East Ridge 3, Hastings 0
The Raptors had about two weeks of preparation from their last regular season match to the first match in the section tournament.
That time to rest and refocus showed on Thursday night as East Ridge started with the momentum against Hastings and never let it go. It allowed the Raptors to complete the 3-0 sweep over the Raiders and advance to the section semifinals.
"It was a great overall win for us," said head coach Steve Anderson. "The offense and defense were working well with each other to defend points and allow us to take some big leads."
It was a well-rounded day as the back line was digging out balls for setter Stephanie Barber to set to the East Ridge hitters and earn the point. It was as simple as dig, set and spike.
The simplicity came from those two weeks of practice and scrimmages with other teams. Anderson said it was a productive two weeks in preparation for the section tournament and everything showed tonight.
The Raptors got on a roll early in the first set to win easily 25-13. The second set was similar in the sense that East Ridge won 25-9. Finally, the third set was comparable to the first two sets as the Raptors won 25-11 to complete the sweep.
The main reason for the overall success on Thursday night came from each of the East Ridge hitters and their ability to create points.
Barber had four consistent hitters on Thursday night that could find an opening and locate a spike to earn a point for the Raptors. Obviously, those points can't be possible without a solid back line that keep the ball from touching the ground and Barber setting up these hitters effortlessly.
"It's great having a setter like Stephanie because she understands each hitters strengths," said freshman hitter Britt Carlson. "These past couple weeks, we've been practicing these sets more and more and it showed tonight."
The East Ridge team was happy to get the first win under its belt, but each of the players and coaches understand the matches get tougher and tougher.
The No. 2 seed Raptors will be playing the No. 3 seed Eastview on Tuesday, Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. for a spot in the section finals on Saturday, Nov. 3.
Barber and Carlson agreed that it'll be nice having the match at home on Tuesday with all the fans supporting the team, but they need to bring this type of production to Tuesday's match.
"It'll be a fun match on Tuesday," Barber said. "Hopefully this momentum will carry into the next match."
Apple Valley 3, Park 0
After an improved regular season for Park, the Wolfpack weren't able to advance in the 3AAA section tournament after a 3-0 sweep from Apple Valley on Tuesday night.
All three of the sets were close, but Apple Valley was able to pull out the win in each one. The Eagles won the first set 25-23, won the second set 25-22 and won the third set 25-17 to sweep the Wolfpack.
Park ended the season with an 8-16 record and finished the conference with a 1-7 record. Head coach Kristina Jameson has said that this season will help the players take a big step into the 2019 season.