Prep volleyball: RRC beats Worthington in five sets

BY AARON HAGEN The Globe WORTHINGTON -- Playing from behind doesn't bother Hannah DeCock. "The other games that we've played, we usually pull through in the last games, in Game 5s and Game 3s," said DeCock, a senior on Red Rock Central's volleyba...

Red Rock Central's Hannah DeCock (13) spikes the ball against Worthington's Nyamer Diew (left) and Emma Thuringer (8) Monday night in Worthington. (Aaron Hagen/The Globe)



The Globe

WORTHINGTON -- Playing from behind doesn’t bother Hannah DeCock.

“The other games that we’ve played, we usually pull through in the last games, in Game 5s and Game 3s,” said DeCock, a senior on Red Rock Central’s volleyball team. “So it was more like, ‘We’ve done this before, we can do this again.’”


So when the Falcons were behind two games to none, and then down 10-5 in the match-deciding fifth set, there was no panic. Each time Worthington seemed to put away RRC, the Falcons came back as they earned a 3-2 victory Monday night.

“Tonight, they grew up,” RRC head coach Sara Arfsten said. “They overcame some hurdles that they haven’t been able to overcome prior to this when we’ve been in those situations.”

Game scores were 23-25, 27-29, 25-13, 25-11 and 18-16. This was just two days after Worthington defeated RRC in a tournament in Jackson.

“Going into it, I thought, ‘OK, it  could be either way,’” DeCock said. “We played them on Saturday and we lost to them. So we knew it could go either way. The first two games, I was kind of nervous and going into the third, I was like ‘We have to win this one, we have to pull through.’ In the start of the fifth game, I was like, ‘Now we really have to go, we really have to push through.’”

DeCock did her part Monday as she had a match-best 21 kills, including the victory-sealing point in Game 5.

“Coach was like tip here and tip there and change speeds. I hit some and tipped some and had some off-speed. That’s what I try to do, just get their defense off. That was my plan,” DeCock said. “It was really fun and exciting. I felt like I built as a player in this game.”

The Trojans won the first two games, but it wasn’t easy. Each time, RRC led 20-18. A pair of ace serves by Worthington’s Emma Thuringer helped seal the Game 1 victory.  Kara Thuringer scored on a tip ball and Nyamer Diew (seven kills) put away a free ball to give WHS a Game 2 victory.

“I just said they didn’t play poorly in those first two games. Obviously they can’t get a closer game than we had in the first two,” Arfsten said. “Volleyball is such a momentum game. We just got all the momentum and it really didn’t matter what we did, Worthington just didn’t have the momentum and they couldn’t execute anything.”


In both Games 3 and 4, the Falcons built a 5-1 lead and won 25-13 and 25-11 to even the match.

“Saturday we kind of played like we did the first two, not very quick and not with a lot of energy. Energy makes a big difference,” DeCock said. “Communication is a big thing and in the first two games we didn’t really talk that much. The third, fourth and fifth we had more energy and talked more. Basically, communication is key when we play.”

Worthington had a 5-0 lead in the fifth set, and had a 10-5 advantage.

“Volleyball is very mental,” WHS head coach Jessica Hogan said. “We just kind of hit the reset button and went back out. We’ve had a lot of success in fifth games this year. We have that as a confidence boost for us, we hung tough, we just couldn’t finish it off.”

Nicole Schroepfer (11 kills, 26 digs) and Katelyn Rogotzke each had a pair of kills to start the RRC rally as the Falcons went on a 9-1 run to lead 14-11. The Trojans weren’t backing down as back-to-back ace blocks by Thuringer (nine kills, eight blocks, 14 digs) and Anneke Weg (six kills, six blocks, 12 digs, 20-for-22 serving, two aces) sparked WHS.

“We have a lot of fight and we’re never out of any set, no matter the score. These girls really dig deep and play it out to the end. They show a lot of determination and they did that again tonight, especially in Game 5,” Hogan said. “We had too many errors. We made life very difficult on ourselves. Not taking anything away from Red Rock because they played much better obviously. But we did not play well in Games 3 and 4. We tried to rebound in Game 5, but we couldn’t finish the night off.”

However, an ace by Bridget Bierl and a hit off a free ball by DeCock sealed the Falcon victory.

“The fifth set, the girls really stuck together as a team,” Arfsten said. “In prior games when that’s happened to us, we’ve tightened up and we just kind of folded and they quit talking. They didn’t do that (tonight). I was very pleased with that. That’s huge progress for us. I hope that makes a difference as we continue on the season with how we’ll end up playing. They got a lot of confidence from it.”


Kennedi Janssen was 29-for-29 serving with five aces to go with 27 set assists and 10 kills for RRC, while Kierra Highby was 20-for-21 with two aces. Haley Simonson had 42 digs.

Madisyn Husiman had six kills for WHS, while Sophie Wietzema had five blocks. Payton Sauerbrei led the Trojans with 18 digs.

Madisyn Huisman (6) of Worthington goes up against Red Rock Central's Kennedi Janssen at the net Monday night. (Aaron Hagen/The Globe)

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