• 72°

Young Lady Saints start 2-0

The Nansemond-Suffolk Academy volleyball team is a young one this year. Nevertheless, the Lady Saints have gotten off to a good start.

Last year’s team included players like Livi Bono, Logan Harrell, Lindsay Knierbein and Nicole Wright. All of those girls accounted for numerous All-Conference and All-State selections, while Bono secured Player of the Year awards. That group accomplished great things at NSA, including a 2016 state championship berth.

Coach Robyn Ross finds it exciting to be in the midst of a new season.

“We are really young this year,” Ross said. “They don’t fully know what they are capable of yet. We played well in our first game and I’m hoping that will give them some confidence moving forward to attack the season.”

Ross stresses fundamentals for more than half of the practices. With this year’s team, she makes sure to stress the mental things a bit more. Production this year won’t be expected from only one or two people; it will take a total team effort this year.

“It will take everyone competing at a high level for us to get to where we want to be,” Ross said. “Just like in previous years, we are very undersized in regards to our opponents.”

Offensively, Addy Greene is stepping up to become one of the team’s big hitters. Ross says Greene hits a harder ball than anyone she has seen come through NSA.

Because the team is small, it will have to take a total team effort defensively to get the job done. Freshman Rylee Bono, Livi’s younger sister, is the starting libero for the team. Under Ross’ coaching leadership, no freshman has held that starting position before.

Volleyball is a mental game, and Ross thinks that if her team can stay mentally strong they will stay in every game and can beat quality opponents. Their goals are to always be in better shape, mentally tougher and fundamentally sound than the teams they are facing.

NSA opened its season with victories over Hampton Roads Academy on Tuesday and over Cape Henry on Thursday. Against Cape Henry, the game went to four sets, but the Lady Saints were able to push through and get the win.

Addy Greene led the offense with 18 kills. Rylee Bono led the defense with 21 digs. Ryan Horton with 35 assists.

Ross believes her team is starting to understand why they work on the things that they do in practice.

The Lady Saints will be back in action today in Richmond as they compete in the Richmond Showcase at the Richmond Volleyball Facility.

NSA 3, Cape Henry 1

25-12, 21-25, 25-16, 25-16