By HENRY BRISIBE
Freshman volleyball player Kayla Crawford has been competing in the sport all of her life and has been a great addition to the University of Mary Washington’s women’s varsity volleyball program, which is currently 9-1 on the season.
It is Crawford’s first year at Mary Washington and she seems to be fitting in and getting along with her new teammates just fine. As a student athlete, there is a necessary adjustment from the high school level onto the collegiate ranks.
“It was harder and more competitive [in the college],” Crawford said. “Everyone here and at this level has awesome talent. Everyone has the same passion and drive to be successful in the sport.”
The team has again started strong this year and dominated the competition in last weekend’s tournament at the Lebanon Valley College Invitational in Pennsylvania. The team would like to continue their streak of wins and great play into league play in the Capital Athletics Conference.
Crawford has helped her team thus far in the season with her tireless work ethic and dedication to the program. She is a promising young player for the Lady Eagles’ volleyball team, and garnered praise from her coach.
“Kayla is an outside hitter who can play all around,” Head Coach Dee Conway said. “She is a great athlete and possesses good skills. Currently she is working on becoming a better collegiate player.”
The team is led by senior captain Tola Adebanjo, who Crawford feels is very positive influence on the team and helps the squad maintain their focus. Adebanjo is the veteran leadership that a team needs, as she knows when to play games and when it is time to be bunker down and be serious. “I am very fortunate to have someone like her leading our squad,” Crawford said.
Aside from volleyball and her academic studies, Crawford really likes llamas and has an awesome sheep impersonation that she was very shy in sharing with others. Junior outside hitter Dana Hinden is one of the people knows a little bit of the personal side of Crawford. They both attended Powhatan High School in Richmond, Virginia, and were teammates on the Indians volleyball team. The pair has reunited again as teammates for the Eagles.
“Kayla is a hardworking player,” Hinden said. “Ever since her high school days, I have really admired her work ethic and [I’m] glad she is a teammate and friend of mine.”
The goal for the Lady Eagles is to win the Capital Athletic Conference. The team is battling a few injuries at the moment, which is not allowing them to be at full strength. However, if the team can weather the injury bug and return their missing players soon, those on the team believe they can have a promising season. One that Crawford will be a big part of.