PREP VOLLEYBALL: Eagles prevail over Chargers

LUVERNE -- Courtney Ysker powered down 21 kills and served eight aces Monday evening, as the remarkable senior outside hitter -- who earned Class A All-State honors last season -- sparked an impressive performance by Windom High School in the sem...

Windom's Ysker
Aaron Hagen/Daily Globe Windom's Courtney Ysker (2) spikes the ball against W-WG's Anne Woelber during Monday night's volleyball match in Luverne.

LUVERNE -- Courtney Ysker powered down 21 kills and served eight aces Monday evening, as the remarkable senior outside hitter -- who earned Class A All-State honors last season -- sparked an impressive performance by Windom High School in the semifinals of the Section 3A South volleyball tournament.

Holding off gallant mid-set rallies by fifth-seeded Westbrook-Walnut Grove in each game, the top-seeded Eagles advanced to the sub-section championship match with a 3-0 sweep of the Chargers.

Game scores were 25-22, 25-15 and 25-18.

"I can't say enough nice things about Westbrook-Walnut Grove," summed up veteran Windom head coach Ron Wendorff after the well-played match. "I was really impressed with the way the Chargers played -- they gave us all we wanted and then some. We needed to play extremely well ourselves in order to win this one."

The victory improves Windom's overall record to 24-6, while W-WG finishes a fine season with a 21-9 mark.


"It was a good season for us," concluded Chargers' head coach Natalie Ross. "We had a great effort here tonight, too, but Windom has a very good team and was able to counter a lot of the good things that we did."

Among the good things that W-WG did were impressive rallies in the middle of each set, including a stunning 10-0 run in Game 1 -- which brought the Chargers from a 13-5 deficit to a 15-13 lead, behind nine consecutive service points from 5-10 freshman middle hitter Dayna Comnick.

"That was a really good run with Dayna serving," praised Ross. "Her serves took Windom out of its offense and with free balls coming at us, we were able to get on the offensive attack ourselves."

Doing the bulk of the attacking was Comnick's older first cousin -- senior outside hitter Taylor Elzenga, who smacked five of her team-high eight kills during Game 1.

"Taylor is such a great volleyball player," declared Ross. "She has been so coachable and has made so many plays at the net, which have helped us be successful."

The highlight of that early W-WG run was a well-timed middle block by Elzenga -- following a spectacular save by junior setter Anne Woelber on a long rally -- which gave the Chargers their sixth straight point, making the score 13-11 and forcing Wendorff to call a timeout.

Out of the break, Elzenga scored twice in a row -- first with a block, then with a middle kill -- as Comnick continued her torrid serving, which she capped with back-to-back aces, giving W-WG a 15-13 advantage.

Comnick's 10th serve, however, went long and the Eagles tied the score at 15-all on an ace serve by senior defensive specialist Sarah Lamaack.


Ysker followed with a kill just inside the back line and then delivered a cross-court kill off a fine set from sophomore outside hitter Hali Tasler.

Two more solid plays at the net by Ysker offset a middle kill by Elzenga and the Eagles were back in command, leading 19-16.

A deep set by Woelber closed the gap to 19-17 and W-WG senior libero Molly Jarmer made an incredible dig on a Ysker spike, but Windom later scored the point when sophomore right-side hitter Shelby Mattson put down a block.

Maddie Frank and Karley Deprez, a pair of junior middle hitters for the Chargers, combined on a block of a Ysker spike attempt, once again trimming the lead to two points, 20-18.

A missed Charger serve was followed by a middle kill by Frank and then a "wrap around" kill by Windom's Abby Hayenga gave the Eagles a 22-19 advantage.

Hayenga's middle block increased the lead to 23-19, but W-WG answered with a kill -- through the block -- by Comnick and another "dump over" by Woelber, sandwiched around a Windom hitting error, to come within one, 23-22.

W-WG's comeback bid fell just short as back-to-back errors by the Chargers sealed the three-point Game 1 victory for the Eagles.

Ysker sparks Windom to 11-3 lead in Game 2


A right-side kill by Mattson capped an early 6-0 run for Windom in Game 2 behind the serving of Tasler (21-of-22, two aces).

A big block by Deprez slowed the Eagles' momentum, but Ysker warmed up to lead a second Windom surge, scoring on a right-side kill and consecutive ace serves, helping her team claim an 11-3 lead.

An ace serve by senior libero Amber Sebring and a kill by senior setter Kaitlin Markl -- on a long rally -- lifted the Eagles to a 14-4 lead.

The Chargers, however, began another mid-set comeback and scored nine of the next 12 points, as their 9-3 run trimmed Windom's advantage to 17-13.

A kill by Ysker, a deep ace serve by Tasler, a block by Mattson and a trio of kills by Ysker highlighted Windom's 8-2 game-closing run and the Eagles had a 2-0 lead in the match.

Eagles start Game 3 with two back sets

A middle kill by Elzenga scored Game 3's first point, but the Eagles countered with back-to-back back sets by Hayenga -- first to Tasler, then to Mattson -- giving Windom a 2-1 edge.

"We need to be able to do that," noted Wendorff. "Teams tend to really key on Ysker, so we have to be able to use the other side of the net."


Ysker, Mattson and junior outside hitter Amber Eigenberg all had kills for Windom during a 6-2 run which put the Eagles up by a 9-4 count.

Hayenga and Eigenberg later teamed up on a block and another kill by Eigenberg made the score 11-5.

A kill by Frank and a lift call on Windom closed the gap to 11-7, but Hayenga's left-side kill put the Eagles up by five.

Sophomore middle hitter Holly Larson, who had come up with several stellar blocks for Windom early in Game 1, teamed with Eigenberg on a middle block for another Eagle point before Eigenberg took a set from Tasler and delivered a kill which put her team up by a 15-9 margin.

W-WG came back with its third mid-set rally of the match, stringing together a 5-2 run which closed the lead to 17-14, highlighted by a pair of kills from Elzenga and another "dump over" set by Woelber.

Windom, however, regrouped and closed out the match with an 8-4 run as Ysker and Larson both scored on blocks, Ysker served a pair of aces and Eigenberg scored twice on kills.

"I thought that our kids made good decisions at the net and some of our girls just flat out played their best match of the season," concluded Wendorff about Windom's overall performance. "I was proud of the balance that we displayed and how we came up with key plays to turn back W-WG's surges."

Hayenga finished with 18 set assists, three kills, two solo blocks, three block assists, four digs and was 10-of-10 serving with an ace for the Eagles, who only missed six serves in 75 attempts during the match.


"Abby is kind of a stat-sheet stuffer," Wendorff said about his versatile setter. "She is extremely quick and does a lot of things for us on the volleyball court."

Ysker and Sebring each had eight digs for the Eagles, while Eigenberg (five), Mattson (five) and Tasler (three) combined for 13 kills.

Markl put up 14 set assists for Windom and both Larson (four solos, one assist) and Mattson (three solos, two assists) finished with five blocks.

Comnick (15-of-17, 13 points, two aces) and Chanel Madson (11-of-11) topped W-WG's serving charts, while Woelber put up a match-high 21 set assists.

Frank and Comnick had five and three kills, respectively for the Chargers, while Amber West and Jarmer contributed 13 and 11 digs, respectively.

Windom plays Murray County Central at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Marshall for the sub-section title.

W-WG's Chanel Madson
Aaron Hagen/Daily Globe

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