October 6, 2012 - It was a match that had a little bit of everything. But the Hillsdale College volleyball team will gladly take it.
There were comebacks, momentum swings, amazing play on both sides, a record was set, and in the end, the Chargers clawed their way to a fourth straight victory, 3-2 over the visiting University of Findlay Oilers Saturday afternoon at Jesse Philips Arena. Hillsdale is now 8-9 overall and 7-2 in the GLIAC and will be a top-four seed for the conference at next week's GLIAC/GLVC Crossover Tournament in Aurora, Illinois.
Exact matchups for the tournament will be released Sunday night.
The Chargers won a pair of close sets, 25-22 and 25-23 to take a 2-0 lead in the match. But Findlay came out fired up and much sharper on defense after that, and ended up tying it up after wins by scores of 25-15 and 25-22.
Set five started with the Oilers opening up a 3-0 lead, only to see the Chargers respond with four straight points to take a 4-3 lead. From that point on, neither team led by more than two points as every big attack by Hillsdale was answered by a sprawling dig by the Oilers. Both teams served for the match after it as tied at 14-14. That set the stage for two of Hillsdale's youngest, but brightest talents, to step up and make plays when they counted the most.
Freshman Emily Wolfert had a career-high 16 kills, but had two of them after the fifth set was tied 15-15. She appeared to gain strength on her swings, and spring in her jump, as the match went along and it made a difference in this exhausting marathon of a match. Her kill gave Hillsdale leads of 16-15 and 17-16.
Freshman Haylee Booms wrapped up the match with a powerful kill on a perfect set from sophomore setter Alexis Waugh to send the team into its loudest, but most well-deserved, celebration of the season.
Wolfert had five of her 16 kills in the decisive fifth set. She also turned in an impressive .306 hitting percentage and set a new career-high with 11 digs to go along with three block assists and three service aces. Booms had one solo block and five block assists in addition to her match-clinching kill.
As good as those performances were, they will not go into the Hillsdale College volleyball record books. But Bailey Lindner's day will. The sophomore libero from Jacksonville, Florida st a single-match school record with 37 digs. That mark breaks the old record of 35, which was held by 2008 Hillsdale College graduate Megan Howard, and was set during the 2005 season. Lindner previously set a career-high in digs just one day ago, recording 29 in the 3-2 win over Wayne State. Her 66 digs over the course of two matches is also the most in any two-match span in school history. Lindner turned in an outstanding weekend of not just digs, but court coverage and aggressive serving for the Chargers.