SOUTH HOLLAND, Ill. – The Harper College volleyball team opened its season with a straight sets victory over Ancilla College before falling to seventh-ranked Moraine Valley Community College in four sets at the South Suburban Invitational.
"We are way better than I thought we'd be at this point," said head coach Bob Vilsoet. "Experience showed tonight. We played very well."
In the opener, the Hawks only needed three games (25-20, 25-20, 25-10) to beat Ancilla.
Sophomore Rebekah Hischke (Algonquin, Ill./Dundee Crown) led the Hawks with 12 kills while Veronica Dabrowski (Mount Prospect, Ill./Rolling Meadows) added eight kills. Hischke and Alyse Kolner (Crystal Lake, Ill./Marion Central) were a combined 27-for-28 serving. Sophomore libero Kelly Spychala (Des Plaines, Ill./Elk Grove) led the Hawks with 12 digs while Valerie Bazemore (Houston, Tex./Keller) recorded 27 assists.
"We played surprisingly well. We started with the same lineup and kept winning, so we didn't make any changes," Vilsoet said. "Both Veronica and Rebekah played great on the outside, we passed serves very well and Val set a beautiful match."
In the nightcap, NJCAA Div. II powerhouse Moraine Valley handed the Hawks their first defeat of the young season (20-25, 19-25, 25-23, 25-18). Hischke recorded the Hawks' first double-double of the season with 11 kills and 14 digs. Madison Rodriguez (Palatine, Ill./Palatine) was a perfect 11-for-11 serving and led the Hawks with three blocks. Spychala nearly doubled her output from the first match, leading the Hawks with 23 digs. Bazemore jump-started the Hawks' offense again, recording 25 assists.
"Moraine Valley is an exceptional team," Vilsoet said. "They have a bunch of returning players from last year, plus some very scary new players with a lot of potential."
The Hawks play at the College of DuPage 18th Annual Classic at the Central Athletic Center in Wheaton beginning Friday at 3:30 PM against the College of Lake County. They take on St. Louis Community College at 7:30 PM Friday night and will continue tournament play on Saturday.