Volleyball: Raiders advance, then fall to Tigers
The best Hastings volleyball season in years came to an end Friday in Farmington in the second round of the section tournament.
Hastings, the No. 7 seed, lost to the No. 2 seeded Tigers in four games, 16-25, 25-22, 18-25, 23-25.
The Raiders finished their season with a 14-11 overall record.
"It's sad, no matter what, that the season is over," Hastings coach Rita Girgen said. "But we're ecstatic about our season.The girls should be proud of what they accomplished this year."
Hastings came close to advancing to the section semifinals, but just couldn't get past the favored Tigers.
"The girls played great," Girgen said. "To Farmington's credit, they played very consistently, and they weren't making the unforced errors we were. But we stayed with them. I was really proud of how we came out and played hard the whole time. We never gave up. That's something we've had pride in all season, and Friday night was no exception."
The Raiders lost the first game, 16-25, before rebounding to win the second game, 25-22.
"We were really looking good," Girgen said. "We did a great job defensively against their middle hitter and their outside hitter. We took them out of their game."
In the third game, though, Farmington came back strong and won, 18-25.
In the fourth game, Hastings had a six-point lead at one point, but Farmington came back hard and eked out the win.
"We had a great lead on them, but they were able to work themselves back in," Girgen said. "I guess that's kind of what you expect from a No. 2 seed."
Girgen said Emily Hermanson played a big role in the Farmington match, especially in the fourth game. Hastings was trailing by three and she came in and served Hastings right back into the match.
"She stepped in and handled the pressure really well," Girgen said.
Senior Elly Braaten, who had a phenomenal career for the Raiders, finished with 13 kills. Lizzy Keena had nine and Sarah Jones had eight.
Lisa Kranz had 33 set assists for Hastings.
Devon Santelman had a serve-receive average of 2.231 to lead Hastings. Braaten had an average of 2.033 and Katie Nelson had an average of 2.059.
Santelman had 20 digs.
Keena had one solo block and two block assists.
Biancca DuFour had one solo block and one assist.
Eryka Pluff had two service aces.
Kranz had seven service points to lead Hastings.
Hastings advanced to the second round of the section tournament with a big win Wednesday night over Winona in Hastings, 25-17, 25-23, 25-19.
It was Hastings' first match in eight days, and Girgen certainly saw some rust here and there, but Hastings worked through it and came out with the win.
"You could tell we hadn't played in a long time," Girgen said. "I was proud of how we finished off the match. That's a long time to go without playing. We figured it out by the end of the match. That's all that really matters."
Girgen praised the play of Keena and Santelman.
"Lizzy stepped it up for us," Girgen said. "She played great. In the last two games of her season, she played amazing. It was the best volleyball she has played.
"Devon was steady on her feet. She was able to make a lot of great plays."
Braaten again led Hastings in kills with 10. Keena, Amy Becker and Jones each had five kills.
Kranz had 23 set assists.
Braaten led in serve-receive average at 2.333 and Santelman was second at 2.296.
Santelman had 21 digs and Braaten had 13.
Keena had two solo blocks and one assist.
Santelman and Jaime Beskau each had two service aces.
Kranz had 12 serving points and Beskau had eight.
Hastings will lose seven seniors to graduation, including Elly Braaten, a Division I recruit who is up for all-state honors in volleyball.
Lisa Kranz, a regular starter for years, will graduate, as will Katie Nelson, Marissa Holmes, Emily Hermanson, Jaime Beskau and Eryka Pluff.
Two student managers who have been with Girgen since she started coaching here four years ago will also graduate. They are Jordan Schaffer and Katie Knoll.