Four Blue Angels make All-Association volleyball teams
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – The Association of Division III Independents released its postseason All-Association volleyball teams this week, with four Mount Mary College representatives gracing the first and second teams.
Junior outside hitter Stephanie Hardwick (West Allis, Wis.) and senior setter Chelsie Beeler (Jackson, Wis.) both earned First Team honors, while sophomore middle hitter Beth Baxter (Germantown, Wis.) and sophomore outside hitter Sarah Wishau (Racine, Wis.) both took home Second Team nominations.
Hardwick, earning her second All-AD3I honors and second time on the First Team, led the team with 3.72 kills and 4.22 digs per set this season. Beeler, also a two-time All-AD3I First Team winner, led the Blue Angels with 7.46 assists per set, tops in the Association.
Baxter, a newcomer to the Mount Mary program, earned Second Team honors as a middle hitter and led the Blue Angels in attack percentage (0.172) while tallying 1.80 kills and 2.76 digs per set. Wishau, despite sidelined with midseason knee surgery, garnered Second Team honors for the second season while averaging 2.61 kills 3.28 digs per set in 16 matches this season.
Nebraska Wesleyan's junior libero Mackenzie Hilte took home Player of the Year honors while St. Joseph's College's freshman middle blocker Lauren GaNun was named the AD3I Rookie of the Year. SJC's Kathleen O'Neal also garnered Coach of the Year honors this season.
All-Association of Division III Independents Volleyball Teams
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Mackenzie Hite, Jr., Nebraska Wesleyan
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Lauren GaNun, Fr., St. Joseph's College
COACH OF THE YEAR: Kathleen O'Neal, St. Joseph's College
The Association of Division III Independents consists of 10 Division III independent institutions that have joined together to recognize student-athletes at independent institutions, and to provide exempted postseason championship competition. The Association also recognizes outstanding athletic achievements of its student-athletes on a weekly, monthly and annual basis. The Association provides statistical services for its members in seven sports. In addition it will announce All-Independent teams at the conclusion of eight other sports this year.
More information about the Association of Division III Independents is available at www.d3independents.org.
Volleyball falls at Aurora
AURORA, Ill. – The Mount Mary College volleyball team entered a bustling campus and hostile atmosphere Wednesday, and host Aurora used its home court to its full advantage, sweeping the Blue Angels 25-20, 25-21, 25-15.
"When we arrived at Aurora University, we were met with a very large and loud team. I think initially we started out playing kind of shaky or nervous because this was probably the loudest it has ever been in a gym for us," head coach Kelsey Peterson said.
Mount Mary appeared intimidated from the start, falling behind big early. After a quick timeout, the Blue Angels responded by creeping back into what had appeared to be a blowout, pulling to within 19-20 late in the opening set. Having expended much of its energy getting back into the set, an ensuing series of errors and Spartan kills finally put the game away.
The Blue Angels responded with positive energy in the second set, but trouble at the service line hindered any momentum they could muster. The inconsistent play continued into the third set as Aurora cruised to the match victory.
"Once the ladies calmed down and focused, they began to operate smoother, but by the time we got some momentum it was too late for the first set," Peterson said. "The second set we started out with more energy and fire but service errors killed us. We also started playing sloppy… not perfectly passing easy free balls and lobbing over easy dinks. Despite that, I was really impressed with Alexis Hafemeister. She was able to get some great kills against a much taller Aurora defense and also contributed by serving aggressively."
Hafemeister, a freshman right side hitter, also tallied a match-high three service aces on what was otherwise an atrocious day from the service line. The Blue Angels tallied seven service errors, most of which coming at crucial points of the match.
The Blue Angels will have plenty of time to wear off this rough stretch of the season as they will enter a two-week break before they travel to Alverno College next Tuesday, October 9. Game time against the rival Inferno is slated for 7 p.m.
