Worthington looking forward to 'new season'
WORTHINGTON -- The sleepover is on hold. Despite completing the most successful regular season in recent memory last week, Worthington's volleyball team isn't celebrating. Rather, the Trojans are trying to forget. Worthington recorded 22 regular-...
WORTHINGTON -- The sleepover is on hold.
Despite completing the most successful regular season in recent memory last week, Worthington's volleyball team isn't celebrating. Rather, the Trojans are trying to forget.
Worthington recorded 22 regular-season wins -- the most in program history, according to records that date back to 1991 -- and earned the No. 2 seed in the Section 3AA playoffs. Worthington High School athletics director Don Kuiper said he can't remember the Trojans ever earning a higher seed.
"We're definitely excited," Worthington senior setter Anneli Dudley said. "But we didn't have a sleepover or anything, that's for sure."
The Trojans will begin what they're calling a "new season" tonight when they host seventh-seeded Luverne in the first round of the Section 3AA playoffs.
"We had a good season, but that part of the season is done, and, basically, we have to look forward to the next season, the second season," Worthington coach Melissa Schutz said. "We've just been telling them that what happened in the first part of the season was great, they really accomplished a lot. But we have to push forward to the second part of the season and keep playing tough, stay strong mentally, and give it all you can give.
"They're a really strong group of girls that want more and more and more. We're very happy to be 22-3, but we just want to keep going and see what we can do with that record."
While Schutz wants her players to ignore their recent success and stay level-headed, she'd certainly like the Trojans to carry their end-of-the-season momentum and their dominant home-court play into the postseason.
Since suffering a 3-1 loss on the road against Windom, which is ranked No. 2 in Class 1A, Worthington won 15 of its ensuing 16 matches and 37 of its next 42 games, including a four-match winning streak to end the season. Each of Worthington's three losses has come either on the road or at a neutral site. The Trojans are 10-0 at home, where they've won 30 of 31 games.
Worthington swept its first-round opponent, Luverne, on Sept. 4. Holli Aggen had 13 digs, 10 kills, two service aces and an ace block to lead the Trojans, who never trailed in the match and cruised to a 25-15, 25-10, 25-10 victory.
The Cardinals (12-12-2) have lost four consecutive matches, but they gave Windom all it could handle in the season finale for both teams. Luverne won the first game but eventually suffered a 28-26, 24-26, 16-25, 23-25 defeat.
"Now it doesn't matter what our record is, because all the teams are going to be out for the win," Dudley said. "Everyone is 0-0, and everyone is starting over, so we have to be on top of our game every game.
"We just have to take it one game at a time. We don't want to overlook anyone, so we'll tackle Luverne first. We'll just take one step at a time."
A win tonight would vault Worthington into the second round of the playoffs for just the second time since 2004. The Trojans defeated Litchfield in the first round in 2005 but then lost to Marshall, which swept Worthington in the first round last year.
"We've been building toward this the whole season; we started this summer, it's really something the girls are looking forward to," Schutz said. "They've been thinking about this part of the season for a long time. They've been preparing themselves mentally for months, and they really want this chance to show what they do have, and they've really been waiting to show what Worthington volleyball can do."