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NSA falls in state semis

The Nansemond-Suffolk Academy volleyball season came to an end after a 3-0 loss Friday to Middleburg Academy.

For the third consecutive season, NSA suffered a loss to Middleburg in the playoffs. Last season, NSA lost in the state championship game, and this season they met in the state semifinals last Friday.

NSA came into the Middleburg matchup undersized, as they have with many opponents this season. However, NSA led for much of the first set. Coach Robyn Ross believes if NSA could have secured that first set, it would have made a difference in the Saints’ mental game.

“Overall, they played great in that match,” Ross said. “Considering everything, we played well. Getting that first set would have made a huge difference for us, I believe.”

Despite the state semifinal loss, NSA finished a strong season once again. For the seventh straight year, the Lady Saints advanced to at least the state tournament. With only one senior this year, NSA had a young team and will be returning one next year as well. NSA rode the underdog mentality to a 24-10 record.

“We love being underestimated and not thought of as being a factor,” Ross said. “For us, we always know that we will be a factor because of how we work and go about things. These girls wanted to prove that even though they were young and little that they were still going to be a factor and threat. They did not just talk about it; they made it happen.”

The Lady Saints knew they were in a position to be successful this year as they always are. They knew the work ethic instilled by Ross and the fundamentals they work so hard on daily overshadowed anything the Saints lacked that was out of their control.

“We know that if we do what we are taught to do, we hang with about any team out there,” Ross said. “We don’t pay too much attention to what people think about us, because we decide our fate. We go into matches thinking we can win, whereas others may not think that about us. We like it that way.”

After Friday’s loss, Ross reminded her team how far they have come. Even though they are sad the season is over, the Lady Saints far exceeded expectations.