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Volleyball falls in regional final

Senior Ashlyn Ferron (15) goes up for a kill in the first game of the Raiders' 3-0 win over Superior in a WIAA volleyball regional semifinal Thursday at the high school gym. Hudson went on to lose to Eau Claire North in Saturday's regional final. Bob Burrows photo

The Raider volleyball team was tripped up by Eau Claire North in Saturday's WIAA regional final, falling in three sets to put an end to its season.

Hudson advanced to the final with a three set win over Superior in Thursday's semifinal.

"All in all, we had a very nice season with dedicated fan support right up to the end," head coach Dennis Saathoff said.

The Raiders opened postseason play with a 25-18, 25-20, 25-10 win over Superior Thursday at the high school gym. Natalie Horsman, Britni Eberlin and Elle Schwartz led the Raiders' kill attack with help from Stephanie Little and Ashlyn Ferron.

"The key for all of them in the match was to use the line hit when it was open to them," Saathoff said.

Saathoff said Elizabeth Gagliardi was a sparkplug on defense, recording as many digs as the rest of the team combined.

"They played with a great deal of energy and made some spectacular saves that they would not have made earlier in the season," he said.

Amber Saathoff, Kirsten Iverson and Megan Kelly had all the set assists while Kristen Briggs was the team leader in blocks and Kari Pelzel stepped up to contribute with defensive play and service duties.

Things didn't go as well against the second-seeded Huskies Saturday night in Eau Claire, where the home team ended the Raiders' season by scores of 19-25, 17-25, 10-25.

"In each set we gave up a run of points in the middle and we just couldn't fight back to get a win," Saathoff said. "We had a lot of long rallies throughout the match, but it seemed in each case the point ended up going to North. We just couldn't get over the hump and gain the momentum we needed."

Saathoff said all the team's underclassmen saw playing time against the Huskies.

"So hopefully they will be able to use that experience and build on it when we get into this situation again next season," 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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