In front of a Homecoming crowd, the Hillsdale Chargers won their 21st consecutive G-MAC match, with victories against the Alderson Broaddus University Battlers and Davis & Elkins College Senators The team advances to 10 – 3 overall and remains undefeated in the conference.
“We went into the weekend a little beat up,” head coach Chris Gravel said. “We’re dealing with some injuries. Friday and Saturday, we were able to win by committee. A lot of people got playing time and everybody did their job. Things really went according to plan.”
The squad first took on the Alderson Broaddus Friday night. Sophomore setter Lindsey Mertz said the Chargers started out slow but were able to kick it into gear after the first set.
“First set we came out a little bit flat and we had a closer first set with them,” Mertz said. “We really picked up our energy and were able to take control of that match. A lot of people came in and brought good energy onto the court.”
Freshman Karoline Shelton said the team just wanted to take care of business against the Battlers.
“We all played really well and played really well together,” Shelton said. “That was a big part because we’ve really been focusing on that. We’ve been practicing really hard, so I think we just wanted to get in and get things done.”
Gravel said his team did a good job of staying focused, something they’ve struggled with this season.
“We like to refer to it as ‘Make sure you respect your opponent whether they’re playing great or they’re having a hard time,’” Gravel said. “The teams that have had a hard time — that’s where we’ve lost respect. When Alderson Broaddus had a hard time, we still respected them.”
The Chargers then took on the Davis & Elkins Saturday afternoon. Hillsdale swept the Senators in three sets, keeping Davis & Elkins below 20 points in each set.
“It was fun playing Davis & Elkins because the last time we played them was in our conference tournament,” Mertz said. “They were our first round last year. It was fun to be able to come out and play really well on our court. We hopefully set the tone for what the conference tournament would be like if they came back again.”
Gravel said his team was able to quell attacks from the other side of the net.
“They have an outside hitter that just jumps out of the gym and pounds the ball,” Gravel said. “We were able to make her a non-factor during the match. Our middles slowed their middles down enough to where their middles became predictable in what they were doing.”
The Chargers travel to Cedarville University on Friday for a 7 p.m. match.
“They’re four hours out. Driving out the same day, that’s always a concern,” Gravel said. “We’re going to break down the film and see what worked for us and what didn’t. Cedarville has such a big block and sometimes it gets in our heads a little bit. We have to not worry about it.”
The team will then travel back to Hillsdale on Saturday for a home match against Tiffin University.
“We have to travel to our own home match, which has never happened in my career as a volleyball coach,” Gravel said. “We’re driving halfway back to Findlay Friday night and then driving home Saturday morning for out home match against Tiffin.”
Travel aside, the team is ready for a competitive weekend. Tiffin is also undefeated in conference play.
“We have to be ready to come and play hard against Tiffin,” Mertz said. “They’re new to the conference, and we need to welcome them to the conference in the right way.”