Collegiate knocks Lady Saints out of states

Published 11:07 pm Tuesday, November 10, 2009

RICHMOND — Less than two weeks ago, Nansemond-Suffolk’s girls volleyball team went up to Richmond and swept then-No. 2 Collegiate in three sets.

On Tuesday in a do-or-die quarterfinal match of the VIS Div. I State Tournament, No. 4 Collegiate returned the favor and did so by coming back to win sets four and five to oust the No. 5 Lady Saints from the state tournament. The Lady Cougars won 20-25, 25-17, 17-25, 25-18, 15-8.

In a match of wild swings of momentum, each set was a blowout by state-tourney level standards. Collegiate, in front of a big and loud home crowd, made the final swing huge. The Lady Cougars took control of the fourth set with an 8-1 run midway through the set to build a 20-10 lead.

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In the fifth set, Collegiate answered a 4-0 NSA run with a 10-3 rally to finish out the match.

“(Collegiate) played well and they’re a good team,” said NSA head coach Elizabeth Stello.

“We played well except when we got down, and when we got down, we got tentative,” said Stello.

The opening set made it seem the Lady Saints would roll to another win over Collegiate. Tori Dail, Alyssa Grigg and Kela Bogaard combined for 10 kills and Mackenzie Westfall totaled 11 assists in the set. NSA led the whole way and after building a 14-5 lead, NSA held at least a four-point lead the rest of the set.

The swing in momentum was immediate as the second set started. Collegiate got out to a 13-5 lead as suddenly Collegiate was doing all the big hitting and NSA was forced to defend on most points.

Five straight points for NSA brought the Lady Saints back within 20-17. Grigg put down two kills and Dail served two aces in the 5-0 run. Collegiate answered with five straight points to quickly end the set and tie the match.

NSA switched the match around with a 6-0 run early in the third set, changing an 8-5 deficit to an 11-8 lead. NSA kept going to a 16-10 lead on a block by Dail. With Collegiate staying within striking distance, Dail served up three straight aces to take NSA’s lead to 23-16 and a kill by Alice Persons capped the set for the Lady Saints.

Collegiate regained its aggression in the fourth set. Three straight NSA kills brought the score to 12-9 Collegiate and perhaps signaled NSA would be able to have one more run that would be decisive.

Instead, Collegiate ran off eight of the next nine points, and even with two NSA timeouts during the rally, Collegiate led 20-10 and won the fourth set easily.

Collegiate got out to a 5-1 lead in the tiebreaking set. Dail scored back-to-back kills and two Collegiate fouls made it 5-5. Collegiate scored the next three points and the momentum belonged completely to the home team from there.

“To me, it was mostly mental at that point,” said Stello about the final set. “We knew what we had to do, but we just didn’t do it and Collegiate’s a very good team. We weren’t hitting the ball or getting our passes close to the net.”

Westfall finished with 33 assists. Dail had 14 kills and six aces. Parys Zambas had 13 digs.