Kelly Hunter Makes Captain in Week 4 of Athletes Unlimited Volleyball

Kelly Hunter has set her way to the top, with 240 total assists at the start of Week 4

By Ashton Kowalski

As Week 4 of Athletes Unlimited Volleyball begins, setter Kelly Hunter is in the top four on the leaderboard, making her a captain for the week. Athletes Unlimited has a unique individual scoring system that can make it more difficult for a setter to rise to the top compared to a hitter. Hunter is the first non-hitter to make captain since Week 1 in this Athletes Unlimited Volleyball Season.

Kelly Hunter drafting her team as a first time captain for Week 4 of Athletes Unlimited Volleyball. (SOURCE: Athletes Unlimited, Jade Hewitt Media) 

Players score points by winning sets and matches, through individual stats which include serves, attacks, sets, digs, passes, and blocks, and by earning additional MVP points which are voted on by fans and fellow players after each game. This scoring system is set up so each offensive and defensive contribution to the team’s performance allows a player to either gain or lose individual points. 

Stat points are broken down differently for each action, with no two being the same. The drastic difference in the points gained and lost for attacking—with a kill being worth +8 points and an error causing a loss of -12 points—compared to the points gained and lost for setting—with an assist allowing +1 point for the player and an error a loss of -12 points—goes to show how widely the scoring system can vary depending on a player’s position. 

Outside hitters such as Jordan Larson have been able to make the leaderboard every week, and a few opposites have reached the top too, but Hunter is making her first appearance as a captain. Hunter currently sits in fourth place of the overall standings with 2,215 points. The difficulty setters have had earning captaincy makes Hunters No. 4 ranking even more impressive. 

Hunter played at the University of Nebraska where she was an NCAA Champion in 2017 and was recognized on many occasions for her outstanding performance as a setter.  Now that she’s graduated, she continues to volunteer as an assistant coach for the team. Before coming back to the U.S. to coach, Hunter played with Turkey’s Beylikdüzü during the 2018-19 season where they finished fifth in the league. Not only is Hunter partnering with Athletes Unlimited and the Give Lively Organization to support Step Up For Mental Health, but she is making crucial contributions to her team on the court. 

 Each week, the top four players on the leaderboard become team captains, who then choose their new teammates in a draft before each round of play. Although Hunter is leading her own team this go around, she played on Team De La Cruz with outside hitter Bethania De La Cruz for the past two weeks. This will be Hunter’s first week opposing her previous teammate De La Cruz, who built an incredible team in Week 3 with obvious chemistry between players. That Week 3 chemistry allowed Hunter to receive MVP 3 on Team De La Cruz, which certainly helped her make it to captain this week.

Team De La Cruz preparing to attack against Team Edmond in Week 3 of Athletes Unlimited Volleyball (SOURCE: Athletes Unlimited, Jade Hewitt Media)

Hunter is currently sitting at 25 sets played, 12 total kills, and 1 attack error out of 25 attempts. This number is tiny compared to her opponents’ attack stats, but Hunter holds her position as a captain with 240 total assists. Her excellent assist numbers were enough to push her past plenty of heavy hitters last week; now she’ll try to stay at the top as she leads her team into Week 4. 

Week 4 action begins Saturday, March 20 at 6 P.M. with Team Hunter taking on Team Larson. The match will air live on FS2. Team Lowe will play Team De La Cruz in the evening’s second match, which is slated for 8:30 P.M. and will stream live on YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, and Twitter. A full schedule for Week 4’s matches is available here.

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