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Marshall fights back to beat JCC in four

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Jackson County Central's Jordan Rogotzke (left) and Sadie Voss (10) jump for joy after the Huskies defeated Marshall in the first game of the South Section 3AA volleyball tournament Thursday night in Worthington. (Aaron Hagen/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- Sub-section championships aren’t supposed to be easy.

And while the top-seeded Marshall volleyball team came away with the victory in Thursday’s Section 3AA South sub-section championship match, the Tigers had to work for it.

Marshall dropped the first set -- something it hadn’t done in a long time -- but recovered to win the final three in a 21-25, 25-17, 25-21, 25-20 victory.

“We prepared the girls well,” JCC head coach Deidre Wierson said. “I thought the whole season, this team has really come together and battled in practice and really brought energy tonight. I couldn’t be more proud of all of them, three specific ones would be our seniors. They really have been effective as leaders and really pushed everyone to do the best we could do and be where we were at for tonight’s match. I’m very proud of all of them.”

The Tigers advance to face Minnewaska Area, the six seed from the North sub-section.

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The Huskies and Tigers were locked in a close battle all night, with neither team getting much separation.

“I told Coach Wierson from JCC, what she’s done with that team in the last three weeks is pretty amazing,” Marshall head coach Dan Westby said. “They’ve taken their game to a new level. She had the guts to make some changes and they’ve worked out well for them. We knew coming into this thing it was going to be a tough one and it really was. JCC fought hard. We were just able to score a few extra points and that was the difference in the match.”

For the Huskies, it was an untimely injury following the 3-0 loss to Marshall that forced a change.

“With our first matchup we were running a little different offense,” Wierson said. “We had an injury after that time with a middle hitter and we had to make some adjustments and run some different options. The best option for us that was working was a 5-1 offense. That was definitely a shift and that does take a lot to switch that way that late in the season. But the girls responded and they are very coachable young ladies and they were able to do it.”

In Game 1, the Huskies found themselves down 20-18. However, JCC finished the set on a 7-1 run to take the win.

“We hadn’t lost a set in a match since August,” Westby said. “We had lost a few in tournament play, but in a regular match, we hadn’t lost a set since August. I came over here and our kids were all down, and I said, ‘Guys, it’s one set. We’re fine.’”

And it turned out, the Tigers were. They rallied for a 25-17 win in the second game. The third game was tight as a pair of kills by JCC’s Alaina Wolff and a hit by Sadie Voss late kept it close.

The two teams stayed close in the fourth set as a pair of hits by Georgianna Wenzel brought the Huskies within two late, 20-18. But that was as close as they would get as the Tigers held on for the victory.

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“It was just our focus and the girls were on fire, every single one of them. They knew what they needed to do going into the match and we were just ready to rock,” Wierson said. “We were effective with our quick transitions, whether it was defense or on our offense, too. Our setter made some really smart decisions on being deceptive for the other side of the net. Then we were also able to push them out of system. That was kind of the plan. I couldn’t ask for anything more than to battle like this. This is how it should be when you’re at the end of the sub-section final match.”

Voss finished with 14 kills, 12 digs and three ace serves, while Wolff had 12 kills and 11 digs. Jordan Rogotzke finished with 35 set assists.

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Senior outside hitter Alaina Wolff of Jackson County Central spikes the ball against two Marshall blockers Thursday night. (Aaron Hagen/The Globe)

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