In Saturday's first match, Hillsdale earned another key regional win with a 3-0 sweep of Saginaw Valley State, the #3 seed out of the GLIAC. The win was significant because the Cardinals already have a win over GLIAC-leading Ferris State this season, giving this victory excellent regional value for the Chargers.
Hillsdale won the sets by scores of 25-9, 25-20 and 25-19. SVSU went on an 8-0 run late in the third set to tighten up what had been a one-sided affair.
The Chargers held the Cardinals to a team hitting percentage of .088 in the match while hitting .360 themselves.
Junior middle hitter Allyssa Van Wienen had 13 kills with a .375 hitting percentage, while Karoline Shelton was very effective, picking up 9 kills with no errors, 5 digs and 3 service aces. Freshman Audrey Riley set a career-high with 4 service aces, and senior Hannah Gates came through in the clutch with 6 kills, 6 total blocks and a .750 hitting percentage.
A matchup of likely the two best teams at the Crossover Tournament played out exactly like the classic the pedigree of the teams demanded it would be.
Tenth-ranked Lewis University withstood a furious rally by the Chargers to pull out a 3-2 victory at the crossover event held in Indianapolis. Hillsdale now gets on with the rest of its conference schedule with a 16-3 overall record.
Lewis took a 2-0 lead with a fast start. The Flyers took a 13-2 lead in set 1 and held on for a 25-19 win. The Flyers won set 2 25-22. But Hillsdale improved its passing and forced more Lewis errors, winning set 3 25-20 and set 4 25-18.
The Chargers took a quick 6-3 lead in the fifth set, but the Flyers bounced back to post a 15-10 win in the fifth set.
Both teams hit less than .150, a testament to the strong defense and front-row block each team has. Points were not easy to come by for either team, and both teams committed 31 attack errors.
Van Wienen was imposing once again for the Chargers with 19 kills, 3 solo blocks and 2 block assists. Shelton and Emily Lachmann each picked up 8 kills, and freshman Megan Kolp contributed 5 kills off the bench for Hillsdale. Metrz had 41 assists and Wiese led the way with 18 digs.
The Midwest Regional Volleyball Tournament is very consequential for teams like Hillsdale, who have shown to be regional and natioal contenders this season.
That contender status just got upgraded.
The Chargers played a fundamentally sound match in defeating the #17 Rockhurst University Hawks 3-0 at the Academy Volleyball Club in Indianapolis. The win, #16 Hillsdale's eighth in a row, makes the team 15-2 on the season.
As the #1 seed from the G-MAC, Hillsdale was faced with three very tough matches against some of the best teams in the midwest region at this annual tournament. The first test was passed with flying colors by the Chargers, who held the Hawks to a team hitting percentage of just .164 in the contest.
Hillsdale won the sets by scores of 25-22, 25-20 and 25-22.
That kind of strong play in the clutch, where in both teams score over 20 points in a given set, has been a strength of Hillsdale's most of the season and shows that its contender status is legit. The Chargers hit .250 as a team, nearly 90 points better than the high-powered Hawks, and the team's block and defense were primarily responsible for that.
Hillsdale outblocked Rockhurst 12-8, and eight different Chargers had blocks in the match, a very high number. Four players had 10 or more digs for Hillsdale, led by senior libero Taylor Wiese's 16, and followed closely by 15 from sophomore Karoline Shelton. Freshman Audrey Riley was all over the court, securing 13 digs while junior setter Lindsey Mertz was terrific once again with 41 assists and 10 digs.
Offensively, Rockhurst could not contain junior middle hitter Allyssa Van Wienen, who had 15 kills, a .444 hitting percentage and 3 total blocks. Van Wienen has risen her game as the opponents have gotten stronger over the course of the season and this match was no exception.
PHOTO: Camryn Olson