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Raider volleyball team slips to second in Big Rivers

Hudson senior Melissa Hammer goes for a spike off a set from junior Hannah Bennett at the Northwestern Tournament in Maple two weeks ago. (Submitted photo)

The Raider volleyball team fell to Chippewa Falls with first place in the Big Rivers Conference at stake last Thursday before finishing fourth at the 12-team Mora, Minn. Invitational on Saturday.

The Raiders entered last Thursday’s match tied with Chippewa Falls for first place in the BRC but lost in four sets by scores of 15-25, 25-21, 14-25, 29-31.

“It was a good match and a lot of fun even though we lost,” Raider coach Dennis Saathoff said. “We just gave up too many runs of three or more points throughout the night and Chippewa is too good of team to do that and still be able to come back.”

Katy Fox led the Raiders with 15 kills and three aces while Hannah Cook was close behind with 12 kills and one ace. Melissa Hammer, Kaylyn Jenkins, Natalie Hall and Ellie Smith contributed five kills each while Ashley Hall dished out 17 assists and had two service aces.

Defensively, Fox, Kathryn Draper and Brooke Little provided most of the team’s digs while Draper led the team in service receptions.

Saturday the Raiders went 2-2 to finish fourth at the Mora Invitational. Hudson opened play with a 25-15, 25-16 win over Hinkley-Finlayson and defeated Becker 25-18, 25-23, before losing in the playoff round to Mora, 25-13, 25-21 and Greenway, 25-18, 25-12.

“Unfortunately in the two playoff rounds we had our worst service reception versus service aces ratio of the entire season,” Saathoff said. “We scored only seven aces while we gave up 26. Even when we did make the first pass, too many of them were not to our target spot which made it very hard to run our offense.”

Saathoff said there were still plenty of bright spots, particularly from Cook, who led the team with 19 kills, seven aces and 11 digs in the four matches. Jenkins and Fox had nine kills each while the team’s right side hitters, Hall and Smith, contributed five each.

Mariah Buelow finished with four kills and Matia Zins had three while Little led the team with 29 assists, Hall added 11 and Hannah Bennett had 10.

The Raiders will host River Falls this Thursday, Oct. 10, and wrap up the regular season Tuesday, Oct. 15, at Eau Claire North. Saathoff said he’s looking for a strong finish to the season before regional play begins Oct. 24.

“Even though we had a little hiccup in our success this week I am looking for us to finish the conference schedule strong,” he said.

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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