Seniors savor final home-court match
In its last home game of the regular season, the Liberty University women’s volleyball team (8-17, 7-5 Big South) secured a 3-0 win (25-15, 25-15, 25-9) over the Campbell Fighting Camels (13-16, 3-9 Big South).
Seniors Jade Craycraft, Lillie Happel, Becca Haraf and Kendle Rollins were all a part of the starting lineup as they took their home court for the last time.
Craycraft posted nine kills, 22 assists and nine digs on the match. She is now the fifth person in program history to post 4,000 or more career assists. Rollins collected eight kills and four of Liberty’s six blocks on the match. Defensive specialists Allie Reynolds and Gabrielle Shipe posted 10 digs each.
Overall, the Flames outhit the Camels .284-.023. Liberty also led in digs, 46-36.
“All these kids come here with that vision, and then they buy into our volleyball vision underneath that,” Head Coach Shane Pinder said. “I know that going through the program here, they became champions for Christ, and they are going to leave here and impact their realm of influence as much as they did here.”
Tears began to fall on the court as the last set came to a close.
“As the night went on, the emotions started to come, and toward the end, and it really hit me,” Happel said. “But going in, I just tried to have a clear mindset and tried to not get too hyped up about it.”
When Rollins was asked what she would miss most about playing for the Flames, she responded, “Everything.”
“Coach Pinder has taught us so much,” Rollins said. “I feel like just going out into life, we are just so far ahead, learning so many life lessons and just making some best friends.”
Happel elaborated on how she is going to miss playing for Liberty.
“I think the passion on the court is what I am going to miss the most — those couple points we work hours and hours for, just so we can celebrate with our team, and just those little moments are what really remind me why I love Liberty volleyball,” Happel said.
Pinder explained how important these four seniors are to his team and said that they have a lot of work to do in order to find athletes to replace them.
“We will have to try and fill big shoes obviously, and they have a lot of big points and matches under their belt and a lot of experience,” Pinder said. “So we’re going to have to train people underneath them and recruit athletes to come and try to fill in.”
The Lady Flames will go on the road for their last two games of the regular season, taking on the University of North Carolina at Asheville Friday Nov. 15 and Gardner-Webb Saturday, Nov. 16.