NGU men's volleyball first home stand

North Greenville Men's Volleyball team gathers around before the start of a match. Photo by Andrew Stevens

North Greenville Men's Volleyball team gathers around before the start of a match.
Photo by Andrew Stevens

Sammy Dewey, Staff Writer

Last week, North Greenville University athletics hosted its very first home matches for the men’s volleyball team.

Still hoping to get their first win of the regular season last Tuesday in Hayes Gymnasium, the Crusaders fell to Belmont Abbey 3-0 (25-21, 25-29, 25-13).

Belmont quickly started off with a 6-2 run, while NGU regrouped to cut into the early deficit. The Crusaders trailed 9-7 before going on a run of their own which was stopped by a late effort from Belmont, who would eventually put away the first set.

The second and third sets proved to be difficult as well, with North Greenville keeping it close but coming up just short every time as Belmont Abbey went on to blank the Crusaders.

Luuga Vailu’u finished the game with a career high 12 kills and Dustin King led NGU with nine digs.

The following Friday in Hayes Gymnasium, NGU would earn the program’s first ever win with an exciting 3-2 (25-23, 22-25, 19-25, 25-16, 15-10) comeback over the Coker College Cobra’s.

In the first set, the Crusaders jumped to a 3-0 start before the Cobra’s would score making it 3-1 and eventually evening it at 5-5. NGU then took the set 25-23 after a Cobra unforced error.

The second and third sets saw a back and forth action with NGU fighting from behind only to lose both sets and forcing a must win forth for the Crusaders.

Quickly taking a 6-3 lead, NGU carried it’s momentum to claim the fourth set. Then with possibly their best set performance of the season, the Crusaders clinched its first victory at home with a 10 kill performance and just 2 errors out of 17 attempts in the final set.

The match saw a total of six lead changes and 23 ties in five sets. Curtis Westra led NGU with a team, season and career high 16 kills and just four errors as well as three block assists and a service ace. Alexander Schinzing had 49 assists and a game high of 13 digs from Dustin King. Matthew McManaway also finished with a career high 13 kills and three assisted blocks.

“We are a very young team, and right now, our record shows it. So far, we have won one match, but our competition was at a high level,” said Jake Jenkins.

Jenkins also said, “In our first two home matches, the students and other fans provided some great support, although we only won one of the two matches. We played tough, and we are very close to breaking through as a team.”