The current "phase" of the Hillsdale College volleyball season has ended the same way it began - with a 3-0 win.
The Chargers head into next weekend's Midwest Region Crossover Tournament as the G-MAC's No. 1 seed after a sweep of Trevecca Nazarene Univesity Saturday afternoon at Dawn Tibbetts Potter Arena. Hillsdale is now 14-3 overall and 11-0 in conference play. The matchups for next weekend's crucial event will be revealed Sunday.
Hillsdale breezed to wins in the first two sets, 25-13 and 25-8. But the Trojans stepped up their game in the third set, forcing extra points in what was eventually a 26-24 Hillsdale win. This was the Chargers' seventh straight 3-0 win and the team has won 24 straight sets overall dating back to Sept. 14.
The offense was humming through the first two sets, with hitting percentages of .467 and .519 as Hillsdale dominated Trevecca, holding a 50-21 scoring advantage. But the Trojans were impressive in the third set, playing improved defense while finding holes in the Charger defense with a variety of attacks. Trevecca led set three 23-22, needing just two points to force a fourth set. But Hillsdale regrouped in time and scored four of the match's final five points to pull out the win.
Trevecca hit .257 in the third set compared to .225 for Hillsdale. But overall the Chargers held a significant advantage in hitting percentage, .381-.152.
Hillsdale's middle hitters were on target, as Allyssa Van Wienen (12 kill, .550 hitting percentage) and Hannah Gates (9 kills, .667 hitting percentage) played with power and smarts, finding open spots on the defense consistently throughout the match. Setter Lindsey Mertz was in rhythm with her middles in thie match and finished with 42 assists, an average of 14 per set.
VanderWall finished with 8 kills and 8 digs with a .333 hitting percentage while freshman Karoline Shelton added 8 kills in a strong performance.
PHOTO: Todd Lancaster