It wasn't always easy, but the Charger volleyball team got the job done in a challenging environment Friday night.
On the road, facing longtime rival University of Findlay, Hillsdale struggled at the outset, but then turned on the afterburners and never looked back in notching a 3-0 win over the Oilers in the Croy Gymnasium in a matchup of the Great Midwest Athletic Conference's top two teams over the past two years.
The win propels 18th-ranked Hillsdale to a 12-2 overall record and 3-0 in the G-MAC, while Findlay falls to 5-10 on the season. The Chargers have now won 43 straight G-MAC matches, including regular season and postseason.
The Oilers got off to a good start, leading much of set 1 as Hillsdale wasn't as crisp as it normally is with its passing. But the Chargers adjusted and finished the first set on a 9-1 run, winning 25-20.
That momentum clearly carried over into the second set with the Chargers racing out to a 15-3 lead before cruising, 25-12. The Chargers hit .353 as a team in that second set compared to .054 for the Oilers.
Set 3 saw Findlay get a quick early lead, and keep the Chargers within its sights until Hillsdale pulled away for a 25-20 win, clinching the match.
This was Hillsdale's first 3-0 road win over Findlay since October 12, 2013.
The Oilers committed 19 attack errors and 7 service errors, giving the Chargers easy points, and as a result, Hillsdale's kill totals were a touch below normal. But that didn't stop sophomore outside hitter Karoline Shelton from turning in a terrific performance.
Shelton led Hillsdale with 11 kills while hitting .273. She also had 8 digs and 3 total blocks. She was part of a block that dominated at the net, with the Chargers outblocking the Oilers 10-3 in the win.
Senior libero Taylor Wiese put down 3 service aces to go along with a team-high 23 digs. Senior Emily Lachmann added 8 kills and 9 digs while junior setter Lindsey Mertz put together 39 assists with 7 digs.
PHOTO: Greg Vyletel