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RRC recovers, tops WHS volleyball team in four

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Red Rock Central hitter Karli Arkell (11) shoots a spike against Worthington's Olivia Hayenga (0) and Sophie Wiertzema (11) Thursday night. (Aaron Hagen/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- Down two games to none, the Worthington High School volleyball squad rallied to win the third game against visiting Red Rock Central Thursday on Parents’ Night, but the Falcons rallied back to end the match in four.

Scores were 25-22, 25-14, 23-25, 25-15.

“We actually were playing without two starters tonight,” said RRC co-head coach Brittni Baune. “We had some girls step up and play in places where they don’t normally play. They were covering the court well and were very scrappy.”

The Falcons lost two players to injury in Wednesday’s practice, and the incident that put both of them out happened 10 minutes before the end of the session. They still had 6-2 sophomore middle hitter Karli Arkell in uniform, however, and the Trojans never found an answer for her.

Arkell led her team with 20 kills, and 5-10 junior Nicole Schroepfer added 11 kills as RRC improved to 9-7 on the season.

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But give the Trojans credit. They hung tough in the third game, helped along by solid hitting by Ellie Weg, Sophie Wietzema and Madisyn Huisman. Stephie Bauman, Kara Thuringer, Payton Sauerbrei and Brianna Veen provided good court coverage and Worthington maintained a 19-16 lead near the end. RRC fought back to get into a 20-20 tie, but the Trojans recovered. The final point was scored moments after Bauman made a great, off-balance save.

WHS started the fourth game while an enthusiastic bench provided excellent support. The Trojans led 9-7, but fell behind to a focused RRC team that wasn’t going to let that set get away.

Bianca Weis helped the Falcons’ cause with 15 points on serve and three aces, and teammate Carissa Erickson contributed 13 points. Weis also had 33 digs. Schroepfer and Erickson added 19 and 18, respectively.

For Worthington, Thuringer was 18-for-18 serving with 12 points. She also had 14 digs.

Sauerbrei was 13-for-14 at the line with nine points and an ace, and she also had 12 digs. Wietzema had eight kills while Tarren Spartz and Weg both had six. Bauman and Veen had 15 and 14 set assists, respectively. Wietzema had five blocks and Weg had four.

As a team, the Trojans made 53 digs -- a figure that pleased head coach Jessica Hogan.

“I was impressed with their willingness to cover the floor tonight, which shows a lot of hustle. I think at times our defense responded well (to RRC’s offense),” she said. “The third game, we were able to execute a lot better. We were making our own points. We were putting the pressure on RRC a little bit more.”

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Sophie Wietzema of Worthington sends a ball between two Red Rock Central blockers. (Aaron Hagen/The Globe)

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