KVA volleyball

Kerr-Vance Academy volleyball player Juliana Negron (21) knocks the ball back over the net while her teammate Blaire Boyd (1) watches during their team’s 3-0 victory over Crossroads Christian on Wednesday night, which advanced KVA into the quarterfinals of the NCISAA 1A Playoffs.

HENDERSON— Kerr-Vance Academy formally started its quest for a third consecutive NCISAA 1A Championship in volleyball on Wednesday evening by defeating Crossroads Christian, 3-0, in the opening round of the playoffs.

KVA head coach Casey Ellington was proud to see her team kick off the postseason with a victory, but she did not mince words when it came to a near-disastrous first set performance from her players and hopes they come out with more energy during the rest of the NCISAA 1A Playoffs.

“We played terrible in the first game,” Ellington said. “I don’t think the girls were as excited as the other team was. Crossroads definitely had the momentum and they were ready to play, but we were not. The girls brought it in the second and third game, and I thought they played to their potential, but they keep standing up straight and aren’t moving their feet around.”

An energetic CCS team took advantage of KVA’s inconsistency at the beginning of the game by pulling out with a five-point advantage, but head coach Greg Hardy had to spend a timeout to keep the momentum going after KVA rebounded to take a 12-10 lead.

CCS managed to stay within striking distance of KVA’s lead, but they found themselves unable to string together points due to multiple self-inflicted errors, which allowed KVA to survive with a 25-17 win in the first set.

After KVA and CCS exchanged points to begin the second set, KVA gradually began to establish control by taking an 8-4 lead. Another timeout by Hardy proved to be ineffective in getting his players composed, as they were forced to regroup for the final set after falling 25-8.

KVA promptly ended CCS’ season by scoring the first seven points in the third set before claiming a 25-10 victory. The loss dropped CCS’ overall record to 0-12 on the year, with the program only registering a point in both games against Community Christian in September.

Although Hardy was disappointed that his team could not get a victory in the shortened 2020 season, he extended his praise towards his players for their hard work towards building team chemistry and knows that everyone, particularly his senior class of Anna Parker, Justice Simmons and Hope Hollingsworth, are departing the season as better individuals.

“I can’t imagine that there is a nicer team out there,” Hardy said. “They love each other and play well with one another. I’m extremely proud to coach these girls. It’s hard to lose, but the losses didn’t break their hearts. They are not losers, but they just didn’t win games. They are champions in my book and champions in God’s eyes.”

While Hardy turns his attention towards early preparations for 2021, Ellington intends to have her players thoroughly focus on maintaining proper footwork and ball handling, as she knows other programs will take advantage of those openings with a state championship on the line.

“We are going to work on a couple of drills that will help keep the girls down and ready for when the ball comes back over the net,” Ellington said. “I think we can improve on serve receiving and passing could be a little bit better as well.”

KVA will stay at home for the quarterfinals of the NCISAA 1A Playoffs on Friday, where they will host Greenfield, who KVA previously defeated on Sept. 25 by a score of 3-0.