New Ulm falls to Worthington in sweep

NEW ULM – The New Ulm High volleyball team got swept by Worthington 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 25-22) in its first match of the season on Thursday night.

First-year coach Lauren Hoffmann said she was pleased with her team’s effort in keeping up with the Trojans (2-1) despite the loss.

“I’ve never seen them play, but what I’ve been told from the girls and parents and also my co-coaches is that Worthington was a very hard match,” Hoffmann said. “Last year, [New Ulm] didn’t do very well against them.”

The Eagles (0-1) tried catching up after the Trojans began the match with a 4-0 run, but a kill by Lizzie Rummel ended that run.

Worthington stringed together 5-0 and 4-0 runs in the first set en route to winning 25-22, taking a 1-0 lead in the match.

Rummel notched three of her five kills in the first set, during which the Eagles had never led or tied.

New Ulm got its first lead of the match in the second set thanks to two-straight blocks by both Rummel and Kate Denney for an 8-6 advantage after a kill by Ellie Schneider tied the set.

Worthington climbed back to retake the lead, which triggered a back-and-forth that saw the Eagles tie the score three more times to 12-12.

From there, Worthington outscored New Ulm 7-3 before a service ace by Katie Forst and a tip by Denney brought the Eagles to within one point at 19-18.

Worthington went on to win the set 25-19, taking advantage of New Ulm’s miscues to take a 2-0 lead.

Despite those miscues, Hoffmann said her team has been getting better at working together and communicating.

“I know that was a huge [problem] last year, as I was told,” Hoffmann said. “Going out there, I didn’t really see the pre-jitters. The first set – I take blame for that because that was my fault – but the pre-jitters weren’t there. We worked as a team.”

Akin to Rummel’s first set, Schneider tallied three of her five kills in the second set.

Five lead changes defined the third set as the Eagles fought to keep themselves alive in the match.

Tori Botten tallied two of her career-high three service aces in the third set. Alley Grejtak tallied two service aces in the third as well and finished the match with five kills.

Hoffmann said one of the major hindrances of the Eagles is tip coverage.

“That’s our biggest downfall,” Hoffmann said. “When they’re hitting at us, we’re fine with that but when they’re tipping, they’re finding our spots that we’re leaving open and we can’t get there quick enough.”

The Trojans finished the third set after pulling away from a 22-22 tie – the 12th of the set – to win 25-22 for the sweep.

New Ulm’s next match will be Tuesday when they host Redwood Valley. The match is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.

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