Lady Saints enter the season hungry

Published 10:59 pm Wednesday, August 21, 2013

After coming within a game of the state championship last year, the Nansemond-Suffolk Academy girls’ volleyball team’s goal this year is obvious.

There is not much more it can accomplish, aside from winning the state title for the first time in school history.

NSA senior Kaylor Nash will close out a sensational volleyball career with the Lady Saints this season, hoping to claim the state championship that proved elusive last year.

NSA senior Kaylor Nash will close out a sensational volleyball career with the Lady Saints this season, hoping to claim the state championship that proved elusive last year.

Last year’s team went 25-4, 8-1 in the Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools, and though it did not win the TCIS tournament, NSA has won it before.

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Kaylor Nash had a dream season, being named Player of the Year at both the state and conference levels, but the championship-game loss to Peninsula Catholic High School was a bitter pill.

“I haven’t gone a day without thinking about that,” she said.

Lady Saints head coach Robyn Ross said, “There’s probably nobody that likes to win more than me, but I also am able to see the bigger picture of this.”

“Sometimes I think maybe it was good for most of them to have it in their hands and watch it slip away, because they are all the more hungry this year to bring that title to NSA,” she said.

The success achieved last year could very well help the team meet Ross’ expectations, which she said are the same every year.

“They have the talent and the ability to win everything, and it’s a matter of now growing the culture and the mindset that they believe that,” she said.

Nash, now in her senior year, will lead the team again this year, but the Lady Saints will have to forge ahead without superb setter Quinby Hines, who graduated.

Junior Brooks Gillerlain will take over as starting setter after settling into the role during club season with Ross’ Nansemond Volleyball Club team.

“She grew a lot and learned a lot through that season, and so I have really high expectations for her and so far, this year, she’s done a really great job.”

Nash admitted she misses Hines greatly, but was encouraged by Gillerlain’s ability, saying, “Brooks is a great setter. I think she’ll fill (Hines’) spot easily.”

Ross has a roster of 12 this year, the most she’s ever had, and three of those players are setters, “so I have more flexibility in that position than I ever had. I don’t think I ever had a second setter.”

The trio, in addition to Gillerlain, includes junior Bridget Murphy and freshman Logan Harrell.

“We are going to have the strongest team that I think we’ve ever had, and the beauty of that is that there really aren’t a whole lot of standouts,” Ross said. “Kaylor is always going to be the player that people notice, but she does a great job of not making anything about her. It’s always about the team, so this year we’ve got the strongest team that we’ve had in my three years.”

Nash will alternate two different positions.

Ross said, “Kaylor is going to be on the right side some and on the left side some, so she’s kind of like a utility player on the front row.”

The team has six juniors, and Ross expects one of them, middle blocker Caylin Harris, to make a name for herself this year.

“I’m excited for her to show everybody how hard she’s worked over the summer and through the club season and that she’s going to be a force to be reckoned with,” Ross said.

The Saints open the season at Peninsula Catholic High School next Thursday.