Above photo of Hannah Frasca courtesy of the UMHB Athletics Department
JACKSON, Miss.- The UMHB volleyball team, ranked No. 15 in the nation, began its 2021 season with a victory, sweeping Belhaven 3-0 (25-13, 25-15, 25-11) on Thursday afternoon.
The season opener also doubled as the conference opener, and was the first ASC match of the year.
“Today was a good start for us,” UMHB head coach Mark Pryor said in a press release. “We were able to finish quickly and save a lot of energy for our upcoming matches this weekend. For the most part, we played really low error and that helped us pull away.”
The weekend slate is full for the Cru, as Pryor noted, with UMHB scheduled to play Millsaps and Birmingham-Southern on Friday followed by matches against Huntington and Centenary on Saturday.
The Crusaders, picked to repeat as conference champions in the ASC Preseason Poll, had little trouble getting past the Blazers. UMHB’s outstanding defense limited Belhaven to a total of just 21 kills and a -0.56 hitting percentage.
Hannah Frasca paced the UMHB offensive attack, tallying eight kills while hitting .461. The sophomore was all over the floor, also leading the team in digs (9) and aces (3). Kayla Janikula added six kills and Sarah Grace Merry had five. Alli Pierce was also crucial in the Cru’s season-opening win, as she recorded 21 assists.
Aside from the stats, UMHB played at an incredibly high level considering it was the season opener. The defense at the net was consistent, and the entire rotation was in sync. For the Cru, who led the ASC in blocks during the 2020-21 season, strong play at the net was critical, and multiple blocks during the third set allowed UMHB to complete the sweep.
At the time of writing, Belhaven had failed to release a box score for the match, though this article will be updated once that information becomes available.