The 2023 State Champions of D.C. and VISAA
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State champions have been identified for Washington D.C. and the Independent schools in Virginia that compete in the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association (VISAA). Two of my preseason picks, Flint Hill and Georgetown Day have been victorious. D.C. State Championship…
State champions have been identified for Washington D.C. and the Independent schools in Virginia that compete in the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association (VISAA). Two of my preseason picks, Flint Hill and Georgetown Day have been victorious.
D.C. State Championship
While Washington D.C. is not technically a state they do have the District of Colombia Athletic Association (DCSAA) tournament that identifies the top volleyball team in DC. In the early years St. Johns dominated the tournament, but the competition is getting stronger. In 2021 Jackson-Reed (then Willson High School) became the first public DC high school to win the tournament. This year Georgetown Day defeated Jackson Reed to become the first DC school since St. Johns (2018 and 2019) to win back to back tournaments.
For the second year in a row setterwas voted the MVP for the tournament, leading Georgetown Day to the sweep, 25-11, 25-18 and 25-12. The match ended with a back set to one of her favorite weapons, , who finished the match with a spike to the floor for her 14th kill. Earlier in the bracket Georgetown Day had to get past St. Johns, which they did easily 25-22, 25-6, 25-11. They also swept past Washington Latin Public Charter school 25-6, 25-7 and 25-5.
Flint Hill Wins VISAA Division I Championship
When you watch these two teams warm up it almost seems like you are about to watch a Division I college match. Perhaps the reasoning is that many of these players have committed to Division I.(Pittsburgh), (Georgetown) and (Bucknell) from Flint Hill and (Colorado State) and (Vanderbilt) from O’Connell have committed to Division I schools. There are also a number of players juniors or below who have the potential to play for Division I colleges in the near future but have yet to commit.
While Flint Hill won the match in four there was some intense play. The first set may have determined the match. With the score tied 18-18 Flint Hill took advantage of a poor passing run by O’Connell to take the set 25-19. That poor passing continued in the second set to give the Huskes a 25-17 win. After two sets the Knights had set the middles 12 times and achieved no kills. The Huskies middles(14 kills) and (9 kills) were much more active.
The Knights showed no quit and blocked their way to an early 13-3 lead to start off the third set.(6 blocks) and (4 blocks) rejected a number of Flint Hill spikes. The Huskes battled back and got to within three points but eventually lost 25-18.
The Huskes switched things around in the fourth set. They took advantage of the 18 substitution rule allowed for high school. When they were serving a taller blocker would come in forin the front row while set in the back row. When they were in serve receive Natalie came back in the game to set in the front row. The strategy appeared to work as Flint Hill won the fourth set 25-17, the last kill a missile by that began the pile on for their sixth straight VISAA state championship (2020 there was no season). Next year they will be losing five of the 11 rostered players to graduation. Somehow, Flint Hill manages to get it done.
finished with a triple double (18 kills, 14 digs and 20 assists). also had 18 kills and showed some defensive skills with 18 digs, many of them one handed digs as she dove to the floor to prevent a kill. The Huskie defense proved to be the difference in the game. seemed like a magnet to the ball, scooping up 27 digs. The trio of Huang, Murray and also showed exemplary passing skills in the back row, allowing Natalie to set the middles while creating one person blocks on the outside .
For Bishop O’Connell,led the team with 13 kills, most of them occurring when she was hitting outside in the first two sets. accumulated 12 kills.
The Division II match saw Nansemond-Suffolk Academy win in four over Covenant. Like the Division I game the Saints won the first two sets 25-21 and 25-17. The Eagles bounced back to take the third set 25-19 but faltered in the fourth set 25-18.
The two big offensive contributors for the Saints were Kyra Bradford and Marin McGowan. Kyra plays middle and has some hops to bury balls to the floor while Marin stands 6’0″ with a powerful arm to crash balls high off the blocks. Marisa Krivanec also showed good potential from the left side. The setting duties were shared by Haley Price and Jossy Byars. Haley has a good jump to deliver spikes but stands just 5’5″ so blocking could be an issue. Gracie Brooks scrambled well on defense as the libero. The future looks bright for the Saints as the only senior among that group is Bradford. Junior middle Malli Groves finished the game off with a kill.
The Eagles look set for the future as well with 8th grader Kella Lemcke hitting from the left side. She finished the game with 8 kills. The other outside, junior Cara Hamil led the team in kills with 9. Their two sophomore middles Miller Grimes and Kerrigan Poindexter also finished the game with 8 kills. Older sister and libero Delaney Poindexter is only a junior. She has a good platform and strong hands for receiving serve and shows good hustle on defense. Both sisters also play basketball and lacrosse, bringing athleticism to the court.
The Division III matchup went five with Stonebridge avenging an earlier loss to Chelsea Academy. It was the only loss for Stonebridge all year. After splitting the first four sets 25-21, 14-25, 25-23 and 17-25 Stonebridge took a commanding 13-6 lead in set five.brought Chelsea to within two 14-12 with back to back kills but Payton Weatherford finished the game off for Stonebridge with the last of her 11 kills. The 8th grader also contributed three blocks. Elise Tomlinson finished with 7 kills from the middle. The big hitter for the Cavaliers senior Amelia Watson finished the game with 29 kills. Amelia is number two in the state of Virginia with 598 kills, according to stats from Max Preps.
Division IV had Fuqua down Blessed Sacrament-Huguenot in four, 25-16, 17-25, 25-23 and 25-21. Fuqua had swept the Knights all three times they had played them during the season so getting one win had to feel like an accomplishment.
The public schools in Virginia began their first round of state playoff action, trimming the finalists from eight to four. In class 6 action Madison and Langly advanced with sweeps over Cosby and Deep Run. The other two matches went five with Battlefield eliminating West Springfield and Colonial Forge doing the same to Woodson.
Three of the five sets in the Battlefield match were won by just two points with West Springfield winning the second set 26-24 and the fourth set 29-27. Battlefield took the first set 29-27 and won the last set 15-9. Colonial Forge had two wins of two points, the third set 26-24 and the most important fifth set 16-14.finished with 17 kills and 10 aces in a losing effort for Woodson.
Class 5 saw three first round sweeps. First Colonial swept Woodside, Kellam swept Menchville and Riverside swept Patrick Henry. It took five sets but Riverbend eliminated defending champ Midlothian. Riverbend won the last two sets 26-24 and 15-8 to secure their victory. They now have to face Riverside in a semi-final game. The last time these two teams played was in the Regional final when Riverside won in five.
Class 4 saw three sweeps with Jamestown taking down Courtland, Blacksburg eliminating Rock Ridge and James Wood doing the same to Loudoun County. Hanover defeated Smithfield in four.
Hannah Barham led Jamestown in kills (11) for their win.contributed a match best 14 kills and 4 blocks to lead James Wood.
Grafton and Hidden Valley appear to be heading toward a Class 3 final matchup. Grafton swept Kettle Run and Hidden Valley put the broom to Rustburg.