It was a mark she had hoped to reach last year. But regardless of when Kara Vyletel recorded her 1,000th career kill, it was going to be special.
Vyletel became the ninth player in Charger volleyball history to hit that milestone in a 3-1 win over Clarion at the Ferris State University Tournament in Big Rapids Friday night. The win evens Hillsdale's record at 1-1 on the season.
Her second kill of the match, coming in the first set, put her at the 1,000 kill mark for her career. It came as part of a 12-kill night in which she led the Hillsdale offense in a win that showed, in stretches, how dominant this team can be.
Hillsdale won the first set 25-12, holding Clarion to a negative hitting percentage as a team. But Clarion bounced back impressively in set 2, building a 17-6 lead and holding off a furious Charger comeback to tie the match with a 25-23 win.
But as set 3 began, the Chargers seized control back immediately, taking a big early lead and never looking back, winning the final two sets 25-9 and 25-14 to pick up their first win of the season.
Hillsdale held Clarion to hitting percentages of -.147, -.050 and -.028 in the three sets it won, compared to giving up a .263 hitting percentage in the set it lost. The Chargers hit .283 for the match compared to .027 for Clarion.
There was a nice bit of poetry in this match, coming on its final play. In the same match where senior, four-year starter Vyletel had her 1,000th career kill, freshman Karoline Shelton got her first career kill, a play that clinched the victory for the Chargers.
Shelton saw her first career action in this match and did an excellent job with back row play. She served effectively and made a number of athletic plays in keeping balls alive for her teammates to return. She had five digs and a service ace in her collegiate debut.
Hillsdale produced 10 service aces, led by 3 each from Paige VanderWall and Allyssa Van Wienen. Van Wienen had 3 solo blocks and 2 block assists to go with 6 kills, and VanderWall had 8 kills, 9 digs and 3 total blocks. Sophomore Maddie Clark put together her second straight match with double-digit kills, picking up 10.