The Taylor volleyball team have won their first 12 of 13 games this season, the first time this has happened since 2010 and the first time under the leadership of Head Coach Erin Luthy.
“We’re having a blast,” Luthy said.
A 3-0 sweep of Grace and a 3-1 win over Huntington has seen them start 2-0 in Crossroads League play
The sweep of Grace was anything but routine. It was the team’s first win at Grace in 5 years. In the third set, the Trojans found themselves down 8-0. Luthy says the biggest key to coming back and winning the set was simply confidence.
The Trojans started their season in Florida, winning 3 out of 4 matches. They beat Warner, Southeastern and Webber. Their only loss was to no. 2 ranked Jamestown in straight sets.
From there, the Trojans came back home for the Amber McClure Fayerweather Memorial Tournament where the team won 3 out of 3 matches. They beat Concordia in a 5-set thriller, St. Francis (Ill.) and Bluefield.
From there, the Trojans swept the weekend in Georgia winning 4 out of 4 games against Fisk, Brenau, Keiser and Truett-McConnell.
There are many different reasons the team has succeeded early but none more important than experience and confidence. The team returned seniors Amanda Adams and Grace Isaacs, two First-Team Crossroads League players for their fifth seasons. A key addition is senior transfer Stephaney Fifeld from Crossroads League rival Spring Arbor. In all, 10 of the 18 players on the team are juniors and seniors.
“You look on the court and you have confidence that the job is going to get done,” Isaacs said of the benefits of experience in a team.
Adams, Isaacs and senior Ryan Czerniak currently lead the team in kills, each totalling over 100. The future is also bright for the Trojans, just behind those three are two freshmen, Jaylynn Dunsmore and Sarah Scott, both with over 50 kills currently.
Junior Kacy Bragg has helped immensely with putting hitters in good position to finish off a play with well over 450 assists this season.
Adams’ contributions have landed her 2 Crossroads League Attacker of the Week awards. Bragg’s contributions have seen her earn 2 Crossroads League Setter of the Week awards. Fifeld has earned a Crossroads League Defender of the Week award as well.
Isaacs, Dunsmore and Czerniak have been working hard on defense as well leading the team in blocks. Fifeld leads the team in digs with over 280 with Bragg following behind with over 130.
Although the Trojans are showing many signs of improvement, there is always room for improvement. Too many errors have hurt the Trojans this season. There have been some sets that Luthy feels they have given away due to errors.
Despite having over 180 kills more than their opponents, the Trojans have nearly the same number of attacking errors. Despite having over 40 more service aces, the Trojans have 11 more service errors than their opponents. These errors improving will only help in one of the toughest conferences in the NAIA, the Crossroads League.
As of now, the Trojans will have to play six games against ranked opponents such as Marian, Bethel and Indiana Wesleyan.
“Our overarching goal is to win Nationals, which we are fully capable of, but in the meantime, we are focusing on the moment we are in,” Bragg said on expectations for the rest of the season.
This upcoming week, they will have a 3-game homestand playing Goshen on Wednesday, Spring Arbor on Friday and Indiana Wesleyan on Saturday.