Lady Barons Open New Center to Supportive Crowd With Sweep

Brewton-Parker College senior hitter Alissa Vogt (center) leaps to make a left-side hit while sophomore hitter K.C. Cheshire (No. 13) moves toward the net in the Lady Barons' volleyball match Friday night against Brenau University at the BPC Student Activities Center in Mount Vernon.

 By Terry Gaston

MOUNT VERNON -- Brewton-Parker College volleyball coach Jason Bryant's team played 19 of its first 20 matches on the road in anticipation of the Oct. 1 opening of the college's new Student Activities Center.

With a crowd of about 500 on hand to witness the SAC's first event, the Lady Barons continued their success from September by posting a three-game sweep of Wesleyan College.

"We had beaten them before, so our biggest thing is we need to stay focused," said Bryant, whose team improved to 15-6 with the 30-15, 30-17, 30-16 victory. "Actually, Wesleyan has improved. They returned our serves fairly decently.

"One of the things that helped us focus was the crowd, the opening of new building. They were not about to lose focus tonight. It just was great to see the crowd, to see the enthusiasm for the new place and for everything that goes on in here.

"I can't help but believe that some of that enthusiasm was for a team that has played 20 matches, and 19 of them on the road, and we came out of that with a 14-6 record, and that's pretty impressive. I'm proud of my girls, they're playing well and we're going to keep it rolling.

"I think I'm the happiest person in the world. Not only do I have a good team, but I have a new facility, a new complex, a new office and all of the coaches are together."

Sophomore K.C. Cheshire, an outside-middle hitter from Marietta, said of playing in the Student Activities Center as opposed to Parker Gymnasium: "It's totally different when you walk in here. The enthusiasm is up and it's just better up here.

"It doesn't feel like it's home yet, but it will be home one day. I think we'll get used to it," added Cheshire, who had been named the Georgia-Alabama-Carolina Conference's Player of the Week on Sept. 30.

The Lady Barons maintained their focus from their SAC opener by scoring their second straight sweep at the center with a 3-0 win Thursday over Claflin (S.C.) College.

"We played well. I was proud of them. We were able to keep focused and do the job we had to do," said Bryant, whose team had swept Claflin in Orangeburg, S.C., on Sept. 17. "They were a little overmatched."

The Lady Barons then entertained Southern Wesleyan (S.C.) University in a GACC match Saturday and won the first game 30-23.

But the Lady Warriors, unbeaten in their first three conference matches, tied the match with a 30-25 win in the second game and took the lead with a 30-27 win after Brewton-Parker had lead the third game 19-18.

The Lady Barons had a 29-28 lead in the fourth game, one point away from forcing a decisive fifth game, but Southern Wesleyan forced a side-out to tie the score and won the match 3-1 with two points on serve.

We played hard, a play here and a play there and you never know," Bryant said. "The majority of the girls they have have won two league titles. Not only do I think we can play with them but I think we can beat them, which we did last year in the (GACC) tournament."

The 2-1 week left the Lady Barons with a 16-7 overall record, three wins from tying the program's 19-win record set last season.

After visiting Spelman College in Atlanta for a nonconference match Tuesday night, the Lady Barons return home to entertain Brenau University at 7 p.m. Friday in a GACC match.

Brewton-Parker will play Saturday in a quadrangular at Agnes Scott College in Decatur beginning at 11 a.m. Other teams in the quadrangular are Judson College, a sister Baptist institution in Marion, Ala., and Oglethorpe University of Atlanta.

Brewton-Parker begins next week with a GACC match at Georgia Southwestern State University in Albany at 7 p.m. Tuesday before playing host to the BPC Invitational Tournament on Oct. 18-19.