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Paige Van­derWall records one of her careeer-high 23 kills on Tuesday. (Regan Meyer | Col­legian)

“Somebody check that ball for splinters,” announcer Dave Sharpley exclaimed after a par­tic­u­larly impressive kill from the Charger side of the net in their game against Cedarville.

Tuesday night was a big night offen­sively for Hillsdale, three Chargers notched double digit kills and two achieved career highs.

Sophomore setter Lindsey Mertz and senior right side hitter Paige Van­derWall delivered the big per­for­mances for the Chargers. Mertz set a career high with 56 assists in a four-set match. Van­derWall exploded with a career high of 23 kills and also exe­cuted her 1,000th career kill in the second set against the Yellow Jackets.

It’s an inter­esting mile­stone, con­sid­ering it takes a pretty long time,” Van­derWall said. “But I think it rep­re­sents how lucky I’ve been to be on three teams that have all seen a success. This is just a tribute to everyone I’ve played with.”

Van­derWall joins fellow senior Kara Vyletel as one of 10 Chargers to record 1,000 career kills.

“This accom­plishment is not achieved by many and having two of them at the same time is even more of a rarity,” head coach Chris Gravel said. “We are very proud of this great mile­stone in their con­tinuing careers. As a team and coaching staff, we acknowledge and move on very quickly when it comes to indi­vidual accom­plish­ments. The ultimate accom­plishment is what we do as a team.”

The team remains unde­feated in con­ference play with their win over Cedarville. The match, however, wasn’t without its chal­lenges. After losing 25 – 23 in the second set, Gravel gave his players what he called “a little reality check”.

“He basi­cally told us that it was unac­ceptable,” senior setter Taylor Bennett said. “How we were per­forming wasn’t up to practice stan­dards much less game stan­dards. It was a chal­lenge to us. It was very much, ‘If you’re not going to perform, I have someone on the bench who will’.”

The Chargers easily handled Cedarville in the first set, winning 25 – 12. Bennett said she believed the loss came from a lack of urgency.

“It’s really easy, when you kill a team, to get really com­placent,” she said. “We start over at 0 every set. You def­i­nitely have to maintain that sense of urgency and bring the game to the other team every set. We’ve struggled with that this season and we def­i­nitely struggled with that last year.”

Prior to Tuesday’s match, the Chargers beat Malone Uni­versity on Sept. 7.

“It was a hard fought match,” Gravel said. “They played out­standing defense, really made our offense work hard. We also made a lot of great plays too.”

Van­derwall said  Malone’s defense was impressive, but the Chargers were able to answer with good defense of their own.

“They were all over the court,” Van­derwall said. “I think Lindsey did a great job moving the ball around on our side, and Taylor Wiese and Madie Schider dug well to keep long rallies going. We were then able to set up to attack when the ball came on our side.”

Junior libero Taylor Wiese had 28 digs, two off from a career high of 30.

“She was out­standing, Gravel said. “If you get 30, you’re nationally rec­og­nized. She came up with a lot of big plays.”

The Chargers dropped the third game of the match to the Pio­neers. The team played well but didn’t execute as well as they had in the pre­vious sets.

“It’s hard to say what hap­pened,” Gravel said. “They (Malone) just played a little bit better in that game. It was kind of two equal teams. We just made too many mis­takes on our side of the net.”

Wiese said the team lacked intensity in that third set.

“What was dif­ferent in that set was we let off of the gas,” Wiese said. “Our main focus going into prac­tices this week and the rest of the season is to not let up on teams if we have a great first set.”

The Chargers travel to the Uni­versity of Findlay and Ohio Dominican Uni­versity this weekend. The team plans to implement the lessons from Malone and Cedarville in its games on Friday and Sat­urday.

“Tuesday night was a good reality check,” Bennett said. “Things like that can either go good or bad. We know we have to step up and play better this weekend.”

 

  • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

    The match against Cedarville was a real battle, they’re a strong team like Malone was. It seems we’re seeing the best teams in the GMAC right out of the gate.

  • Jen­nifer Melfi

    I don’t know any­thing about the rel­ative merits of the Cedarville vol­leyball team, but happy for the win. Cedarville = Pen­sacola Christian College in terms of rules and reli­gious weirdness.