NSA enjoys 3-0 week, tops state champs

Published 4:59 pm Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Nansemond-Suffolk Academy girls’ tennis team ended its week on Thursday with a 7-2 road win against Norfolk Christian School, and it started its week on Tuesday with a 9-0 home win over Peninsula Catholic High School, but the biggest highlight came on Wednesday.

On that day, the Lady Saints visited Hampton Roads Academy, facing the Lady Navigators whom they lost to in the 2014 Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division II state championship, and this time, NSA won, 5-4.

“It was really exciting,” Lady Saints coach Sheryl Raulston said. “The girls went into the match believing that we could win.”

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They opened the 2015 season with a 7-2 loss to HRA, but the Lady Saints did not have everyone healthy then.

When NSA’s No. 1 singles player Elvie Sellers defeated Lady Navigators star Joyce Fields to seal the team win on Wednesday, “we stormed the court,” Raulston said. “They’re believing they’re state champs now.”

As for what gave Nansemond-Suffolk the edge this time, aside from the team being healthier, Raulston said, “After losing in the finals last year and being No. 2, they never were happy with being No. 2.”

She noted that from day one of practice this year, they have been talking about winning the state title.

“We really have a lot of depth this year, so hopefully we’ll continue our run and make it to state champs,” Raulston said.

Key to Wednesday’s victory was Sellers and Ria Khandpur winning the top two singles matches and then No. 1 doubles. Mercer Hartman also was clutch for her team, winning in a third-set tie-breaker in No. 6 singles.

Following are the singles results:

No. 1 Elvie Sellers (NSA) def. J. Fields (HRA) 7-5, 6-3

No. 2 Ria Khandpur (NSA) def. E. Wang (HRA) 6-1, 6-4

No. 3 E. Howard (HRA) def. Allison Gottlieb (NSA) 5-7, 7-5, 10-7

No. 4 P. Stuetzle (HRA) def. Caitlyn Hannah (NSA) 6-2, 6-4

No. 5 J. Colson (HRA) def. Anuja Shah (NSA) 6-2, 6-1

No. 6 Mercer Hartman (NSA) def. E. Bellamy (HRA) 6-1, 0-6, 10-2

Following are the doubles results:

No. 1 Sellers/Khandpur (NSA) def. Fields/Stuetzle (HRA) 8-4

No. 2 Howard/Wang (HRA) def. Gottlieb/Shah (NSA) 8-5

No. 3 Hannah/Watts (NSA) def. Colson/Bellamy (HRA) 8-4

Raulston was pleased with the margin of victory her team was able to achieve on Thursday against Norfolk Christian while playing without Caitlyn Hannah, who was out due to injury at the end of a long week.

“I thought we played well,” Raulston said. “Different people are standing out each match.”

This time, the middle of the lineup shined, with Allison Gottlieb winning a third-set tie-breaker in No. 3 singles and Chloe Watts and Anuja Shah prevailing in No. 4 and No. 5 singles, respectively.

Following are the singles results:

No. 1 Sellers (NSA) def. C. Washington (NC) 6-1, 6-2

No. 2 V. Hobbs (NC) def. Khandpur (NSA) 6-2, 6-4

No. 3 Gottlieb (NSA) def. C. Hobbs (NC) 3-6, 7-5, 10-7

No. 4 Chloe Watts (NSA) def. C. Walzak (NC) 6-0, 6-2

No. 5 Shah (NSA) def. A. Johnson (NC) 6-1, 6-0

No. 6 Hartman (NSA) def. A. Skees (NC) 6-0, 7-6, (7-3)

Following are the doubles results:

No. 1 Washington/V. Hobbs (NC) def. Sellers/Khandpur (NSA) 8-2

No. 2 Gottlieb/Shah (NSA) def. C. Hobbs/Johnson (NC) 8-2

No. 3 Hartman//Watts (NSA) def. Skees/Walzak (NC) 8-3

Nansemond-Suffolk (8-4, 6-0) hosts Norfolk Academy on Tuesday.