The Student News Site of Georgia Highlands College

Six Mile Post

The Student News Site of Georgia Highlands College

Six Mile Post

The Student News Site of Georgia Highlands College

Six Mile Post

Women’s volleyball team serves up new beginnings

Anna Crusselle
Athletic Director Brandon Harrell gives the team some words of encouragement before practice as he fills in as head coach during their first official season.

The Cartersville Student Center Gym, typically bustling with students pursuing their fitness or basketball goals, now resonates with the echoes of a new endeavor: the women’s volleyball team.

This team, among other new league sports, is not just another addition to the sporting landscape; it has provided new opportunities for both player and coach alike.

Although he admitted volleyball isn’t his forte and his main duty is to oversee varsity sports, GHC Athletic Director Brandon Harrell took on the role of the team’s head coach.

Anna Crusselle
The women’s volleyball team keeps the high energy while taking a water break during an intense practice session in the Cartersville Student Center Gym.

“It’s been fun,” Harrell said. “I don’t know that much about competitive volleyball, so I’m also learning from them.”

He recognizes the team’s existing strength in organization and emphasizes that his primary role is to provide assistance and advice whenever needed.

He’s quick to commend the team’s captains, Jordan Michael, Tia Westbrook and Lorissa Banda who, he said, play a pivotal role in organizing and leading practices.

Westbrook, outside hitter, fell in love with volleyball in fifth grade. For Westbrook, this season is about more than just wins.

“I really want to help the girls love the game. We don’t necessarily have to win; of course, we want to but I just want the girls to get to play,” Westbrook said. “We have a mom on our team, and a lot of us have full-time jobs and classes. This team gives us all an opportunity.”

Despite facing adversity when their initial coach resigned, Michael, setter, said the players stepped up admirably, especially in their dedication and ability to improve.

She emphasized the importance of boosting student awareness and involvement with the team, considering the team’s experiences with their first season.

Anna Crusselle
During a practice session on Sept. 18, Jordan Michael readies a precise set that defines her role of Setter as a crucial playmaker.

“We only had one home game this season, and it would have been nice for more students to have shown up to support,” Michael said. “In this next spring semester, maybe there could be an Instagram or posters around campus, letting students know there’s a team to support or join.”

Peyton Owen, a front-middle player, emphasized the positive energy within the team. Owen believes that constructive criticism has been a driving force behind their growth.

Reflecting on their loss against Shorter University from their game on Wed., Sep. 13, Owen acknowledged the need for more offensive play. “From the results of our first game, we definitely learned to be a little bit more offensive,” she said. “We played defensively the whole time and weren’t taking a lot of opportunities.”

As the team geared up for its Sept. 23 game against Andrew College, Owen’s mindset was clear: take calculated risks.

“I was too scared to call for the ball at our first game because I was thinking it would hit the net, ” she explained. “I’ve learned that I’d rather take that risk of getting a really good point than to not.”

Anna Crusselle
Members of the women’s volleyball team gather for a group photo after a spirited practice as they get ready to wrap up their season.


Anna Illes, defense specialist, treasures her time with the team as a release from her demanding work schedule as a Rehabilitation Aide at Wellstar Kennestone Hospital. She noted the team’s ability to hold their own while playing Shorter, a testament to their hard work and determination.

“We all worked really hard as a team to make sure we got the ball back and it stood out to me that we stayed toe-to-toe with Shorter last week,” Illes said.

As the team works towards their goals on the court, they also serve as an inspiration for those who wish to balance academics, work and the pursuit of their passion.


Anna Crusselle
Bella Costello, a defensive specialist who brings strong defensive support and ball control to the team, showcases her skills on the court.

“I’ve seen a lot of statistics indicating that students who engage in extracurricular activities tend to excel academically and achieve higher success rates,” Harrell said.

While Harrell is quick to credit new president Mike Hobbs for initiating club sports, he also acknowledges the crucial role played by Clifton Puckett, student engagement coordinator, who has handled travel arrangements, scheduling and more.

“Being a club team, you don’t have a set conference schedule,” Harrell said. “You play whoever you can play, but I think with the success we’ve had and the number of people interested, there’s a much better chance of putting together a longer season next year.”

Maintaining a positive outlook, the team eagerly anticipates their upcoming final matches.

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About the Contributor
Anna Crusselle
Anna Crusselle, Managing Editor
Anna Crusselle serves as the Managing Editor of the Six Mile Post. Her academic focus lies in journalism, and she possesses a deep passion for writing. Anna's writing portfolio predominantly comprises features and news articles, although she approaches any genre of storytelling with enthusiasm. During her leisure hours, she engages in various hobbies, including contributing to her personal blog, playing the piano and participating in the church choir as a singer. Her dedication to her studies reflects her aspirations of pursuing a career in investigative journalism. In addition to her editorial role, she also holds the position of secretary in her family's land surveying business.

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