St. Stephen's/St. Agnes middle hitter Madia Willis came up big in a key early season volleyball test yesterday for the Saints. The 5-foot-10 senior helped her team to its fourth straight victory, 15-11, 15-8, 15-9, over visiting Bishop Ireton as she tallied 14 kills, 3 blocks and 2 aces.
"She's a great hitter," Ireton Coach Victor Troyan said of Willis. "She cranks. She puts a lot of velocity on the ball, and if you're not there [in position], you're not going to get it."
Although Ireton (5-5) competes in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference and St. Stephen's/St. Agnes (4-0) plays in the Independent School League, the match had impact on the Virginia Independent School League standings, which determine postseason tournament seedings.
Both teams were shorthanded. Ireton was missing two middle blockers--both of whom would have helped against Willis. Senior Stephanie Smith and sophomore Paige Rasmussen, who missed school Monday with the flu, competed yesterday. Rasmussen tallied three kills and two blocks, and Smith added six kills and a block.
"I think they were exhausted," St. Stephen's/St. Agnes Coach Betsey Rice said of Rasmussen and Smith. "But they didn't let up. They kept on playing."
Willis, who was in the bleachers before the game studying biology, keeps plenty busy when not on the volleyball court. An honor roll student, she is president of the school's student government and sings in two choral groups. She is also the two-time VISL outdoor shot put and discus champion.
Willis said all this is accomplished in spite of a lack of organizational skills.
"I would think I'd be real organized, but I'm not," Willis said. "You can ask anyone--that's probably my biggest fault. So I just continually think of things to do and then do them."
Notes: Senior Amaya Arrien led Bishop Ireton with nine kills and two aces. The 5-7 setter/outside hitter caught the Saints off-guard early in the match with a number of powerful spikes. "Amaya is the heart and soul of this team and she can really hit the ball," Troyan said.