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Lady Saints go the distance again

The Lady Saints didn’t need to fend off any more match points Tuesday night in the quarterfinal round of the State VIS (Virginia Independent Schools) Girls Volleyball Tournament.

But, they were down one game and one point away from a second game.

Down 24-22 in game two, the Lady Saints rallied to take away two Peninsula Catholic game points, and go on for a 27-25 win.

Third-seeded Nansemond-Suffolk then won two of the next three games, all close games, over sixth-seeded PC, to move onto Friday’s state semifinals in Fredericksburg; 20-25, 27-25, 25-21, 24-26, 15-12.

After dropping the opening game and trailing nearly the whole way in that game, NSA got out to a quick lead in game two.

A 7-1 run by the Lady Knights made it 13-10 PC and the visitors continued to stay in the lead until a 24-22 lead.

A PC two-hands violation gave Kristen Nuckles the serve for NSA.

Game point number two went down with Nuckles setting for a Minka Foster kill; and NSA took a 25-24 lead with a Nuckles ace.

With NSA now at game point, a long rally went to PC with a kill.

NSA quickly got a side out with a Foster dink.

Alex Westfall served for NSA and PC put their return into the net, knotting the match at a game apiece.

In game two, NSA totaled 13 kills, with Michelle Boucher, Jade Bishop and Foster getting all 13 and Nuckles setting for all 13.

Game three began as a tight one, but NSA got their first big run of the night with a 7-1 rally, mostly on Nuckles’ serve.

The run gave NSA a 13-6 advantage and the large, loud home crowd was fully energized.

NSA still led 16-9 when the Lady Knights responded with eight straight points to take the lead.

The two teams traded points and neither side got up by more than a point until Nuckles put in an ace, giving NSA a 22-20 lead.

PC got a side out, but Foster got the next point with a kill off of a PC blocker.

With Westfall taking the serve, she put her serve in and then made two good digs, setting up a Nuckles-to-Boucher kill and game point.

NSA needed just one shot at it as PC was called for a violation.

Game four was close as well, until NSA with a 16-15 lead, gave up five straight points, four of them on errors.

PC continued to play aggressively and force NSA into errors, building a 23-18 lead.

NSA then rolled off five straight points, including kills by Bishop and Foster and an ace from Nuckles.

PC got a key side out, but then on their game point, the longest rally of the match ended with a block by Alexis Taves.

A net violation and then a Foster hit that went out gave the last two points to PC, setting up a fifth game.

The Lady Saints started game five with a Nuckles-to-Bishop kill.

The next two points were Nuckles-to-Boucher kills and NSA went up 4-0 on a PC error.

NSA couldn’t put away PC, but they maintained a small lead throughout the final game.

With PC threatening to pull within a point, a Boucher block forced the Lady Knights into an error and NSA took a 12-10 lead.

After a trade of side outs, Boucher put down a kill off a PC block, giving NSA match point on her serve.

PC got a kill to fight off one point.

But on 14-12, a PC net violation on a block attempt gave the final point to NSA.

Nuckles finished with 46 assists and four blocks.

Bishop (15 kills), Foster (14) and Boucher (12) led a balanced attack off of Nuckles’ passing.

Boucher had six blocks, Taves had four blocks and Foster added three aces.

&uot;Peninsula Catholic played an awesome game of volleyball,&uot; said NSA coach Shane Foster.

&uot;After Saturday’s game, I think we had a little trouble getting going again.

We were able to dig deep, it looked at one point like we were losing it,&uot; said Foster, &uot;but there’s no quit in this team whatsoever.&uot;