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Prep volleyball: Luverne takes Worthington in three

BY DOUG WOLTER dwolter@dglobe.com LUVERNE -- Volleyball is an inexact science. Sometimes the game clicks. Sometimes it doesn't. It's not quite that simple, of course, but all the ups and downs that can go into a varsity volleyball match were ther...

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Luverne Cardinals senior hitter Alexis Ferrell leaps up to hammer a spike in Thursday's volleyball match with the Worthington Trojans. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

BY DOUG WOLTER

dwolter@dglobe.com

 

LUVERNE -- Volleyball is an inexact science. Sometimes the game clicks. Sometimes it doesn’t.

It’s not quite that simple, of course, but all the ups and downs that can go into a varsity volleyball match were there for the watching Thursday night as the Luverne Cardinals aced the Worthington Trojans 3-0.

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The first two games were tight. Worthington led the second game 15-10 though neither team was hitting on all cylinders. In the third game, Luverne hit on all cylinders and the Trojans were powerless to respond.

Game scores were 25-23, 25-18 and 25-8.

Luverne’s biggest offensive weapon, 6-2 senior middle hitter Alexis Ferrell, took over the match almost immediately in the third game. She opened it with an untouched ace hit, then drilled another one, and then a third. It was 3-0 as the Cardinals got on a roll and stayed on it. Sierra Schmuck served for seven straight points for an 8-0 Luverne lead. It ballooned to 19-2. The Trojans were never able to get on the offensive themselves. Serve receiving became inconsistent. And too many attacks were mis-hit, often into the net or beyond the boundary lines.

Ferrell finished with 17 kills and three blocks, but she was probably more impressive on the serving line -- finishing with 22-for-24 with three aces by using the jump-serve approach.

After the match, she said she puts most of her focus on net play, and not serving.

“I think I always focus on working on the front row. Usually I work most on my arm swing, because that’s the most important thing besides my defense,” she said.

She learned jump-serving right around her freshman year while playing with a Sioux Falls club team.

“I liked the approach. It just felt right,” she explained.

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Ferrell’s vaunted hitting abilities didn’t stop the Trojans from staying right with the Cardinals in the first two games. Part of the reason was a strong blocking scheme.

“They really were able to come in and pick off some balls,” said Ferrell.

Worthington head coach Jessica Hogan agreed.

“Games one and two were a real good battle,” she said. “We showed a lot of good defense. We were moving real well on the court. I give Luverne credit for game three; they really took the momentum and kept it.”

The Trojans climbed back from a 20-13 deficit in the first game to come to within 24-23. But the Cardinals got the final point on a Ferrell hit off the arm of a Worthington defender.

Worthington led the second game 3-1, fell behind 6-4, re-took the lead at 8-7 and stretched it to 15-10. But Luverne scored the next six points for a 16-15 lead and from there scored nine of the final 12 points.

Luverne head coach Susie Bork couldn’t have been happier with the way the third game went.

“Everything was done right. Blocking, receiving, putting the ball on the court. The momentum was there for us,” she said.

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With the win, the Cardinals improved to 16-3 on the season.

Junior hitter Greta Ahrendt added 14 kills and two solo blocks for Luverne Thursday night. Ferrell had 15 digs. Schmuck was 15-for-15 serving with one ace while recording 25 set assists. Tacey Baustian had 12 set assists. Gracie Bosch led the team with 23 digs.

For Worthington, Anneke Weg and Madisyn Huisman had five kills apiece. Emma Thuringer and Nyamer Diew had six and four blocks, respectively. Payton Sauerbrei and Thuringer had 10 and seven digs, respectively. Weg had 14 set assists.

Sauerbrei was 12-for-14 serving with two aces and eight points. Stephie Bauman was 8-for-8 with two points and Cassidy Bruns was 8-for-9 with one ace and five points.

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Luverne's Greta Ahrendt attempts to block a spike by Worthington's Sophie Wietzema (11). (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

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 dwolter@dglobe.com.
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