WORTHINGTON - The Marshall Tigers didn't come out as sharp as they had wanted, but the team built momentum as the match went on and eventually completed a sweep against Southwest Conference rival Worthington on Thursday night in Worthington.
The Tigers, ranked No. 1 in Class 2A, defeated the Trojans 25-14, 25-6, 25-12 to improve their overall record to 16-3 and remain perfect in the conference (4-0).
"Things were a little bit sluggish early on and in some ways Worthington kind of took advantage of that," Marshall head coach Dan Westby said. "They were able to build off some mistakes we made and they started playing with a lot of energy. Then things became difficult for us.
Photo submitted by The Worthington Daily Globe
Marshall’s Kenzie Beekman attempts to hit the ball over Worthington blockers Tracy Prins (2) and Becca Linder during a Southwest Conference volleyball match Thurdsay at Worthington High School.
"In the second set, I thought we came out and played with a lot more focus and energy. Then all of a sudden, things went a whole lot easier for us. We just need to develop some consistency, especially on the road."
Hannah Bennett dug up 20 balls for the Tigers, while Steph Baker collected 17 digs and Sydney Griffin 16. At the net, Marah Mulso, Sam Onken and Griffin each earned an ace block.
"In terms of strategy, we said we needed to focus on three things, with focus being one of them," Westby said. "We needed to have a lot more focus. We also needed a lot more energy and a lot more effort. And those are all things that we feel we can control."
Kenzie Beekman led the Tiger offense with 19 kills, while Callie Graff added eight, Griffin seven and Mulso six. Rachel Sanow tallied 18 set assists and Griffin chipped in with 17. Lexi Saugstad was solid at the serving line, going 10-for-10 with two aces, while Graff went 17-for-18 and Sanow 10-for-11.
Marshall is back in action today at the Lakeville North tournament.
"We wanted to use this match as a preview for what we're hoping to do this weekend up at Lakeville," Westby said. "We know we're going to get five quality matches there, so we really wanted to use this as a springboard for the weekend."