A year older, a year better for First Baptist

Published 10:43 pm Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It’s only natural for First Baptist Christian School’s girls volleyball team to get better with each season. As the team literally grows up, with this coming season and school year as the first in the private school’s history with a senior class, the Lady Crusaders will be looking to improve on last season’s 8-8 record.

Nearly the whole varsity team, said head coach Joe Cockrell, is entering its second or third season together as a group.

The Crusaders’ inaugural season, 2007, finished with a 5-10 record, so there was a good amount of talent from the start. The change during last fall was consistency.

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“We’ve seen a lot of improvement, especially in the consistency of our passing and serving,” said Cockrell.

“One of our strengths is we have a lot of big servers. Hopefully we’ll win a lot of points right off of serves.”

First Baptist has a senior class of 11 students this year and the volleyball squad will have its first-ever senior captains in setter Abby Edwards and middle hitter Becca Ballance.

“We expect a lot of good leadership from them, both on the court and off the court,” said Cockrell.

First Baptist has a couple challenges looking ahead to the season. One is an injury, a broken leg, to Abby Cockrell, whose height would’ve giving the Lady Crusaders a boost at the net.

The other main challenge will come from the schedule itself. All of First Baptist’s sports teams for the 2009-10 year will compete as independents instead of, as in the past couple seasons, in the Eastern Virginia Athletic Conference.

First Baptist’s volleyball schedule still includes many EVAC schools, but also includes some schools from the Metro Conference, which is generally considered a step up in competition in the private school ranks.

The Lady Crusaders start off against a Metro school, Atlantic Shores, in Virginia Beach on Thursday, Aug. 27. First Baptist will be hosting a tripleheader, with two visiting teams coming in for a chance to get in a lot of action early in the season, on Saturday, Aug. 29 starting at 10 a.m..