Rally isn’t enough for Saints

Published 9:35 pm Thursday, October 15, 2009

Nansemond-Suffolk’s boys volleyball team rallied from two sets down on Thursday night in a conference match against Norfolk Christian, but the Saints couldn’t keep it going in the final set as the visiting Ambassadors won 25-20, 25-16, 15-25, 28-30, 15-9.

Norfolk Christian, with six players on its team, won the first two sets in seemingly easy fashion.

The Saints, who have been playing without their primary setter and most experienced player, Ray Ramirez, for the last three weeks since he broke his left wrist in a match at Blue Ridge, came all the way back to tie the match.

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“It’s disappointing because we don’t start strong and we played soft in the first two games,” said NSA head coach Michelle Bossick. “They did great in the last three sets, but the first two sets are what sets the tone.”

With Ray’s younger brother, Tyler, filling in as the main setter for the Saints, and C.J. White and Wes Edwards getting most of the hitting chances, NSA turned the whole match around in the third set.

NSA jumped out to a 9-3 lead. Even when the Ambassadors came back to tie it at 9-9, NSA got a kill from White and White served the next six points to give NSA a 16-9 lead.

The Saints cruised to a comfortable win. Ramirez had six assists and three aces in the game. Edwards added three kills and two blocks.

Set four was tense and frantic to the end. Norfolk Christian led 18-14 before an 8-1 NSA run. Edwards scored with a block and a fired-up reaction to make it 22-19. Ramirez and White combined for a kill to give NSA three set points.

NSA couldn’t finish off the set though, nor could the Saints win set points at 25-24, 26-25 or 28-27. The Ambassadors got a set point, at 27-26, but NSA fought it off. Finally, a Ramirez set and Eric McHorney’s kill won the set, 30-28.

In the final set, Norfolk Christian led the whole way, getting out to a 6-2 lead. From a 10-5 deficit, the Saints got back within two after a kill by White and an ace by White to make it 11-9. Norfolk Christian won the last four points from there.

White, despite his 5-foot-6 height, led the Saints with 13 kills, nine digs and five aces. Tyler Ramirez had 20 assists.

Ray Ramirez is expected to be able play again late next week, in time for the last two or three regular season matches and the Tidewater Conference Tournament, said Bossick.

“Ray is definitely our best player, but he’s also our leader on the floor,” said Bossick.

NSA (2-9, 0-2) plays at Peninsula Catholic on Tuesday. The Saints beat the Knights in a non-conference match in September.