itasca and Iowa Lakes. McNab was less than thrilled at that outcome, too, saying her team looked “lost” at times. Maybe it was because it was the squad’s first road trip, or maybe it was because of the awkward timing of some of the matchups. Still, it could be better.


On Monday, Minnesota West’s final statistics looked less than complete -- that’s what happens when the match goes only three games. Sophomore right-side hitter Dannyn Peterson led the team with six kills while Kennedy Buckneberg and Sami Polzin both had five. Kierra Danielson had nine set assists and Courtney Moser had five. Buckneberg came up with 10 digs while Jaenid Torres had six and Peterson four.

Rochester is too good a team to give free balls to, and that’s why McNab said the Lady Jays couldn’t keep pace.

“We gave them a lot of free balls, and they scored on every free ball that we gave ‘em. They had their backs every ball,” she said.

The Globe releases its annual honor roll of the top high school volleyball players in the area
Senior hitter Tarren Spartz signed on to play volleyball Tuesday for Dordt University
The Marshall Tigers, state champions in Class AAA, landed four players on the Big South Conference volleyball team for 2022.

In the third game, however -- after the Yellowjackets scored nine straight points to overcome a 6-5 West lead, the Jays kept fighting. A Hattie DeVries ace tip brought West within four at 19-15, and then it was 19-16. Rochester threatened to coast to the finish line when it led 22-16, but the Jays crept closer and could’ve evened the score at 24-all with one more point. But the 25th point came across on a hard Kennedy Hady crosscourt ace hit.

McNab was reminded that it showed some grit for the Lady Jays to pull so close at the end.

“But you know what happened?” she pointed out. “We gave them the free ball on the 24th point, and they knew exactly what to do with it.”

If there was a theme to Monday’s match for Minnesota West, it was that this team can do a lot better. McNab says the team needs to show more communication, more movement, and more aggression -- something they showed in preseason practices and in the season’s first match, a 3-2 win over Dakota State JV.

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
What to read next
Tuesday night high school roundup:
There were no falls on the balance beam for the WHS gymnastics team Tuesday, and Olivia Barber won two events plus the all-around
Fleck has had more sustained success than Babers, and Minnesota is a touchdown favorite for this month’s bowl game in New York City.
Monday night high school sports roundup: