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Spikers defeat River Falls in five sets

:Hudson senior Natalie Hall delivers a kill in the second set of the Raider volleyball team’s 3-2 victory over River Falls last Thursday at the high school.1 / 2
Hudson junior Hannah Bennett runs down a ball to keep it alive in the opening set of the Raider volleyball team’s Big Rivers Conference match against River Falls last Thursday at the high school. After dropping the firsts set, Hudson came back to beat the Wildcats 3-2.2 / 2

The Raider volleyball team bounced back from an opening set loss to defeat River Falls, 3-2, in its final Big Rivers Conference home match of the season last Thursday at the high school gym.

After dropping the first set 25-16, Hudson came back to win the next two, 25-19, 25-17, before River Falls tied it up with a 25-20 fourth set victory, But Hudson answered the ball and posted a 17-15 win in the fifth and deciding set to earn the win.

“We had our worst serving performance of the year, but we were able to overcome that with our play at the net,” head coach Dennis Saathoff said.

Kaylyn Fox led the Raider offense with 11 kills in 17 attempts while Melissa Hammer and Ellie Smith contributed eight kills each and Natalie Hall, Katy Fox and Hannah Cook each finished with six.

“It made for a very well spread out attack,” Saathoff said. “We also out blocked River Falls eight to two in blocks directly for points.”

Brooke Little dished out 24 assists in the win and Ashley Hall chipped in 16. On the defensive end, Fox led the way with 13 digs while Kathryn Draper recorded 11.

Saathoff said he was pleased the team was able to overcome a poor serving night.

“We felt going into the match that it would be a tough one, and our serving almost cost us the match,” he said. “But it was good for the girls to see that they can overcome one part of the game not being as good as it should be if they stay focused on the rest of the play. Hopefully this will give them confidence for the rest of the season as we move into the playoffs.”

The win kept the Raiders undefeated in home conference matches, and Saathoff said the atmosphere for the Raiders’ final home match was intensified by both the Raider and Wildcat student sections.

“Once again the support from the home fans was great,” he said. “It was a great end to the home conference season. These girls badly wanted to win this match at home as one of the goals they set for themselves at the beginning of the year was to win every home conference match, which they did accomplish. Add to that the home tournament championship and they defended their home court all season long.”

Hudson will begin WIAA regional play Thursday, Oct. 24. Playoff pairings will be announced later this week.

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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