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Hudson's Kirsten Vorvick drops a shot over a Northwestern blocker in the first game of the Hudson Invitational last Saturday at the high school. The Raiders finished second at the eight-team tournament. Bob Burrows photo

Volleyball second at Hudson Invite

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Despite being shorthanded at their home Hudson Invitational Saturday, Sept. 10, the Raiders still managed to reach the championship match before coming up just short to Superior.

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Hudson had a number of seniors missing at the start of the day due to ACT testing. With four JV players in the lineup, they bounced back from a slow start to defeat Northwestern 16-25, 25-14, 16-14 in their opening match.

They went on to defeat Bloomer, 25-19, 25-27, 14-16 before falling to Superior in the title match, 25-22, 25-27, 14-16.

"We really let the championship match slip away by committing too many unforced errors," Raider coach Dennis Saathoff said. "Instead of relaxing we pressed a bit too hard and tried to make plays that were not there and in the process we made mistakes. Hopefully we will learn from this and make better plays in those same situations in the future. We did overcome a big 10 point deficit in the first set, so I know this team can bear down and perform, we just need to do it more consistently."

Saathoff said the JV players -- Hannah Cook, Natalie Hall, Melissa Hammer and Taylor Steffen -- all saw time on the court until the regular varsity players returned.

"They performed very well for us," he said. "The team struggled a little at times because they were not used to playing together, but we still struggled in the championship match when the regulars were back."

On the day, Katrina Zenz led the Raiders in kills and blocks and was second in aces while Serena Schultz was second in blocks.

"Stephanie Little was our most efficient hitter, making 9 kills in 13 attempts for a .692 kill percentage with no hitting errors," Saathoff noted.

Hannah Wirth was the team leader in aces, digs and service receptions while Becca Woitas edged out Anna Wilen for the team lead in assists.

Earlier in the week the Raiders dropped a 3-0 decision to Eau Claire Memorial in their Big Rivers Conference opener Tuesday night. The Old Abes defeated Hudson by scores of 17-25, 11-25, 23-25.

"We started slow in each set, although we did battle back in the third set and had a lead at 20-17, but we couldn't hold them off in the end," Saathoff said. "Ultimately we did not pass well enough to get quality attack attempts, which led to a great many hitting errors."

Schultz and Abby Francis led the team in kills in the loss, followed closely by Zenz and Little, who also tied for the team lead in blocks. Zenz led the team in service aces while Maddie Drewiske led the defense in digs and Wirth was tops in service receptions.

Hudson's next match will be Tuesday, Sept. 20, at 7:15 p.m. at River Falls.

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Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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