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Hastings volleyball team upsets Owatonna, advances

The Hastings volleyball team is just one win away from playing in its first section championship since 1999.

That’s possible following a big upset – at least on paper – last week. Hastings earned the No. 7 seed in the Section 1AAA tournament and opened play against Albert Lea on Wednesday, Oct. 22. The Raiders cruised to a three-set win in the match.

That set up Friday night’s match against No. 2 ranked Owatonna, the heavy favorite according to the section seedings. Hastings coach Rita Girgen, though, didn’t exactly agree with the seed Hastings received. The Raiders were ranked No. 3 in the section according to a the mathematical formula that serves as a guide. Regardless, count Girgen among those who wasn’t surprised that Hastings went to Owatonna and pulled off the win. Hastings won in four sets, 25-21, 16-25, 25-18 and 27-25.

“I can’t even put it into words,” she said. “It was amazing. We really played extremely well. Our front row. Our defense. Everybody played really well as a whole.”

The win over the Huskies sets up a section semifinal match at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30, at Faribault High School. Faribault is the No. 3 seed. If Hastings can win Thursday, they’ll play in the section title match at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 1, at the Rochester Civic Center against either Rochester Mayo or Farmington. Mayo is the No. 1 seed and Farmington is the No. 4.

The last time Hastings played in a section title match was when Girgen was a member of the team as a senior. Hastings lost that match to New Prague in five sets.

“We were good, but these girls are really good,” Girgen said. “I told them, ‘I’m not telling you this talk about back in the day when I played.’ I wanted them to know that it has been 15 years since we’ve been in this position.”

First up for Hastings is Faribault.

“They’re going to be really similar to us,” Girgen said. “We have to bring our A game. We’re expecting them to be scrappy. They’re going to be able to put the ball away, but our advantage this season is that we have more threats. We have multiple girls who are contributing offensively and defensively.

“We’ve talked about that so much this season – we don’t have the one player that really stands out that you often see with a lot of teams. You look at our stats, and we have tons of girls who are scoring and tons of girls who are contributing to the defense.”

Hastings also benefitted in Owatonna and expects to benefit in Faribault from a large group of fans. Buses are hauling hundreds of people south again this week.

“Our fans are amazing,” Girgen said, “and I’ve never seen our bench so involved as they were on Friday. Anybody that’s on the floor playing knows that’s such a crucial piece to being successful.”

The Owatonna win Hastings cruised to a 25-21 win in the first set against Owatonna.

The Huskies rebounded and won the second set, 25-16. Hastings then won set three, 25-18.

Hastings jumped out to a big lead in the fourth set and looked to put things away, leading by as many as 10 points.

Owatonna, though, came storming back and actually led 25-24 with a chance to win the set and send the match to the fifth and deciding set. Hastings, though, scored the next three points to win 27-25 and get the win.

“It was a battle,” Girgen said. “Every point was a really big deal.”

Girgen said she wasn’t surprised that the Raiders were able to pull out the win.

“I knew things were going well when we were in the locker room before the game,” she said. “You could just see it. Even the bus ride down – it was a totally different feel. When the girls stepped on the floor, it was the best warmup all season. The girls started winning before they even got on the bus that day.”

Vs Albert Lea Hastings cruised to a win over tenth-seeded Albert Lea in the section opener, 26-24, 25-21, 25-19.

“It was a really big win for us,” Girgen said. “We could have easily overlooked them. We didn’t. We finished the match stronger than we started.”

Stats from the match went like this:

Kills Maddie Sandrin: 10

Jenna Biskupski and Sabrina Astar: 9 each

Raelyn Reinardy: 6

Set assists Katie Burr: 18

Meagan Friederichs: 10

Sabrina McCloud: 6

Serve receive average (3.0 scale) Paige Ahrens: 1.97

Raelyn Reinardy: 1.95

Aleaha Zabel: 1.78

Digs Raelyn Reinardy: 16

Paige Ahrens and Katie Burr: 12 each

Aleaha Zabel: 10

Solo blocks Sabrina Astar: 2

Raelyn Reinardy and Lexy Langenfeld: 1 each

Block assists Jenna Biskupski and Raelyn Reinardy: 3 each

Maddie Sandrin and Sabrina Astar: 2 each

Service aces Maddie Sandrin: 3

Serving points Maddie Sandrin and Meagan Friederichs: 7 each

Paige Ahrens: 6