HENDERSON — The Crossroads Christian volleyball team’s hopes for a Mid-Carolina Conference Tournament championship came to an early end on Tuesday evening.
Fresh off two consecutive losses to Southside Christian and Lee Christian, Crossroads failed to re-establish the momentum that won them 10 games during the regular season and were handed a 3-0 loss by Cresset Christian Academy.
Head coach Cammy Simmons said that Tuesday’s matchup came down to Crossroads making several self-inflicted errors that Cresset Christian promptly took advantage of.
“Cresset is a type of team where if you give them an inch, they’ll run with it,” Simmons said. “They’ve gotten a lot better over the course of the season and they have some hustle and heart. We had some momentum, lost it and just couldn’t keep it.”
Simmons entered the opening round of the Mid-Carolina Conference Tournament with optimism after Crossroads previously defeated Cresset Christian by scores of 3-1 in both regular season meetings between the two programs.
Despite the familiarity, Simmons said that Cresset Christian passed the ball much more efficiently compared to the previous two matchups. She praised freshman setter Bella Vuelta and seventh-grade outside hitter Jada Bryant for their ability to keep Cresset Christian out in front of Crossroads all day.
Losing to a Cresset Christian team that had only won two regular season games was a disappointing development for Simmons, who turned Crossroads into a competitive volleyball program in her first season leading the varsity team, which failed to win a single game in 2020.
Simmons credited her seniors Lillian Owens and Abbie Cranfill for being two key parts of the turnaround by stepping up as leaders on and off the court. The two were honored in a special senior night ceremony following the game’s conclusion.
Simmons has been thrilled to see the development of Owens and Cranfill into standout athletes and model Christians, adding that their impact on the Crossroads volleyball program will still be prevalent long after they graduate.
“I’ve coached [Lillian and Abbie] since middle school,” Simmons said. “They were a part of the middle school team that went to the state championship a few years ago. To see them grow to where they are now as seniors is really special. They’ve come a long way and I’m so proud of them.”
Simmons will have at least one more game to coach Owens and Cranfill in the opening round of the NCISAA 1A Tournament that is set to begin next Tuesday.
The loss to Cresset Christian further emphasized the improvements Crossroads still needs to make as a program for Simmons. She knows her team is talented enough to win games in the NCISAA 1A Tournament but said that maintaining a positive mindset and cleaning up the errors will be crucial towards deciding how far Crossroads advances.
“I don’t know how we coach this but we need to figure out how to keep the energy up when things aren’t going our way,” Simmons said. “That’s kind of where we’re at right now but we need to keep our positivity and encourage one another regardless of how things are going.”
Simmons and her players will patiently wait to figure out who they will face in the opening round of the NCISAA 1A Tournament next week as they look to finish out a strong 2021 season on a positive note.