Lady Saints runners-up at states

Published 10:20 pm Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Nansemond-Suffolk Academy volleyball team finished as runners-up in the VISAA Division II state championship on Saturday, having been defeated by Middleburg Academy.

After playing what the Lady Saints described as their best game in the semifinals last Friday, they lost the state championship game 3-1 at Richard Bland College. After a shaky first set, the Lady Saints played much better in the second but only won the third set. In the fourth set, it was tied 23-23 before a couple of errors by the Lady Saints ended the game.

“It came down to errors, and we made too many,” Lady Saints coach Robyn Ross said. “On Friday we were near perfect, and on Saturday we didn’t have the leeway to make errors as we could have in previous games.”

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“Even though we didn’t win, we fought really hard to come back,” senior Logan Harrell said. “Not many teams can come back and take a set from a team like Middleburg after losing the first two.”

The Lady Saints finished the season with a 24-5 record, including a TCIS regular season championship. Also, the season included players such as Livi Bono and Harrell becoming a part of NSA history. Bono hit the 1,000 mark for her career in kills, and Harrell became the all-time leader in digs for the NSA program.

“The girls are proud of what they did,” Ross said. “Especially because we played teams that outsized us, so for them to do what they did this year against much bigger and physical teams is amazing.”

“I believe we had a successful season, even though the championship game didn’t give us the victory,” Lady Saints senior Nicole Wright said. “We gave it our all and fought to the last point. I am proud of our team’s performances.”

Ross said this season was a little more emotional than those in the past, because every night the Lady Saints stepped on the floor, they never knew what they were going to get. Over the course of the season, the younger players progressed in ways that increased their effectiveness in the team’s state championship run.

“It was really cool to see how the younger girls progressed through the season,” Ross said. “They were making huge impacts in the state tournament. You don’t get to see what people are made of at that age very often.”

Ross is excited about the future and who she has returning while also grateful to have the opportunity to coach the seniors she had this season.

“I am so proud of how we did,” Harrell said. “My team never gave up, and that’s something we had been working on all season.”