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Prep volleyball: Pipestone Area plays at high level, tops Worthington

WORTHINGTON -- Volleyball is a hit-and-miss sport. One moment, a team is "on." Another moment, the momentum slips. But the Pipestone Arrows played an almost perfect second game Thursday night in a 3-0 sweep of the host Worthington Trojans. After ...

Volleyball Trojans vs Pipestone web.jpg
Worthington High School volleyball player Payton Sauerbrei (25), flanked by Stephie Bauman (3) and Kara Thuringer, leaps up to return a shot Thursday against Pipestone-Area. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)

 

 

WORTHINGTON -- Volleyball is a hit-and-miss sport. One moment, a team is “on.” Another moment, the momentum slips.

But the Pipestone Arrows played an almost perfect second game Thursday night in a 3-0 sweep of the host Worthington Trojans. After winning the first game 25-19, they ran through the second game like butter in a 25-6 win. They became mortals again in the third game, though they won that one, too, 25-17.

“We were playing pretty slow. And we know we can play a faster pace. And we got it going,” said PA senior Mandi Miller.

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The Arrows are athletic and quick. They possess both hitters and setters who are able to step up to the line and deliver. On Thursday, they proved it.

“Our girls are working very hard to get better,” testified Pipestone Arrows head coach Jamie Juhl. “We’re trying to change (lineups) here and there, trying to give them more options.”

Against the Trojans, the Arrows put middle hitters outside and substituted for setters in the front row. For almost the entire match, they won the battle at the net both in hitting and in blocking.

“Our defense is picking up this year,” said Juhl. “We are a little bit smaller than we’ve been before. We’re working on our hitters in the front row, trying to get them to hit through bigger blockers. When they trust themselves and they’re on, they’re really on. It comes in spurts. We’ve seen it early-on. Now we’re trying to get more consistent.”

Pipestone Area roared to a 7-0 lead in the second game as senior setter MacKenzie Haroldson served for five straight points. Quick reactions at the net also helped the Arrows pull away. The rhythm and communication on Pipestone Area’s side of the net was certainly impressive.

“They played really well in the second game. They had everybody clicking really well on their side of the net. We just couldn’t get any momentum,” said WHS head coach Jessica Hogan.

Haroldson, who secured her 1,000th career set assist on Tuesday, finished with 19 on Thursday. Kayli Borman added 14 set assists to go along with nine kills. Three others had six. Mara Taubert had 13 digs and three ace serves.

Worthington was not without its moments. In the third set, after PA moved out to a 20-10 lead, an ace hit by junior hitter Madisyn Huisman made it 20-11. Then moments later Gracie Barber’s tip made it 20-12. Another point was scored, and then Payton Sauerbrei delivered an ace serve to cut the margin to 20-14. A Barber ace block made it 20-15.

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Pipestone Area regrouped, however, to close out the match.

Sauerbrei finished with seven digs in the match, along with 9-for-9 serving and four points. Barber, Huisman and Anna Meyer each had six kills. Barber also had three ace blocks and Bauman 11 set assists.

Worthington’s loss didn’t divert head coach Hogan from lauding the team’s progress.

“We’re continuing to climb the ladder, I feel. It didn’t show in the win column tonight, but overall we’ve had some of the best moments we’ve had,” she said. “It’s just consistency, but I think the consistency is gaining. We’re earning a lot more of our points now. We’re going back to fundamentals, and I think our blocking has improved a great deal.”

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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