NSA’s Harris gives inspired performances

Published 6:26 pm Saturday, November 15, 2014

It was a few years ago that Nansemond-Suffolk Academy senior middle blocker Caylin Harris discovered the passion Lady Saints coach Robyn Ross has for the game of volleyball and found it to be contagious.

Since then, Harris has helped anyone watching understand what the game means to her now by coming through for NSA in big moments, the last of which came last week.

Caylin Harris

Caylin Harris

She was a leading force on the court that helped her team capture its second straight state championship and because of that, she has become the Duke Automotive-Suffolk News-Herald Player of the Week.

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“I was really excited about it, and it was a really great way to end my senior season,” she said.

She contributed to a great service game that fueled No. 2 Nansemond-Suffolk’s 25-12, 25-13, 25-5 rout of Highland School in the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division II state quarterfinals on Nov. 4.

In Nov. 7’s state semifinal against Fredericksburg Christian School, she dominated offensively, accounting for nearly half of her team’s kills with 14 on 16 attempts, with no errors. The Lady Saints won 25-12, 25-13, 25-4.

In Nov. 8’s state final against No. 1 Middleburg Academy, she accounted for exactly half of her team’s kills with 18, adding 13 digs and continuing her strong performance in the tournament as a serve-receiver, what Ross called one of the hardest tasks in volleyball.

Harris has become the rare middle blocker known for great defense and her ability to receive serves successfully, making her quite versatile.

“I met Caylin when she was 14 and hadn’t ever played volleyball before,” Ross said. “It was at tryouts for our (Nansemond Volleyball) Club, and I watched her serve and I said, ‘Yes, I want that girl,’ just by watching her serve. And she has turned into just an amazing player, and not just in one area on the court. I think anybody who watched, especially this past weekend, saw her play all the way around.”

Harris had specifically requested this opportunity.

“It was really important to me that I really wanted to be there and be with my team, all the time,” Harris said.

In terms of volleyball itself, she learned during the regular season how important it was to her when she was unable to play for the latter half of September and early part of October while recovering from mono.

“It was like losing a big part of me to not play volleyball,” she said.

She has decided not to play NSA basketball this season and is instead focusing on playing club volleyball to stoke her potential to play in college.

Harris said her motivation to give her all on the court is her teammates because of all the hard work they put in together, but it is also that little girl in the stands that might be watching and becoming inspired to play.

She recalled a young girl who came up to her one time and said, “Wow, you’re such an awesome middle.” Harris later noted, “That really made me feel special.”