NSA edges Lady Bulldogs in volleyball

Published 9:22 pm Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Nansemond-Suffolk Academy girls’ volleyball team improved to 2-0 this season with its victory on Tuesday night, but the match against Norfolk Academy was significantly different than the one it played against the Lady Bulldogs on Sept. 8.

The Lady Saints won the September match on the road in straight sets, 25-21, 25-8, 25-15.

“They were down a couple of their hitters when we played them at NA earlier in the year,” NSA coach Robyn Ross said of the Lady Bulldogs, noting their best middle hitter was out then with an injury. So entering Tuesday, “we knew that this match was going to be much tougher than the last one.”

Email newsletter signup

Tuesday’s match went the full five sets as the host Lady Saints won 19-25, 27-25, 23-25, 25-21, 16-14.

“I would say that their endurance was a big part of it and that they have been in those situations being really tight playing against really good teams, and we do it in practice all the time where they have to keep a lead or come from behind to finish a 15-point set,” Ross said. “Preparation and endurance is always going to be a factor in our favor in a fifth set.”

On Tuesday, “the more their bodies just had to do what they were trained to do because they were tired, the better they got,” she said as she reviewed her players’ offensive statistics. “They get better as the match goes on, which is probably not the case for a lot of the teams that we play.”

NSA junior outside hitter Livi Bono finished with 10 digs, three aces and 31 kills, including seven in the fifth set alone.

“NA is the biggest team all the way around of anybody in the (Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools), so for Livi to have 31 kills against the tallest blockers in our league was crazy good,” Ross said.

Lady Saints junior libero Logan Harrell was another standout, ending up with 46 digs and five aces.

“She had some great digs,” Ross said. “They have probably the strongest offense of any team in the TCIS with having more than one girl. They’re not just going to set one girl all of the time.”

This left Harrell with a difficult task as she tried to figure out where she needed to be on defense and then had to get there in time to get the dig.

“Their girls were so much taller that they were basically just hitting over us and still straight down, so it took a while for us to figure out the defense side of last night,” Ross said on Wednesday.

Nansemond-Suffolk also had to overcome what Ross regarded as mental errors in the service game with 12 missed serves.

NSA was able to re-take control of the match in the final two sets with some help from junior setter Nicole Wright, who registered a career-high 50 assists on the night to go with 17 digs and two kills.

Nansemond-Suffolk (21-7, 6-0) hosts Cape Henry Collegiate School on Thursday, senior night.