Katie Bell returns a serve against Ferris State on Feb­ruary 10. (Ryan Goff | Col­legian)

Over spring break, the Hillsdale College Chargers trav­elled south to Boca Raton and West Palm Beach, Florida, for three matches against south Florida schools, including the no. 2 ranked Lynn Uni­versity Knights.

The Chargers dropped their matches against Lynn and Palm Beach Atlantic Uni­versity, but defeated Broward College in a shortened match. In their Monday match against Lynn, Hillsdale lost 4 – 0 in a dom­inant per­for­mance by the Knights. On Wednesday, they beat Broward in an exhi­bition match 5 – 4 and lost to Palm Beach Atlantic 4 – 1.

A chal­lenging lineup of matches paired with the team’s first time playing outside this year served as a training week, intended mostly to build expe­rience before con­ference play.

“When we start trav­elling South for G‑MAC, a lot times it’s nice enough to play outside but we haven’t even prac­ticed out there,” coach Nikki Wal­bright said. “Spring break is really important because the game’s a lot dif­ferent outside.”

Lynn and Palm Beach Atlantic gave Hillsdale tough com­pe­tition, which Wal­bright said gave the team a clear vision of what to work on, espe­cially in the closer Palm Beach Atlantic match.

“I feel like it was winnable, but we just weren’t quite ready to win a match like that because they’re def­i­nitely a high-level team,” she said. “But it gave us some­thing to work on for the rest of the semester. Seeing a team like that reminded us of how hard we need to work for the rest of the semester.”

Even still, Wal­bright said she could see pos­i­tives from the Wednesday match.

“Espe­cially playing at no. 1 singles, Cim­peanu played out­standing that day. Just flawless,” she said. “Katie and Halle had great matches, too, but they just weren’t able to finish which was unfor­tunate.”

The expe­rience of the week helped prepare the Chargers for tough sit­u­a­tions that are crucial points in a match, Wal­bright said.

“Most of the mental training that you do comes when you actually play other schools and it’s me talking to them on the court,” she said.

The trip didn’t dampen Walbright’s outlook on the con­ference season that begins this week with Davis & Elkins.

“I feel like we’re at a really good spot. Although we had losses on spring break, we had a really strong Feb­ruary,” she said. “We’ve got more con­fi­dence going into con­ference play this season. Just knowing our team and what we can accom­plish, and that we’re super deep makes us feel really strong heading into con­ference.”