Prep volleyball: Trojans toughen up in win over Redwood Valley

BY AARON HAGEN The Globe WORTHINGTON -- Emma Thuringer and her team had been in the situation before. In fact, it was the last time the Worthington volleyball team was in the WHS gymnasium. Just like the last home match 10 days ago, the Trojans w...

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Worthington Trojans Kara Thuringer (7) and Sophie Wietzema (11) block a spike from the Redwood Valley Cardinals' Nicole Stoen Thursday in Worthington. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)


The Globe

WORTHINGTON -- Emma Thuringer and her team had been in the situation before.

In fact, it was the last time the Worthington volleyball team was in the WHS gymnasium.

Just like the last home match 10 days ago, the Trojans won the first two sets, only to watch the opponent come back and win the next two.


“In the end of the fourth set, I was like, ‘I do not want this again,’” Thuringer said. “That was so awful last time. As a team, we talked about that between the fourth and fifth and we just decided that wasn’t going to happen again. None of us wanted that.”

Unlike last time, Thursday’s match went in favor of Worthington as it earned a key Big South Conference victory over Redwood Valley.

“We are fighters,” Thuringer saids following Worthington’s 3-2 win. “We know in the fifth set how focused we need to be and it’s amazing how we’re able to come back after those two games. We’ve been in that situation before, winning and losing that fifth set. We know what we do, we’re experienced in that.”

Not only was it Homecoming week for WHS, but Thursday was also “Meet the Trojans Night.”

“It was huge. We wanted to win because it’s such a big week this week with Homecoming,” Thuringer said. “We’re all riled up for that. So it was good to cap it off with a win and be able to enjoy Homecoming Friday.”

The Trojans started well against the Cardinals Thursday night, winning the first two games, 25-20 and 25-19. But RV came back to take the next two, 25-23, 25-21, sending it to a match-deciding fifth set. Worthington controlled the set from the beginning in a 15-8 victory.

“We just had to find our confidence and it starts with our body language on the court,” WHS head coach Jessica Hogan said. “It’s easy to get down when you lost two in a row. The girls picked their heads up and kept battling. We found our stride again and had a lot of confidence stepping right onto the court starting Game 5. Credit to them, they chose to believe and it worked out for them.”

The first two sets were tight throughout as a 7-1 run propelled the Trojans to a Game 1 victory and 7-2 run in the second set gave WHS a 2-0 lead.


The Trojans led 22-18 late in Game 3, but a back-to-back kills by RV’s Nicole Stoen and an ace serve brought the Cardinals back into the game. WHS scored the next point on a Madisyn Huisman tip shot, but the Cardinals scored the game’s next four points to force a fourth set.

“We just started not taking care of us and waiting for them to make an error and they weren’t making errors, so that wasn’t really working for us,” Thuringer said. “I think we just stopped taking care of ourselves. But we got it back.”

The Cardinals started the fourth game with a 5-1 lead and never trailed.

“That’s volleyball. We know it’s back and forth and we know it’s a game of momentum,” Hogan said. “We had to get a little mentally tougher and we did that in Game 5 and I’m proud of them for that.”

An early 5-1 run gave the Trojans an advantage in the fifth set, but there weren’t many easy points for either side as the two teams played long rallies.

“We kind of knew that coming in, Hogan told us that they were a scrappy team,” Thuringer said. “We’re scrappy too, so we can give it right back. I’m sure they got just as frustrated as we did. They were fun, exhausting volleys. We win some, we lose some, but it was just fun.”

RV was within two, 10-8 in the fifth set, but WHS capped the game with a 5-0 run.

“This is a big one,” Hogan said. “I think the girls were really excited. They were really up for this game. We only have one regular season home match left, so I think that was another reason they really wanted this one too.”


Thuringer had a team-high 12 kills to go with five blocks and nine digs. She was also 19-for-22 serving with three aces. Anneke Weg was 21-for-24 serving with three aces to go with 30 set assists and 10 digs. Cassidy Bruns was 18-for-19 serving with two aces. Payton Sauerbrei had 21 digs. Sophie Wietzema had six kills and five blocks, while Nyamer Diew had 10 kills and four blocks.

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