Raiders volleyball loses tight match to rival Park
The Hastings volleyball team fell to rival Park of Cottage Grove 3-1 at HHS Tuesday night in a match that was much closer than the final score. The Raiders took the first set 26-24 but then dropped the next three 25-22, 26-24 and 25-20. With the loss, Hastings is now 3-6 overall while Park is 4-2. The Raiders travel to Mahtomedi on Thursday, Sept. 13, and then go to Apple Valley on September 18.
The Wolfpack got off to a fast start in the first set and Hastings quickly fell behind 5-0. The Raiders fought back the entire set and were able to close Park's lead to 22-20. They then took the lead and won the first set 26-24.
Hastings got off to a slow start in the second set as well, made worse by their struggles serving throughout the set. However, they were able to take a brief lead and then tie the set at 21 each. From there, Park won 25-22.
The Raiders turned things around and got off to a quick lead in the third set with a 12-8 advantage. Park then tied the set at 14 each and it was back and forth from there on. Next there was a 22-22 tie and another at 24 apiece. During that period each side was granted controversial points and that trend continued as Hastings was called for two straight penalties to give the Wolfpack the 26-24 win and a 2-1 lead in the match.
Hastings once again started the fourth set with a lead and maintained it nearly the whole set before Park went ahead 19-17. The Wolfpack went on to win the set 25-20 and the match 3-1. Despite the result, every set was thoroughly competitive and it was an exciting atmosphere, especially with the two small but loud student sections. This was an important match for the Raiders to show how much they have improved since last season and that they can play with any of the teams in their section.
Compared to last year, Hastings has improved in leaps and bounds. Their passing has improved, which was a big factor that head coach Amy Johnson talked about last season, and they are better able to stop opponent runs and go on their own. This gets rid of the lopsided scores and as a result they are much more competitive in every set.
Johnson said she was proud of how her team played but need to work on putting teams away.
"We don't give up, we keep pushing, pushing, pushing and driving, driving, driving," she said. "What we need to do better is playing with a lead, and keeping our lead, because twice we had Park down for the count. We're working with Cindra tomorrow so hopefully that gives us some inspiration to play with a lead and keep driving."