Franklin Springs, Ga.- The North Greenville Crusaders won their first match in Conference Carolinas against the Emmanuel College (GA) Lions. It took the entire five sets for the Crusaders to win their first ever conference match in the history of the program. (25-23, 19-25, 25-19, 22-25, 15-7)
In the first set both offenses remained close as the Lions had 9 kills and 11 errors, as the Crusaders had 9 kills and 9 errors. This set would set the tone as neither team would be able to gain a large advantage through any part of the set. In the early part of the set both teams would take advantage of errors from either team. Toward the end of the set North Greenville would take advantage from a late offensive surge to take the first set 25-23.
In the second set the Crusaders would not improve their hitting percentage as the Lions would rise above hitting 14 kills with a minimum of 3 errors bringing their hitting percentage of the set at .423, which would be the highest between both teams during the entire match. The highlight of the set for North Greenville would be digs from freshman Dustin King. Emmanuel would go on to win the second set 25-19.
The Crusaders would turn the tables in the third set by posting a hitting percentage of .125, while the Lions would post a percentage of -.200. The leading attackers for this set would be a team of fellow freshman Matthew McManaway and Luuga Vailu'U. North Greenville would be able to take advantage of hitting and service errors from Emmanuel this set taking a six point victory for this set at 25-19.
The story of the fourth set would be much as the sets peceding this one as the hitting percentage would be the determing factor. Emmanuel would rebound off the worst hitting percentage of the night to post 11 kills and 5 errors bringing their hitting percentage up to .222, while North Greenville's hitting percentage would dip to -.033. Service errors by the Crusaders would be another thing that the Lions would be able to take advantage of in this close set forcing a fifth and final set winning this one 25-22.
Crusaders offense would come alive during the shortened third set only going to 15 points this set. North Greenville would go out to an early 10-2 lead in the set. The Crusaders would post 7 kills in the set and not post a single error for the entire set. Once again North Greenville would be able to take advantage of hitting and service errors from Emmanuel to go on to win the fifth and final set 15-7.
The story of this match would be the back and forth of hitting percentages, but in the end the Crusaders would cap off the night committing no errors in the final set giving them the final edge to win their first ever conference match of the program. The impact player of the match would be freshman Matthew Mcmanaway with his 16 kills, 1 dig, 3 block solos, and 2 block assists.
Your Crusaders next match will be at home on Friday, February 13th against the non-conference opponent University of Charleston (WV) Golden Eagles. First serve is set to begin at 7 P.M.