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The Central volleyball team got a big win to start the Section 2AA Tournament, earning an upset victory over the higher seeded Wolverines of Sibley East.

“We have not won the big matches yet this season, so the first playoff game versus Sibley East was really important and allowed us to take that next step,” said coach Sarah Hammers.

The Raiders and Wolverines split the season series with each team earning a 3-0 win, but the 18-8 Sibley East squad that finished second in the Minnesota River Conference got the No. 4 seed and the home court advantage, while the No. 5 Raiders had to travel to the Wolverines Oct. 28. The Raiders were ready to avenge the recent loss to the Wolverines and won 3-1 Thursday night.

“We actually came into the match with nothing to lose, we lost the last match up and we were the No. 5 seed,” said Hammers. “I think Sibley had the harder role to defend the win. We matched up pretty well with the stats and we scored at the right time. I think we would go back and forth with Sibley East all season as we match up pretty well.”

The Raiders dropped the first set 25-13 before rallying to win the match 3-1 with wins of 25-22, 25-17 and a 26-24 victory to close out the playoff game.

“All year we have been trying to move forward to the next point or next play,” said Hammers. “We just settled down and played our game. Again Sibley East was well prepared and that match could have had a different result.”

Laya Hallquist dished out 35 assists, while Morgan Johnson had two, Emma Dose, Cadee Vinkenmeier and Paige Lueck all had one.

Lauren Schmidt led the attack with 10 kills, while Mikayla Tellers had nine, Lueck and Meghan Barr had seven each. Emma Dose added four kills, Hallquist had three, Grace Dose and Johnson each had one.

The Raiders tallied 11 aces in the win, with Emma Conser tallying a team-high of four, while Johnson and Hallquist both had two. Vinkenmeier, Britney Smith and Adeline Willems each had one.

Barr was big at the net with a solo block and three block assists, with Schmidt also tallying three block assists. Tellers, Hallquist, Grace and Emma Dose each had one block assist.

Johnson led the back row with 16 digs and was followed by Hallquist (14), Lueck (10), Conser (9), Emma Dose (8), Vinkenmeier (6), Smith (3), Tellers (2), Willems (2) and Schmidt (1).

With the win, the Raiders move on to face the No. 1 seeded and No. 1 ranked Stars of Southwest Christian Nov. 1.

“It is always exciting this time of year,” said Hammers. “Now we go into the Southwest Christian match knowing we are playing one of the best teams in the state and we can have fun and play some good volleyball.”

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