For the 2002-2003 Trojan volleyball team, the beginning of another season marked the beginning of a new era in Trevecca volleyball. Filling the shoes of five seniors who graduated last season, a young, inexperienced, yet talented team rose to face the always competitive TranSouth Conference.
Trevecca Head Coach Scott Jones, active in the off-season, brought in one of the best recruiting classes in TNU history for the 2002 season. Freshmen Laurel Markovich, Valerie Hicks, Karie Overman, and Katie Holmes along with junior college transfer Crissie Cunha immediately assumed much of the responsibility for the team's performance. With the five newcomers carrying much of the load for the Trevecca, the few Trojan veterans led the team with experience and game knowledge. Katie Carter returned with fellow juniors Sarah Milli and Christina Crippen and sophomores Lauren Appleby and Natasha Donoho. With the roster set, the Trojans wasted no time proving their worth in their pre-conference schedule.
After opening the season with a win at home, the Trojans grabbed a victory over NCAA Division 1 opponent Tennessee State University, then went 4-1 in the Asbury College Tournament to claim their first Tournament Championship of the season. Freshmen Laurel Markovich and senior Katie Carter were named to the All-Tournament Team while junior Crissie Cunha was named Tournament MVP. The Trojans went on to win 11 straight matches including wins over NAIA #23 Georgetown College and TranSouth Conference wins over Martin Methodist and Cumberland. During the winning streak Katie Carter was named TranSouth and Region XI Player of the Week while freshman Laurel Markovich was named not only TranSouth and Region XI Setter of the Week but also NAIA Setter of the Week. The Trojans continued their winning ways with a second place finish in the Lee University Invitational. Crissie Cunha and Katie Carter were awarded All-Tournament honors as Trevecca finished the tournament with a 3-1 record and 15-4 record overall.
With two tournaments under their belts, the Trojans braced themselves for two more regular season tournaments, one at Taylor University and the other at Rhodes College. At the Taylor University Tournament tough competition handed the Trojans a 2-2 record (despite losing Katie Carter due to injury and Sara Milli due to a death in the family) for the tournament, but Junior Crissie Cunha was named to the Pepsi All-Tournament Team, freshman Valerie Hicks was named Best Libero of the Tournament, and freshman Laurel Markovich was named Best Setter of the Tournament. As a team, Trevecca faired much better at the Rhodes College Invitational, rolling to another Tournament Championship with a 4-0 record.
Nearing the conclusion of the season, the Trojans found themselves in a three- way tie for second place in the conference with a 29-12 record overall and 7-5 record in TranSouth Conference play. After winning the opening rounds in both the TranSouth Conference Tournament and the Region XI Tournament, Trevecca was eliminated by a tough Lee University squad to see its season come to an end with the second best record in school history at 31-15 overall.
At the season's conclusion, the awards came pouring in for the young Trevecca squad. Four Trojans--Katie Carter, Lauren Appleby, Crissie Cunha, and Natasha Donoho-- were named TranSouth Athletic Conference Scholar Athletes, while Katie Carter, Crissie Cunha, and Laurel Markovich were named to the All-TranSouth First Team. Markovich was also named Freshman of the Year, and Cunha was honored as Newcomer of the Year for the TranSouth Conference. Katie Carter and Crissie Cunha were also named to the NAIA All-Region XI team, and Carter was named an NAIA Honorable Mention All-American.
Overall, Trevecca finished the year 31-15 (the second best record in school history) and advanced to the NAIA Region XI Tournament for the third consecutive year. The Trojans finished ranked third in Region XI and led the TranSouth in blocks and attack %; they were ranked second in kills and assists.
With the entire team returning Trevecca sees the off-season as nothing more than an extended break and next season as an extension of this year. With the success and experience already accumulated by the Trojans, members of the Trevecca women's volleyball team expects even more of themselves next season and in years to come.