Saturday afternoon could not have been more different than Saturday morning for the Hillsdale College volleyball team.
After not playing well in a 3-0 loss to Lewis University, the Chargers rebounded impressively to post a big 3-1 win over the University of Indianapolis in the final match of the 2013 GLIAC/GLVC Crossover Tournament, held at the Great Lakes Center in Aurora, Ill.
This was easily the Chargers' biggest regional win of the season, and gives the team a 12-11 overall record. The team returns to conference play next weekend, taking on Saginaw Valley State and Lake Superior State University on the road.
Hillsdale and Indianapolis have enjoyed one of the most competitive rivalries in all of NCAA Division II over the past few years. The last four Midwest Regional Tournaments have been hosted by these two teams, and Saturday's meeting was the third at the crossover tournament in the past five years. This win by the Chargers effectively "erases" their loss to the Greyhounds, suffered earlier this season at the Concordia-St. Paul Tournament.
Hillsdale and Indianapolis have met seven times since the start of the 2011 season, and the Chargers have won four of those meetings. The two teams have met in each of the last two Midwest Regional Finals.
The win gives the Chargers an all-time record of 18-3 at the GLIAC/GLVC Crossover Tournament.
Hillsdale won the first two sets by scores of 25-22 and 25-19 before UIndy came back to post a 25-14 win in set three. But the Chargers' confidence and defensive execution reached new levels in the fourth set, winning a decisive 25-14 set to close out the match.
Junior setter Alexis Waugh had a terrific match with 31 assists and 13 digs, many of those digs coming off coverage balls that are typically tough for any player to get to. Her digs helped create extra possessions for the Hillsdale offense, and the team was running its offense with impressive efficiency.
The Chargers hit .302 as a team for the match, much of it due to the accurate passing of the team's back row, and good decision-making by setters Waugh and sophomore Marissa Owen. Owen had 19 assists and eight digs.
Offensively, sophomore outside hitter Jordan Denmark had the match of her career. She powered her way to a career-high 13 kills, while also picking up 10 digs and two block assists. Denmark's approaches were fast and aggressive, which was a big key in her huge day.
Junior Kat Vael's power in hitting and blocking were also big factors in the win. She had 13 kills to share the lead with Denmark. Although she had just three total blocks, her strength at the net helped force hitting errors by the Greyhounds. Sophomore Emily Wolfert picked up 12 kills and had terrific court vision throughout the match. Senior Caitlin Kopmeyer led the team with 23 digs, and sophomore Haylee Booms had a huge match at the net with six total blocks, three solos among them.
The team's 13-match winning streak at the GLIAC/GLVC Crossover Tournament came to an end Saturday morning, as the Chargers lost 3-0 to the top seed from the GLVC, Lewis University.
The Flyers won each set in decisive fashion, 25-13, 25-18 and 25-13. Lewis played at a high level in all aspects of the game, from digging to passing and serve receive. Hillsdale had an equal number of kills (26) to hitting errors, not a recipe for winning. Meanwhile, Lewis committed just 10 hitting errors in the entire match. Lewis outblocked Hillsdale 10-4 and had four players with 10 or more digs.
Sophomores Haylee Booms and Emily Wolfert each led the Chargers with six kills apiece. Junior Alexis Waugh had 23 assists, and senior Caitlin Kopmeyer led the defense with 13 digs.
No luck, good or bad, was involved in Hillsdale's 13th consecutive victory at the GLIAC/GLVC Crossover Tournament.
The Chargers improved to 11-9 on the season with a 3-1 win over Bellarmine University Friday afternoon at the Great Lakes Center in Aurora, Illinois. Hillsdale faces two tough teams in Saturday's part of the tournament, facing GLVC leader Lewis at 10 a.m. followed by defending regional champion Indianapolis at 4 p.m.
Hillsdale easily defeated the Knights in the first two sets by scores of 25-19 and 25-15. Bellarmine rallied thanks to excellent passing with a 25-21 win in set three. The Chargers closed out the match with a 25-19 win in the fourth set.
Hillsdale was able to overcome a total of 14 serving errors and serve reception errors thanks to an 11-6 edge in total blocks. Junior Lindsay Kostrzewa was dominant at the net with two solo blocks and eight block assists for the Chargers.
After trailing 11-9 in the first set, Hillsdale put a 7-0 run on the Knights to take control of the opening set. Bellarmine led set two 5-4, but was outscored by the Chargers 21-10 the rest of the way as Hillsdale piled up a .419 hitting percentage in the second frame.
Bellarmine took a 6-0 lead in set three, forcing the Chargers to play catch-up throughout. But Hillsdale found its offensive rhythm once again in the fourth set and cruised to the win.
Kostrzewa added 10 kills and a eye-opening .643 hitting percentage to her big day at the net. Sophomore Emily Wolfert led the team with 11 kills, while junior Kat Vael delivered 10 kills for the Chargers.