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Prep volleyball: JCC keeps the pressure on, tops Worthington

Worthington Trojan Gracie Barber (left) spikes against Jackson County Central's Hailey Handevidt (3), Alicia Brandt (12) and Alaina Wolff Tuesday night at Worthington. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)1 / 2
Jackson County Central's Alice Di Renzo (13) delivers a powerful slam against the Worthington Trojans. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)2 / 2

WORTHINGTON -- The Jackson County Central Huskies don’t consider their volleyball outings legitimate unless they’re pounding away at their opponents without let-up. The Huskies’ offensive weaponry was on display Tuesday night as they wore down their Worthington counterparts in three sets, 25-14, 25-18 and 25-12.

The Trojans did not give quarter. They are, in fact, noticeably improved since their season-opening loss to Heron Lake-Okabena. Still, they were unable to start a sustained run against the relentless Huskies, who improved to 3-0 with the victory at Worthington High School.

“They’re taking good strides. We’ve been playing better every game,” said WHS head coach Jessica Hogan, whose team fell to 1-4 with the loss.

But she had to give credit to JCC.

“They played a really good all-around match. They really controlled the ball well, and they served really well,” Hogan said.

Led by the strong service games of Alaina Wolff, Sadie Voss and Cali Cranston, the Huskies kept the pressure on. Wolff, the team’s 5-6 junior floor leader, put 15 of 16 serves in play for two aces. Cranston was 13-for-13. And Voss turned a close third set into a 19-8 JCC lead with her powerful jump serves, finishing 13-for-15 at the line for five aces.

At the net, Wolff had 10 kills, Alice De Renzo had nine, and Kendall Kapplinger had eight.

“We really tried to work as a team,” said Kapplinger, a 5-7 senior. “We really worked on the basics in practice, on what we know how to do.”

Which is …

“We really know how to stay calm in the match, stay focused at all times, and play a fast offense,” she said.

Both teams engaged in some strong action early in the first game at the net, and the score was deadlocked at 5, 6, 7 and 8 points. Voss then served three points for an 11-8 JCC advantage, and the lead was stretched from there.

In the second game, some hard spikes by Di Renzo got Jackson County Central into the flow early, and the Huskies’ constant pounding at the net made it difficult for Worthington to get into a flow of its own.

Worthington led 5-2 in the third game, but JCC took the lead at 8-7. That’s when Voss, a 5-9 freshman, stepped to the service line and dominated.

“I really think the girls came out hard, and we really tried to execute our offense -- taking them (the Trojans) out of their offense was something we tried to do. I think they’ve definitely gotten better as the season’s worn on. They’re always scrappy,” JCC coach Deidre Wierson said.

Sophie Wietzema had six kills and Gracie Barber had five for Worthington. Kara Thuringer had 10 digs and Steph Bauman was 11-for-12 serving with five points and two aces.

Doug Wolter

Doug Wolter is the Daily Globe sports editor. He served as sports reporter, then sports editor, news editor and finally managing editor at the Daily Globe for 22 years before leaving for seven years to work as night news editor at the Mankato Free Press in Mankato. Doug now lives in Worthington with his wife, Sandy. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Doug, retired after a lengthy career in fast-pitch softball, enjoys reading, strumming his acoustic guitar and hanging around his grandchildren. He also writes books on fiction. Two of his stories, "The Genuine One" and "The Old Man in Section 129" have been distributed through a national publisher.

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