The Hastings Raiders volleyball team held their first “Diggin’ for a Cure” event Thursday, Oct.3, as part of homecoming. They hosted Simley for the event which replaced the “Dig Pink” fundraisers they have done in the past. Overall they raised over $7,000 with the help of the community and through t-shirt sales. Instead of donating to the Dig Pink Side-Out Foundation, the money raised will go to a local Hastings breast cancer support group. A donation was also given to the family of Mike and Sheila Klimek who have been and are currently affected by cancer. The Raiders were swept by the Spartans 3-0 26-24, 25-18, 25-17.
The match against Simley saw the return of seniors Mallory Brake and Hailey Feikema to action for the Raiders. Afterward, head coach Amy Johnson said that after playing for weeks with Brake and Feikema and making that adjustment, her team now had to adjust to playing with them again. She also said that the season resets now that they are healthy and with two weeks left in the regular season to get ready for sections.
The Raiders then had the opportunity to work on getting back clicking again with a tournament at Cannon Falls on Saturday, Oct. 5. Each team played three pool-play matches of two sets each and then bracket play was determined on how many sets teams won.
Hastings dropped two sets to Waterville-Elysian-Morristown in their first match 25-13, 25-9. But from there the Raiders improved with every match. They split with Lake City 22-25, 25-23 and Eau Claire Immanuel Lutheran 23-25, 25-15 to finish pool play and enter the bracket for ninth place. They then beat Plainview-Elgin-Millville 25-13, 26-24 to advance to the ninth-place match. It was announced after the P-E-M match that Brake broke the Hastings High School career kills record, previously held by Elly Braaten at 775. Brake finished the tournament with 780 and will continue to add to her record as the season progresses. She was surprised by her teammates with a sign, balloons and flowers after the match once it was confirmed she had broken the record.
Hastings fell in a very competitive ninth-place match to Triton 27-25, 26-28, 12-15 and the Raiders took 10th.
Senior setter Reilly Johnson said during the Cannon Falls tournament that the biggest adjustment was intangible.
“I think some of the biggest challenges was just reconnecting and getting the communication back between all of us,” she said. “I think we’ve definitely come a long way, we’re starting to connect and get back to where we were before all the injuries happened.”
She also singled out seniors Emma Amundson, Kassidy Siedow and Madison Dold as having really stepped up while Brake and Feikema were out.
“I think our libero Emma did a really good job, also one of our middles Kassidy, she really took a position of a strong hitter for us, same with Maddy,” Johnson said.
The Raiders finish their regular season on road with matches at St. Anthony on Tuesday, Oct. 8, at South St. Paul on Thursday, Oct. 10, and at North St. Paul on Tuesday, Oct. 15.