Winning championships is never easy, and the road to this latest one wasn't perfectly smooth for the 11th-ranked Hillsdale College volleyball team.
Facing a resilient Lake Erie College team in Ohio, the Chargers struggled at times, but finished strong in picking up a 3-1 win over the Storm Friday night. The win makes Hillsdale 22-3 overall and 11-0 in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference.
The victory also mathematically clinches Hillsdale's third straight G-MAC regular season title. The Chargers will be the number one seed in next week's G-MAC Tournament, which begins Tuesday night.
Hillsdale trailed early in set one but rebounded to post a 25-20 win. The Storm forced the Chargers to a .044 hitting percentage in set two, a 25-22 LEC win, tying the match at 1 apiece. Set three was tightly played, going back and forth, but the Chargers came out with a 25-23 win to go up 2-1.
Set four was the Hillsdale team its fans have come to recognize and appreciate over all these years of success. The Chargers steamrolled the Storm 25-8, clinching the win in dominating fashion. Hillsdale hit .393 as a team in the fourth set while Lake Erie hit -.069.
Four players had double digits in digs for Hillsdale as Lake Erie kept the Chargers working on that side of the court throughout the match. Senior Taylor Wiese led a balanced defensive effort with 20 digs, while sophomore Karoline Shelton recorded another double double with 17 digs as well as 13 kills and a .324 hitting percentage. Junior setter Lindsey mertz picked up 11 digs to go with her 45 assists and junior Madie Schider chipped in with 10 digs.
PHOTO: Logan Smith