PREP VOLLEYBALL: No. 1 Marshall cruises past Windom Area in sweep
MARSHALL — There’s no place like home.
After spending nearly the last month on the road, the No. 1-ranked Marshall volleyball team were welcomed back with an energetic crowd for its match against Windom Area. Marshall used the energy boost to its advantage, earning a 3-0 (25-6, 25-14, 25-12) victory over the Eagles on Thursday.
Marshall coach Dan Westby said it felt good to be back on their home floor and was pleased with the energy and focus his team brought right from the start.
“It does feel good. It’s been a month since we’ve had an opportunity to play at home, 10 straight matches on the road, so it feels good to be back here,” Westby said. “I thought our crowd really got behind us, maybe they were excited about the fact that we were here again. I thought our kids came out with a lot of focus and energy and got out to a good start in Set 1.”
Marshall jumped out to an early lead in Set 1, going up 4-1 before a kill by Taylor Ariasola made it 8-3. MHS continued to create separation and never looked back, as a kill by Leah Jones gave them a double-digit advantage at 15-5 before Marshall closed the frame on a 10-1 run to take Set 1, 25-6 and a 1-0 lead in the match.
The second frame was a little more back and forth to start, with Marshall getting out to a 4-0 lead before Windom Area battled back to tie things at 4-4 and again at 7-7. MHS then answered with a 6-0 run to take a 13-7 lead, and maintained its advantage the rest of the way, pushing it to 18-11 before claiming Set 2, 25-14.
Marshall had another strong start in Set 3, earning the first eight points of the frame before the Eagles got on the board. Windom Area kept battling, and answered with a 6-0 run of its own to trim the deficit to just two at 8-6. But that was the closest the Eagles got, as Marshall went on an 8-2 run – highlighted by a service ace by Grace Ehlers and a kill by Randi Wendorff – to take a 16-8 lead. MHS then built a double-digit lead at 18-8 before taking Set 3 25-12 to earn the sweep.
Jones led Marshall with nine kills while Brooke Andries added six and Tessa Gannott, Ariasola and Wendorff each had four. Caitlyn Christenson led in digs with 16 while Cassie Hoover added 10 and Jones had nine and Maysa Gillingham led in set assists with 27.
Westby said their key on offense was their ability to have multiple hitters step up and earn points.
“Lately we haven’t done this, but I think we did a good job of having a lot of hitters that were involved in our offense,” Westby said. “I thought our middles really made themselves available and they were able to get a lot of swings and finish a lot of points.”
Marshall (19-2) will face MACCRAY at home on Monday at 7:15 p.m.
Marshall 3, Windom Area 0
Windom Area 6 14 12
Marshall 25 25 25
Kills: Marshall (Jones 9; Andries 6; Gannott, Ariasola, Wendorff 4).
Digs: Marshall (Christenson 16; Hoover 10; Jones 9).
Set Assists: Marshall (Gillingham 27).
Serving (aces): Marshall (Ariasola 22-24 (1); Christenson 11-2 (1); Hoover 14-14).