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Dakota Wesleyan's Hanna Reiff stays busy making plays in Tigers' back row

As a South Dakota native, Hanna Reiff said she’s grateful that she has been a part of the Tigers’ turnaround as a program.

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Dakota Wesleyan's Hanna Reiff passes the ball during a college volleyball match against Northwestern on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022, at the Christen Family Athletic Center.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic
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MITCHELL — Ask the players of the Dakota Wesleyan University volleyball team, and they have a clear consensus on the unsung hero of the Tigers’ program.

Hanna Reiff, the team’s libero, has a tough job digging up attacks and making passes for DWU’s talented setter Madeline Else and to the Tigers’ talented hitters. Reiff, the 5-foot-8 senior from Chester, has posted 589 digs this season. At 5.26 digs per set, she ranks No. 31 nationally in the defensive stat.

“She’s so quick. She’s the best libero I’ve ever played with,” DWU’s Ady Dwight, an All-American middle hitter said. “She plays with tremendous effort. She gets under everything and I don’t always know how she does it.”

Dakota Wesleyan (23-7) opens its NAIA pool play in Sioux City, Iowa, against Southern Oregon at 7 p.m. Wednesday and then will face MidAmerican Nazarene (Kan.) at 7 p.m. Friday, with the winner of the three-team pool playing in the national quarterfinals at 8 p.m. Saturday.

After having 730 digs in 2021, Reiff’s three-year dig total with the Tigers sits at 1,654, putting her at more than 1,700 for her college career counting her freshman season at Northern State. As a South Dakota native, Reiff said she’s grateful that she has been a part of the Tigers’ turnaround as a program.

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Dakota Wesleyan's Hanna Reiff celebrates a point during a college volleyball match against Northwestern on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022, at the Christen Family Athletic Center.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic

“It’s been a blessing,” she said. “Honestly, I was hesitant about where to go to college and I went to Northern and I ended up transferring and I wasn’t really sure about where to go. We’ve helped turn the program around and that credit goes to the players, the coaches, the university as a whole.”

Reiff played her high school volleyball at Chester Area, helping the Flyers win a state championship in 2015. She played full-time for four seasons, including three in the libero position, finishing with 2,989 digs for her career. It’s a program that has developed a reputation of developing talented and hard-working defensive players, something Reiff agrees with.

“We were always busy,” Reiff said of high school. “That comes from coach Jean O’Hara. She’s amazing and she does a great job of coaching and telling us where to be. That helped a lot and it definitely helped prepare me for college.”

Reiff said a lot of her abilities on defense come from good coaching and knowing how to read defenses.

“Most of the time I’m just thinking about the block, where the block is, where the ball might be going,” she said. “If there’s a hole in the block. then myself and Tya (Weideman) will help fill that.”

“She’s all over the place,” teammate Mariah Gloe said. “Sometimes there’s some balls that I think are down, and then she comes flying through and she keeps plays alive. I love being on the same side of the court as her. That’s where it starts.”

Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at mtraxler@mitchellrepublic.com.
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