Romeoville, Ill. – For the fourth time this season, Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC) co-champions Findlay and Hillsdale met on the court, this time with their seasons on the line. The Oilers won the first match of the season in five sets but lost the previous two including a 3-1 loss to the Chargers just 12 days ago. On Thursday, Nov. 30 Findlay took down Hillsdale College by a score of 3-2 (25-23, 16-25, 22-25, 25-22, 16-14). With the win, the Oilers, the No. 7 seed in the Midwest Region, improve to 28-6 overall and advance in the tournament while the Chargers, the No. 2 seed, end their season at 28-4. Findlay's 28 wins are the most since a 29-win season in 2003.
The Chargers opened up the first set, which eventually featured four ties and one lead change, with an early 7-4 lead. Findlay would crawl back and first tie the set at nine, then at 15, and later at 20. A pair of attack errors and kills by Amanda Winner and Madison Moore would give Findlay the first set victory.
Hillsdale took control in the second set when, with the score tied at 4-4, the Chargers would go on a 10-1 run, pulling ahead 14-5. The second-seeded Chargers cruised to a 25-16 set win and later would take the third set by a score of 25-22.
The Oilers opened up the fourth set with an 11-6 lead, their largest lead of the match, but the Chargers, who never led in the fourth, would stay within three points the remainder of the frame.
In the winner-take-all fifth set, Findlay trailed 8-7 before kills by Molly Hammersmith and Izzy Murphy gave the seventh-seeded Oilers the lead. The set, which pulled even at 11, 12, 13, and 14, would end at 16-14 on an attack error by the Chargers.
Amanda Winner and Izzy Murphy had stellar performances to lead the Oilers into the second round for the second time in three years. Winner picked up 19 kills on 43 attacks and hit .442 in the win. She also collected 16 digs and was second on the team with four blocks. Murphy also picked up 19 kills, a career-high, on a career-high 58 attacks.
Shelby Kin also reached double-figures with ten kills on 26 attacks. She led the team with a pair of aces, had three digs, and also chipped in three blocks while Kara Scherger led the team with 27 digs, the ninth-most in a match in program history.
Hailee Olson, who, along with Winner was named first team all-region by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA), picked up 52 assists and five digs to help the offense thrive while Molly Hammersmith and Madison Moore each had match-highs with five blocks apiece.
Findlay advances in the tournament and will take on Rockhurst University tomorrow, Friday, Dec. 1 at 6:00 pm EST.