A sophomore business major, and native from Pickens, SC, Kaylee Gillespie recently hit 1,000 assists in the FMU women’s volleyball game against North Greenville University.
Gillespie sees the crucial role her team plays in her success.
“My team is definitely one of the biggest contributors to my success,” Gillespie said. “Without a pass, I can’t set, and without my hitters killing the ball, I don’t get assists. I also think our practices and film sessions have helped me lead the offense as well. I’ve learned a lot since being here about the game of volleyball and how to run an effective offense.”
To be successful on the court, athletes must dedicate countless hours to refining their skills alone. With the added responsibility of being a student athlete, balancing the rigorous demands of sports and academics could pose a challenge. Despite this obstacle, Gillespie rose to the occasion, eventually receiving the FMU McCrimmon Award for one of her essays.
“I’ve always enjoyed school, but college has definitely been more difficult when it comes to balancing playing and learning,” Gillespie said. “I think our team’s goal of academic accountability has helped me tremendously in taking pride in getting good grades and having the responsibility to stay on top of my work. This year has been more of a challenge for me because our schedule is twice the size of my freshman COVID year.”
For the Gillespie family, volleyball runs deep. With a mother who was a college player and setter, herself, and a former collegiate coach as a father, Gillespie had many forms of inspiration for her volleyball career, starting right at home.
“My mom has been a big inspiration to me,” Gillespie said. “She was a setter during her career at Pickens High and Presbyterian College. She loves to give me pep talks before every game and is always there to support me, no matter if she’s here in the stands or watching from back home. My dad has been a key person, as well. As a former collegiate coach, he gives me helpful advice in how to navigate my years as a collegiate athlete and pushes me to be the best leader I can be for my team.”
On top of acquiring 1,000 assists, Gillespie also received recognition as The Conference Carolinas Specialist of the Week, making it a week full of accolades for the sophomore setter. Gillespie said she hopes to live up to the title of MVP she received last season during her freshman year at FMU.
The women’s volleyball team is currently first in the conference, with a record of 10-0 in conference play and 15-8 overall.
FMU fans can live stream the Lady Patriots’ battle against Chowan University on Saturday, Oct. 30 at 2 p.m. on the Conference Carolinas website.