Senior night at Stone Bridge on Tuesday was all about All-Met middle hitter Samantha Ingersoll. She is the only senior in the Bulldogs' volleyball program -- and that includes the team's managers.
"It's the Sam show," Coach Jill Raschiatore said.
It didn't end with pregame recognition. After emerging first though the long tunnel created by the freshman and junior varsity players and accepting flowers at mid-court while her impressive resume was read, the 5-foot-11 standout pummeled defending AAA Liberty District champion Langley with her powerful jump serve and exceptional play at the net, leading Stone Bridge to a 25-16, 25-22, 25-19 victory. The win wraps up the AAA Liberty District title for the Bulldogs in their first year in the district. Stone Bridge has one regular season game remaining, tonight at South Lakes.
"For my senior year, this is all I could have asked for from my team," Ingersoll said. "It's all I could have hoped for."
Ingersoll, who has committed to play softball next season at North Carolina, is the only volleyball player to have started all four seasons for the Bulldogs, having played in 94 consecutive matches and a total of 314 games. By the end of her junior season, Ingersoll had seven school records.
She added to her impressive totals Tuesday, pacing the Bulldogs with a match-high 14 kills and four aces.
"I love my school," Ingersoll said. "And I love being a part of this team. And that really comes from how hard we work and how much fun we have with all the teams, from freshman and JV to varsity. We're all close."
The Bulldogs will host a quarterfinal game in the AAA Liberty District tournament at 5 p.m. Monday and also will serve as the pre-selected hosts for the semifinal and final rounds Tuesday and next Thursday.
Another Perfect Ending
Top-ranked Loudoun Valley capped its second consecutive undefeated regular season Tuesday with a victory over Park View, 25-19, 25-4, 25-14, to finish 20-0 overall. The win was the 49th straight for the Vikings, who open play in the AAA National District tournament tonight.
"At first there was a little pressure on us because we were trying to fill the spots of the really awesome players from last year," said senior setter Joanie Werling, one of five newcomers to join All-Met Blair Brown in the starting rotation. "But as we've played we've gained confidence."
Loudoun Valley is the Virginia AA champion but is seeking to win in Class AAA. A state title there -- the goal all season in what the Vikings have dubbed their "Running Down the Dream Tour" -- would be the team's fourth in six seasons.
"Since the beginning of the season, winning another state title has been our goal," Brown said. "This team has a lot to offer that people haven't had a chance to see yet. We have a lot of young players. But people will know who they are in a couple of weeks.
"We're 49-0 now. I don't see why we can't keep that going."
A Banner Season
Heritage wrapped up its first AA Dulles District title with a week remaining in its regular-season schedule. It is the second team title in the school's four-year history. The Pride won its other team title in golf this fall.
"It feels amazing to be a part of this," said senior Kaitlin Petrella, one of three seniors on the Pride. "The whole season, that's all we've been focused on. With Stone Bridge and Loudoun Valley moving up to [Class] AAA, we knew this was our year."
Petrella said that as nice as it will be to return to the school someday and see the regular-season title banner hanging, the team would most like to double -- or triple -- that experience.
"We haven't reached all of our goals yet," she said. "We want to win the district tournament, too, and make it as far as we can in regionals. We just have to keep believing in ourselves."