Marietta, GA – In their second meeting of the year the Eagles from Life University bested the Crusaders in straight sets. The last meeting with the Eagles went much differently for the Crusaders as they edged out Life in five sets. The last meeting featured a barrage of scoring by both teams as they finished the ball around and through the block. Jackson Gilbert (Sophomore) and Aaron Campbell (Senior) stood out in the last meeting as both hitters finished with over ten kills. Gilbert again stood out against life in their recent meeting as he finished the game with 14 kills and 6 digs.
The first set in the match featured a game much like that of the past as the Crusaders and Eagles traded points back and forth. The outside and middle hitters were on display for both teams as 11 straight points were scored by the team receiving the serve. The difference in the set was four, three-point runs by the Eagles that gave them a lead and allowed them to grow the lead. After the Crusaders scored the first point in the match the Eagles scored four consecutive points to take the early lead; then fifteen points later the Eagles again made a three-point spurt giving them a decisive five-point lead. Lastly, Life made two – three-point runs after their 18th point that gave them the go ahead in the set. North Greenville made several attempts in the set to catch the streaking Eagles but fell victim to multiple service errors that stunned their momentum. Gilbert, along with Cade McGee (Freshman) played exceptional in the set carrying the Crusaders.
Lately, McGee has been on fire for the Crusaders as he is hitting nearly .240 on the season. He is fifth on the team with 103 kills for the season thus far and is playing well above his experience level. McGee finished tonight’s match with 12 kills on a .400 hit percentage. He has been a great addition for coach Fred Battenfield’s team and will surely be a leader for the Crusaders in the future.
The last two sets of the match were grinder sets as the Eagles and Crusaders almost never differed by more than a couple points. In the second set, the teams went toe-to-toe match the others points with a point of their own and matching the other team’s runs with a run of their own. Unlike many matches the second and third set did not feature a large amount of service errors. Both teams received the ball efficiently and the setters distributed the ball extremely well allowing the hitters to finish the ball. Heading into the final parts of the second set, the Crusaders took a one-point lead (18 – 17) after a block by Campbell and Brandon Baker (Sophomore), however, the Eagles made a massive four point run that separated the two teams and then finished the game with a three-point swing. The final set was more of the same as the Eagles kept the game close and then made a run at the end of the game to defeat the Crusaders.
Individually, Jackson Gilbert led the Crusaders with 14 kills to total 14.5 points. Cade McGee stepped up and finished with 12 kills to go along with a .400 swing percentage. Sergio Carrillo (Freshman) continues to impress for the Crusaders as he dished out 32 assists to go with 8 blocks.
The Crusaders will now come home for a two-game home stand as they will host both Queens University and Emmanuel College. The match with Queens is set for this Friday, March 15th at 7 pm with the Emmanuel game to come next Tuesday, March 19th for another 7 pm start.