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Thresher volleyball stays hot with second straight KCAC sweep
Bethel continues its nine-game win streak, Crow picks up another defensive player of the week honor.
On Saturday, the Bethel volleyball squad took on Friends in their second conference game of the season. They won in a sweep of three sets to bring them at 2-0 in KCAC play.
The Threshers pushed their winning streak to nine straight matches behind another match that saw Bethel hitters almost double-up the Falcons in kills, leading 39 kills to 22.
“I thought we did a really good job of spreading out our offense and getting everyone involved,” said fifth-year senior Katey Wilhelm, a libero for the Threshers. “All of our hitters made themselves available throughout each set so there wasn't one specific person carrying the team. In turn our setters were more successful because they could go to any hitter at any given point in the match.”
There is a lot of talk about the winning streak for Bethel (13-7), but every game they continue to stay in the moment, and don’t focus on things that could be distractions.
“Every game we talk about how winning is the byproduct of all the little details we practice,” said head coach Adriana Leake. “We don't focus on past wins, we don't even focus on winning, everyone has things they're working on. Every game my expectation is that we continue to grow. Our goal is to play at a championship level and let everything else work itself out.
“Every game I tell them ‘trust yourself and your training, be a great teammate, and if you don't have the best game of your life make sure your teammate does.’”
One player who continues to grow is an already familiar name for Thresher fans: freshman middle blocker Darla Crow. Crow continues to lead the NAIA in total blocks, holding a 34-block lead on the next athlete. Crow has been one of many bright spots for the Threshers to start the year, recently earning herself her third KCAC Defensive Player of the Week honors.
Despite a multitude of freshman talent, the Threshers are led by its strong group of seniors. Senior outside hitter Kylah Carter transferred to Bethel in the fall semester of 2022, and has made a huge impact for the team, adding an experienced offensive presence to the Threshers’ front row. Along with Carter is a group of five seniors who have been with the Threshers since before Leake’s time at Bethel, and have seen their hard work pay off in a complete turnaround of the program.
“Katey Wilhelm, Kaity Shima, Harlie Hunton, Lauren McCreary and Julie Wilhite,” mentions Leake. “Every week I'm amazed at how far they have all come. They went from having really tough losing seasons before I came in, to now carrying the weight of some pretty big expectations after last year. They all are quiet contributors too, like they aren't getting those huge accolades but we would never have the success we've had without them.
“I don't think people understand what that senior group has had to withstand just to be where we are now. I love that they get to see the success they deserve. They are all so incredibly selfless, the best teammates ever.”
With their plenty of senior talent and leadership, the Threshers are looking forward to the rest of their conference schedule, beginning at York University in York, Neb. on Wednesday, with first serve scheduled at 5 p.m.