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PALATINE, Ill. –The Harper College volleyball team won its opening match at the 11-team Harper College Invitational before dropping three matches against tough competition to end the weekend.
Harper (12-14) began the tournament with a 3-1 win (19-25, 25-22, 25-17, 25-15) over Black Hawk College on Friday. Outside hitter Alex Messner (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Fremd) (14 kills, 14 digs) and setter Lindsey Murphy(Lake in the Hills, Ill./Crystal Lake South) (15 digs, 41 assists) each recorded double-doubles in the victory.Veronica Dabrowski (Mount Prospect, Ill./Rolling Meadows) had 12 kills for the Hawks while libero Kelly Spychala(Des Plaines, Ill./Elk Grove) led the defense with 22 digs.
The sixth-ranked Hawks lost a tightly-contested match in straight sets to John A. Logan College (24-26, 21-25, 21-25). Dabrowski led a balanced Harper attack with six kills and was a big presence at the net, totaling six blocks. Murphy recorded her second straight double-double with 12 digs and 22 assists in the match, and Spychala added another 20 digs.
"This tournament this weekend found us making some more lineup changes in an attempt to improve the consistency of the team," said Harper head coach Bob Vilsoet.
On Saturday morning, the Hawks took the opening set from No. 7 Lincoln Land Community College (Div. II) but fell in four sets (27-25, 9-25, 9-25, 16-25). Murphy once again posted a double-double with 13 digs and 21 assists.
In the final match of the weekend, Harper fell in a five-set thriller to Marshalltown Community College (24-26, 25-18, 25-23, 23-25, 10-15). Dabrowski nearly had a triple double as she recorded a team-high 20 kills, eight blocks and seven digs. Three Hawks recorded double-doubles, led by Lindsey Murphy (Lake in the Hills, Ill./Crystal Lake South)with 14 digs and an incredible 55 assists, one off of Harper's five-game record for assists.
Melina Villaber (Chicago, Ill./Taft) recorded her first double-double of the year with season highs in kills (13) and digs (24). Rebekah Hischke (Algonquin, Ill./Dundee Crown)matched a season-high with 15 kills and had a season-high 20 digs. Spychala led Harper with 31 digs, and the team totaled a season-high 124.
"Hopefully, all this tough competition has done its job and toughened us up," Vilsoet said. "The idea isn't to defeat the average teams, but we need to defeat the very best teams."
Veronica Dabrowski (Mount Prospect, Ill./Rolling Meadows) was named to the Harper College Invitational All-Tournament team as she led the Hawks with 44 kills.
For the weekend, Villaber was second on the team with 29 kills, behind only Dabrowski. She also had 62 digs, behind only Spychala'a team-leading 91 digs (5.69/game).Morgan Peterson (Roselle, Ill./Conant ) was second on the team with 3.81 digs/game while Murphy led Harper with 139 assists (8.39/game) and had 54 digs (3.38/game).
Currently, Spychala leads the nation in total digs (434), and Dabrowski is second in the nation in total kills (231).
The Hawks return to action Tuesday as they travel to Rockford to take on No. 5 Rock Valley College. The Golden Eagles topped the Hawks in four sets back on Aug. 27. First serve is slated for 6:00 PM.