By Ashley Walls
In the past 15 games, one Asbury team has only given up one loss. Now 20-7 in regular season and 6-1 in conference play, going to nationals is not just a typical goal; for the Asbury women’s volleyball team, going to nationals could very well be a reality.
“We are more motivated than ever to make it to nationals,” said senior Cari McMullen. “We definitely have the team this year to do it.”
At the moment, Asbury rests at the number three spot in the KIAC, just behind (8-2) Point Park at number two and (8-2) IU Kokomo at number one. If Asbury wins the KIAC conference, they will have an automatic bid to nationals. Standing in the way of Asbury and a potential conference title are three more conference games starting on Oct. 18 against Carlow University.
“Every day in practice, we are putting in the extra work to ensure we reach our goal this year,” said senior Mackenzie Burke, who just nabbed the official title of record-holder for all-time service aces at Asbury with 213. “We all have our eyes set on the road to nationals and our determination is on point.”
Senior Kelly Cole and junior Jessie Bartlow say one reason for the Eagles’ success is how the team’s strengths complement each other. “We have a deep bench and a lot of talent and athleticism in every position,” Cole said.
“For instance, our blockers have been continually stepping it up all season, which really helps the defense when reading a hitter,” Bartlow said. “Our serve receive passing has also been spot on which really gets the offense going.”
Whatever happens, Burke is confident the team’s unique bond will last longer than just during volleyball season.
“Not in all the time that I’ve been at Asbury have we had a team that was this close,” said Burke. “We are essentially family to one another and our relationships with each other are fantastic… This team this year has put more of a sole focus on following God and honoring Him than we ever have before.”
McMullen agrees. “We love God,” she said. “As a result, we love each other more.”