Lady Saints show progress in Roanoke

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The big picture looked better for the Nansemond-Suffolk Academy girls’ volleyball team after the North Cross Tournament this past Saturday at North Cross School in Roanoke, despite a poor showing in the event’s championship match.

Regarding her team’s performance overall in the event, Lady Saints coach Robyn Ross said, “It was a lot more even and steady than the first tournament in Virginia Beach.”

The first tournament she was referring to was the Endless Summer Tournament on Sept. 6 in which NSA went 2-3, suffering its first losses of the season.

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This Saturday, the Lady Saints went 2-1 and finished as runner up.

“I feel like these girls are getting better each weekend,” Ross said. “Each match they’re figuring something else out.”

She said she has never had this many sophomores on the court before and this many girls that are first-time starters, and “they are having to work to figure out their place and how to go from (junior varsity) to varsity.”

Nansemond-Suffolk defeated Timberlake Christian School in round one of the North Cross tourney, 25-20, 25-17. Ross said Timberlake had the strongest all-around team of all that her team played on the day.

“They had some really good hitters, and they were ahead the whole first game and then Lindsay (Knierbein), one of the sophomores, went back to serve, and we were behind by a few points, and she got, I think, four aces, and really took us out of the hole, and then we won that game,” Ross said.

In the semifinal, NSA defeated Hampton Roads Academy, 25-9, 25-18.

“We played a near perfect game against HRA, then had sort of the opposite against Westover (Christian Academy),” Ross said.

The Lady Saints fell in the championship match, 22-25, 18-25.

“Our errors were through the roof on that match,” Ross said, citing serving and passing mistakes. “You can’t make that many errors and still beat a good team.”

Chief among those helping NSA do well overall, though, were senior middle blocker Caylin Harris and senior setter Brooks Gillerlain, both of which were named to the all-tournament team.

In the three matches, Harris compiled 35 kills and five aces, while Gillerlain recorded 68 assists and six aces.

Citing Nansemond-Suffolk’s libero as another standout, Ross said, “Bridget (Murphy) played well for the most part. She had a hard time at the Endless Summer, and so for her to come back and play really solid was a big reason why the girls were so steady.”

The three losses NSA experienced in the Endless Summer tourney came at the hands of Princess Anne High School, Jamestown High School and Cape Henry Collegiate School.

The Lady Saints (6-4) hosted Cape Henry Tuesday evening.