Lady Saints can’t top No. 1 Dolphins
Published 9:48 pm Saturday, November 7, 2009
WILLIAMSBURG – Cape Henry’s girls volleyball team completed its dominance over the Tidewater Conference this season with a three-set sweep over Nansemond-Suffolk in the finals of the conference tournament on Saturday evening at Walsingham.
The top-seeded Dolphins, who are also the No. 1 ranked team in Division II of Virginia’s private schools, took care of the Lady Saints, 25-9, 26-24, 25-14.
The loss in the TCIS final is hardly the end of the road for the Lady Saints though as NSA will move on into the Virginia Independent Schools, Div. I state tournament starting on Tuesday. The final seeding will come out on Monday and determine who NSA’s opponent is and where, if anywhere, the Lady Saints will have to travel to. NSA was No. 6 in the last VIS Coaches Poll, but have since beaten the No. 2 and No. 5 schools in Div. I; so a top four seed and a quarterfinal home match is a possibility.
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On Saturday evening in Williamsburg, the only TCIS team that swept NSA in the regular season did so again.
The opening set was a blowout as the Dolphins recorded four kills and two blocks in getting out to an 8-2 lead.
Cape Henry was led by TCIS Player of the Year and Tournament MVP Morgan Freeman and TCIS All-Conference first teamer Paige Wheeler. Freeman is a force mainly at the center of the net as a blocker and big hitter. Wheeler can put down big spikes from anywhere on the court and did so against NSA for many Cape Henry points.
The first set was never close, but the Lady Saints rebounded and jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the second set.
“We came out intimidated and it took us a game to realize we could stand up to them and play to our ability,” said NSA head coach Elizabeth Stello.
The Lady Dolphins rolled off an 11-0 run to take a 13-7 lead and Cape Henry led 16-11 before NSA answered with six straight points. Drew Weitzman served an ace to draw NSA within a point, Tori Dail then scored a kill and a block, with the block coming after excellent digs by Margaret Davies and Weitzman, to give the Lady Saints the lead and the NSA fans their biggest cheer of the night.
Cape Henry got back-to-back blocks by Freeman as part of a 5-0 run to regain a 22-18 lead.
The Lady Saints fought off three straight set points and tied the set at 24-24 before an NSA error and a kill by Wheeler finished the set for Cape Henry.
NSA continued to hang with the Lady Dolphins until midway in the third set. Dail continued playing strong at the net, getting blocks and kills, and the score was tied 11-11 before six straight Cape Henry points. The Lady Dolphins comfortably finished the match from there.
“We were too tentative tonight. We started playing more aggressively as it went along, but we weren’t making aggressive errors out there,” said Stello.
Mackenzie Westfall had 17 assists and five digs for the Lady Saints. Dail led NSA’s attack with eight blocks and seven kills.
Following the match, Westfall was named All-Conference for the regular season. Dail and Alyssa Grigg were voted to the All-Tournament Team.