Written by: Christian Hornaday, Campbell blog contributor
Campbell seniors Mary Crema (libero) and Katelyn Layden (outside hitter) will play their final home match of the season Saturday against Charleston Southern starting at 4 p.m.
Crema, from Loveland, Ohio, played her first year of collegiate volleyball at the University of Cincinnati before transferring to Campbell for her final three years of eligibility.
“It was just a different style of volleyball [at Cincinnati], so coming here was kind of a nice change,” said Crema, “It is a little bit slower paced and there is typically more defense involved and longer rallies so it fit really well into the type of volleyball I can play.”
Laden, a Chapel Hill, NC native, reflects on the wealth of knowledge she has absorbed over her volleyball career.
“The biggest growth I have had, besides physically, is what we call our volleyball IQ,” said Laden. “Being able to see not only my own teammates but the defense on the other side and analyzing what they are doing and adjusting my game to that.”
Crema set Campbell’s record for digs against Winthrop back on Oct 7th, passing Kristine Rogers who previously held this record with 1,604. Coming into this weekend, Crema sits at 1,775 digs and will look to further cement her legacy before the season ends.
“I think my greatest achievement was breaking the school record here for digs; that was pretty awesome to be able to do that in my career here,” said Crema. “I remember the moment in the game that it happened, the whole team and the coaches were excited for me.”
After losing their first four conference matches, the Fighting Camels went on a four-game winning streak, remaining right in the mix to battle for a high seed in the Big South Conference.
“It has been incredible seeing how far we have grown, coming from the mentality that we were at in preseason,” said Crema.
“Our team has just come together and it is a cohesive unit and it is fun being on a team that can actually compete for a championship instead of just battling to win a game here and there.”
When asked to give advice to their freshman selves, Crema and Laden each focused on very distinct details of the game.
“I would tell myself to focus on the little things, working on something small each day and let it build up as time comes,” said Crema. “Focus on one game at a time and enjoy every game.”
“I would say to enjoy the teammates that I had at the time,” said Layden. “Each year our team has a different dynamic, has different girls on the team. People leave each year, so it is nice to spend time to spend time with those people but I always forget how fast it goes.”
Both Crema and Layden will enjoy their final memories on the floor as they prepare to for one last Senior Day inside Gore Arena.