Box Score: Hillsdale 3, Bellarmine 1
The Charger volleyball team wrapped up a perfect weekend pf play at the Midwest Region Crossover Tournament in Aurora, Illinois Saturday afternoon.
After being tied 1-1, Hillsdale dominated Bellarmine University in the final two sets Saturday, winning 25-14 and 25-15 to beat the Knights 3-1. The Chargers now stand at 18-3 on the season and have an 11-match winning streak going.
Hillsdale hit .209 and .344 in the third and fourth sets, while holding the Knights to percentages of .125 and .111 in those decisive sets. Twenty of Hillsdale's 25 points came on kills in the opening set, a credit to freshman setter Lindsey Mertz, who expertly directed the offense in the win.
Mertz finished with 47 assists and helped three different players to 12 or more kills, making the Charger offense as unpredictable as it was unstoppable.
Junior Kara Vyletel led the team with 14 kills with a .400 hitting percentage. Freshman Allyssa Van Wienen picked up 13 kills, hit .400 nad had 3 block assists. Paige VanderWall added 12 kills, 10 digs and two service aces for the Chargers.
The Hillsdale College volleyball team defeated the top seed from the GLIAC to open the 2017 Midwest Regional Crossover Tournament in Aurora, Illinois Friday afternoon. The Chargers put together a terrific match in defeating the Bulldogs 3-1 at the Great Lakes Center in the first match of the weekend.
This was Hillsdale's first win over a nationally ranked team since beating Rockhurst 3-2 on Sept. 14, 2013, and ended an eight-match losing streak to the Bulldogs. The last time the Chargers topped Ferris State, it was for the 2011 GLIAC Tournament championship.
Friday's win figures to be huge for Hillsdale's chances at qualifying for regionals, since Ferris State, entering play this weekend leading the GLIAC, is likely to be highly ranked within the Midwest Region.
Three different players recorded double-doubles, and freshman setter Lindsey Mertz set a new career-high with 55 assists, all coming in a four-set match. Against a Bulldog program that has won three straight GLIAC championships.
Hillsdale won a tight first set 26-24. The Bulldogs held a 24-23 lead, but the Chargers came back after a time out to post the set's final three points, the last of them being one of Jackie Langer's season-high 15 kills.
The Chargers dominated set 2. After leading 6-5 early, Hillsdale went on a 13-1 run to take a commanding 18-6 lead, putting it in full control. Set 3 went to the Bulldogs 25-20, but Hillsdale flipped that score around in set 4 to clinch the victory.
Langer set season-highs in both kills (15) and digs (21) in a superb effort for Hillsdale. Junior Paige VanderWall led the offense with 17 kills and had 13 digs with a .302 hitting percentage. Junior Kara Vyletel put down 15 kills with 4 digs, while freshman Allyssa Van Wienen had 12 kills, a .385 hitting percentage and 7 digs for the Chargers.
Sophomore Taylor Wiese was terrific in the back row once again with 26 digs. She spearheaded a defense that did a great job of coverage throughout the match. Ferris State had 172 attack attempts as a team, but only recorded 56 kills in the match. Hillsdale had seven fewer attack attempts, but generated eight more kills in the victory.
Friday's second match was also a Charger win, though not without some drama.
Hillsdale won each of the first two sets against Tiffin University by identical 25-19 scores. The Dragons came back to post a 25-22 win in set 3, and led set 4 23-19, needing only two points to force a fifth set. But the Chargers finished the set on a 9-3 run to pull out a 28-26 win.
Freshman Maddie Clark got the run started with a kill. A Tiffin error was followed by an ace by Mertz and another kill by Clark, and suddenly, the Chargers led 26-25. The teams went back and forth until Vyletel decided to end matters.
She delivered the match's final two kills after the set was tied at 26. Vyletel had six of her team-high 16 kills in the fourth set, stepping up when her team needed her most.
Wiese set a career-high with 29 digs in the win, just one dig shy of the AVCA's 30 Dig Club, a club she's likely to join sooner than later.
Sophomore middle hitter Hannah Gates also set a career-high with 9 kills and a .389 hitting percentage. VanderWall notched another high double-double with 14 kills and 14 digs in the win.