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In the race for 5, SWC gets there first

volleyball

WORTHINGTON -- Meeting together Monday night in the Worthington High School gymnasium, both the Southwest Christian Eagles and the Worthington Trojans found themselves in the same boat -- and treading water.

Both volleyball teams had won exactly four matches in the 2019 season, and both were determined to use the other team for win No. 5.

Southwest Christian was the team that got it, beating the Trojans in three straight sets on scores of 25-19, 25-20 and 25-19.

“I was talking with Jessica (Hogan, the WHS coach) tonight before the game,” said Southwest Christian coach Sy Schaap. “She’s having the same thing. You just can’t seem to pull it together at the same time.”

After the match, Hogan said her girls continue to work hard and want to get better.

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Admittedly, however, victories have been hard to come by.

“Just kind of battling through the ups and the downs right now,” she said. “I think both teams have played well in a lot of matches, but just don’t have the wins to show for it. Both teams have had trouble finishing, and Southwest Christian did a better job tonight.”

Southwest Christian returns one of the better high school volleyball players in the area, in senior Jazlynn Prins. But the Eagles have had to work through issues just the same, such as replacing last year’s setting crew and back row. The service receiving has been inconsistent this fall, as has the hitting.

“But I think tonight we were a little more in sync. The seniors, I think, came through nicely,” Schaap said. “I thought we played more as a team tonight. We talked about everybody doing their job. And the energy was high, and that was key.”

After winning two tight games to start the match, Southwest Christian fell behind in the third when Worthington’s Steph Bauman produced three solid serves for a 15-9 WHS lead. But just when it looked like momentum was on the Trojans’ side, they lost it as SWC broke back for an 18-16 advantage.

Both squads looked like they didn’t want to win after that. After breaking Southwest’s two-point lead, the Trojans immediately were broken back. Then Southwest was broken immediately, and Worthington again after that. Then Southwest put a serve into the net. Then Worthington served it long.

The Eagles’ Morgan Pap finally righted her team by serving the final four points of the match, with teammate Prins drilling an ace spike for the 25th point.

Prins finished with 13 kills, and Bella Niemeyer had 11. Prins also had 14 digs, Maren Nerem had nine ace blocks, and Makenzie Snyder had 28 set assists.

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Bauman was 13-for-13 serving with seven points and three aces for Worthington, with 14 set assists. Payton Sauerbrei was 13-for-14 serving with six points. Sophie Wietzema had eight kills and three blocks. Kara Thuringer had 15 digs.

“Tonight was the battle for five,” said Hogan. “And they won.”

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