NSA wins and gets No. 1 Dolphins in TCIS final

Published 6:31 pm Friday, November 6, 2009

With its ninth straight win, and second win in the last week versus a team ranked in the top five in the state, Nansemond-Suffolk’s girls volleyball team advanced to the finals of the Tidewater Conference Tournament, beating Norfolk Academy 25-13, 23-25, 25-22, 25-23 on Thursday night at Walsingham Academy.

Senior setter Mackenzie Westfall had 43 assists, four aces and three kills for the Lady Saints and sophomore Tori Dail had 10 of her team-high 15 kills in sets three and four. No. 6 (Virginia Independent Schools, Div. I) NSA made it two wins in three tries this season against No. 5 Norfolk Academy.

NSA won the first seven points of the match and the first set continued with NSA’s attack looking great and Norfolk Academy errors giving a number of points away.

All five of NSA’s main hitters, Dail, Alyssa Grigg, Alice Persons, Margaret Davies and Kela Bogaard, put down kills from Westfall’s setting in the first set.

From there though, the match was a battle between closely-matched teams. Norfolk Academy turned the momentum around early in the second set. A 4-0 NSA run made it 10-10, but NA regained the lead on the next point and kept the lead the rest of the set.

Led by three straight aces by Westfall, NSA got out to a 5-0 lead in the third set, only for an 8-1 NA run to follow. NA kept going to a 15-12 lead.

Dail, normally NSA’s leading hitter and blocker, got going with three kills in a five-point span that put NSA back in front, 17-15.

Late in the third set, on a point for NA that made it a 23-22 NSA lead, Bogaard, a sophomore center hitter, painfully jammed her finger on a block attempt. After being checked on for a second, she stayed on the court and proceeded to get two blocks, with the second one giving NSA the point, for 24-22. On set point, Bogaard’s leaping at the center of the net didn’t get a block, but perhaps changed the play as an NA spike attempt went into the net.

“With those plays by Kela, that momentum seemed to carry us. After that, we played with confidence and seemed to know in the end we would win it,” said NSA head coach Elizabeth Stello.

The fourth set was still a tight one to the end though. NSA had a 5-1 run to take a 17-13 lead. Grigg had a kill and an ace in the run and Westfall scored a kill, surprising NA with a push shot, instead of a usual set, that fell in the middle of the court to make it 17-13.

NA ran off seven straight points and a fifth set looked likely. NSA answered with a 5-0 run. Davies put down a kill to tie the set. An ace by Drew Weitzman made it 21-20 NSA and another kill by Davies made it 22-20. NSA won match point with Parys Zambas’s serve going for an ace, splitting two NA back row players.

NSA finished with a 14-5 advantage in aces. Grigg added nine kills and Davies added eight kills.

NSA (18-6) faces Cape Henry on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Walsingham. The Lady Dolphins are the top seed in the TCIS and No. 1 in VIS Div. II. Cape Henry beat the Lady Saints in straight sets in their regular season meeting.