For the first time this season, a volleyball match at Hillsdale College went the full five sets. But unfortunately for the Chargers, they came up just short against one of the GLIAC's top teams.
Hillsdale lost a 3-2 decision to Northern Michigan University before more than 400 enthusiastic fans at Jesse Philips Arena. The Chargers will look to get back on the winning track Saturday, when they host Michigan Tech at 5 p.m.
Hillsdale started off the match playing at an incredibly high level, routing the Wildcats 25-13. But the Wildcats improved their pasasing and returned the favor in set 2, 25-15. After that, the match evened out, with the final three sets being decided by a grand total of four points. NMU took the 2-1 lead with a 25-20 win in the third set. The Chargers were bolstered by play from Briana Herr and Jordan Denmark in the fourth set, and took a 25-18 decision. But the Wildcats took a 9-3 lead in the fifth set, and hung on for a 15-9 win to clinch the match.
The Chargers used aggressive serving as a key part of its win in the first set, but serving would end up costing Hillsdale many points in the final four sets. Hillsdale finished with eight service aces, but committed eight serving errors and committed eight serve reception errors, handing the Wildcats 16 easy points in the match. None were more frustrating than the final point of the match.
Hillsdale was picking up its play as the fifth set wore on, playing the Wildcats even up after digging the early hole. But NMU won the match on an ace serve that hit the top part of the net and barely moved over to the Chargers' side of the net. Such serves are typically extremely difficult to make a play on because the ball changes speed and direction so severely. Those balls are just as likely to result in service errors as aces, but luck on that play was not on Hillsdale's side.
Herr was inserted into the match in set 3 and made a big impact for the Chargers, with five kills, no errors and one block assist.
Denmark also made a mark, with six kills, six digs and a number of accurate serve reception passes. She also played only the final three sets of the match.
Senior Caitlin Kopmeyer delivered three service aces and led the team with 11 kills to go along with 11 digs. Sophomore Haylee Booms had 10 kills with two block assists, while Kat Vael and Emily Wolfert each had nine kills.
Sophomore Marissa Owen distributed 33 assists for the Chargers, third-most in a match in her career.