The Hillsdale College Chargers took another strong step toward the G‑MAC tournament over the weekend with two 7 – 0 shutouts on the road against Ursuline and Walsh. The Chargers are now 3 – 0 in G‑MAC play.
In what was the team’s most anticipated match of the season, the Chargers performed up to their expectations with a lot of strong play from the lineup against Walsh. The match followed a sweep of Ursuline where not one Charger lost a game.
Everyone on the team was able to play this weekend, which culminated with the thrilling victory over the Chargers’ toughest opponent on Saturday.
“You could feel the energy on court during doubles and it definitely enhanced in singles,” senior Corinne Prost said of the Walsh match.
Though there were a number of close sets, the Chargers managed to pull out victories by a comfortable margin.
“Saturday, all the cards kind of aligned,” head coach Nikki Walbright said. “It’s probably the best the team has played. Everything that we had worked on we did very well. It was a super positive match, I just felt like we were really in control the whole time.”
After a contentious doubles point where Halle Hyman and Katie Bell lost at no. 1 and Madeline Bissett and Kamryn Matthews won at no. 3, the no. 2 team of Sarah Hackman and Hannah Cimpeanu pulled out the point-clinching set 7 – 5.
With the doubles point won, the Chargers moved into singles where Hackman got off the court by the time some matches were closing out their first sets in a 6 – 1, 6 – 1 win, Halle Hyman came out on top after a close second set to win 6 – 3, 7 – 5, and Cimpeanu came from behind to win in three sets 2 – 6, 6 – 1, 7 – 5 to clinch the match.
“It was kind of one of those days where everyone did something that stood out,” Walbright said. “It was one of those magical days when everything just kind of clicked for everybody.”
For Prost, who won at no. 6 singles against Walsh and at no. 5 against Ursuline, things seemed to click as she stayed in the moment during points. She said she was able to not get too worried about being ahead or behind in games.
“I was able to handle just the immediate point before me without thinking too hard of where I was at or how far I would have to go,” Prost said.
After a strong in-conference win against Walsh, the Chargers are looking ahead to the G‑MAC Championship in hopes to receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament in May. Five matches stand in their way before the G‑MAC Championship at the end of April, which Walbright says is the team’s main focus more than a national ranking or the numerous awards earned by the team this season.
“Our main focus is winning the tournament because that gives us an automatic qualifier to the NCAA tournament,” she said. “It’s nice to get the player of the week and other accolades, but at the end of the day we’re really just focused on winning conference.”