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Volleyball takes fourth at Mora

The Raider volleyball team dropped a 3-0 decision to Big Rivers Conference leading Eau Claire North last Tuesday before placing fourth at the 12-team Mora, Minn., Invitational on Saturday.

The Raiders wrapped up the regular season this past Tuesday, Oct. 11 at home against Chippewa Falls and will compete in the BRC Tournament this Saturday, Oct. 15 in Chippewa Falls. WIAA Regional play gets underway Thursday, Oct. 20.

Last Tuesday, the Raiders were swept by first-place Eau Claire North, 23-25, 12-25, 19-25.

"We really played well in the first set but just couldn't quite finish to get the win," head coach Dennis Saathoff said. "This was a match with a lot of long rallies and North just seemed to be able to outlast us to get the points. Even though we struggled in the second set, we played a pretty good match against a solid team. Their defense did not make a lot of mistakes and they kept the ball alive very well."

Saathoff said Katrina Zenz and Maddie Drewiske led the Raider offense with Zenz, Stephanie Little and Serena Schultz leading in blocks. Drewiske, Hannah Wirth and Becca Woitas recorded most of the team's defensive digs. 

Saturday at the Mora Invitational, the Raiders started the day by defeating Hinckley 25-12, 25-15, and Crosby 25-19, 25-20. They then lost a tough match to Mora 17-25, 28-26, 12-15, before losing to North Branch, 26-24, 20-25, 3-15, in their final match. 

"Except for the very last set of the day, we played quite well all day," Saathoff said. "Our middle attack was getting a lot of attention from all of the teams which allowed us to hold blockers on the opposite side of the net and gave our outside hitters some one-on-one opportunities."

Saathoff said the Raider offense displayed the most balance it has all season.

"As has been our trend, the middle combination of Stephanie Little and Katrina Zenz led our attackers for the day, but we had a match where our right sides of Serena Schultz and Mariah Hallen led the attack and another where the left sides of Maddie Drewiske and Abby Francis led," he noted. "Becca Woitas and Brooke Little shared the setting duties and led the team in assists. Hannah Wirth led in service aces and she covered a lot of court defensively by leading the team in 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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