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Rauch leads volleyball team to conference tournament

Staff Writer

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The St. Edward’s University volleyball team enters the Heartland Conference Tournament as the No. 2 seed, after finishing the regular season with an 11-5 record in conference play.

After a disappointing 14-16 record last year, the Hilltoppers started this season with a nine-game win streak and currently sit at 18-7 overall.

A key contributor to the success has been junior outside hitter Hannah Rauch. Leading the team in points scored and kills, Rauch’s presence on the court has the Hilltoppers in position to make a run in the postseason.

Rauch and the Hilltoppers look to continue their impressive play as they take on Newman University in the tournament semifinal on Friday. In their last conference game against UT-Permian Basin, Rauch had four kills to help the women complete a three-set sweep.

“Hannah is a player with so much potential,” Head Coach Sean Donahue said. “On and off the court, she conducts herself in a unique way that keeps things interesting.”

Rauch’s skillset and commitment to teamwork has helped her record 262 kills this season, but she gives all the credit to her teammates.

“I have been able to earn a high number of points this year because of my teammates,” Rauch said. “To get a kill, I must get a hittable set and the setter must get a settable pass. My high level of play is a reflection of my teammates’ efforts.”

Rauch is not only a statistical leader for the Hilltoppers, but also an emotional one. She believes her biggest contribution to her team might be her ability to get everybody prepared.

“I always DJ for my team in the locker room before games in order to pump everyone up and get everyone in the right mindset,” Rauch said.

Rauch credits her calming influence and skillset to her mother, whose own volleyball background has taught Rauch how to stay focused and physically prepared for games.

“My mother has probably helped me the most, she played volleyball when she was my age and coached me when I was younger,” Rauch said. “While she has helped me fundamentally, her biggest impact has been her help and guidance on my mental development.”

With a strong volleyball background, it is easy to see how Rauch has been able to provide a solid foundation for this year’s team and it may even lead to a playoff run.

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Rauch leads volleyball team to conference tournament