Emmanuel College Lady Volleyball Team Takes 2018 Conference Championship
In college sports, the Emmanuel College women’s volleyball team made historyover the weekend; defeating the Belmont Abbey College Crusaders Sunday 3-1 to claim the 2018 Conference Carolinas Championship.
The win marks the first Conference Carolinas championship of any sport for the Franklin Springs Christian college, as it is the institution’s first year of post-season eligibility.
The Lady Lions took the first game 25-16 and second game 25-23 but fell in the third game 16-25. Emmanuel rallied to win the fourth game 25-20, taking the title.
Despite the Crusaders putting down more kills than Emmanuel, the Lions were a dominant presence at the net with nearly twice as many blocks.
Junior Mia McKensey had 7 blocks, while Freshman Mia Cotton assisted with 5 of her own.
Junior Aysha Avery totaled 36 digs while securing the Lions defense, while Mia Cotton put down 15 kills and 10 total blocks to be named the one of the two freshman on the All-Tournament Team.
Julie de Blanck, a Senior from Copehagen, Denmark, led the team with 15 kills, while Junior Jessica Gray followed right behind with 14.
De Blanck was named the Tournament’s most outstanding player, totaling 27 kills and 9 blocks over the weekend.
De Blanck talks about the team adapting to their new role as “the team to beat” in Conference Carolinas.
“It’s been amazing. Mentally, it’s been a different aspect for us. Even last year, when we went to the NCCAA’s, we weren’t seeded number one, two or three,” she explained. “We were seeded number four, so we still had that ‘we have to fight our way up, we had to earn our spot.’ This is the first year we are seeded at the top and we are expected to win, and that’s a new mindset for us to get used to, and also, all of a sudden we are the team everyone wants to beat instead of we have to beat the top team.”
Emmanuel also had the higher hitting percentage at .191 compared to the Crusaders .155.
The Lady Lions now advance to the NCAA D-II Southeast Regional Tournament, another first for an Emmanuel College team.