The Hillsdale Chargers rolled their way to first place in the G-MAC West Division last weekend with sweeps against two conference foes. With the wins, the team extends its winning streak to nine games and its conference streak to 24 wins, dating back to last season. Hillsdale remains the only G-MAC team undefeated against conference opponents this season.
“Overall, we came in and played really consistent,” junior libero Taylor Wiese said. “We beat two really tough teams this weekend. They were both playing at a really high level. We just stepped up and played how we’ve been playing in practice.”
The Chargers traveled to Ohio on Friday for a rematch against the Cedarville University Yellow Jackets. Hillsdale started off strong, squashing the Yellow Jackets in the first set, but Cedarville regrouped and put up a fight in the second and third sets.
“They started to make us struggle a bit,” head coach Chris Gravel said. “You could tell we were the more seasoned team. In pressure situations, or after mistakes, we were much more relaxed with a ‘Hey, we’ve got this’ mentality. That’s something that you have to have if you want to have a great season.”
The Chargers were able to stay mentally tough and keep the pressure on their opponent.
“We focused on our side of the net,” sophomore middle hitter Allyssa Van Wienen said. “We know they have a couple of good players, but we didn’t focus on that. We focused on what we were doing, what shots were open, and how to cover their hitters.”
The team found itself in a unique situation, traveling from Cedarville back to Hillsdale for a home game on Saturday.
“I think we did it right by traveling halfway from Cedarville and getting a good night’s sleep,” Gravel said. “Coming in, I think we were as fresh as we could be.”
While traveling to a home game is not the norm, the Chargers were able to make the best of the situation. After traveling in the morning, Hillsdale played the Tiffin University Dragons on Saturday afternoon.
“We reset really well,” Van Wienen said. “We came out really strong the first set and it didn’t really show that we had traveled that morning. That was a huge plus for our team.”
“You can see why they’re a good team,” Gravel said of Tiffin. “They run a very fast offense. If you’re not giving them tough balls to handle, they’re getting kills. There were things that they did that we could not stop.”
The Dragons gave Hillsdale a good run in each set. The Chargers, however, were able to keep up the intensity, ultimately sweeping Tiffin 25 – 19, 27 – 25, and 25 – 21.
“We just had to do ours more than theirs to reach 25 first,” Gravel said. “Hopefully, next time around, we can slow them down a little bit more but can continue on our current pace.”
Wiese had two 30-dig games, earning the G-MAC West Player of the Week award.
“I’ve never had anyone go back to back days with 30 digs, I don’t believe,” Gravel said. “That’s a very rare accomplishment. What makes it even more rare is that players will often get 30 digs in four or five-set games. She had to average over 10 digs a set. She’s probably by far the best libero in the nation this past weekend.”
Wiese’s teammates appreciate her presence in the back row.
“She’s just really good,” Van Wienen said. “She knows where they’re going to hit it. She anticipates really well. She moves really well on the court.”
The Chargers remain at home this weekend with games against Kentucky Wesleyan University on Friday and Trevecca Nazarene University on Saturday.