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Rising Sophomore Crowder is Off to a Hot Start for Volleyball

Sophomore Kaila Crowder is off to a red hot start to the season after seeing limited action as a freshman the second year outside hitter is shining in her expanded role. PN file photo/Trevon Knight

After seeing minimal action in her first season as a Brave, second year player Kaila Crowder is off to a blazing start to the season in her increased role. With the graduation and transfer of some notable and talented players, Crowder has found herself thrust into a major role in the team’s lineup and has been among the Braves’ leaders in kills.

In the team’s 2-3 loss to the Cobras of Coker College on Sept.1, it was Crowder who was racking up kills with the tenacious precision of a venomous predator. She set a new career high for herself on kills and the most by a Brave in a match since 2015 with a staggering 18 in the match.

Standing at just 5ft. 6in. the Chesterfield, Va. native has shown a consistent knack for climbing the ladder to notch an immense number of kills through the first month of the season. She is among the top three statistical leaders in both kills with 59 and kills per set with an average of 3.08.

“She just has this go-getter mentality,” said Assistant Coach Katie Rueffer. “She’s just aggressive out there, she’s not afraid of anybody, she’s a battler, she’s confident in herself and I think that’s something she’s definitely been working on. It’s just her self-confidence and knowing that she can out work anybody.”

Crowder has been relentless in her offensive attack as she is third on the team in kills (59), points (62.5), points per set (2.72). She posted a season as well as career high in kills with 18 against Coker College (9/01/2018).

PN file photo/ Trevon Knight

Typically, athletes at the collegiate and even professional level make their biggest jumps in progress and performance from year one to year two.

While a plethora of variables can be attributed to what appears to be a quantum leap or a night and day change, they can often be broken down into two key factors: experience and more importantly, confidence.

“I think last year a typical freshman was a little bit nervous and a little bit scared. Trying to find her way but this year she just knows that she has to have a different mindset and she’s a lot more confident in herself. We’re confident in her as a coaching staff and I think her teammates are confident in her,” Rueffer said.

Despite her being more aggressive and dominant on the court the coaching staff sees that she is being more particular about the shots she is taking this season and is playing much more strategically.

“We’ve been looking for that outside (hitter) position in particular. Somebody who can dominate out there, somebody you can just put the ball away for us and I think she is really taking that role in and I think she has a lot of confidence with it,” Rueffer said. “She knows what

we expect out of her and she’s just taking full advantage of her opportunity that she has right now.”

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