Saturday's two matches played by the Hillsdale College volleyball team were different and memorable for a wide variety of reasons.
The Chargers fought off two match points after set five was tied 13-13 to eventually win a 3-2 decision over #25 Rockhurst University in the first of Saturday's matches at Findlay's Towne Place Suites Classic. However, the tournament schedule dictated that Hillsdale was to turn right around and face another tough team from the GLVC, the University of Southern Indiana, immediately after the Rockhurst match. The Chargers, clearly fatigued, still bravely competed against the big and powerful Screaming Eagles, losing in three sets by scores of 25-23, 25-21 and 25-23. In the third set, Hillsdale scored three straight points after trailing 24-20, taking one final shot at trying to prolong an exhausting day.
As is sometimes the case, some career-highs were achieved for the Chargers in the five-set classic against the Eagles. Senior libero Sydney Lenhart became the second Charger to join the AVCA 30-dig club with a career-high 33 digs for the Chargers. Lenhart not only accumulated a high number of digs, but made excellent passes off those digs, and covered the two corners of the court in an outstanding way.
Sophomore setter Marissa Owen dished out a career-high 30 assists, eclipsing her previous best by an incredible 11 assists. She was also part of a superior defensive effort by Hillsdale, as the team dug up 91 balls against the quick and athletic Rockhurst lineup.
Sophomore Emily Wolfert led the team offensively with 17 kills, including the match-clincher. Senior right-side Bekah Draves played a terrific three-match tournament, and had 13 kills against Rockhurst. Sophomore middle hitter Haylee Booms added 10 kills with a .450 hitting percentage in the victory. Senior Caitlin Kopmeyer had 19 digs and five service aces, and junior Alexis Waugh matched Owen's 30 assists and added three service aces.
The challenge of Southern Indiana was not only playing a team that was fresh, but a team that had a greatly contrasting style from Hillsdale's previous opponent. The Screaming Eagles were a big, strong team, but they frustrated the Chargers with some terrific serve-receive defense that played a big role in the result.
Junior Lindsay Kostrzewa was impressive in the middle for Hillsdale with seven kills, a .429 hitting percentage and a career-high seven block-assists. Junior Kat Vael also achieved a career-high with nine block assists, while Booms picked up four more for the Hillsdale front line.
Wolfert paced the Charger offense with 11 kills against USI, while Waugh had 15 assists and 13 digs.
Hillsdale opens GLIAC play next weekend taking on Grand Valley State and Ferris State.
Three very different lineups took the floor in the three sets of Hillsdale College's volleyball match against Indiana (Pa.) Friday afternoon. All three lineups were succesful in helping give the Chargers their first 3-0 win of the new season.
Hillsdale topped the Crimson Hawks by scores of 25-8, 25-22 and 25-18 to improve to 2-4 on the season. The Chargers return to action at Findlay's Towne Place Suites Classic Saturday, facing Rockhurst at 3 p.m. and Southern Indiana at 5 p.m.
Hillsdale's dominant set one win was highlighted by extremely aggressive serving. The Chargers pounded six service aces down on Indiana, led by three from junior setter Alexis Waugh. The serves the Crimson Hawks were able to return were not often cleanly played, allowing the Chargers to establish quick-strike offensive plays that led to long scoring runs.
Sets two and three saw Hillsdale scramble every part of its lineup, but the players were able to blend together better as each set wore on, and pulled away late in each set after the scores were close past 15.
The balanced lineup resulted in no player putting away more than four kills in the match for the Chargers. Caitlin Kopmeyer, Lindsay Kostrzewa, Erin Holsinger, Jordan Denmark, Bekah Draves and Briana Herr all had four, with Draves and Herr recording identical .500 hitting percentages in the match.
Waugh had 15 assists in just two sets of work, while senior Sydney Lenhart led the team with 12 digs. Sophomore Marissa Owen played a strong all-around match, giving the team quality serve-reception passing along with seven digs and six assists. Holsinger led Hillsdale with two block assists.
Hillsdale held Indiana to a .011 team hitting percentage, while the Chargers were plus-14 (36-22) in total kills.