Bond through pandemic leads Cornerstone volleyball team to historic season

Golden Eagles won 1st outright WHAC title
Posted at 1:39 PM, Apr 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-14 20:13:29-04
Bond through pandemic leads Cornerstone volleyball team to historic season

Megan Lenhart took over as head volleyball coach at her alma mater before the 2019 season.

The team went 15-17 in her first year at the helm, but this has taken a very noticeable jump forward this season.

"With COVID we got extra time together to get to know one another better," Lenhart said about her team which is 23-3 so far this year. "That actually played to our advantage to have a spring conference season and that extra time has made this team so much closer."

Most years volleyball is a fall sport starting in late August and finishing in November.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the NAIA didn't start play until late January.

"We were able to get in the gym more than we thought we were going to be able to originally as well as doing a lot more team bonding and activities together," senior middle hitter Alexis Angus said. "That really made us connect as one unit."

"You can tell on the court because we are able to look each other and be like 'come on you got this' when we are struggling or being there to encourage someone when they are on the roll," senior setter Kayla Clark added. "So it has been super great to see our growth and just the trust and how that has changed the way that we have played this year."

Having experience is almost always a plus in athletics, throw in a pandemic and veteran leadership is crucial.

The Golden Eagles have that covered with seven seniors on the 16-player roster.

"We are just so excited to go to nationals and finish our senior year together," Clark said. "I think it has been super important for leadership, but I think also to see our underclassmen really gain their voice and grow has been super cool too."

This year's team became the first in school history to win a WHAC regular season championship outright. They are just the second (1999) to win both the regular season and conference tournament in the same season.

"For this team to make it through with one loss in the regular season and to go through the conference tournament with just a lot of determination I think is huge," Lenhart said. "Just couldn't be prouder of the work these girls have put in to accomplish that huge goal."

The Golden Eagles have earned the right to host the first round of the national tournament this Saturday.

"It's amazing, especially being a senior," Angus said. "What better way would you want to go out with the season than to go to Nationals with your team so it is exciting to host it here and be able to have our support group here with us as well."

Cornerstone is scheduled to play Lindsey Wilson College out of Kentucky at 3 p.m. on Saturday in the opening round.