The Raiders may have suffered a pair of losses on the volleyball court last week, but they still have guaranteed themselves a winning record for the regular season.
Central hosted Tri-City United on Tuesday, Oct. 9 and fell 3-1, then saw one of the top teams in the conference and the state in a 3-0 loss to LeSueur-Henderson (ranked No. 6 in Class 2A).
The final game of the regular season took place this past Tuesday against Jordan. With a 12-10 overall record heading into that final game, the Raiders know they will have a winning record before starting section play. Both Central and Jordan had 2-4 MRC records, putting them in a tie for fifth place in the league ahead of Watertown-Mayer (1-5) and Sibley East (0-6).
Central 1, Tri-City 3
After a five-game loss with a disputed final call at Tri-City earlier this season, the Raiders were looking for a little revenge when the Titans came to visit in the week’s first game. Unfortunately for Central fans, the Raiders couldn’t build any momentum after a close win in the first set and ended up with another loss (26-24, 19-25, 23-25, 15-25).
“In the first game we pulled out a win, but we weren’t passing and we weren’t playing very well. They just had a little bit more energy than us and a little more drive,” said Raiders head coach Sarah Hammers. “They’re a good team. Their libero is good, but we match up against them pretty well. If we played them eight more times we could be 5-5 for the season.”
Nicole Miller had 13 kills to lead the team and was second with 18 digs behind Kaylie Brazil, who recorded 26 digs. Lexi Erpenbach notched 12 kills and 12 digs, and Sami Jo Brinkmann had seven kills and four blocks. Natalie Stockman had a team-high 19 assists.
“Nicole had a good game, Lexi had a really good game, but it wasn’t enough. Our energy level just wasn’t there to take it to the end,” said Hammers.
Central 0, LSH 3
The Minnesota River Conference is one of the strongest in the state, with three ranked teams in Mayer Lutheran (No. 6 in Class 1A), Belle Plaine (No. 5 in Class 2A) and LeSueur-Henderson all battling for the conference title.
Central had a tough time against the Giants, as each of the three games ended faster than the game before (16-25, 12-25, 8-25).
“We knew they were going to be tough and we didn’t play terrible, but we weren’t able to get our digs and compete against them that way,” said Hammers. “They’re solid in the middle, and that’s what hurt us. There’s a possibility there could be a three-way tie in our conference depending how Belle Plaine does with Mayer. LeSueur is going to be up there. They just beat Belle Plaine.”
Central didn’t have much in the way of offense during the game. Brinkmann led the squad with six kills, Miller had five and Erpenbach added four.
Stockman had a dozen assists along with a team-high 11 digs. Brazil added nine digs.
“It’s Mayer, LeSueur and Belle Plaine — that’s the top of our conference this year, no question,” said Hammers.