Sellers makes all-state first team

Published 8:29 pm Friday, December 18, 2015

The Nansemond-Suffolk Academy girls’ tennis team that advanced as far as the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division II state semifinals this year had two representatives when the 2015 all-state honors were announced.

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy junior No. 1 singles player Elvie Sellers made the VISAA Division II all-state first team for the second consecutive year.

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy junior No. 1 singles player Elvie Sellers made the VISAA Division II all-state first team for the second consecutive year.

A committee of coaches from the Division I and Division II levels voted Lady Saints junior No. 1 singles player Elvie Sellers to the VISAA Division II all-state first team, and NSA senior No. 2 singles player Ria Khandpur made the second team.

Sellers’ selection makes it two years in a row that she been named to the all-state first team.

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“She certainly deserved it,” Nansemond-Suffolk coach Sheryl Raulston said. “She finished the year undefeated against all the Division II opponents all the way through the state tournament. As a junior, that’s quite impressive.”

The coach said she thought Sellers’ undefeated Division II record was key to why the committee put her on the first team. “She also had a really strong doubles season, too.”

The Lady Saints play Division I teams as well as Division II squads during the regular season, which made her a familiar force to multiple coaches on the committee.

In No. 1 singles matches during the regular season, Sellers went 10-4, then 2-1 in the conference tournament and 2-0 in the state tournament, finishing with a 14-5 overall record.

In No. 1 doubles matches, she and Khandpur went 7-7 during the regular season, 2-1 in the conference tourney and 1-0 in the state tourney for an overall record of 10-8.

“I was really excited,” Sellers said of her latest all-state first team honor. “I was really thankful I got it for the second year in a row. I think it’s a great honor. I really appreciate it.”

She used her performances against good friend and Hampton Roads Academy No. 1 singles player Joyce Fields as a measure to help explain why she thought she repeated as an all-state first team honoree.

While Sellers traded wins and losses with Fields last season, “this year, I didn’t lose to her at all, so I thought that was pretty good,” she said, before adding that her only losses came to Division I opponents.

“I think I had a better season this year than I did last year,” Sellers said.

Ria Khandpur, one of the 2015 Lady Saints’ three team captains, went 9-10 overall this season in No. 2 singles matches. After starting the regular season slowly, “she came back and won the conference matches when it counted,” Raulston said.

She ended up going 5-3 in the Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools during the regular season, generating a 7-7 overall record during that stretch. She went 1-2 in the conference tourney, placing fourth behind Sellers and two Division I players, then went 1-1 in the state tourney.

“I thought she really stepped it up this year being her senior year and playing with Elvie in doubles,” Raulston said.