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NSA advances easily in tourney

After finishing with a scorching 22-2 record, including a win on the road last week to close out the regular season, Nansemond-Suffolk entered the TCIS girls volleyball tournament Tuesday night with high expectations. Still, the team is taking nothing for granted.

&uot;It’s each point,&uot; said Lady Saints head coach Shane Foster. &uot;When you get to postseason play, anything can happen and it comes down to who can keep the ball in system.&uot;

Starting in the quarterfinal round of the tournament, NSA found a familiar all-around team effort to crush a solid defense from visiting Hampton Roads Academy in straight sets (25-13, 25-12, 25-9) Tuesday afternoon.

The senior class was well represented in the affair, as Kristen Nuckles (27 assists) and Michelle Boucher (8 kills) put up numbers crucial to the team’s success. From the underclass, junior Minka Foster had 8 kills and 6 aces and the sophomore libero Jaclyn Ramsey led the team with 7 aces.

In the first game, a powerful kill from Boucher and two aces from Foster allowed the Lady Saints to sprint to a 9-1 lead. The Navigators responded with seven side outs but couldn’t capitalize, dropping the first set 25-13.

The teams took the court with a notable increase in pace in the second, with Foster getting an ace on the first point only to see a HRA side out tie the game early at 1-1. The Lady Saints then found themselves down 3-1, the only multi-point lead for the Navigators on the evening, but quickly rebounded on a beautiful kill from Nuckles and scored nine unanswered points, going ahead 12-3 with Ramsey serving. Despite two free points on missed serves from the home team, HRA again failed to capitalize, quickly ceding the second set to the Lady Saints 25-12.

In the final game, NSA found some early resistance, tying at 5-5. After getting the side out, Boucher issued another ace that sparked a rally ultimately leading the Lady Saints to a 15-6 advantage.

The teams traded side outs until NSA scored 6 unanswered points, including an ace from freshman Mackenzie Westfall, to reach 24-8. The Navigators got one last side out, but missed the serve on the ensuing point to give the Lady Saints the 25-9 win in the set and the 3-0 match win.

With over 15 aces on the match, it is unnecessary to say Nansemond Suffolk loves the baseline. &uot;Serving has been a real strength for us this year,&uot; said Coach Foster.

Now advancing to play Norfolk Academy in the semifinals at home on Friday, the NSA coach is happy about the win but knows the challenge is yet to come.

&uot;We had too many guns for them tonight,&uot; Foster said, &uot;but in the next level it’s whoever passes well that is going to win the tournament.&uot;

Also on Tuesday evening, Norfolk Academydismissed Norfolk Collegiate in three games.

During the regular season, NSA and NA split their two matches.

The Lady Bulldogs were the only TCIS team to defeat NSA.

The boys half of the tournament resumes tonight at NSA.

Top-seeded Cape Henry at fifth-seeded NSA play at 6 p.m.

On Friday night, NSA and NA meet in the first semifinal match at 6 p.m.