After finishing 2-0 this week, the Raider volleyball team has secured a spot in the National Tournament by clinching the GPAC regular season title. The Raiders put up big wins against Briar Cliff and Morningside to keep their conference record a perfect 15-0.
“The past weekend was a great weekend for Northwestern Volleyball,” head coach Kyle Van Den Bosch said. “The varsity team played a solid match versus Briar Cliff and then everyone stepped up against Morningside and we played one of our best matches of the year.”
Northwestern went into the game against Briar Cliff ranked third nationally. The Raiders did not slip as they defeated Briar Cliff 25-19, 25-20 and 25-19. This brought the team’s record to 28-2 overall and 14-0 in GPAC play.
Junior Hillary Hanno led the Raiders in kills, smashing down 18 total and finishing with a .324 hitting percentage. Senior Randa Hulstein also had a big day, adding 15 kills and hitting .500 over the three game match. Junior Kaitlin Beaver continued putting up big numbers with 42 assists on the day.
After losing the match, Briar Cliff’s record dropped to 14-15 on the year. The Raiders had their work cut out for them, however when they traveled to Sioux City to take on the 16th ranked Morningside Mustangs.
NW wasted no time, going up 12-8 after being tied at seven. The Raiders continued pushing through and won the first game 25-19. The second match was not even close as the Raiders opened with a 5-1 lead after three straight kills from Hulstein. NW went on to win the second game 25-12. The third game was not much different, as the Raiders went on an 8-1 run to rally and take an 11-5 lead and eventually win the third game 25-21.
Hanno once again led the kill category for NW as she spiked down 15. Hulstein followed that up with 12 of her own along with hitting .409 on the match. Beaver had another great match with 38 assists along with 15 digs.
Both Hanno and Beaver were named GPAC/Mid-America volleyball player and setter of the week announced on Oct. 26. This is Hanno’s second time winning the award this season and this is Beaver’s fourth time this season being named with the honor.
Third-ranked NW will travel to Sioux Center to take on Dordt on Oct. 31 at 7:30 p.m. to finish regular season play. The Raiders will then participate in the GPAC tournament starting Nov. 4.
“This weekend at Dordt will be a great match,” Van Den Bosch said. “The Dordt gym is always a great environment to play in and with it being a rivalry match, it should be a fun match to be a part of.”