Wilson, NC – The Crusaders took their annual trip to the far side of North Carolina this weekend and found themselves matched up against the Bulldogs from Barton College on Friday evening. The game did not follow the same magical flow as it did here in Tigerville as the Bulldogs defeated the Crusaders in straight sets. North Greenville fell victim to service and hitting errors but found themselves in competitive matches throughout the game.
The first set was the closest set as the Crusaders nearly took down the Bulldogs to gain the momentum in the match. North Greenville could not overcome the runs that Barton made, but made the Bulldogs life hard throughout the game. Brandon Baker (Sophomore) got the first kill of the game for the Crusaders as he blasted a shot past the Bulldog block. Cade McGee (Freshman) followed the Baker kill with a service ace to stifle the Bulldog’s early run. The Crusaders then followed through the game responding to the runs that Barton made with points of their own. Ben Hamsho (Sophomore) along with McGee made a three-point run to keep the game within striking distance. The Crusaders made a push toward the end of the game with a three-point run sparked by a Jackson Gilbert (Sophomore) kill followed by a service ace and a kill from McGee. The Crusaders tied the game at 19 after trailing for the majority of the first set. The Crusaders could not stop the Barton offense and dropped the set 21 – 25.
The last two sets were mirror images of the first as the Crusaders were responsive to Barton runs but could not connect the dots to make a run of their own. The teams traded points at the beginning of the second set until Barton made a small run to take a two-point advantage. Multiple errors cost the Crusaders the lead as they gave numerous points to the Bulldogs. The end of the set came quickly as Barton scored four of the last five points in the set. In the final set of the night, the Bulldogs played a lot of defense at the beginning of the game as the Crusaders came out swinging. A mid-set run for the Bulldogs gave them the five-point advantage heading into the back half of the set. Gilbert and Aaron Campbell (Senior) played like madmen to preserve the set but found themselves in a six-point hole coming into the final points of the game. McGee and Campbell both scored kills in the final points of the set but the Bulldog offense overwhelmed the Crusaders.
Individually, Cade McGee led the Crusaders with the 10 kills on the evening with Jackson Gilbert and Aaron Campbell combining for 15 kills. Arlind Rojba (Sophomore) led the Crusader defense with 6 digs.
The Crusaders will now only wait a day for a chance to redeem themselves as they take on Mount Olive at 2 pm tomorrow, Saturday, March 23rd.