The Hillsdale College Chargers opened G‑MAC play against Alderson Broaddus and Ohio Valley state without a loss last weekend. Even with multiple star players injured, the Chargers won both of their games without giving up a single set. The Chargers remained the 18th ranked team in the nation for the second week in a row.
The wins over the weekend strengthened the Chargers reputation and rank as best in the G‑MAC, beating two conference rivals even without a number of starters. With vital players being out in the match versus Alderson Broaddus, many of the healthy players got an opportunity to step up and prove their skills on the court.
“I thought the younger players played well,” said head coach Chris Gravel. “But that is exactly what they are supposed to do. They did in the game what they had been doing in practice and I was happy with that.”
Hillsdale swept Alderson Broaddus with set scores of 25 – 13, 25 – 16, 25 – 16, respectively. The win lifted the Chargers to 10 – 2 on the season, cementing their rank as first in the G‑MAC. Alderson Broaddus fell to 6 – 7 falling to 10th in the G‑MAC, respectively. Hillsdale led in virtually every statistical category in the game.
Ten players recorded kills versus Alderson Broaddus. Sophomore Karoline Shelton led the team with nine kills. Freshman Megan Kolp followed Shelton in kills with 6 while senior Hannah Gates and senior Dani Jones each added 5. The team recorded an impressive 39 total kills in the match.
Senior libero Taylor Wertz put up an impressive defensive performance with 19 digs, raising her career total to 1,821 and making her second on the all-time leaders list for digs at Hillsdale.
On Saturday morning, the Chargers hosted an impressive sweep of Ohio Valley. With multiple starters still sitting out, multiple Freshmen players stepped up to add another conference win to the Charger’s record. Hillsdale shut down the Fighting Scots in the first set with a score of 25 – 12, and won two narrow sets each with scores of 25 – 22 to win the match. The Chargers led Ohio Valley in hitting percentage, blocks, digs, and aces.
“This weekend was only a small step toward big goals we have made for ourselves this season,” Gravel said. “We have many more steps to take and a lot of the season left ahead of us to continue to work and get better.”
The win against the Fighting Scots lifted the Chargers to 11 – 2 on the season and 2 – 0 in the G‑MAC, even further confirming Hillsdale’s dominance in the conference. Ohio Valley fell to 3 – 5 on the season and 0 – 2 in the G‑MAC, placing them 9th in the conference.
Freshmen Madeline Zenas, Audrey Riley, and Megan Colp took over the bulk of the playing time of the upperclassmen that sat the match out. Zenas finished the match with 3 kills, 2 digs, and 10 assists, while Riley contributed two aces and two kills. Kolp had a respectable three kills and two blocks playing far less than Zenas and Riley.
Karoline Shelton led the Charger offense with 13 kills and 11 digs. Seniors Emily Lachmann and Hannah Gates added eight and six kills, respectively. Wiese added another impressive defensive performance with 15 digs. Junior setter Lindsey Mertz had an impressive 25 assists, three aces, and four digs in only two sets of play.
The Chargers will play an extremely important match at the University of Findlay this Friday at 4 p.m. The Oilers began the season with eight consecutive losses, but bounced back to win five of the next seven. Findley beat Alderson Broaddus and Ohio Valley in September, matching the record of Hillsdale in the G‑MAC.
Both teams stand undefeated in conference play and the winner of the match will likely move to first in the conference while the other falls. The Chargers have won five of their last six meets with the Oilers and have a 42-game win streak in G‑MAC play that will be on the line in Friday’s meet.
The Chargers play at Tiffin and Cedarville during Fall Break before travelling to Indianapolis for the Midwest Crossover Tournament in mid-October.