By Anvil Welch

Evangel University senior Lacey Gaines, a graduate of Joplin College Heights Christian School, has been named an NAIA Daktronics Scholar-Athlete for the second year in a row.

Gaines earned four letters for the Springfield-based Crusaders. She started at outside hitter the past three seasons.

Four Evangel teammates joined Gaines on the elite. They are Julie O’Dell-Griffith, Savannah Rose, Angelina Rosolina and Skylar Warren. O’Dell-Griffith and Warren were Southwest Missouri prep standouts at Rogersville and Lebanon, respectively.

O’Dell-Griffith, an honorable mention NAIA All-American for the second time, is the third All-American for Evangel. Kelly Hartley-Richardson (2002, 2003) and Brittni Harris (2005, 2006) also were honored by the NAIA.

Student/athletes must be an upperclassman and maintain between a 3.5 and 4.0 GPA to achieve a berth on the NAIA All-Academic Team.

Gaines is completing nursing school through Cox Medical Center in Springfield. She will graduate from Evangel with a bachelor of science in nursing and health science and a minor in psychology and biopsychology.

Lacey is the daughter of Karla — her CHC volleyball coach — and Kent Gaines of Carthage.

Evangel, coached by Mary Whitehead, finished 23-14 in Gaines’ senior season. The Crusaders were 5-5 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference and reached the second round of the postseason tournament.

Whitehead, who will be entering her 10th season at Evangel (with another CHC product in freshman Brittany Eppright), has guided the Crusaders to 20 wins or more the last six seasons.

Whitehead needs just nine wins to reach 200 at Evangel. Her winning percentage of 58.6 (191-135) is the best of any head coach in the 42-year history of the Evangel program. Whitehead is 27 wins from the most ever by an Evangel coach.

Sandra Sorbo won 216 matches during her 16 years as head coach.

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