Aurora University 3, Mount Mary College 0
AU def. MMC 25-20, 25-21, 25-15
Kills: MMC – 31 (Wishau 12, Gratz 5, Hardwick 4, Hafemeister 4, Baxter 3, Beeler 3); AU – 38
Team Records: Mount Mary College 7-9; Aurora University 6-8
Blue Angels sweep NIU, struggle at MSOE Tourney
MILWAUKEE – The Mount Mary College volleyball team took care of business Friday against visiting Northland International University, sweeping the Pioneers 25-11, 25-9, 25-22. Though Saturday the Blue Angels struggled with consistency, and fell to Beloit College 25-11, 23-25, 24-26, 17-25 and Lake Forest College 17-25, 17-25, 25-27 at the Milwaukee School of Engineering tournament.
Friday night, Mount Mary dominated every facet of the match as the host Blue Angels hit a blistering .235 as a team led by 14 kills and a .542 hitting percentage from junior outside Stephanie Hardwick (West Allis, Wis.). While Mount Mary didn't compile too many kills—just 33 on the night—errors doomed the Pioneers who tallied 20 hitting errors and just 17 kills for a -.046 hitting percentage.
It was a different story Saturday morning, as Mount Mary played very poorly against a pair of opponents at the MSOE tournament. In the opening set against Beloit College, Mount Mary showed it was the better team by pouncing on the Buccaneers 25-11. Yet the proverbial train completely derailed as the Bucs started picking up momentum. A late charge finally pushed Beloit through with a 25-23 set two win, and the Bucs held on in the third set 26-24 and cruised in the fourth 25-17 to steal the match away.
"The loss to Beloit was disappointing," head coach Kelsey Peterson said. "I felt like we were the better team physically. We won the first set easily and I think the team as a whole got too relaxed. Once Beloit started playing better and digging more of our attacks, I think we just got frustrated and quit communicating with each other. Losing this match was a huge wakeup call to myself and all the ladies that we can't rely on just physical talent; we really couldn't get a grip mentally on this one."
Facing Lake Forest for the second time in five days, Mount Mary overcame lopsided first sets to push the Foresters in the third, but unlike last Tuesday, couldn't put together the finishing touches to snag a set win against LFC.
"Coming right off the loss to Beloit, and already losing to Lake Forest earlier in the week, the team knew they were going to have to battle," Peterson said. "However, I feel like everyone's attitudes improved and they tried their hardest to stay positive. We are lacking depth, and playing two matches back to back was physically fatiguing. It definitely started to show going into that third set, and that's when we started making some silly errors and giving points up."
The 1-2 record on the week drops the Blue Angels to 7-8 on the year—the first time they've been below the .500 mark since losses at the Ripon Triangular nearly three weeks ago.
Mount Mary will look to get back on track on the road against a tough Aurora squad Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Mount Mary College 3, Northland International University 0
MMC def. NIU 25-11, 25-9, 25-22
Kills: MMC – 33 (Hardwick 14, Wishau 7, Hafemeister 4, Baxter 4, Gratz 4); NIU – 17
Team Records: Mount Mary College 7-6; Northland International University 3-8
Beloit College 3, Mount Mary College 1
BC def. MMC 11-25, 25-23, 26-24, 25-17
Kills: MMC – 48 (Wishau 19, Baxter 12, Hardwick 9, Hafemeister 5, Gratz 3); BC – 33
Team Records: Mount Mary College 7-7; Beloit College 2-12
Lake Forest College 3, Mount Mary College 0
LFC def. MMC 25-17, 25-17, 27-25
Kills: MMC – 33 (Hardwick 15, Wishau 6, Hafemeister 4, Gratz 4, Baxter 3, Beeler 1); LFC – 46
Team Records: Mount Mary College 7-8; Lake Forest College 9-5
Foresters too much for Blue Angels
MILWAUKEE – The Mount Mary College volleyball team hosted Lake Forest College Tuesday in a matchup of very solid defenses, but it was the Forester offense that proved the difference maker as they handled host Mount Mary 25-21, 25-14, 24-26, 25-17.
Lake Forest brought their army of volleyball athletes, with 12 different players seeing court time throughout the four-set match. And while the Blue Angels' scrappy seven worked hard to stay in the match on the defensive side, the Foresters eventually pulled away to take the road win.
"We knew we were facing a challenging team when Lake Forest visited," head coach Kelsey Peterson said. "We prepared as much as possible and really worked on our defense. Despite losing, I was really proud of how the team fought and kept up the intensity the entire time. We dug a lot of balls that typically in the past we probably wouldn't have, so I consider that a measure of success."
