Tigerville, SC – It was the battle of the Crusaders on senior night as Belmont Abbey rolled into Tigerville for their second meeting of the season with North Greenville. In their first meeting of the season, North Greenville fell victim to a cold hitting night and fell to Belmont in straight sets. Saturday’s game was much different however, as the teams put on a five-set thriller in Hayes gymnasium. Senior Aaron Campbell showed out on his senior night posting 11 kills. Jackson Gilbert (Sophomore) continued to lead the team with 17 kills on 39 takes on top of 5 service aces. After coming back from two sets down North Greenville was bested by Belmont Abbey 3 – 2.
In the first set, North Greenville came out hot scoring four of the first five points. Belmont Abbey attack errors paired with kills from Campbell and Sergio Carrillo (Freshman) gave NGU the early lead. Throughout the middle of the set NGU was plagued with service and hitting errors giving Belmont Abbey unearned points. North Greenville trailed by a point (15 – 16) thanks to a Gilbert kill, but Belmont broke off an 11 to 5 run to end the set. The second set followed in line with the first set as both teams battled hard until the tie was broken by a 8 to 1 run by Belmont Abbey. The Crusaders tried to make a comeback late in the set, however, a service error ended the run for NGU.
Facing a straight set loss North Greenville came into the third and fourth set with a killer mind set. NGU held a two/three-point lead over Belmont Abbey through the third set. The last five points of the set were hard fought for North Greenville, but Campbell came through when the Crusaders needed it most. Campbell started the scoring for North Greenville in the late set and sparked the Crusaders high flying offense. Gilbert followed up Campbell’s kill with three of his own and Lanakila Strum (Freshman) finished off Belmont with a service ace for NGU’s first win of the match. The fourth set was another thriller, but North Greenville found its feet heading into their 20th point with a four-point advantage. Carrillo shared the ball exceptionally well in the ladder parts of the fourth set as four different Crusaders scored kills. The fourth set ended in a 25 – 20 victory for NGU tying the match at two games apiece and set the stage for a high intensity fifth set.
All fifth sets are played to 15-points, however, that threshold was not enough for the clash of the Crusaders as the last set of the match went into extra points. At the beginning of the set NGU gave up two-points but followed up the slow start with a three-point run on their own. Gilbert hit an absolute rocket of a kill through the Belmont block to score the for the Crusaders after the big run. Gilbert, Campbell, and Brandon Baker (Freshman) all posted kills in the last set as the teams traded points all the way till the 18-point mark. Baker was the sensation of the night for the Crusaders as he posted a .571 hitting percentage. Ben Hamsho (Sophomore) scored the 18th point of the set for the Crusaders on a middle set from Carrillo. Your Crusaders then took the lead off of a service error from Belmont Abbey but could not capitalize as Belmont rattled off three points at the end of the game to best North Greenville 3 – 2.
Individually, senior Aaron Campbell finished with 11 kills in his last regular season game in Tigerville and led his team scoring key kills throughout the match. Jackson Gilbert finished with a staggering 23 points showing off 17 kills and 5 service aces.
The Crusaders will now head to Gaffney for their last regular season game of the season taking on Limestone next Friday, April 5th at 7 pm.