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The vol­leyball team against Walsh this weekend
Anthony Lupi | Collegian

In their first weekend of home games, the Chargers defended their home court with two wins against Ohio’s Malone Uni­versity Pio­neers and the Walsh Uni­versity Cav­a­liers. Although both matches were tighter than those at the pre­vious weekend’s tour­nament in West Palm Beach, Florida, the Chargers pre­vailed and now are tied with Findlay Uni­versity at the top G‑MAC North Division. 

The Charger’s Friday match against the Pio­neers marked their con­ference opener for the season. The Chargers allowed the Pio­neers to score only 12 points in the first set. The Pio­neers gained tem­porary control over the second set with a steady offense, racking in thirteen kills, and beating the Chargers 25 – 23. The Chargers closed out the match with two more set wins on their way to victory. Leading the defensive play, freshman libero Alli Wiese fin­ished with 19 digs in the match. 

Saturday’s match against the Cav­a­liers fol­lowed a similar pattern. The Chargers won the first set but lost the second, heading into three more tight sets to secure their win with their final match ending at 26 – 24. In the closing two sets, freshman Amy Buffini con­tributed seven kills and senior Maddie Clark added six more kills to put the Pio­neers to rest. 

“I have been trying to not think about it being my last year, let alone last semester,” Clark said. “I’m trying to stay in the present, and focus on where my feet are.”

In the match against the Pio­neers, 17 of the 18 players saw court time with 14 of them making one or more kills. The match against the Cav­a­liers proved to have the same dynamic con­sis­tency with players like junior Karoline Shelton and senior Allyssa Van Wienen con­tributing 17 and 13 kills respec­tively. Wiese had 28 digs in this match which granted her a second week named the G‑MAC North Division Defensive Player of the Week. She now leads the con­ference in digs at 201. 

“The team success is always the #1 pri­ority in my mind, but it means a great deal to be rec­og­nized in such a pos­itive way,” Wiese said. “ I wouldn’t have been able to get this award without the help of my team, and I can not wait for us to keep improving as the season advances.” 

This con­sis­tency is the foun­dation of great play according to head coach Chris Gravel. With these matches being the first home games of the season, Gravel com­mented on honing in on the team’s focus regarding the second match, which is a key deter­minant for the outcome of the match. With a home crowd and a winning streak, the Chargers said they faced a new kind of pressure this past weekend. 

“We came out both nights very focused and just destroyed the team and then we let up a little bit,” Gravel said. “We meet after every match and I didn’t have to say any­thing. They were all bringing up things that they needed to work on in practice.”

The Chargers ended the weekend at 8 – 2, 2 – 0 G‑MAC, placing as one of five teams going 2 – 0 in con­ference play. This weekend, the team will travel to Ken­tucky and Ten­nessee to play Ken­tucky Wes­leyan College and Trevecca Nazarene Uni­versity, the G‑MAC South Division co-leader. 

“We come into this season knowing that we have the potential to be a really tough team.” freshman Maizie Brown said. “We know that we have to take care of business each and every game, and that to become the elite of the elite we have to use every oppor­tunity to play as an oppor­tunity to get better.”