Lauren Taylor | Echo
From defeating their biggest rival to conquering nationally ranked teams, the start of the Trojans' season has already been full of success. According to the team's head coach, Erin Luthy, the volleyball team has incredible depth, with several skilled players in every position.
With a record of 9-4, currently ranked fourth in the conference, the Trojans are holding their heads high thus far into the season.
In their latest victory against Bethel, the Trojans won in three matches. Taylor dominated Bethel in kills 49-28. Taylor also had one less error than Bethel at 19-20. This win gives the Trojans their third win in the Crossroads League.
This year, the Trojans have adopted six new players: five freshmen and one transfer student. Senior Rachel Bouma says that the freshmen don't portray any nervous energy and are contributing well to the team already. The new players bring in high energy and high confidence.
Another new addition to the Trojans is the assistant coach, Chandra Hepler.
"She fit right into the team super easily," said Bouma. "She brings a lot of positive energy, and she can really relate to us really well."
Not only have the players grown individually this season, but they have also improved as a team. Luthy shared they have a very competitive conference this year, but have been competing well with several big wins already.
Last week, they accomplished the massive task of beating the Trojans' biggest rival, Indiana Wesleyan University, in just three games. Sophomore Callie Drage shared that they went into the match with high energy.
"We had been craving a win over IWU for so long," said Drage.
This victory was only the second win against IWU in the past fifteen matches, making it a big success for the Trojans. Another big victory this season was the win over No. 17 Jamestown.
This year, senior Becca Gerig made the incredible accomplishment of reaching 1,000 kills in her career at Taylor.
"It speaks into our team," said Luthy. "You can't get 1,000 kills without 1,000 good assists."
One thing stands out about the Trojan team: community on and off the court.
"Our community goes unmatched from any team I've ever played on," said Bouma. Drage agreed, saying, "We don't play for ourselves . . . we play for the girl next to us and to glorify God as a group. I think that's where our sense of community comes from."
The team participates in devotions together before every practice and game, and they also went on a mission trip to Nicaragua at the beginning of the season. Bouma feels these have made a huge impact on team building and unity and have helped the girls to lift each other up.
As the season progresses, the team will continue to grow. The team has big goals of being ranked in the top two in the conference, as well as competing in the national tournament. They have a lot of potential they haven't reached yet and are excited about what's to come this year.
"The rest of the season is just going to be uphill," said Drage.
The Trojans' next game will be tomorrow at 3 p.m. at Spring Arbor.
"Photograph by Brad Timmerman"