Crowder
HC

HILLSDALE, Mich. -- Playing on front of more than 500 raucous fans, Hillsdale advanced to the Midwest Regional semifinal for the third year in a row Friday night 3-1 against the No. 8-seeded Missouri S&T Miners.

Hillsdale won sets one, three and four by scores of 25-20, 25-12 and 25-18. The Miners played a near-perfect passing set in the second frame, defeating Hillsdale 25-16. Missouri S&T's season ends with a 24-10 record.

The Chargers, now 28-2 on the season, upped their intensity and execution throughout the match. After a sluggish second set, Hillsdale got its passing going, then in the fourth set, went to its lethal blocking to help take a stranglehold on the match. Hillsdale outblocked Missouri S&T 11-4 in the match, led by two solos and four block assists from senior Clara Leutheuser.

Six of Hillsdale's 25 points in the fourth set came directly off blocks.

The Miners played a superior defensive match, and passed exceptionally well at times. But in addition to Hillsdale's blocking, the Chargers' aggressive serves helped play a factor in the decision.

Hillsdale had nine service aces, including three each from sophomore Caitlin Kopmeyer and senior Ashlee Crowder.

Crowder, the Daktronics Midwest Region Player of the Year, was her dominant self, with a team-high 17 kills to go along with an incredible .517 hitting percentage. She also contributed seven digs to the Charger attack.

Senior Apryl Schmucker had two service aces, 43 assists and 12 digs, and also improved her play throughout the match. Senior Morgan Podkul added 11 digs and a service ace, and had some pinpoint passes from the back row that helped set up Hillsdale's offense.

The Chargers limited the Miners to team hitting percentages of .088 and .135 in the third and fourth sets, respectively.