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Saints end long streak with sweep

Nansemond-Suffolk won its first boys volleyball match in a season and a half on Wednesday evening, doing so with a sweep over Denbigh, 25-14, 25-17, 25-19.

It had been since the end of the 2006 season, 15 matches, since the Saints had gotten a victory. On Friday, the Saints played a doubleheader at home, losing a pair of five-game matches to Blue Ridge and Bishop Sullivan.

“Definitely that showed our team, after two years, we can play. In this game, we had the mentality that we can win,” said NSA’s Ray Ramirez. Ramirez led the Saints in assists (7) and aces (6) Wednesday against the Patriots. David McCracken and Quint Butler had five kills each for the Saints.

The Saints opened the match by scoring the first seven points. After a side out on the first point, Ramirez served the rest of the run and put in two aces during the rally.

Denbigh closed the gap to 14-13 before a 9-0 NSA run put game one away. Butler had two kills in the opening game, including on the last point of the game. NSA’s main strength though was good defense and keeping the ball in play. The Saints took advantage of a big difference in errors in each of the three games. By the end of the evening, the errors were 49-21 in the Saints’ favor.

Ramirez served NSA to a 4-0 lead to start game two. Again Denbigh narrowed NSA’s lead to a point before the Saints went on a 10-2 run to build a 20-11 lead.

The final game was more of the same as the Saints didn’t trail at any point. The closest the Patriots got down the stretch was a four-point run to 20-17.

McCracken’s third ace of the match was the winning point, setting off a mini-storming of the court by a couple dozen NSA students.

“It was very important,” said Ramirez about getting early leads in each game, “because on Friday we lost both fifth games because (the opponents) got early leads.”

“The team has grown as a whole. Our communication has improved. We’re talking a lot more. Everyone has improved on their skills by far,” said Ramirez.

NSA (1-6, 0-0) hosts another Peninsula District school on Tuesday, facing Menchville at 6 p.m.