South Lakes Volleyball Looking for Strong Second Half

Seahawks hang tough against defending state champ.

“I just want us to get better. By the second half of the season, when we play all the teams the second go-round, we’re looking to sweep those.” —South Lakes head coach Mike Ware

The South Lakes volleyball team had just dropped a four-set match to defending state champion Langley on Thursday, but that didn’t stop head coach Mike Ware from sharing his positive outlook for the remainder of the season.

South Lakes’ setter is learning the position after converting from libero. The team’s top middle is a 14-year-old sophomore playing in just her second season of organized volleyball. And on Thursday, several of the Seahawks were battling illness.

Regardless, South Lakes played tough against Langley, eventually falling to its Liberty District foe, 3-1 (26-24, 18-25, 25-18, 25-21), on Sept. 20 in Reston.

The Seahawks were within striking distance near the end of each set and figure to improve as the season progresses.

“I really think that the girls played well,” Ware said. “I’m really proud of them, to tell you the truth. I told them that. We just couldn’t string it together. It was all about making really, really positive plays, but then a couple of mental errors. When we start to string it together, we’re going to be fine.”

Junior Rose Giusti led the Seahawks with 14 kills. Senior Nikki Corey finished with eight kills and senior Kellie McCrea had seven.

Sophomore Brianna Scott held her own in the middle, totaling eight kills and two blocks.

“That girl,” Ware said, “gets me out of my seat.”

Scott is a 14-year-old basketball player in her second season of playing organized volleyball. She has no club experience, but her talent was evident against Langley, when she blocked 6-foot-4 Saxon junior Olivia Franke, a 2017 VHSL first-team all-state selection who is committed to Wake Forest.

“It gave me inspiration because if I can block her, then I can probably block anybody,” Scott said. “She’s a really good hitter. It felt really nice to block her.”

Helping set up her South Lakes teammates was junior Zena Suzuki, a former libero who moved into the setter role this season.

“We would have been dead without that girl,” Ware said. “She’s still learning.”

The loss dropped South Lakes to 5-4 overall and 1-1 in the district. The Seahawks faced rival Herndon on Tuesday, after The Connection’s deadline.

Next up for South Lakes is a road match against Washington-Lee at 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 27.

The Seahawks will begin the second half of their district schedule on Oct. 4 against McLean.

“After the game (against Langley), their confidence level is high,” Ware said. “Even in the matches that we’ve come up short in, they’ve been in every single one. They feel really confident. They know it’s just a matter of time before we make that next step.

“I just want us to get better. By the second half of the season, when we play all the teams the second go-round, we’re looking to sweep those.”