Maddie Hills is a leader of the Charleston Cougars volleyball team who has developed into a star. In her freshman campaign she played in just 23 games with a contribution of 18 kills. Last season alone, Hills started in 17 games and posted a career high in kills in just game- 17 against Tulsa. She would finish the season second in the CAA in hitting percentage (.338).
Originally from Toronto, Hills regards the transition from life in Canada to the United States is not all that different-except for the volleyball. “There’s not much of a cultural difference [as far as Canada and the United States] but the intensity of volleyball is greater [here at the College].” For Hills this intensity is manifested in daily three hour practices with games and travel during the weekends.
Part of this intensity comes from head coach Jason Kepner. Hills speaks highly of her coach who developed Hills into one of the leaders of the team. “He expects us to win [even against bigger schools] which helps us visualize being great”.
Hills is one of the leaders of the team and she is the team’s only senior. “Being the only senior really forces me to be a leader when in the past I may have been more of a follower”.
A team with nine new players compared to the six returning players needs a senior who has been there before and Hills is just that player. “[The team is] not good enough to be comfortable and relaxed. We have a lot of talent and the potential to be good but right now we are very raw. We need to work as hard as we can because nothing is guaranteed”.
This type and leadership coming from Hills is why the Cougars are going to be a force to be reckoned with in the CAA this season.
Hills believes the team has the pieces to not only win the regular season crown but also take the CAA Tournament title because of the added depth and experience the roster now has. For her, the mindset that a player has and the confidence are key factors in their success as an athlete.
Over the weekend the Cougars played two conference games where they went 1-1 in those matches. In Thursday’s match, the Cougars lost in a battle to rival UNC Wilmington where Hills lead the team in kills with 17 along with six digs. Charleston junior Jane Feddersen also contributed with 13 kills and five blocks. In Sunday’s match against Elon, the Cougars got back on the winning track, taking the match 3-1. Sophomore Kennedy Madison was a standout player for the Cougars. She ended with a total of 13 kills and three blocks. Hills also played well landing 12 kills and two blocks.
After the weekend the Cougars record moves to 12-7 overall, and 6-2 in the CAA, with the next match set for Friday Oct. 21 against conference foe Delaware in TD Arena.