The outside hitting tandem of junior Stehpanie Hardwick (West Allis, Wis.) and Sarah Wishau (Racine, Wis.) tallied 11 kills apiece and 18 and 17 digs respectively, while senior setter Chelsie Beeler added 27 assists. The Blue Angels were outhit efficiency-wise .215 to .131, as the Foresters tallied 12 more kills and digs than Mount Mary.
Despite facing an early 9-15 deficit in the first set, the Blue Angels rallied to overtake the Foresters 20-19. But an ensuing pair of MMC service errors accompanied by Forester kills eventually swung the momentum back in favor of the visitors, 25-21.
Set two was not pretty for Blue Angel fans, as Lake Forest was in-system and hit a blistering .407 in the second stanza alone. Yet Mount Mary showed some grit in the third set, keeping the score close throughout. Three kills from Lake Forest and a bad set from Mount Mary turned a three point lead into a 23-24 deficit before Mount Mary finally put the set away on a pair of LFC hitting errors and a service ace from Hardwick to avoid the sweep.
Things started out well for Mount Mary again in the fourth set as they held an early 12-10 lead. But the ornery Foresters roared back reeling off 10 of the next 11 points to take full control, eventually putting away Mount Mary 25-17 to seal the match.
Mount Mary continues its brief home stand Friday as it hosts Northland International University for a 7:30 p.m. start time. After the night match against the Pioneers, the Blue Angels will head downtown to take on Beloit College and Lake Forest in a rematch at the MSOE Invite Saturday afternoon.
Lake Forest College 3, Mount Mary College 1
LFC def. MMC 25-21, 25-14, 24-26, 25-17
Kills: MMC – 39 (Hardwick 11, Wishau 11, Hafemeister 6, Gratz 4, Beeler 4, Baxter 3); LFC – 51
Mount Mary Earns Split at IUN Triangular
GARY, Ind. – The Mount Mary College volleyball squad traveled to the southeast side of Chicago Saturday and came out of the two-match triangular with a 1-1 overall record. The Blue Angels defeated host Indiana University-Northwest 25-21, 25-14, 25-13 to open the day then fell to Lincoln Christian University also in sweeping fashion.
In the triangular-opener, Mount Mary came out and played well after the 3-hour drive against the host Red Hawks, picking apart their defense. The Blue Angels had more or less free range at the net, able to work several different shots into their offensive repertoire.
"I really enjoyed watching our team play during this match," head coach Kelsey Peterson said. "They worked really well as a unit and I feel like everyone contributed. Our new rotation felt more comfortable in this match and not nearly as many adjustments had to be made. Probably our biggest weakness in this match was missed serves. We are continually working on keeping them in but also consistently aggressive. Beth Baxter is a server who does this really well; she serves tough but usually to the zones I give her. Steph Gratz and Alexis Hafemeister are continuing to improve in their new positions in the front row, which I'm really proud of them for."
Facing a back-to-back match for the second time this season, Mount Mary battled a very potent squad from Lincoln Christian University, eventually falling in straight sets 0-3. The Lions were much more physical in the match, pushing Mount Mary's scrappy defense to the limit. But LCU proved to have too much firepower at the net, taking the match.
"Despite coming straight from a win over IU Northwest, it felt like our team started out playing scared against Lincoln Christian," Peterson said. "LCU was a big team with strong players, but it seemed that we weren't giving ourselves a chance to perform to our full potential.
"However, as that first set continued on, I think our team finally realized they can hang with LCU and started playing like it. While our shorter front row had difficulty putting up blocks, our back row defense made up for it and communicated a lot more. I think the most important thing the team learned from this match was to not get down when things weren't going their way; they persevered and supported each other and continued to have fun despite losing."
Mount Mary returns to action with another busy week, hosting Lake Forest College Tuesday and Northland International Friday before heading to Milwaukee School of Engineering for pair of Saturday afternoon matches.
