RICHMOND — When Susan Shifflett took over the Langley volleyball program in 1998, several of her current players were two years old, and others weren’t even born.
But after Saturday’s win in the Virginia 6A final, Shifflett and this group of Saxons will be etched in Langley sports history after winning the program’s first state volleyball title.
In their final game together, the No. 5 Saxons wanted to be perfect.
They came out hot and never looked back en route to a straight-set win over First Colonial, 25-20, 25-12, 25-22.
The victory ended Shifflett’s season on a high after it began with the loss of her father, Bill Svensen, to bone cancer at age 79.
“We’ve had a really up and down season, for me personally and the team,” Shifflett said as she fought back tears.
Langley (27-3) scouted First Colonial’s offense prior to Saturday’s matchup and it showed, as three players posted double-digit digs:Jessica Donaldson (11 digs, eight kills) Alex Andrejev (12 digs, seven kills) and Sisi Holderman (11 digs).
Rachel Andrejev added a team-high 10 kills.
“We had many team meetings and we knew we had to come out strong,” Rachel Andrejev said. “Whoever came out stronger would decide the game, and we did that.”
After Langley won the first two sets without much trouble, Shifflett huddled the seniors for one last time to tell them to take charge of this game. First Colonial had just rallied from a two-set deficit in Wednesday’s semifinal against Osbourn Park, and nothing had been decided.
The Saxons pulled out the third set to complete the win and spark a celebration.
“We saw them come back and we knew what they were capable of,” Alex Andrejev said. “We told each other to play this game like it’s the fifth set and like every point is match point.”