Albemarle volleyball advances to Commonwealth final

Albemarle leaned on its serving Tuesday night to grab a 3-1 victory over North Stafford, topping the Wolverines to earn a berth in the Commonwealth District final.

The Patriots will tackle nemesis Colonial Forge in the championship, the teams’ fourth meeting of the year.

Several big runs at the service line by Megan Napolitano, Sarah Terlesky and Savannah Morse anchored the Saints. Morse’s run was perhaps most dominant as she ripped off three aces during a string of points to give Albemarle a 10-3 lead that they never relinquished.

“Savannah has been a consistent server but she’s not been a real aggressive server,” said Albemarle coach Mark Ragland. “Tonight she came out and skimmed the net on two or three of them and that’s something we’ve been looking for out of her.”

Terlesky had a pair of critical runs in the game one and game three wins, while Napolitano ripped off a huge seven-point explosion to cap game four, winning 25-12 after being up 18-12.

“That’s the best serving we’ve had all season as far as serving tough and keeping it inbounds,” Ragland said. “We got a lot of easy points off of basically the first serve.”

Albemalre came within a point of winning game two, but a borderline call on a ball that was tipped by North Stafford that was hit by Strauss cost them the 2-0 advantage. Albemarle led 24-20 before the no-call, and North Stafford rallied to grab a 26-24 win after bring awarded the point.   

Kelly Barker came up with eight kills for the Patriots, while Megan Napolitano led Albemarle with 17 kills, along the way setting a new school record for kills in a single season. She broke Kara Elder’s mark, set in 2008 during the Patriots’ run to the state title. Napolitano also ripped off seven aces during Albemarle’s dominance at the service line.

Napolitano wasn’t the only record-setting Albemarle player either. Sophomore Jessie Block broke former star Abby Hendrix’s single season assists record during her 35-assist effort.

Stephanie Strauss managed a seven-block night to add to the huge statistical outing for the Patriots.