Mount Mary College 3, Indiana University-Northwest 0
MMC def. IUN 25-21, 25-14, 25-13
Complete Statistics Unavailable
Team Records: Mount Mary College 6-5; IU-Northwest 1-10
Lincoln Christian University 3, Mount Mary College 0
Complete Statistics Unavailable
Team Records: Mount Mary College 6-6; Lincoln Christian 6-4
Blue Angels survive scare from UW-Washington County
WEST BEND, Wis. – The Mount Mary College volleyball team overcame quite a scare Friday night as they traveled up Highway 45 to take on the University of Wisconsin-Washington County, surviving with an incredibly tight 27-25, 28-30, 25-15, 27-25 victory.
In order to pull off the win over the very game Wildcats, the Blue Angels had to overcome a bit of adversity with a reshuffled lineup that saw several players playing in new positions.
"Our team continued to gain confidence with this win against UW-WC," head coach Kelsey Peterson said. "This was much needed after we had an unforeseen change in our team and starting rotation, so this match was the first match with a new lineup. Everyone stepped up and adapted to the necessary changes, especially Steph Gratz and Alexis (Hafemeister).
"We had to iron out some kinks and make our adjustments to our defense. The ladies also had to work on communicating with different players by their sides. Overall, I was very happy with how flexible we were and stayed motivated when things were a little shaky."
The set scores were a definite indication of how back-and-forth the match was played as neither team owned a lead of more than a handful of points in the first two sets. Both teams were pushed to the limit, splitting the first games in extra points. Mount Mary responded with a thunderous start to the third set, racing out to a quick 7-0 lead with senior setter Chelsie Beeler (Jackson, Wis.) at the service line. Beeler recorded five aces in that third set alone and compiled what is likely a Mount Mary record nine service aces to her own accord in the match.
The Blue Angels continued to pour it on in the fourth set, but UW-Washington County crawled back to tie the set at 25 apiece. Finally a pair of Mount Mary points finished off the frantic Friday night match, earning Mount Mary its fifth win of the season.
Junior outside Steph Hardwick (West Allis, Wis.) tallied a team high 26 kills at a blistering .268 hitting clip while also adding 24 digs in the thrilling match. Sophomore outside Sarah Wishau (Racine, Wis.) added 13 kills for Mount Mary, while Beeler offered up 48 assists in the win.
Mount Mary College 3, University of Wisconsin-Washington County 1
MMC def. UW-WC - 27-25, 28-30, 25-15, 27-25
Kills: MMC – 60 (Hardwick 26, Wishau 13, Gratz 8, Baxter 7, Hafemeister 4, Beeler 2); UW-WC – 33
Team Records: Mount Mary College 5-4; UW-Washington County 2-1
Mount Mary Takes Two on the Week
MILWAUKEE/GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Mount Mary College volleyball squad had a great week, posting a pair of dual victories and upping its overall record back to .500 on the season at 4-4 overall. Tuesday, the Blue Angels held off a strong squad from Chicago’s Moody Bible Institute 21-25, 25-16, 25-20, 26-24 then swept Grace Bible College on the road Saturday 25-16, 25-12, 25-12.
Against the Archers of MBI, the Blue Angels lacked proficiency on offense—hitting just .087 in the first stanza—and faced an early one-set deficit because of it. Yet head coach Kelsey Peterson liked the way Mount Mary responded.
“While we came out energetic, I think we also initially underestimated MBI,” Peterson said. “As the first set continued on and MBI warmed up, we failed to adjust. However, our team recognized Moody’s potential in the next three sets and rose to the occasion.”
Junior outside Stephanie Hardwick (West Allis, Wis.), sophomore outside Sarah Wishau (Racine, Wis.) and sophomore right side Stephanie Gratz all tallied double-digit kills with 14, 13 and 12 respectively. Senior setter Chelsie Beeler tallied 40 assists
“We became scrappier and ran more options on offense,” Peterson said. “They dug their heels in and had more of a fighter mentality along with energy.”
While the offense picked up, hitting a solid .289 in the second set, defensively Mount Mary began communicating more in the back row and picking up attempts from the Archer attackers. Five Blue Angels tallied double-digit digs in the four-set matchup with Wishau and Hardwick leading the way with 17 digs apiece. Sophomore Beth Baxter added a season-high 12 digs while Gratz and Beeler each added 11.
