Volleyball: Raiders trying to adjust

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The Hastings volleyball team is off to a slow start this season but recently earned its first win.

The Raiders started the season 0-4 as they continue to adjust to losing so many contributors and mesh with new head coach Amy Johnson. However, they were able to earn their first win of the season at the Apple Valley Aerie Challenge this past weekend and are now 1-7 overall entering Metro East Conference play.

Hastings lost their first four matches to New Life Academy, St. Paul Highland Park, Rosemount and Simley. Johnson said that at the start of the season they were still figuring out their best lineups.

"The biggest thing is, we need to figure out our best rotation in terms of passing," she said. "Passing is key and right now we are inconsistent in our passing, so we're going to be doing some tweaking with some lineup changes and some different substitution options so we can get our solid serve-receive. Once we get a solid serve-receive we'll be right there, we have the hitters, we have blockers, we just have to get that pass."

Against Rosemount, Johnson said it was a good experience for her team to see the pace of play the Irish bring.

"We need to have more focus and we need to make a concerted effort to move faster," she explained. "I tell them that they need to move faster, I don't think they understand what I mean until they play a match like this. They see how fast volleyball can be played and then they're like, 'Oh, we need to move faster,' so in that sense it's a good eye-opener for us. We won't see teams in our conference probably play that quick of a game, but if we're prepared for that quick of a game, we'll be that much better."

After a rough first two matches at the Aerie Challenge against Concordia Academy (who is ranked seventh in Class 2A) and St. Francis, things seemed to turn. Against Apple Valley, the Raiders played their closest sets of the year despite losing 25-22, 25-23. The next match against Minneapolis Henry, they were able to dominate and won 25-10, 25-9.

Hastings traveled to Park on Tuesday, Sept. 12, and then go to Tartan on Thursday, Sept. 14.