HILLSBORO — The 2015 Hillsboro volleyball team is still a work in progress, searching for an identity.
The Tigers easily swept visiting New Lisbon last Thursday 25–22, 25–16, 25–19 to improve to 1–1 in the Scenic Bluffs. But two days later, Hillsboro dropped three of four matches at the Holmen Invitational to fall to 6–7 overall on the season.
Coach Mark Sullivan’s Tigers opened Saturday’s tournament with a 25–18, 25–9 victory over SBC foe Bangor, but dropped back-to-back matches to Cochrane–Fountain City, 20–25, 25–22, 10–15, and to the host Vikings, 25–27, 13–25.
Hillsboro finished third in pool play and was relegated to the four-team silver bracket and a rematch with C–FC. The Pirates won the second time around as well, this time in a sweep, 25–12, 25–23.
The Tigers finished in a tie for seventh at the 12-team tournament. Eau Claire Regis went undefeated and beat Holmen in the championship match 23–25, 25–21, 17–15.
“This was a much stronger field this year than in past years,” said Sullivan of this year’s Holmen Invite. “We played well against Bangor and at times against CFC and Holmen, but were not able to avoid the unforced errors at critical times to pull out those matches.
“Our players still getting used to new line-up and new positions for a couple players. They did not give up which I am proud of, but seem to be hesitant at times. We need to continue to improve our block and reading the opposing hitters defensively.”
Senior Mackenzie Sullivan led the Tigers Saturday with 32 kills, 20 assists, 13 digs and 10 aces in four matches. Classmate Tasha Mitchell had 17 kills, 12 digs and five aces.
Alexis Mathis passed out a team-high 34 assists and had seven aces. Brittany Borchardt led the team with 22 digs and also served seven aces.
“Mackenzie and Tasha played well during the day despite battling injuries,” said Sullivan. “Hopefully the team can learn from the tournament and continue to improve as we proceed with our conference season.”
Hillsboro overcame a sluggish start in last Thursday’s win over New Lisbon and played much better in sets two and three to complete the sweep.
“Overall I am pleased with the girls’ effort,” said Sullivan. “They still came out a little flat in the first set but played an excellent second set. When we get our passing going we can really take off offensively at times.”
Mitchell had a solid match with 12 kills and no errors hitting an exceptional .632. Sullivan was not as dominant with her hitting but still with 12 kills hitting .393 and led the team with 13 assists and three aces.
Sullivan also noted that Mathis’ serving and setting accuracy showed nice progress from a week earlier and Jessica Mitchell and April Thornsen did a good job with changing positions this week to try to improve the team’s efficiency.
Hillsboro traveled to Brookwood to face the Falcons and Cashton in a SBC quadrangular Tuesday. The Tigers will then travel to Necedah Thursday before hosting Brookwood on Tuesday.
Hillsboro receives WVCA academic award
The Hillsboro varsity volleyball team was also presented with the WVCA Team Academic Award prior to Thursday’s match. The award recognized last year’s varsity team for maintaining at least a 3.3 grade point average for the entire year. Varsity members of the 2014 team had a cumulative GPA of 3.433.
“I am very proud of them earning this honor,” said Sullivan. “Our girls work hard on and off the court and they are a great example for others.”
Hillsboro 3, New Lisbon 0
(from Thursday, Sept. 10 @ Hillsboro)
New Lisbon 22 16 19
Hillboro 25 25 25
Hillsboro Individual Stat Leaders
Kills: Mackenzie Sullivan 12, Tasha Mitchell 12, Sydney Johnson 6. Blocks: Mitchell 2, Gabi Bjornsen 2. Aces: Sullivan 3, Courtney Fanta 3, Alexis Mathis 2, Brittany Borchardt 2. Assists: Sullivan 13, Mathis 10. Digs: Brittany Borchardt 37, Sullivan 14, Mathis 8.
(from Saturday, Sept. 12 @ Holmen)
Eau Clarie Regis def. Holmen 23–25, 25–21, 17–15
Hillsboro match scores
Hillsboro def. Bangor 25–18, 25–9
Cochrane–Fountain City def. Hillsboro 25–20, 22–25, 15–10
Homen def. Hillsboro 27–25, 25–13
Cochrane–Fountain City def. Hillsboro 25–12, 25–23
Hillsboro stat leaders
Kills: Mackenzie Sullivan 32, Tasha Mitchell 17, April Thorsen 9, Sydney Johnson 7, Gabi Bjornsen 5. Blocks: Bjornsen 3. Aces: Sullivan 10, Alexis Mathis 7, Brittany Borchardt 7, T. Mitchell 5. Assists: Mathis 34, Sullivan 20. Digs: Sullivan 13, T. Mitchell 12, Fanta 8.