Unlikely path to captain

Oswego State volleyball captain Chelsea Crump has had a captaincy unlike any other.

Her volleyball career began at Sandy Creek Central High School by making her varsity team in 10th grade, and she quickly fell in love with the game. Crump almost ended up on the Onondaga Community College volleyball team, but a late change to Oswego State’s education program brought her to the Lakers.

Crump had no idea what she was getting herself into with the Laker volleyball team.

“I knew I wanted to play, so I knew I had to push myself,” Crump said.

She saw some playing time in her freshman year, recording 94 kills and 24 digs. She would see even more playing time in her second season and excelled in the opportunity, which led to her being named a team captain in the second semester of the year.

“It meant a lot to me the way I became a captain,” Crump said. “I was voted a captain by the girls. It meant a tremendous amount.”

At the end of her sophomore year, the first twist in her career came when head coach Pat Hanlon resigned.

“Going into my junior year, we’re excited for a new coach and a new year,” Crump said. “But things didn’t go like we thought they would.”

Betsy Hayden was named Hanlon’s replacement and there was friction from the start. According to Crump, several players that she came up with through the team with were cut by the new coach, Crump was left as the lone captain on the team. Crump and the rest of the returners who ended up making the team felt like they were put up in a bad spot.

“It was difficult,” Crump said.

Along with some of her teammates, Crump ended up leaving the team in protest of Hayden. For Crump, it was very difficult to leave the team in a time of such turmoil.

“I’m not a quitter, so it was a really had decision,” Crump said.

Coming into the 2012-13 season, a new face would lead the Lakers bench, as J.J. O’Connell took over as head coach in the offseason.

“He was the answer to our prayers,” Crump said.

Coming into such an interesting situation, Crump said O’Connell made it a top priority to reconnect his team, which had been split in two the preceding season.

“Almost right away, we all got along,” Crump said.

Since the addition of O’Connell, Crump said that a lot of pressure has been taken off of her. O’Connell said he also appreciates the efforts of his captain.

“Chelsea’s been a real pleasure to coach,” O’Connell said. “She’s a tremendous leader and works extremely hard in practices and games.  She’s brought in 100 percent.”

Fellow captain Meaghan Puff also praised Crump.

“She’s a terrific captain,” Puff said. “She’s always positive and always very grounded, and I think she provides a solid base for the team to fall back on when we need it. If I could choose anyone to be my fellow captain, it would be her, every time.”

So far this season, Crump has recorded 134.5 points, 30 digs and 99 kills. Her top performance came against St. John Fisher where she helped her team keep their composure in a five set match where she recorded 17.5 points.

Eighteen games into the season, the Lakers are at 9-9 (1-2 SUNYAC). Crump said her team can continue to improve the rest of the season.

“Everyone’s doing great and we’re still trying to incorporate some things from practice into games and we have a lot of great talent to do so,” Crump said.

The Lakers will head to SUNY Canton this weekend to faceoff against the Kangaroos on Friday.

Senior captain Chelsea Crump has recorded 134.5 points this season, including 99 kills and 30 digs. She put up 17.5 points in a match against St. John Fisher.

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