New year, same faces for Lady Saints

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 19, 2005

Under the leadership of Shane Foster, the Nansemond-Suffolk Academy girls’ volleyball program has steadily risen and improved over the last six years.

The outlook and expectations for the new 2005 season certainly contain the belief that such a trend will continue.

This version of Lady Saints, which is quite similar to last year’s version, now counts themselves among the top contenders chasing perennial TCIS powerhouse, Walsingham Academy.


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Last season alone, the Lady Saints improved so markedly from start to finish that after losing twice to Norfolk Collegiate in the regular season, and being down two games-to-none in their quarterfinal match with the Lady Oaks in the TCIS Tournament, NSA came back in three straight games to upset Norfolk for their most impressive win at the biggest point of their season.

Returning seven players of their nine-member varsity squad from last year, including three girls from the Suffolk News-Herald’s All-Suffolk team, experienced and talented players will certainly be the rule rather than the exception for Foster and the Lady Saints.

Setters Kristen Nuckles saw plenty of playing time and big plays last year. This fall, along with newcomer Jenna Robb, she’ll be helping replace team captain Natalie Cutchin.

Leigh Anne Canaday and Leigh Pfeil return as well from last year’s varsity team, adding more experience, versatility, and depth for the Lady Saints. Minka Foster was already a key player, and the team’s leading blocker, last season as a freshman. Outside hitters Ellen Giermak and Michelle Boucher were each named to the All-Suffolk team last year.

The trio of Foster, Giermak and Boucher gives the Lady Saints athleticism, height, and a group very familiar with each other, at the net on both the attack and on defense.

With a large group of returning players, and a 2004 season that ended with signs of certain progress, the Lady Saints have every reason to be ready and eager for this new campaign.