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Spikers ready for BRC Tourney

The Raider volleyball team traveled to Chippewa Falls for its final Big Rivers Conference dual match of the season last Tuesday, where it dropped a tough five-set match to the Cardinals by scores of 18-25, 25-18, 20-25, 25-20, 10-15.

"It was a back-and-forth struggle all night long, but we just couldn't get the momentum in the last set," coach Dennis Saathoff said. "We started with an early 5-point deficit and then never made a run of our own to get back into it."

The Raiders return to Chippewa Falls this Saturday, Oct. 16 for the BRC Tournament. WIAA Regional play begins on Thursday, Oct. 21.

In last Tuesday's loss to the Cardinals, Katrina Zenz and Alexa Belanger led the team in kills with Jamie Lindstrom, Elle Schwartz and Maddie Drewiske contributing to the attack. Ashley Fall led the team in assists and Hannah Wirth was tops in service aces.

Defensively, Torrie Traynor was the team leader in digs while Zenz and Stephanie Little led the team in blocks.

Over the weekend, the Raiders place fourth at the 12-team Mora, Minn., Invitational. Hudson won its two round robin matches, defeating Legacy Christian 23-25, 25-9, 15-11, and Crosby-Ironton 25-13, 20-25, 15-4. They lost in the semifinals to Maple Lake, 19-25, 22-25, before falling to North Branch in the third place match, 25-19, 21-25, 11-15.

"It was a very up and down day for us, where we had a hard time playing at a consistently high level," Saathoff said. "We played well in spurts and then played poorly in spurts, and the competition was good enough that we couldn't get by with not playing more consistently throughout the matches."

Saathoff said the Raider offense was led by the left side hitters of Lindstrom and Britni Eberlin, with middle hitters Zenz and Little right behind.

"But in the Crosby-Ironton match it was our right sides of Amber Saathoff and Elle Schwartz who had the most success in kills and Alexa Belanger in blocks," he noted.

Little led the team in blocks for the day while Amber Saathoff led in assists and service aces. Fall was second in assists and third in serving while Wirth and Traynor led the defense in service receptions and digs.

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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