Volleyball deserves respect

Hampton is a senior journalism major from Chicago, Il. He is the current football editor

Randall Hampton

So there is a 23-5 team here at Georgia Southern University crushing opponents left and right and dominating at home, but for some reason fans are not packing Hanner Fieldhouse to watch it play.

The volleyball team has won 12 of its last 13 home games and finishes the season near the top of the Southern Conference almost every year, but its effort seems to go unnoticed by students at GSU.

Official attendance at the last home game was 236 people, enough to fill a corner of Hanner Fieldhouse.  That is just plain disrespectful to a squad that has completely shutout the opposing team in 14 of its 23 wins this season.

The Eagles effort on the court has earned them the respect of their opponents, but the ladies are still fighting for the respect of their home fans.

“I feel like we’ll get respect once people figure out what we are doing,” sophomore middle Crysten Curry said.  “I don’t think people know that much about the volleyball team, but once they do figure out how well we are doing and what our program is about we will start getting respect.”

This year’s team has a shot to earn the program its fourth SoCon Tournament title if it continues its dominant play, and a strong home crowd could help them get over the hump.

“Volleyball is a game of momentum and when the crowd gets into the game it helps us, it encourages us, and motivates us,” Curry said.

Curry led the league in blocks last season with 1.06 per set and was named to the SoCon All-Freshman team.  She has also earned SoCon Defensive Player of the Week honors this season.

Her teammates, junior outside hitter Jamie DeRatt and junior middle Kym Coley, have also racked up some awards in the midst of another dominant season for the Eagles.

DeRatt was named SoCon Offensive Player of the Month for games played in September, while Coley has been named Southern Conference Student-Athlete of the Week this season.

Coley does not appreciate the lack of attention the team gets after putting in loads of hard work, but she understands that some sports generate more money than others.

Volleyball may not be a cash cow, but when it comes to wins and losses the volleyball team’s resume stacks up well with any team on campus.

“It does somewhat bother me, but I guess football is more profitable than volleyball so I guess it’s all about profit,” Coley said.

There are only two home games left on the schedule for GSU, Friday against Western Carolina University and Saturday against Appalachian State University.

If the football team, which is hovering around .500 right now can still draw a decent crowd, 13,507 in attendance to be exact, then true Eagle fans should have no problem showing a team that might actually win the SoCon some support.

Curry said, “Everything that we do is for our university.  We wear Georgia Southern on our jerseys so we are a reflection of the school, and we need people to back us up so we can represent the school in the best way possible.”