The Hillsdale College Chargers lost to the University of Illinois Springfield last Saturday. The loss broke a five-game-win streak that the Chargers carried through the last two weeks of play. They went on to win their next two games, however, on Sunday. The loss caused the team to fall in the national rankings to No. 18 in the country.
An impressive weekend performance by junior Allyssa Van Wienen led to a third consecutive G‑MAC Volleyball Offensive Player of the Week award. . She remains the only offensive volleyball player in the conference to be recognized this season.
The UIS Prairie Stars fell 25 – 18 to the Chargers in the first set,but regrouped to win the next three matches by narrow scores of 25 – 22, 25 – 23, and 25 – 23.. UIS held Hillsdale to a season-low .099 hitting percentage, due in part to an incredible 94 digs in the match. The Chargers nearly matched the Prairie Stars number of digs, amassing an equally impressive 90..
“They played great, and we did not,” head coach Chris Gravel said. “We definitely battled and it was a great match to watch. After the first set we had to try and grind out but we just didn’t have enough to come home with the win. That was the best defensive display I’ve seen them put on all season”
Senior Taylor Wiese led the team defensively with 24 digs. Junior Madie Schider and sophomore Karoline Shelton kept up with 22 and 17 digs, respectively, while junior Lindsay Mertz and freshman Audrey Riley each added 10. Van Wienen shined offensively with 13 kills and only two errors. Senior Hannah gates performed extremely well at the net with three solo blocks and four block assists.
The Chargers bounced back in the second day of play, winning both of their two matches and losing only one set. The Chargers defeated Seton Hill losing their only set of the day, and then beat the University of Indianapolis with a score of 3 – 0.
“There was a mental bounceback before the next two games,” Gravel said. “It’s never easy coming back after a loss and once you think it is, you’re in trouble. But we regrouped and performed. I would say overall it wasn’t a bad weekend.”
Between the two matches, the Chargers scored an impressive 173 points and giving up only 132.
The Chargers’ success was thanks in part to another remarkable offensive performance by Van Wienen. She finished the match versus Seton Hill with a career high 24 kills and a .639 hitting percentage. She contributed defensively with seven digs and four total blocks.
Senior Emily Lachmann notched a career-high 20 kills with a .390 hitting percentage while Mertz had a career-high 56 assists. Wiese led the defense with a career high 33 digs. She joined the AVCA 30-dig club for the second time this season and the fourth time in her career.
The Chargers showcased their talent in their Sunday afternoon match versus Indianapolis, defeating the Greyhounds 3 – 0. The Chargers led in hitting percentage, blocks, digs, and aces.
Van Wienen added yet another impressive performance against Indy with 19 kills, a .731 hitting percentage, and zero hitting errors. Her hitting percentage is the 10th highest in a single match in G‑MAC history.
Mertz added another outstanding performance in the match versus the Greyhounds with 35 assists, 11 digs, and four total blocks. Wiese led the defense with 16 digs.
“It’s hard for me to complain about a whole lot at 9 – 2,” said Gravel. “But I would say we have plenty to work on as the season progresses.”
The Chargers will begin conference play at home against Alderson Broaddus University on Friday at 7 p.m. and then hosts Ohio Valley University on Saturday morning at 10 a.m.