Statistically speaking, Moody Bible actually outhit (.167 hitting percentage versus .153 for Mount Mary), outdug (80 to 79) and out blocked (7.0 to 1.0) Mount Mary but the Blue Angels cashed in from the service line, registering a whopping 10 service aces to the Archers’ one.
Saturday Mount Mary boarded a shuttle for a 6-hour drive to Grace Bible College in Grand Rapids, Mich., to take on the Tigers for the second time this season. Much like the season opener for both teams, the Blue Angels dominated all facets of the game in a match that took just under an hour to complete.
“After already matching up against GBC in our tournament at the start of the season, we knew what we wanted to work on this time around,” Peterson said. “We improved on running a quicker tempo with a lot more options. We also worked on placement serving.
“After this match I feel like the team’s cohesion had improved because they were talking a lot more and having fun out there, which I love to see.”
Statistics for the Grace Bible match were unavailable, but Peterson gave special recognition to sophomore Dani Christian (Pelican Lake, Wis.) who stepped up and contributed with an ace and played well in the back row in her first start of the season.
Mount Mary will return to the road next weekend when it travels northward to University of Wisconsin-Washington County Friday night before heading to Gary, Ind., for a triangular against Indiana University Northwest and Lincoln Christian University.
Mount Mary College 3, Moody Bible Institute 1
MMC def. MBI 21-25, 25-16, 25-20, 26-24
Kills: MMC – 52 (Hardwick 14, Wishau 13, Gratz 12, Baxter 6, Holmberg 5, Beeler 2); MBI – 46
Team Records: Mount Mary College 3-4; Moody Bible Institute 2-2
Mount Mary College 3, Grace Bible College 0
MMC def. GBC 25-16, 25-12, 25-12
Team Records: Mount Mary College 4-4; Grace Bible College 0-5
Blue Angels drop two at Ripon Triangular
RIPON, Wis.-- The Mount Mary College volleyball team faced two intrastate rivals at Ripon College Tuesday for the Red Hawks triangular, dropping a pair of 3-1 decisions to Marian University and host Ripon. The losses drop the Blue Angels season record to 2-4 overall.
"Our losses to Marian and Ripon were tough," head coach Kelsey Peterson said. "We gave up a lot of points on hitting errors and service errors. Playing basically eight sets in a row took a toll on all the players, especially since we have very few subs this season."
Mount Mary came out very sluggish in its first match of the triangular, dropping the first two sets to Marian 18-25, 13-25. A much better start to the third set and some renewed life on the floor was enough to hold off a furious Sabre rally to take the fourth set 25-23, but Marian had taken back much of the momentum and sealed the 3-1 match win with a 25-21 win in the fourth.
Junior outside Stephanie Hardwick (West Allis, Wis.) tallied team-highs in kills (16) and digs (13) while adding a pair of service aces against the Sabres. Senior setter Chelsie Beeler (Jackson, Wis.) recorded 31 assists while sophomores Sarah Wishau (Racine, Wis.) and Stephanie Gratz (Sussex, Wis.) also added 13 digs apiece.
The Blue Angels responded with a much better opening against the host Red Hawks in match two, as Mount Mary and Ripon traded 25-22 set victories.
"Our front row players came out much more aggressively when it came to battling at the net," Peterson said. "We got a lot more touches on blocks and our coverage was much better."
Yet midway through the third set, some untimely errors piled up as the Red Hawks cruised to the 3-1 victory, 25-22, 22-25, 25-16, 25-18. Hardwick was once again strong on both sides of the ball, registering a team-high 10 kills and season-high 27 digs against Ripon. Gratz added nine kills while sophomore middle Beth Baxter (Germantown, Wis.) hit a blistering .310 in Tuesdays matches combined.
The Blue Angels host Moody Bible Institute Thursday evening in their first dual match of the season. Game time at the Bloechl Center is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Marian University 3, Mount Mary College 1
Kills: Hardwick 16; Gratz 7; Baxter 6; Wishau 5; Holmberg 4; Beeler 3.
Team Records: Marian University 4-2, Mount Mary College 2-3.
