PREP VOLLEYBALL: Trojans sweep Raiders

WORTHINGTON -- Leading the entire match, the new-look Worthington High School volleyball team opened its new season Friday night with a well-balanced 3-0 victory over the visiting Fulda Raiders.

WHS' Kristen Andersen
Aaron Hagen/Daily Globe Worthington's Kristen Andersen (8) attempts a block as Fulda's Kassie Wilkening goes up for a tip during Friday night's volleyball match in Worthington.

WORTHINGTON -- Leading the entire match, the new-look Worthington High School volleyball team opened its new season Friday night with a well-balanced 3-0 victory over the visiting Fulda Raiders.

The Trojans got off to a fast start in each of the three games and never trailed in the match, winning on game scores of 25-16, 25-20 and 25-13.

"I was pleased," declared second-year head WHS coach Melissa Schutz. "We had nice balance, getting good performances from each of our girls -- many of whom were playing in a varsity match for the first time."

After fashioning an exceptional season last fall, winning 23 of 27 matches, the Trojans were hit hard by spring graduation. Eight quality seniors were a huge part of that success enjoyed by WHS in 2008.

So, with a bunch of "varsity rookies" it would seem that there would be a certain amount of tentativeness and a lot of first-year mistakes.


But, the new Trojans, at times, looked like a veteran team in mid-season form as they covered the floor well and attacked from various angles.

"We served hard and we serve-received well," praised Schutz. "These kids have prepared themselves for this season and I have lots of confidence in them."

Starting with a spike kill -- through a Fulda block attempt -- by junior veteran Martha Alwal, the Trojans scored first in Game 1.

A solid spike by Fulda's Mari Holinka (seven kills, four blocks) tied the score for the only time of the evening, but the Trojans took leads of 4-1, 6-2 and 9-3 before stretching the margin to 15-4 and forcing a second timeout by Raiders' first-year coach Heather Flynn.

"Worthington was tough," said Flynn, who was a three-sport athlete (volleyball, basketball, track and field) for the Trojans as Heather Harberts before graduating from WHS in 1996.

"We had some nice runs at certain times in each game, but overall it was tough to counter the solid all-around game that Worthington was displaying."

A bright spot for the Raiders was the all-around play of senior outside hitter Sheyenne Wildfeuer, who cracked several solid spikes at the Trojans and also was strong from the serving line.

"Sheyenne placed the ball well, getting some good hits around the blocks," noted Flynn. "Mari played well at the net, too, winning a couple of battles against Alwal."


Among the key plays by the Trojans during that early 14-3 run were a middle block by Alwal (six kills, three blocks), a hammering middle hit by sophomore setter Kristen Andersen, a left-side kill by senior veteran Tiffany Harberts, a solo middle block by Andersen and an ace serve by Harberts.

Senior right-side hitter Paige Westphal had the sets on two of those key kills, including a long cross-court to Harberts (team-high 10 kills).

Senior defensive specialist Courtney Meier (15-of-16 serving, one ace) had a string of service points during that stretch.

"That was a nice stretch for us there with Courtney serving," noted Schutz. "We had several girls make plays at the net and we ran off several points in a row."

After the timeout, Harberts (five digs, 9-for-10 serving) came up with a pair of super digs that helped fire up the Trojan crowd and keep the momentum in favor of the home team.

Holinka had a big block on an Alwal spike attempt to bring Fulda within 10 at 16-6, but Alwal took a cross-court set from Westphal a bit later and scorched the ball to the floor for a 17-6 Trojan lead.

A hard-hit spike down the line by Wildfeuer and an ace serve by Holinka made the score 19-10.

A bit later, Wildfeuer brought the Raiders to within nine at 20-11 with another spike kill and as Game 1 neared its finish, she delivered back-to-back ace serves, closing the score to 23-15.


"I had fun," said Wildfeuer after the match. "I love playing volleyball."

A tip kill by Worthington's Taylor Erwin and a Fulda net violation offset a well-placed spike kill by Fulda's Kassie Wilkening as the Trojans completed the nine-point victory.

Raiders trim score to 15-12 in Game 2

Back-to-back ace serves by Andersen gave Worthington the first two points of Game 2.

A powerful slam from the leftside by Megan Juber (six kills, six digs) gave the Trojans a 4-0 edge, which was later extended to 12-5 after a pair of kills by Harberts.

A Westphal right-side hit off an assist from Andersen (10 set assists, seven kills) made the score 15-6.

Fulda, however, came back with six straight points -- keyed by a thundering kill by senior middle hitter Krissa Kramer, who followed that up with an ace serve.

An ace block by Holinka and a dandy left-side kill by junior Jessica Hermeling -- off a set from Courtney Hulstein (11 set assists) -- brought the Raiders to within three points at 15-12.


The rest of Game 2 played out fairly evenly, as Holinka won another battle at the net, keeping Fulda within three (16-13) and the Trojans countered with a big spike kill by Courtney Meier, off a set from Emily Rogers.

Another kill by Andersen gave Worthington a 20-14 lead, but Holinka stuffed Alwal and the score was 20-15.

Harberts found open space with a well-placed tip before another left-side kill by Wildfeuer made the count 22-18.

Worthington's last three points came on Raider errors as the Fulda comeback attempt self-destructed at game's end.

"We were getting close at the end of that second game," noted Flynn. "Our own mistakes hurt us down the stretch."

Trojan balance shows well in Game 3

Harberts and Juber started Game 3 with kills and libero Kayla Vander Veen (six digs, 10-for-12 serving, one ace) delivered an ace serve to lift the Trojans to a 3-0 lead.

Alwal and Harberts teamed for a middle block which increased the advantage to 7-1.


A tremendous save by junior setter Meagan Meier (team-high 13 set assists, 12-for-13 serving, one ace) helped the Trojans get another point and claim an 11-3 lead.

On the next volley, Worthington exhibited a perfect bump-set-spike as Vander Veen made a textbook dig and Andersen's perfect set to Harberts was hammered to the floor for another Trojan point.

"That was a good example of what these girls are capable of," declared Schutz. "Both Meagan and Kristen were playing new roles as setters -- on the varsity level -- for the first time."

The lead was extended to 18-5 on another left-side kill by Juber and a backset by Megan Meier fell to the Fulda court for an ace and a 19-7 advantage.

Holinka and Wildfeuer each made some plays at the net to bring Fulda back, but a nice hit -- through a block -- by Rogers, along with an ace serve by Taylor Heidebrink lifted the Trojans to a 12-point win and the match sweep.

Wildfeuer finished with eight kills to lead Fulda, while Michelle Goedtke (10 set assists) and Kramer (8-for-9 serving, five points) also contributed for the Raiders, who are idle until they host Edgerton Sept. 10.

Worthington travels to Round Lake Tuesday for a non-conference match with the Round Lake-Brewster Raiders.


Fulda's Wildfeuer
Aaron Hagen/Daily Globe Fulda's Sheyenne Wildfeuer (9) looks to tip over the block of Worthington's Emily Rogers during the third game of Friday's volleyball match in Worthington.

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