Lady Cru volleyball made school history this semester with the most wins in a season, 22-8 overall and 12-4 in conference play. The result was a trip to the conference tournament, and third place in the ASC.
In the first day of the double elimination conference tournament UMHB faced off against Texas Lutheran University to win 3 sets to 0. An identical fate would await U.T.-Dallas in part two of the double header for the Lady Cru.
In day two of the tournament, UMHB would fall to Hardin-Simmons for the third time in the season.
A consecutive loss on day three against U.T.-Dallas ended the season for UMHB.
“We finished a top-three team, and going through the season that’s where we felt we should be,” Head Coach Rob Frost said, “us, U.T.-Dallas and Hardin-Simmons at top three.”
The team had an unusual dynamic this season and was comprised of 12 players, four seniors and eight freshmen. Senior leadership led the athletic freshmen through the record-breaking season and five All-Conference Team players.
Shelby Prather is one of five freshman starters, and she filled a crucial hole left at the setter position. A graduate of Leander High School, Prather sparked the interest of Division I schools like the University of North Texas and University of Texas at San Antonio but believed that God was leading her to UMHB.
“I was extremely blessed this season to be able to spend it with those girls. We got along so well and worked hard together to earn our success,” Prather said. “Coach Frost has done a great job with the program here, and I’m honored to be a part of it.”
Prather posted 931 assists and averaged a little less than nine assists per set, had a team-best 33 service aces and 239 digs. Prather and Tina Miller were both decorated with second-team all conference honors.
Miller, an education major and middle hitter for UMHB, led the team in kills, averaging 2.98 per set. She is proud of her accomplishments but pays credit to her teammates.
“The setter is a very important part of my success this season,” Miller said. “I think (Prather) did amazing this year, and she will get even better in seasons to come.”
Miller is one of four seniors who played the last of their college volleyball at the semifinals of the 2012 ASC Tournament. Morgan Baker, Elise Butler and Sapphire Reid were the other three.
Baker, a three-year starter for the Lady Cru was a significant source of leadership and will be missed next year. She received Academic All-District honors and will graduate this May after her third year with a 4.0.
The only player to receive First Team All-Conference honors and Newcomer of the Year was Reid. A transfer from Long Island University, the outside hitter made it onto the court for the fall season after having foot surgery in August.
Other players recognized by the ASC were freshmen Lauren Powell and Kendall Pye as All-Conference Honorable Mentions.
The few defeats that UMHB had, with the exception of one loss to East Texas Baptist, were all to regionally ranked opponents, Hardin-Simmons, Trinity and U.T.-Dallas ranked fourth, fifth and sixth accordingly.
“The losses we’ve taken are from good teams. Other than that we’ve maintained a very good level of play,” Frost said.
At the end of only his second season with the Cru, Frost has amassed an overall record of 43-19 and 25-8 in conference. He manages the team under the philosophy of hard work.
“It’s a matter of playing our best volleyball every point, every match,” Frost said.
To win as many games as the team did with eight freshmen and only three returners is an impressive feat.
Frost can expect eight returners and a batch of new young talent next season. Over the next three years he could potentially build a team that can grow together and establish a chemistry to bring an ASC title back to Belton.