The Raider volleyball team had a busy week, playing four games in the Holiday Inn Express Tournament in Bourbannais, Ill., followed by a home conference game against Sioux Falls.
In Bourbannais, the Raiders managed to win three-of-four games against tough competition according to head coach Kyle Van Den Bosch.
“The Olivet Nazarene Tournament was a great tournament for the Red Raiders,” said Van Den Bosch. “We played at a very high level and needed to compete for each and every point. Three of the teams that we played were nationally ranked so we felt very good about our performances.”
In the first game the Raiders took on Olivet Nazarene. Heading into the game the Raiders were ranked fifth and Olivet Nazarene was ranked 17th.
Northwestern got off to a slow start, dropping the first game 23-25. The Raiders bounced back however to win the next three games 25-23, 25-20, and 26-24. Senior Randa Hulstein led the team in kills, spiking down 23. Junior Kaitlin Beaver had 46 assists over the four games.
Next the Raiders took on Freed Hardeman. NW did not have much trouble and came up with the 3-0 win with scores of 25-23, 25-12, and 25-23. Hillary Hanno led the team in kills with 13 and Hulstein followed with 11. Beaver connected on 30 assists for the Raiders as well.
In game three NW took on 12th-ranked Bellevue. The match was very close with the Raiders edging it out over four games. NW won the first game 25-14, but then struggled in the second and lost 21-25. The next two games were very close with the Raiders edging out 29-27 and 26-24 wins. Beaver had 50 assists over the four games, helping Hanno reach her mark with 22 kills.
This was the first loss of the year for Bellevue, who will play the Raiders again Friday, Sept. 25, in Bellevue.
The final game of the tournament was against Georgetown. Both teams played tough in the five game match-up. Georgetown defeated the Raiders 25-19 to start, followed by a 25-20 NW victory. Georgetown took game three in a 27-25 win, but once again the Raiders bounced back with a 25-19 game four win. In the fifth and final game, NW fell 16-14 to take the loss. Hulstein had 27 kills along with Hanno’s 25. Beaver continued to put up high numbers with 51 assists.
Following the tournament, the Raiders returned home to take on Sioux Falls in conference play. NW dropped a spot to sixth-place in the rankings as they took on the 11-8 Cougars.
NW started the match off on the right track with a 25-12 win. They did not stop there, winning the next two games as well 25-20 and 25-22.
Hanno led the team in kills with 15, while Hulstein put down 12. Sophomore Rylee Hulstein led the team with 12 digs, along with 40 assists from Beaver.
“Against Sioux Falls, we executed when we needed to execute and got the GPAC victory,” said Van Den Bosch.
This week the Raiders will travel to Bellevue, Neb. to compete in the Bellevue Tournament with Bethany, Georgetown, MidAmerica Nazarene, and Bellevue. NW ends the week with a 14-2 record and undefeated in the conference 4-0.