HIBBING — The Hibbing Community College volleyball team has been moving up in the standings, having won three-of-their-last four games.
If the Cardinals want to move up higher, then it starts today when Central Lakes comes to town for a 1 p.m. MCAC Northern Division contest at Cardinal Gymnasium.
Hibbing is tied for fourth place in the division with Mesabi Range and Vermilion with 3-2 marks.
Central Lakes is 3-0 and sitting on top of the division.
If Hibbing can stay on this roll, it would help its playoff chances immensely.
“It’s going to be a tough one,” Hibbing coach Kasey Palmer said. “They're the No. 1 team in the conference, and I don’t think they’ve lost a set to anyone else. We’ll go in with the momentum that we have and our team chemistry, and hopefully, be able to compete with them.”
The Raiders, according to Palmer, are strong and deep, playing 12 players. A lot of the other teams have rosters of eight or nine players.
“They’re solid all of the way around,” Palmer said. “They have a middle hitter who leads the conference in kills per game as well as hitting efficiency. Their bench, if somebody is doing bad, if they need a sub, there is someone else who can come in and take that position.”
To counteract that, Palmer said it will be hard to match up with Central Lakes.
“We’ll go into it trying to match up with them the best that we can,” Palmer said. “We’ll have to be able to play all of the way around. To win, we need close to a perfect game. We can’t hit balls out. We can’t miss serves, which is what we’ve been doing the past few games.
“Even though we’re winning, we’re still making errors. We have to fix those.”
What kind of chess match will it be to match up with the Raider hitters?
“We’ve watched film on them, and their lineup is a little bit different,” Palmer said. “Their best hitter plays the middle position for two rotations, then she plays on the right side. If I set this girl here, she’s not going to match up with her all of the way around.
“It doesn’t work out like that.”
Palmer knows the importance of this match, especially if tiebreakers come into play.
“A win would bump us up in the standings, but also getting a win over the team that hasn’t lost to anybody else, if it comes down to tiebreakers at the end, that could be the turning point,” Palmer said.