Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

October 22, 2012

Making an impact

Mayes breaking volleyball records at North Greenville

Rocky Stanley
The Independent

ASHLAND — North Greenville University’s volleyball program is on the rise, and third-year head coach Greg Mosely gives a lot of credit to junior Rebekah Mayes.

One of Mosely’s first recruits, Mayes already owns several school records as a hitter as well as earning high praise for her versatility on the court.

“We got a great player in Rebekah,” Mosely said of the former Rose Hill Christian School standout. “She may have been flying under the radar because she played at a small Christian school in Kentucky.”

NGU, enrollment 2,400, is  in Tigerville, S.C., just outside Greenville.

An outside hitter, Mayes broke the single-season record with 426 kills as a freshman. That year, the Crusaders posted their first winning season (19-17) in more than a decade since becoming a four-year university and Division II member.

Mayes added the school’s single-game record last season by pounding out 23 kills. Midway through her junior season, Mayes took over the career mark. Her total stood at 1,137 after a Conference Carolinas win over King College of Bristol, Tenn., last week.

“Rebekah has been a mainstay for us on the outside,” Mosely said. “We’re a young team (only one senior) and have continued to improve our recruiting. We are hoping her senior year will be a breakout year for us.”

Mayes, a team captain, is enjoying her key role as the Crusaders assemble a winning program.

“This season, we have a better team than the last three years,” she said. “We brought in six freshmen that are already good. Next year, we should be better.”

Currently, North Greenville is making a push to earn a spot in the Conference Carolinas tournament.

Mayes supplied 14 kills in the Crusaders’ 3-1 win over King College. The night before, she contributed 17 digs as NGU swept Mount Olive College 3-0.

The two conference victories moved North Greenville into a tie for third in the West Division at 6-6. The top four teams from each of two divisions advance to the league tournament.

“Our goal is to make the conference tournament,” Mosely said. “We are hoping to get a fifth or sixth seed.”

Mayes continues to do her part. She’s 5-foot-8, not tall for a collegiate hitter, but jumps well and consistently finds ways to rack up big kill numbers on a nightly basis.

“You come to college, the girls on the other side are 6-foot or 6-2,” Mayes said. “You have to learn to play smarter. I have to use different angles, different shots and just be more creative. That’s something I didn’t have to do in high school.”

A former All-Area Player of the Year at Rose Hill, Mayes said playing club volleyball for the Huntington-based River Cities Thunder did much to prepare her for the next level.

“College is a quicker game,” she said. “It’s something you have to adapt to. The coaches I had in club were really good.”

The daughter of Rose Hill Baptist Church pastor Ronnie Mayes and wife Jena ranks among Conference Carolinas leaders with 3.51 kills per game, and her average is 3.67 in league play.

The old NGU career record of 1,047 kills belonged to Kaitlyn Pierce, who played alongside Mayes the past two seasons before graduating.

“Kaitlyn was a really good hitter, with a great work ethic,” Mayes said. “She’s someone I looked up to when I got here.”

Along with attacking skills, Mayes helps the Crusaders all over the court. She averages better than three digs per game and leads the team in service aces.    

“We all had to step up our defense this year,” Mayes said. “The girls he brought in are as talented as anybody.”

Mosely said Mayes came into the program and has been a leader on and off the court.     

“Rebekah isn’t a loud, boisterous player but will speak up and address things,” Mosely said. “Her school and community back home can be very proud with her effort in building this program.”

Mayes is majoring in Elementary Education.

ROCKY STANLEY can be reached at rstanley@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2671.