ROCKFORD, Ill. – The sixth-ranked Harper Hawks volleyball team knocked off fifth-ranked and defending national champ Rock Valley College in straight sets Tuesday night (25-13, 28-26, 27-25).
"The ball bounced very favorably for us the whole match, and we didn't give much away," said Harper head coach Bob Vilsoet. "We played about as well as we can play, especially defensively."
In the first game, the Hawks (13-14, 4-3 N4C) had control throughout, holding leads of 5-1, 10-4 and 17-10. Harper had zero hitting errors and was led by Melina Villaber (Chicago, Ill./Taft)'s five kills and setter Lindsey Murphy (Lake in the Hills, Ill./Crystal Lake South)'s 13 assists.
In game two, the two teams were knotted on several occasions (7-7, 16-16, 18-18, 22-22, 23-23, 24-24) before the Hawks pulled out a win. Alex Messner (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Fremd) led Harper with six kills while libero Kelly Spychala (Des Plaines, Ill./Elk Grove) had eight digs and Murphy had 12 assists.
"It's way better getting ahead in the match 2-0 than dropping back to 1-1 without the momentum. Those last points were very important," Vilsoet said.
The third game was another close set, with ties at 7-7, 24-24 and 25-25. Middle hitter Madison Rodriguez (Palatine, Ill./Palatine) led Harper in the game with four kills, and Murphy nearly had a double-double in the game with 15 assists and nine digs.
Two Hawks – Melina Villaber (Chicago, Ill./Taft) (14 kills, 13 digs) and Lindsey Murphy (Lake in the Hills, Ill./Crystal Lake South) (19 digs, 40 assists) – logged double-doubles in the match. Spychala continued her stellar her defense with 25 digs, and Morgan Peterson (Roselle, Ill./Conant ) had six kills with no hitting errors and 11 digs.
Veronica Dabrowski (Mount Prospect, Ill./Rolling Meadows) reached double figures in kills (10) for the eighth time in her last 11 matches while Messner put down nine kills to go along with nine digs.
Up next, the Hawks host a doubleheader Thursday night in the Wellness and Sports Center. At 6:00 PM, Harper takes on N4C opponent Triton College, followed by Div. II opponent Moraine Valley Community College at 7:30 PM.