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Season ends the way the ball bounces, with one playoff win

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sports River Falls, 54022
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

The Raider varsity volleyball team finished their season with two matches in what proved to be an up-and-down regional playoffs.

They started by beating Superior at home last Thursday in a three-set game that took only an hour, 25-13, 25-16, 25-16.

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"The team played with confidence and energy all night long, never letting Superior into the match at any time," said Coach Dennis Saathoff.

The Raider attack was led by Rachael Saathoff with seven kills in 11 attempts. Adding to the attack were Alicia Bower, Morgan Zabel, Cat Malin, Jennifer Schememauer and Natalie Horsman. Net play was also very strong, with Rachel Saathoff also leading the team in blocks, with Zabel, Bower and Malin all adding multiple blocks of their own.

"Our defensive digs leader was Katie Deutsch, who was very smooth and covered a lot of court," Coach Saathoff said. "Lindsey Burton led the team in set assists and Amber Saathoff and Alicia Bower were the most productive servers, with neither missing a serve throughout the match."

On Saturday, the team had to travel to Eau Claire North for the regional final. It was a tough four-set affair, and Hudson lost, 15-25, 25-22, 6-25, 22-25.

"In the third set, the Hudson team could do nothing right and the Eau Claire team could do nothing wrong. To the credit of the Hudson girls, they did not let that discourage them," Coach Saathoff said. "In the fourth set they came back fighting for every point, but just couldn't get over the hump to get a lead.

"It was disappointing to lose, but the consolation was that we lost to a team that was playing very well, and it was in the regional final game, which is an accomplishment just to get that far."

The Hudson attack was statistically balanced, with six of the seven hitters being within one kill of each other. Zabel was the most efficient, with six kills in 12 attempts. "The kills came courtesy of the setting duo of Lindsey Burton and Amber Saathoff, who both, along with Katie Deutsch, went through the match without making a service error," Coach Saathoff said. "Katie Deutsch and Kami Johnson led the team defensively in digs and service receptions."

The Raiders finished with a 4-2 Big Rivers Conference record, which was good for a second-place tie. Their overall match record was 23-11 and overall game record 60-33.

"Overall this was a very successful season in which the girls came together as a unit and played good volleyball," Coach Saathoff said. "There was a loyal fan following which was a very nice thing to have, and I think they really enjoyed watching these girls battle, and I know the girls enjoyed having them there."

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