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Volleyball moves to 2-2 in BRC

The Raider volleyball team evened its Big Rivers Conference record at 2-2 with a three-set victory at Menomonie Thursday, Sept. 27, before placing fourth overall at the 9-team Mora Invitational Saturday, Sept. 29.

Hudson defeated Menomonie by scores of 25-8, 25-11, 25-22 Thursday to move to .500 in BRC play.

"Overall it was a very solidly played match for us," head coach Dennis Saathoff said. "We took advantage of our opportunities to score and we didn't get into any situations where we gave up big runs of points."

Hudson had its best serving night of the year as a team, recording 19 aces with only two service errors. Elizabeth Collinson led the charge with 11 of those aces and 12 set assists. Noelle Kiltie and Shay Wassman led the Raiders in the middle with six kills each while Sara Hoffman and Abby Richardson each had four.

"Our middle attack was much too quick for Menomonie," Saathoff noted.

Olivia Goulette led the defense with 9 digs.

Saturday at the Mora Invitational, the Raiders opened with a tough three-set loss to Becker, 25-17, 20-25, 14-16 before defeating Aitkin in straight sets, 25-15, 25-16.

In afternoon playoff rounds they defeated Irondale, 25-17, 25-22 before beating Hermantown 25-17, 25-27, 15-11 to take first in the Silver bracket and fourth overall.

Saathoff said the Raiders got into a little funk early in the day against Becker.

"Our passes weren't as precise as we would have liked and it made it hard for our hitters to defeat their double blocks, but we fought hard right down to the end," he said.

Richardson and Jenna Hallen finished with six kills each in the loss while Maddie Matuke had five and Kiltie and Wassman four each.

Hudson's serving returned in its second round win over Aitkin, registering 13 aces against just three errors, led by Collinson with seven, while Kiltie, Matuke and Richardson recorded four kills each.

Saathoff said the defense stood out in its playoff opening win against Irondale.

"We were quite sharp defensively with Olivia Goulette and Ariana Zins accounting for over half of our team digs and service receptions, and neither of them had a service reception error," he said.

Wassman, Kiltie and Richardson paced a balance attack with five kills each and Kaitlyn Zignego and Collinson had seven and six set assists, respectively, with Zignego recording one ace and no errors from the service line.

Matuke had her best match of the year as she exploited Hermatown's lack of defense down the line and recorded a team high nine kills in the final match of the tournament. Kiltie followed up with seven kills while Wassman and Richardson both added five.

Hudson also out blocked Hermantown at the net, 5-1, with Kiltie recording three solo blocks and Wassman and Hallen one each.

"Once again Olivia Goulette and Ariana Zins covered a lot of court in defense and kept a lot of hard hit balls in play," Saathoff noted. "This was a match in which we won a majority of the long rally points, which at times has been a problem for us. The team defense resolve was to not let balls hit the floor and they all really played excellent defense throughout this match. You could tell we were frustrating their hitters by making the digs look easy."

The Raiders hope to play their final home match in the new high school gym Thursday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m. against Rice Lake before wrapping up BRC play at Eau Claire Memorial Thursday, Oct. 11.

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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