On Saturday, April 3, the Red Raider volleyball team (no. 2) swept Hastings (no. 7) in the Great Plains Athletic Conference quarterfinals. Ranked 7th in the nation, Northwestern improves their overall record to 18-3. The team’s powerful offense hit .494 over the course of the match recording 46 kills out of 83 attempts. This is the fourth highest team hitting percentage in the history of the program.
“This was a great start to the conference tournament,” said head coach Kyle Van Den Bosch. “We played really well in the serve and pass game which allowed us to run our offense. I thought senior Lacey Reitz was really good at moving the ball around to the attackers.”
The stats definitely proved this to be true. Raiders won the first set 25-17. It was clear from the start that the Raiders’ offense was efficient. The Raiders hit 57% as opposed to Hastings’ 16%. In set two, a few errors behind the service line gave Hastings a little hope, but back-to-back kills from the middle junior Bekah Horstman and senior Emily Van Ginkel put NW back into the lead. They won set two 25-21. In set three, a dangerous front row and aggressive serving gave NW the lead. The Raiders won set three 25-10. All five Northwestern hitters hit at or above .320.
It was a great game for birthday girl, senior Makenzie Fink, who led the game with 12 kills, hitting .611.
“I feel really good about today’s game,” said Fink. “I think we played really well as a team and moved the ball around well. As some of our careers are coming to an end, I think it’s important that we go into every game and give it our best because in a few shorts weeks it will all be over. I’m really excited to be able to continue to play the game I love with my amazing teammates and really focus on ending our season well!”
Senior Anna Wedel followed close behind Fink with 11 kills, hitting .320. Horstman had a season-high eight kills with five blocks. Reitz had 34 assists and five kills. Junior Taylor Meyer matched her career-high with five aces.
This is just the start of an exciting post-season this spring. Northwestern will host No. 10 Concordia on Wednesday, April 7, for the GPAC semifinal.