NGU Wins Home Opener
Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Crusaders set out to win their home opener, and they did just that, pulling out a 5-set victory over visiting Columbia College.
The Crusaders jumped out to a quick start, defeating the Koals 25-18 in the first set.  “We did a good job of setting the tempo and playing our game in the first set,” said Coach Axson.  “We shut down their offense and forced them to play a lot of off speed shots.  We falterd in the second and third game, though, and gave them back some of that momentum.” The Crusaders fell to Columbia 23-25 and 21-25 in the next two games, but fought back to win the final two, 25-18 and 15-2. Senior outside hitter Amanda Bouchillon explains the team’s comeback in games four and five, “We played slower [in games two and three]and picked up momentum [in games four and five] and got determined that we were going to make it happen.  But I also think a lot of our momentum came from our fans who really got into the match in the last two games.”  Bouchillon led the Crusaders in kills with 16, 9 of which came in the crucial fourth and fifth games.  Gabrielle McKinley continued her stellar play with a season high 42 assists for the match.  “Gabby did a good job of mixing up our offense and creating plays off of any pass.”  The Crusaders had a season high 54 kills (Charlotte Swain 15, Kaitlyn Pierce 9 and Brittany Rivera 8),  but their defense was also a huge factor in the win.  Kindal Farver led the defensive effort with a season high 39 digs, while Bouchillon followed with 26 and Lauren Hawkins with 12. The Crusaders’ hard work on blocking paid off as the team tallied 11 blocks, Brittany Rivera leading the way with 3 solo blocks and 2 assists.  The Crusaders are hoping to continue improving throughout the rest of the season.  Bouchillon adds, “We are excited about this season because  our level of play is increasing as well as our team unity. We are learning more about each other and how to play together.