Volleyball: Dow Retires from Coaching, Remains Director of Operations; TCA Promotes Roberson to Head Coach
Coach Crystal Dow has coached volleyball at TCA for eleven years and led the Conquerors as varsity coach for eight of those years. She and her teams have had tremendous success, compiling a varsity career record of 123-88. TCA Volleyball is among the finest in Florida, and the Conquerors have gone deep into the playoffs in several of Coach Dow’s seasons at the helm. During Coach Dow’s tenure, the Conquerors have made six district championship appearances and five regional playoff appearances.
Additionally, Coach Dow made it a central goal of the program to see TCA volleyball players offered college scholarships to play at the next level. She states, “I have seen so many male athletes financially awarded with scholarships for their athletic talent. I see my girls working so hard to have 4.0 and higher GPA’s while at the same time putting in so much hard work on growing their athleticism and volleyball skills. I have always wanted to see them awarded for all their hard work too.”
During Coach Dow’s career, TCA has seen its first four volleyball players receive athletic scholarships and play at the next level: Jennifer Torres-Perez (2017), Melea Meadows (2018), Meghan Oliver (2019) and Ally Carter (2022). Furthermore, there are several players on the current varsity roster who are being recruited and expected to sign and play in college as well.
“It has been an incredible journey as the head coach of TCA,” Coach Dow reminisces, “I remember the first team I inherited in 2011. It was the freshmen team and one of the first things they told me was that they had not won a single game the previous year. With some discipline, hard work, and passion, that same group of girls upset Episcopal at districts by their senior year and made the school’s first regional playoff appearance in decades. The program has been successful ever since. God has truly blessed TCA Volleyball, and I am looking forward to being able to watch and cheer for this program as its biggest fan.”
“I am appreciative of Crystal and her service to the Trinity volleyball program. She put Trinity volleyball on the map and we are excited for coach Roberson to continue her legacy.”- Coach Verlon Dorminey, Athletic Director
Coach Dow will remain on board as Director of Volleyball Operations to assist with the transition. Meanwhile, Coach Roberson, who served as assistant coach in 2021, moves into the head coach’s position with tremendous experience as both a coach and a player. Coach Dow continues: “It was a difficult decision to make but knowing that I had a very qualified coach to hand the team over to, who loves our school and loves our players, made the decision much easier. I know TCA Volleyball is in good hands with Coach Emma and that she is going to continue to grow and advance the program.”
Coach Roberson has coached club volleyball for several years. She spent one year with the Northern Kentucky Volleyball Club (NKYVC) and a few seasons coaching and teaching volleyball to youth for Jacksonville Skyline. She has worked with players aged 11-16 in club volleyball and joined the TCA staff in 2021 as an assistant to Coach Dow for Coach Roberson’s first season as a high school coach.
Coach Roberson attended and started playing volleyball for DuPont Manual Magnet High School in Louisville, Kentucky. She then became a starter for the University of Evansville before transferring to the University of Cincinnati. In high school, she was a four-year varsity letter winner and won various awards, including high school MVP. She was a two-time All-Region and All-District player.
In 2014 at Cincinnati, Coach Roberson made the Second-Team All-Conference and became the leading scorer. One year later, she became an NCAA First-Team Academic All-American. She also twice won the Legion of Excellence award and Athlete of the Month.
As a coach, she has helped lead her club teams and TCA to successes. “My club team this year is outperforming all expectations with Gold finishes in every tournament but two,” she said. “With Trinity, we were our district and region champions with a 20-10 season.”
When asked why she chose Trinity, Coach Roberson cited the volleyball tradition of excellence and the support the team receives from the students. “I chose Trinity originally to work under Crystal and help to guide this great program to be even more excellent,” she said. “I wanted to work at a school with huge pride in their volleyball, and we see that every game with our student section and the staff support.”
She also loves the spiritual emphasis that Trinity affords. “Trinity gives me the unique opportunity to combine my passion for elite volleyball with my faith in Jesus. I moved to Florida to make a difference with the non-profit organization Teach for America. I wanted to be at a school at which I could continue to make an impact with student leaders to inspire them to not only be elite players but also impactful leaders. I feel Trinity provides me a platform to follow through with my plans and the support to succeed.”
Coach Roberson knows this is God’s plan for her. “Now that I have the chance to be the head volleyball coach, after lots of prayer and time with my family, I know Trinity is exactly where I am supposed to be. I can’t wait to continue to build this already exceptional program.”
While inheriting an already terrific program and system, Coach Roberson has her own strategies to enhance the team even more. “I am excited to work on updating our defensive strategies,” she said. “Everyone knows that TCA is an offensive powerhouse with Amaria King, Ariel Ross, Ali Haney, and Avery Haney; now, I want to build a stellar defense starting with our middles – Hadley Dantzler, Maggie Gracyalny, and Taelyn Graham -- leading our back line with Kelsey Flowers!”
Coach Roberson has no plans to start from scratch but, rather, will use the foundation that TCA Volleyball has already laid. “I will continue to use Coach Kristen and Coach Joey to work with positions and build our younger girls’ skills, she said. “I am a high-energy and high-intensity person. I am excited to foster that energy with our whole team to work together to ‘conquer’ any challenge in front of us! I want to have high structure practices and use master training with all groups to ensure we are building our skills from the middle school up to our starting varsity line up. Along with master training, we will be doing a lot of competing in our gym. I believe many healthy competitions will help us step up in those tight situations in matches. I cannot wait to get in the gym and get going with these girls.”
Her life verse is Psalm 27:1, which says,
“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
“I love this verse because I have been through some scary life steps throughout the years,” she said. “The scariest pieces are the unknown. Taking leaps regularly – knowing God will continually guide me through the good and the bad – gives me peace. I could be having my fourth knee surgery, transferring universities, picking up and moving thousands of miles away to teach, or even taking on a varsity volleyball team, and I know God’s light is constantly guiding me down the path He has for me.”
Coach Roberson wishes to thank those who have helped her achieve her goals. “I need to thank Crystal Dow for helping me and setting up such an amazing program. I would like to thank Coach Steph, Coach Hugh, and Coach Wendy from Skyline for plugging me in with Trinity in the first place. I want to give all the Glory to God and thank all my family and siblings.”
TCA Conquerors Athletics thanks Coach Dow for growing the TCA Volleyball program to what it is today and welcomes Head Coach Emma Roberson to continue that growth and success.