It happens, Stone Bridge volleyball coach Jill Raschiatore said, on a near-weekly basis. Senior middle hitter Samantha Ingersoll will do something on the court that makes Raschiatore turn to one of her assistant coaches -- mouth open and head shaking -- just to be sure she wasn't the only one who witnessed it.
"To this day she does things that amaze me, and you'd think I'd be used to it," Raschiatore said. "But she's just stunning to watch. She's the complete package: physical ability, mental smarts and with a heart and a drive to succeed that forces her to improve constantly."
Many believe volleyball is not even Ingersoll's best sport. Ingersoll, who is widely regarded as the most well-rounded female athlete in Loudoun County, is also a standout shortstop on the softball team -- and that is likely the path she will pursue next season in college. She is currently entertaining several Division I offers for softball but is still waiting to see if any schools offer her the chance to play both sports.
"Right now it looks like my major options will allow me only to play" softball, Ingersoll said. "But I'm not ready to commit to anything just yet."
Ingersoll first earned All-Met and all-state honors last season in volleyball, leading Stone Bridge to its second consecutive appearance in the Virginia AA Region II playoffs. She totaled 332 kills, 269 digs, 50 aces, 28 solo blocks and 49 block assists on the season. She then followed that performance by earning second-team All-Met and all-Region II honors in softball in the spring, batting .443 with 28 hits (13 for extra bases), 17 RBI and 30 runs.
This season Ingersoll has led the Bulldogs, new members of the AAA Liberty District, to a 6-2 start, including consecutive sweeps of Centreville and Robinson last week.
"We definitely broke loose last week," said Ingersoll, one of three returning starters for the Bulldogs. "Earlier this year things were a little rocky in practice because we were trying to get to know everyone and to find the right combination with the lineup. But now that we've settled into a rotation, we're more confident on the court. We're starting to trust each other a lot more."
Raschiatore said improved passing and defense by other players are helping Ingersoll begin to overwhelm her opponents at the net.
"What makes Sam so special is that she makes it all look easy, especially on defense," Raschiatore said. "I don't think people really realize what a talented defensive player she is. She can get to balls that most people wouldn't come close on. I think a lot of it is her softball ability, her athleticism. She reaches out to touch a ball with one hand and precisely gets it to the setter like it was a routine pass. That's not just luck. She can actually control a ball like that. Then in the front line she's just a true power hitter who also had the intelligence to mix it up and go off-speed when she needs to. She's just unreal."