Written and Media by Nathan Craig
The Greenville College women’s volleyball team had a weekend packed full of emotions. Not only did they suffer a loss to Springfield, Illinois but they also recognized six seniors that will be gone next Fall.
The Lady Panthers started their week off on Tuesday, October 18, as they traveled to take on Springfield. GC had their backs against the wall from the start and lost the first set 25-18. A glimmer of hope set in by the end of the second set as Greenville recorded 12 kills and won 25-22. However, that hope vanished in the third set. The Lady Panthers lost by a score of 25-20.
The fourth set started off promising for the Lady Panthers as they produced multiple kills, but their seven errors stalled momentum and led to a scoreline of 25-18. This loss cost the Lady Panthers the game. Junior Allyson Mitchell and senior Kirsten Laune led the offense as Mitchel had 18 kills and Laune had 34 assists. Holding the defense was senior Janisha Pealer with 12 digs and senior Sierah Ruffner with three blocks.
The Lady Panthers didn’t have much time to dwell on the loss as they competed against Fontbonne the next day. GC came out of the gates hot and won the first set 25-16 thanks to 12 kills. They continued with a great offense in the second set having an attack percentage of .306% which lead to a 25-19 win. The third set was more competitive but Greenville capitalized on the 10 errors Fontbonne committed and won 25-22 resulting in a Greenville sweep. Mitchell led the team with 13 kills and Laune with 35 assists. Keeping the team in good position with a stellar defense was freshman Cheyenne Vaca with 10 assists and senior Savannah Sells with eight blocks. The team rode that win to an emotional homecoming senior night.
Friday started the Homecoming festivities for Greenville College which meant that alumni and parents came into town. It was homecoming and senior night for the girls and the HJ Long Gymnasium was filled with supportive fans. Seniors Savannah Sells, Janisha Pealer, Kirsten Laune, Becca Winemiller, Sierah Ruffner, and Emily Thebeau were all recognized. Emotions ran high as it was the last time they would compete on their home court together. However, the seniors knew they had to get focused to compete to the best of their ability against Eureka College.
The Lady Panthers won the first set 25-18 due to 15 recorded kills. They continued to keep the attack going and finished the second set with 14 kills and another 25-18 win. The third set began with more fire and passion after honoring the seniors. GC took advantage of Eureka’s eight errors and tallied 11 kills resulting in another win with a scoreline of 25-15. Sells led the offense with 11 kills while Laune had 32 assists. Mitchell recorded 12 digs and led the team on the defense end.
The GC volleyball team took a sweeping win over Eureka on homecoming/senior night. Head Coach, Tom Ackerman, reflected on the teams performance,
This was a great week for us. We are playing solid volleyball and continuing to improve as we reach the end of our season. We are always working on limiting our own errors and putting all the pressure on the opposing team.”
While they still have things to work on, it’s important to still to take the time to appreciate how big the weekend was for the volleyball team.
Coach Ackerman also discussed homecoming and what the seniors meant to him:
Homecoming is a special time of year for us. We built this team like a family and having alums here is always wonderful. These seniors are dear to my heart and I will miss them greatly. They have helped build and protect our culture. They are incredible volleyball players and are currently 62-6 in conference play during their time here. They have won three conference championships and are going for their fourth in four years and seventh in a row.”
Check out the video below to see what senior night was all about for the GC volleyball team!
The Lady Panthers are currently 20-6 (13-2 SLIAC) and are sitting in first place in conference standings. They finish their season with road games against Washington University (Mo.) on Wednesday, October 26, followed by games against Spalding Unversity, MacMurray College, and Westminster University.
Follow the Lady Panthers volleyball team on twitter @gcwvolleyball as they continue their journey to seven straight conference titles!