In front of a raucous crowd, the North Greenville volleyball team gave fans plenty to cheer about in Tuesday’s home opener against Converse College.
In a 5 set match-up that mirrored a heavy weight boxing bout, The Crusaders delivered the knockout with a myriad of timely hitting and continuous hustle. Sophomore libero Melissa Ragsdale, who was stellar from the service line adding 4 aces for the Crusaders, led the way in the hustle category as well with many diving point saves. Gabbrielle McKinley was very consistent from the setter position turning in 38 assists, and on the receiving end of the assists were the hitting tandem of Kaitlyn Pierce and Kayla O’Kelley who had 13 and 14 kills respectively.
It was all offense for North Greenville in Game one as they won easily (25-14). Converse College however would not be denied as they took games two (18-25) and three (23-25). Yet game four (25-14) was the turning point of the match and pleasantly to the eye of Coach Lauren Axson it was the tough play of the defense that tied the match at two. “We (the defense) fought hard the last two games, I couldn’t be more proud of their play,” said Axson after the match. The defense was led by a 16 dig effort from senior Devan Davidson and 6 crucial blocks from sophomore middle hitter Kaitlyn Pierce. Other contributors on defense were Katie Harris with 12 digs and Kayla O’Kelley with 4 blocks. The Crusasders finished the match in a frenzied 15 point set 5 (15-11).
Although thrilled with the win Coach Axson realizes this was only one match of many this season. “For us it’s a game of not only learning how to play under pressure, but learning to win under pressure as well.” The Crusaders will not have to wait long for their next test, as rival Southern Wesleyan comes to town Thursday for a 7 PM match up in Hayes Gymnasium.