Last week, the Samford volleyball team defeated Mercer in the annual Dig Orange charity match. The game honors former student-athlete Caroline Neisler, who died in 2013 of Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Neisler played volleyball for the Bulldogs under former head coach Derek Schroeder, who is currently at the helm of the Mercer volleyball team.
The Bulldogs beat the Bears in three sets to get to 10-9 on the year. They then went on to beat Wofford 3-1 three days later. Samford allowed a mere nine points in the match’s final set against the Terriers. Kenya McQuirter starred in both games for Samford, as she had 17 kills against Mercer and 16 against Wofford. McQuirter seems to have cemented herself as the leader of this team, as she consistently performs phenomenally for the Bulldogs.
Teammate Gracie Lynn Butler said, “Kenya is an all-around fantastic athlete, and her level of play is at the top of the SoCon.”
Butler herself had 11 kills against Wofford, improving on her last performance, where she had eight kills. Butler also had two aces and 11 digs in the Mercer match, and she has heavily contributed to the team’s momentum in the past couple of games. Lauren Deaton also performed well, with nine kills, including the game-winner. Deaton, McQuirter and Butler’s performance against Wofford was complemented by Sarah Hayes Farley, who had four aces. Kayla Keshock and Samantha Horn combined for 41 assists in the win against the Terriers, as Samford currently has a five-game winning streak.
Butler said, “Every single person is united with the goal of winning a championship, and we are all willing to do whatever it takes to get there.”
This shared goal has seemed to push the Bulldogs to the next level. Despite the slow start this year, the team’s overall record is currently 11-9, with a 6-2 conference record. The team will look to continue their hot streak against UNC Greensboro this Friday, Oct. 21, in Birmingham. The next stretch in the schedule for Samford could be critical, as the team is less than a month away from playing in the SoCon Tournament.