WolfPack handles Hawks despite rough third set


Madison College volleyball player Tianna Sackett reaches up to block an opponents kill during her team’s match against Harper College on Sept. 20.

The Madison College volleyball team, led by second year outside hitter Paige Hostetler and new coach Jeff “JT” Thomas, kept the Harper College Hawks at bay at home on Sept. 20.  The WolfPack took the match, 3-1, and maintain a solid record of 4-1 in N4C conference play going into the second half of the season.

As usual, it took the WolfPack a few points to get synchronized. 

A few off-target hits had them behind 4-1 early, but they brought it back to 5-5 through solid fundamental play as well as a couple of aces from first-year outside hitter Sage Esser.

More points were traded between the two teams before Madison College got out to a 14-8 lead with a pair of Olivia Darkow aces and a set of kills from Paige Hostetler. 

The WolfPack would maintain at least a three-point lead until 24-22, and after a timeout to talk it over, they would claim the first set 25-23.

Miss-hits seemed to be the theme at the start of the second set, with both teams combining for three kills in the first 10 points.  The WolfPack managed to find its groove first, eventually jumping out to a 11-4 lead behind two more Darkow aces. 

The Hawks fought back to with 13-11, with just about everyone on their side of the net contributing to the points. The next dozen points were traded back and forth, with two long rallies at 16-12 and 17-12 serving as great examples for just how closely contested the middle of the second set was. 

The back-and-forth action continued until 21-20, after which Madison College closed out the set 25-20 with some great kills from Hostetler, Esser, and Darkow.

The third set started dismally for the WolfPack.  After several poorly placed hits as well as some good plays from Harper College, the WolfPack quickly found itself down 11-2.  The team were able to muster a late surge, but only got back to 22-19 before losing the set 25-21.

Clearly in cruise control after winning the first two sets, the third set loss was a good wake-up call for the team.

Madison College’s libero Paige Alsum receives a serve
Madison College’s libero Paige Alsum receives a serve during her team’s match against Harper College on Sept. 20.

Coming out with a point to prove, Madison College went ahead and stayed ahead for the entirety of the fourth set before winning easily 25-15.  Highlights included a four-kill streak for Hostetler, three more aces for Esser, and five kills in the set for Isabella Carrillo.

After the match, it was clear that the team was flying high.  Paige Hostetler said, “A lot of people stepped up in the right moments.”

Equally pleased with the outcome was the WolfPack coach, although he clearly would have preferred the three set sweep.  Thomas said, “Sometimes you can’t get them all when you want to, but we went back to our game plan in the fourth set, stayed aggressive, and got after them.”

The WolfPack go back out on the road to Iowa at Clarke University as well as Joliet Junior College before their next home match against Milwaukee Area Technical College on Tuesday, Oct. 2, at 6 p.m. in the Redsten Gymnasium.