Ripon College 3, Mount Mary College 1
RC def. MMC 25-22, 22-25, 25-16, 25-18
Kills: Hardwick 10; Gratz 9; Baxter 7; Wishau, Holmberg 6; Beeler 2.
Team Records: Ripon College 3-3, Mount Mary College 2-4.
Blue Angels take Second at MMC Invite
MILWAUKEE-- The Mount Mary College volleyball team opened its season with a strong showing at its home invitational over Labor Day weekend, garnering a 2-2 record and finishing in second place.
The Blue Angels kicked off the tournament Friday morning with a resounding straight-set win over Grace Bible College 25-11, 25-11, 25-10. Mount Mary tallied 13 service aces while hitting a very efficient .250 against the Tigers. Junior outside Stephanie Hardwick (West Allis, Wis.) led the team with 13 kills and nine digs, senior Chelsie Beeler (Jackson, Wis.) tallied 30 assists as the Blue Angels held Grace to a dismal -.130 hitting.
Riding high from its season-opening victory, Mount Mary carried that momentum into its matchup with Crown College in the nightcap Friday, eking out a tight 25-21, 25-23, 25-23 victory. The Blue Angels' defense was in full force against the Storm, securing six total blocks while picking up 54 digs in the three-set sweep. Hardwick again led the way with 16 kills, while sophomore outside Sarah Wishau (Racine, Wis.) added 11 in the front row. Four players had double-digit digs as the Storm were held to a .065 team attack percentage.
"Our team had the opportunity to experience various levels of play," head coach Kelsey Peterson said. "Everyone came out really fired up for our first match against Grace Bible and the excitement of that win carried over when we played Crown College. Crown put up a good fight but we were very scrappy and our hitters played smart."
Saturday pitted the two undefeated teams of the round-robin tournament against one another, as Mount Mary and UW-Superior clashed in the final round of pool play to open the morning. The towering Yellowjackets proved too much for the Blue Angels as they dominated the first set, 25-12. Mount Mary came out hot in the second set though, eventually pushing past UW-Superior with long service runs to hand UW-S its first set loss of the tournament, 25-22. Seemingly, Mount Mary awoke the sleeping giant, as the 'Jackets cruised in the third and fourth sets to seal the match victory 3-1.
Two hours later, a rematch ensued as first place UW-Superior and second place Mount Mary met again in the championship match. This time, Superior wasted no effort in quickly disposing of the Blue Angels, 25-17, 25-14, 25-8, in a match that took just over 45 minutes to complete.
"The [UW-Superior games] were a great learning experience for our players and me," Peterson said. "Even though we lost both, we learned what we need to work on offensively and defensively in the coming weeks. The team's mental toughness was also tested and it was interesting to see how we handled losing after such a successful Friday."
Mount Mary will next travel to Ripon College for a triangular match against the host Red Hawks and Marian University Thursday evening. The Blue Angels will battle the Sabres at 5 p.m., then take on Ripon at 7 p.m.
Mount Mary College 3, Grace Bible College 0
MMC def. GBC 25-11, 25-11, 25-10
Kills: Hardwick 13; Wishau 8; Holmberg, Baxter 5; Gratz 2.
Team Records: Mount Mary College 1-0, Grace Bible College 0-1.
Mount Mary College 3, Crown College 0
MMC def. CC 25-21, 25-23, 25-23
Kills: Hardwick 16; Wishau 11; Baxter 8; Gratz 5; Holmberg 3; Beeler 2.
Team Records: Mount Mary College 2-0, Crown College 0-2.
University of Wisconsin-Superior 3, Mount Mary College 1
UW-S def. MMC 25-12, 22-25, 25-13, 25-14
Kills: Wishau 7; Holmberg 5; Gratz, Hardwick 4; Baxter, Beeler 3.
Team Records: UW-Superior 3-0, Mount Mary College 2-1.
University of Wisconsin-Superior 3, Mount Mary College 0
UW-S def. MMC 25-17, 25-14, 25-8
Kills: Hardwick 3; Wishau, Gratz, Beeler, Holmberg 2; Baxter 1.
Team Records: UW-Superior 4-0, Mount Mary College 2-2.