Volleyball team has so-so week with conference coming upWith the postseason looming ahead, the Raider girls volleyball team had a so-so week, losing a key Big Rivers Conference match and taking fifth in a 12-team invitational.
With the postseason looming ahead, the Raider girls volleyball team had a so-so week, losing a key Big Rivers Conference match and taking fifth in a 12-team invitational.
Hudson on Tuesday traveled to Chippewa Falls for a match-up that could have put them in first place in the conference standings. However, after winning the first game, the Raiders went flat and ended up losing the next three. Scores were 25-18, 16-25, 23-25, 23-25.
Coach Dennis Saathoff said that poor passing in bunches cost Hudson the match. “In each game we gave up six to eight point runs where we never got a good offensive swing at the ball, or we made an unforced hitting error, and then we had to play catch-up,” Saathoff said.
When the Raiders passed well, Chippewa could not consistently stop its offense. “We also had a terrible time with our serves and it seemed just as we were about to make a big run, we would miss a serve and give the momentum back to Chippewa Falls,” Saathoff said. “Chippewa played much better team defense and they served much better than we did, and those were the key differences in the match.”
On the positive side, the offense was led by Rachael Saathoff, who recorded 11 kills in 24 attempts. She was followed by Morgan Zabel and Cat Malin. Amber Saathoff led the team in set assists and Alicia Bower, Kami Johnson and Amber Saathoff had good nights serving, recording 13 of the team’s 17 aces. Unfortunately those aces were negated by an almost equal amount of service errors, Coach Saathoff said, while Chippewa missed four serves in four games.
Saturday found Hudson in Mora, Minn. for the 12-team tourney. Match play started with a win over Princeton, 25-19, 25-22. “Serving and passing errors kept the match closer than it should have been,” Coach Saathoff said.
Offensively, Malin, Rachael Saathoff, Britni Eberlin and Natalie Horsman went through both games without getting blocked once. “This was our highest team hitting percentage of the season,” Coach Saathoff said. Lindsey Burton accounted for more than half of the team assists and Alicia Bower led the team in service aces and blocks.
The second match of pool play was against host school, Mora. “We easily won the first game and then fell apart in the second and started way too slowly in the third,” said Coach Saathoff. That led to an eventual 25-13, 14-25, 12-15 loss. “Once again our passing errors where more than we could make up for.”
With the tourney format as it was, that meant the best Hudson could do was play for fifth place.
In the first match of the play-offs, the Raiders faced Becker and easily won 25-14, 25-15. “Offensively we had another solid team attack percentage,” Coach Saathoff said. It was led by Amber Saathoff going six-for-six. Morgan Zabel and Kami Johnson held up the serving end by not missing any attempts in two games.
The final match was against a team from Hinckley, Minn., which had a middle hitter who is 6-foot-7 with a big arm swing and a lot of power. Hudson won the match in two straight games, 25-19, 25-22, and for a change of pace did it with better defense than offense.
“Our hitters struggled more than in any other match of the day, but Katie Deutsch and others in the back row played a lot of balls that earlier in the day had been falling in for points,” Coach Saathoff said. “After a couple of quick, big kills by the big middle hitter from Hinckley, our blockers and defenders made adjustments and she did not record any clean kills after that.
“Our blockers at the least touched and slowed down her hits and our back row players played the balls up well. All in all the fifth-place finish was not a bad day,” he said, but added it was disappointing when considering Hudson only lost one match all day, when they played below their capabilities.
Coming up is the last conference match of the season, at home on Oct. 14. That is followed by a non-conference match on Oct. 16 and the conference tourney on Oct. 18. Regional play will begin on Oct. 23.