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Lady Saints bounce back after loss

The Nansemond-Suffolk Academy girls’ volleyball team had an up-and-down week ahead of its participation this weekend in the North Cross Tournament in Roanoke.

The down part of the week came first, followed by Thursday night’s 25-20, 25-12, 25-14 road victory over Norfolk Collegiate School.

“They did really well last night, especially serving-wise,” NSA coach Robyn Ross said of her players on Friday morning. “They had a rough night Tuesday against Peninsula Catholic (High School), and they needed to have a good night before they went on to this tournament, so it was good.”

The Lady Saints’ victory against the Mighty Oaks came largely through serves.

“We didn’t really have a whole lot of other things even happening,” Ross said. “We didn’t have the opportunity to run much offense.”

That was, in part, a natural consequence of Nansemond-Suffolk piling up 22 aces. Ross said NSA’s average number of aces per match is usually around 10.

“Our girls served 73 times last night,” Ross said, and they accumulated only 60 hitting attempts.

In another recent three-set match, the Lady Saints’ number of serves reached only 66, and they attempted 127 hits.

Junior outside hitter Lindsay Knierbein led Nansemond-Suffolk on Thursday with 10 digs, eight aces and 20 points on serve. Her team scored on 87 percent of her serves.

Junior outside hitter Logan Harrell had six aces and 17 points on serve, as NSA scored on 85 percent of her serves.

Junior outside hitter Livi Bono led the Lady Saints with seven kills.

On Tuesday, Peninsula Catholic defeated Nansemond-Suffolk 25-19, 17-25, 25-15, 26-24.

“That was a match of errors,” Ross said. “We had 86 errors.”

She noted that with new players in lineups, “the mental piece can come and go and it really went on Tuesday night.”

The Lady Knights had a good, tall senior hitter. Ross said her team has played against stronger hitters, but nevertheless, the Lady Saints were really timid at the start on Tuesday.

They had lots of service errors, they did not serve receive well and most of them were hitting in a negative percentage.

“But I think that you learn a lot more from losses than you do from wins, so they learned a lot from that match about what not to do,” Ross said. “So, I don’t expect to see errors like that again.”

Bono was a lone bright spot for her team, producing 22 kills, 14 digs and three aces.

The Lady Saints (8-4) competed all day Saturday in the North Cross Tournament.

A couple of weeks ago, Ross had them compete in the Richmond-based 2015 Virginia Volleyball Showcase against elite public school teams, wanting her girls to see they could hold their own.

Saturday’s event served a simpler purpose.

“This one they’ve gone to every year since before I was here, so it’s just tradition, mainly, and it’s a lot of team bonding-type time because we’re in the van for a long time and together more,” Ross said.