John Dodderidge, Sports Information Director
ROMEOVILLE, Ill. – For the third time in five years, the Rockhurst volleyball team is headed to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight. The 19th-ranked Hawks upset 10th-ranked Hillsdale, 3-0, to capture their third Midwest Regional championship Saturday night in Romeoville, Illinois.
The Hawks (32-7) will advance to the national quarterfinals in Denver, Colorado. Rockhurst will play an undetermined opponent on Thursday, Dec. 12, on the Metropolitan State University of Denver campus.
The victory was redemption after losing to Hillsdale, 3-0, in the Midwest Region Crossover on Oct. 15 in Indianapolis. Hillsdale ends the season with a 28-4 record.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game tonight,” said Rockhurst coach Tracy Rietzke. “Dani (Prusha) did a good of distributing the ball. They couldn’t gang up on one of our players. Our kids came out and did a great job.”
Alyssa Woodman led the Hawks with 15 kills, six digs and a .484 hitting percentage. Jadyn Makovicka posted a team-high 19 digs. Dani Prusha collected 43 assists and eight digs.
Mary Rolf finished with 11 kills and four blocks. Audrey Arand had 10 kills and five digs. Karli Reichert posted nine kills and 15 digs. Justice Wingate added seven kills.
“When we pass the ball like we did, it makes it easy to distribute the ball. We have five incredible hitters and we’re pretty hard to stop,” Woodman said.
Set One: Rockhurst 25, Hillsdale 19
The Hawks closed the set on a 10-4 run. Arand posted five kills and Makovicka tallied nine digs.
Set Two: Rockhurst 25, Hillsdale 22
Rockhurst went on a 9-3 run to take a 22-17 lead. Woodman closed out the set with two of her seven kills in the second set.
Set Three: Rockhurst 25, Hillsdale 17
The Hawks jumped out to a 19-11 lead behind a 12-3 run. Rolf and Woodman combined for 12 kills.
Player of the Match
Alyssa Woodman. The senior outside hitter led the Hawks with 13 kills in the final two sets. She hit nearly .500 without making a hitting error.
Inside the Box Score
• The Hawks posted a .341 hitting percentage while holding Hillsdale to a .244 hitting percentage.
• Rockhurst finished with 53 kills, 56 digs and six blocks.
• Rockhurst also captured the Midwest Regional title in Romeoville in 2017. The Hawks won their first regional title in 2015 in Big Rapids, Michigan.
• Four Hawks were named to the Midwest Regional All-Tournament Team: Karli Reichert, Dani Prusha, Audrey Arand and Mary Rolf.
• The Hawks have won 96 matches over the past three seasons, including nine victories in the NCAA Tournament.
• Head coach Tracy Rietzke increased his career wins total to 1,276. The all-time winningest coach in NCAA Division II ranks fourth in career wins for all three NCAA levels.