In their first outdoor matches at home, the Hillsdale College Chargers kept up their indoor-season pace with two shutouts against Saginaw Valley State University and Kentucky Wesleyan College over the weekend.
With these wins, the Chargers advance to 11 – 2 on the season and 4 – 0 in G-MAC play. Their dominant performance earned them 50th in the IPA national rankings. While the conference match against Kentucky Wesleyan included a 6 – 0 set in nearly every match, Saturday’s match against SVSU was much more of a contest.
Against SVSU, both Kam Matthews and freshman Sarah Hackman faced tiebreakers in their first sets. On the no. 3 court, Matthews won the first-set tiebreak 7 – 2 after being down in the set 1 – 4 and went on to win the second set 6 – 3.
On the no. 2 court, Hackman lost the first-set tiebreak 5 – 7 but got out in front of her opponent during the second set, winning 6 – 1 and forcing a third set tiebreaker which was more even. Hackman’s third turned out to be close, as she managed to avoid two match points and eventually got the two-game margin in the 20th point to win the match 6 – 7 (5), 6 – 1, (9).
The Chargers faced pressure on the no. 4 court as well against SVSU. Senior Corinne Prost found herself down 1 – 4 in both sets, but each time was able to gain traction and come back and win the match 6 – 4, 7 – 5.
“My opponent had steady groundstrokes and didn’t miss unless I forced an error out of her,” Prost said. “Each time, I had to refocus and adjust to her adjustments so I could figure out how to challenge her consistency.”
With a few comeback sets and tiebreaker wins, the Chargers displayed a strong drive in coach Nikki Walbright’s view.
“I’m continuously impressed by my team and their ‘never giving up’ mentalities,” Walbright said. “Every girl that played this weekend showed up to win.”
Against a team she knew would be a good challenge, Walbright said the Chargers’ play reassured her of her team’s ability to rise to challenges on the court.
“The performance was great, it showed me that it doesn’t matter who we play everyone is going to show up and do their job,” Walbright said. “It’s a great reputation to have as a team.”