Close-knit Crusader volleyball team shows improvement
Thursday, September 8, 2005

The 2005 volleyball season for the North Greenville Crusaders began rather sluggishly. After winning only one out of four matches at the Anderson College Invitational, the Crusaders travelled to Mars Hill and walked away defreated and discouraged. However, that feeling would not last long. Just two days later, first-year head coach Kasey Whitehead led the Crusaders to their first win of the season in a home match versus Southern Wesleyan University.

In the last week, the Crusaders have won matches over Milligan College and Piedmont College while losing once to Limestone. The turnaround was sparked by a weekly Bible study held at Whitehead's home. The first-year coach took the reins of a team laden with young players. There are six freshmen and four sophomores while only two juniors and three seniors. It took a little time, but Whitehead has been able to mesh the young players with the more experienced players, and the team has shown improvement. Whitehead attributes the recent success to getting together and studying God's word. " Our team has really jelled and put the Lord first. The more we get into the word, the better we have played," says Whitehead. At the weekly meeting, Whitehead cooks for the players and leads them in a time of Bible study and fellowship. "We have become a team rather than six individuals on the floor."

Also helping the Crusader turnaround has been the addition of Charity Barnwell who played for the first time in the win over Piedmont after an injured ankle kept her out of the other contests. "Pat Calwile filled in for Barnwell while she was injured and did a wonderful job," says Whitehead. She will now step into a new role as outside hitter. Senior captain Katy Hesler has led the team in kills, and has also been an excellent leader on and off the court. Freshman Amanda Bouchillon, Misty Voelkel, a transfer, and sophomore Maegwen Salley have all contributed outstanding defense for the Crusaders.

The Crusader volleyball team will be on the road the next three games against Claflin College, Southern Wesleyan University, and Lander University. They will be back in action at Hayes Gymnasium September 20, 2005 versus Brevard College at 6:30 p.m.