RICHMOND — Langley libero Sisi Holderman is a diminutive 5 feet 3 — in her volleyball shoes. And unlike most liberos who simply wear a different color jersey, Holderman instead dons a loose long-sleeve shirt. The captain grips the sleeves to get a better feel for the ball when returning serves and kill attempts.
“You get burns, so I wear long sleeves every day to practice,” Holderman said. “Plus, I have short arms so I feel much more comfortable in the long sleeve shirt.”
The senior captain’s choice of apparel came in handy Wednesday as she posted a team-high 17 digs, and No. 5 Langley defeated Forest Park in four sets, 25-21, 25-22, 13-25, 25-15, at Siegel Center. Langley will face First Colonial on Saturday at 9 p.m. in the 6A final. The Patriots (27-2) defeated Osbourn Park in the second semifinal in five sets.
The Saxons were consistently in position defensively and the Bruins blocked just five of their kill attempts, a byproduct of watching clips of Forest Park (24-5) on YouTube for three days in preparation for the match.
Langley (25-3), as its tendency has been throughout the season, struggled in a middle set — the Saxons had 17 unforced errors in the third set. But Coach Susan Shifflett said she wasn’t worried at any point in the set.
“We do this, we like to lose a set,” Shifflett said. “We lose big, we don’t lose a little. We just take a set off and need to take a deep breath.” . . .
One set from advancing to its first state title appearance, Osbourn Park hit a dry spell from which it could not recover and fell to First Colonial in the other 6A semifinal, 22-25, 18-25, 25-15, 25-18, 15-8.
“In the first two sets we thought we had it because we beat them easily,” junior Megan Onyundo said. “But we didn’t put 100 percent in those sets. I feel like we were off, bad passes led to bad hits and it just wasn’t there.”
Onyundo led the team with 21 kills and senior Emily Craig posted 34 assists for the Yellow Jackets (19-10), who have just two seniors on the roster.
“This is only the second team in school history to make state semifinal,” Coach Michele Blue said. “We have a lot to be proud of and I fully expect to be back here again next year, fighting and getting a bit further.”
In its fourth straight trip to Siegel Center, No. 3 Stone Bridge overwhelmed Princess Anne, 25-11, 25-15, 26-24. The Bulldogs (27-2) will face the winner of Thursday’s Atlee-Broad Run semifinal in Saturday’s 7 p.m. final.
“In the third game we were down, and in the previous games we’ve been in we have fallen behind in the third game,” junior Shannon Williams said. “As a team we’ve been able to come back and fight, I think that shows a lot about our team.”
Williams had a team-high 17 kills and senior Libby Haslett posted 12 for a balanced Bulldogs attack that had six different players post kills.
“We all have the same goals, and we’re all on the same page,” Haslett said. “We’ve been here so many times before, and we know that if we want it we can get it.