This past week the Hillsdale College volleyball team came out victorious against both conference and non-conference teams, maintaining endurance in the first three-game weekend of the season.
Senior middle hitter Allyssa Van Wienen made history both offensively and defensively this week as she hit her 1000th career kill, and won her first ever G‑MAC Defensive Award of the Week.
“A thousand kills is a huge testament to the skill of the people around me,” Van Wienen said. “The only reason I even had 1000-plus opportunities to get a kill was because my teammates were constantly making great plays that allowed me to get those kills. I wouldn’t even be close to where I am today without any of them.”
The Chargers’ victorious streak led them to receiving the No. 1 DII rank for the first time in Hillsdale history, though this doesn’t change anything about their energy or work, head coach Chris Gravel said.
“The ranking has no to little effect,” Gravel said. “It’s important to realize rankings are about what you have done in the past. Today is a brand new day, and whether we are No. 1 or No. 21, the approach is the same. We respect our opponent and allow them to make us better as a team.”
The combination of both in and out of conference game-play allowed the team to experience a variety of competition, Van Wienen said.
“This past weekend was a good test against some non-conference teams,” Van Wienen said. “The more teams we are able to play against, the more variety we get to face, the more prepared we can be for future competition.”
Senior setter Lindsey Mertz said that playing three matches in one week for the first time all season has helped them prepare for the intensity of future tournaments.
“To win the conference, regional, and national tournaments, you must play exceptionally well three times in a week,” Mertz said. “This week we had an opportunity to practice competing for three matches in one week, and it helped us to mentally and physically be better prepared for our conference tournament this year and for any other post-season tournaments we might have this season or in the future.”
The team was able to gauge exactly where they’re at not only in the conference, but in the entire region, Mertz said. The team is reaching new milestones with different individual and team achievements, and they are looking forward to more intense competition this weekend.
The Chargers will compete against No. 13 Findlay University, the fourth-straight G‑MAC regular season champions, on Friday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. They will also play Tiffin University on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m.
“Everyone is excited heading into the weekend,” Van Wienen said. “Findlay is one of our better known rivals which brings out more of our fierce-type energy. This week we’re going to focus on improving our game from last week, taking those little steps every day to adjust a few things that need work and to keep getting better at the things we have been doing well.”