Tigerville, SC – In their second meeting of the season the Crusaders were bested by the Tornado from King University in their mid-week matchup. North Greenville fell victim to a number of hitting errors throughout the game handing King various runs in the three sets. In a three-set loss the Crusaders had a bright spot in their senior captain Aaron Campbell. Campbell hit an astonishing .345 percentage while posting 18 kills. The Crusaders as a whole totaled 40 kills on the evening mostly thanks to Campbell.
The first set was the closest of all three as the Crusaders and Tornado traded points throughout the set. Brandon Baker (Sophomore) drew first blood for the Crusaders scoring the first kill of the evening off the assist from Jake Boldog (Junior). Campbell gave the Crusaders their first lead of the game (8 – 7) after an absolute rocket of a shot that went through the Tornado block. King then put together two different runs that separated the score by six points. It was not until a Cade McGee (Freshman) kill and a Jackson Gilbert (Sophomore) ace that the Crusaders began to make a comeback. Entering the last minutes of the set the Crusaders trailed by four points until McGee and Campbell strung together a pair of kills to accompany two attack errors by the Tornado to tie the game at 22. Campbell then carried the Crusaders scoring the last two points of the set, but the Tornado offense was too much as the team defeated the Crusaders 24 – 26.
In the early goings of the second set the Tornado tried to pull away with a three-point run until Ben Hamsho (Junior) stifled the run by blasted a rocket around the King block. The hitting errors were abundant on both sides of the net in the second set as both teams spotted points for the other. The Crusaders made a three-point run in the middle of the set to bring the set within striking distance. Campbell and Baker got the run started with a huge block against one of the Tornado’s top hitters. Then McGee served up an absolutely tremendous ball that split King’s defense and scored the second point of the run. Finally, Campbell again came up huge for the Crusaders as he notched his seventh kill of the match. King matched the Crusader run with one of their own giving them a decisive five-point lead heading toward their 20th point of the set. However, the Crusaders had a response to the run. A string of kills by Hamsho, Boldog, and Campbell paired with a hitting error from King brought the Crusaders within a point of the lead. Throughout the ladder part of the set the Crusaders kept the game close with Hamsho and McGee scoring a pair of kills, however King scored four of the last five points to best the Crusader 21 – 25.
The final set of the match was tied at 6 – 6 due in part to three kills by Campbell. The Tornado then strung together a 6 to 1 run that stifled the Crusader defense; many of the points were not well deserved as the Crusaders killed much of their own momentum with hitting and attack errors. After the run, North Greenville never regained a foot in the match consistently trailing by four or five points. Campbell scored five more kills in the set to round out his incredible night, however, no other Crusader recorded a kill after the Tornado run. In the end, King got the best of the Crusaders 16 – 25.
In the wake of a straight set loss senior captain Aaron Campbell played like an All-American posting 18 kills on 29 takes to go along with 8 digs and 2 blocks.
The Crusaders have a chance to get back on the right track this Saturday, March 30th, as they host Belmont Abbey College here in Tigerville for a 7 p.m. serve.