Entering play Friday night, Hillsdale and Tiffin were both undefeated in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference volleyball standings.
By the end of play Friday night, the Chargers left no doubt who maintained a spotless conference ledger.
Hillsdale played at an extraoridinarily high level, particularly on offense, in a dominanting 3-0 sweep of the Dragons in Ohio, winning the sets by scores of 25-8, 25-15 and 25-16. The 17th-ranked Chargers improved to 13-2 overall and 4-0 in the G-MAC with the win.
Hitting percentage is usually a good indicator of how effective a team's offense is in the sport of volleyball. Hitting .300 as a team in a set or a match is indicative of a high level of offense.
Keep that in mind with the way the Chargers came out of the gate in this match. They put down one kill after another on the Dragons in the 25-8 win in set one, putting together a mind-boggling .633 hitting percentage as a team. Hillsdale generated 19 kills with no errors on just 30 attempts.
The Chargers hit .443 as a team in the victory compared to .092 for the Dragons. It's rare to see such a one-sided lean to team hitting percentages, particularly against a tean as good as Tiffin. Hillsdale had 30 more kills in the match than the Dragons (57-27) and committed just 6 hitting errors the entire match.
Much of that credit should go to Charger junior setter Lindsey Mertz, the reigning G-MAC Offensive Player of the Week. She established a new career-high of 52 assists in a three-set match. Mertz entered play Friday night averaging nearly 11 assists per set, best in the league. But in this match, she averaged 17.3 assists per set. Out of this world.
Her favorite target was junior middle hitter Allyssa Van Wienen, who entered this marquee matchup going up against Tiffin's Jenna Huffman, another excellent player. Van Wienen finished with 19 kills, hitting .731 for the match. She had no hitting errors and added 3 digs and 2 blocks to her effort.
Sophomore Karoline Shelton was in a beautiful groove throughout the match, finishing with 15 kills and a .371 hitting percentage.
Four players had double-digit digs, a testament to the quality of defense played by the team. Taylor Wiese led the way with 20 while sophomore Madie Schider had 16. Freshman Audrey Riley had 14 digs and Mertz picked up another double-double with 10 digs.
PHOTO: Victoria Addis