The Saints varsity volleyball team finished 22-16 during the 2019 season and made it allthe way to the 5A semifinals as the 10th seed in the tournament. The season was full ofindividual and team highlights.
Senior outside hitter Jessica Terlizzi reached 1,000 kills during the game against Tempe McClintock on October 1st. When asked about if she thought she would get 1,000 career kills when she started playing as a freshman, Terlizzi said, “Not at all. I didn’t keep track of my stats really until junior year when I made the 1st all conference team. After that, I was motivated to finish my senior season with the record for kills at NDP and top of the leaderboard for kills statewide.”
Terlizzi recently signed to play at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. She broke the record for career kills at NDP previously held by Willow Johnson, who is currently a senior right side hitter at Oregon (NDP class of 2016).
Terlizzi led the Saints to a successful season, upsetting the #2 seed Cactus Shadows in the quarterfinals. Junior middle hitter Kandace Kramer said the team “surprised Cactus Shadows in the quarterfinals, because not only were they seated 2nd in the state while we were seated 10th, but they previously beat us twice in the regular season; however, we went into quarters with confidence that we did not necessarily have when we played them in the regular season. We had a goal to make it further into state, and we were determined to meet it.” Kramer had a strong quarterfinals with four kills and four blocks.
The Saints put in an exceptional amount of work to make it to the playoffs. Kramer said,“We used our entire school season as a way to prepare for playoffs. We lifted in the weight room twice a week, practiced every weekday, and played multiple games and tournaments. For the actual playoff game, we would watch film and run simple drills in order to mentally prepare.”
The Saints focused on keeping a positive mindset while battling through the adversity of playoffs. As one of the senior leaders on the team, senior setter and Lafayette College (PA) signee Jessica Skemp said, “I like to think I’ve stayed really positive throughout playoffs. This is something that I have been working hard on because I know how much one person’s attitude can affect the rest of the team. I knowhow easy it is to get down on yourself or upset in the face of stress, so I like to try to generate happiness and relief when I can.”
The Saints were eliminated from the playoffs in the semifinals against the #6 seed Sunnyslope. When it comes to what the team could have done differently during this match, junior setter Denae Pitts said, “Sunnyslope had an incredible block up on our outside hitters, and it was difficult to make the adjustment to rely on the right side hitters and middle blockers alone, seeing as most sets usually go to the outside. The communication aspect of the game also faltered on our side of the net in the final sets, which could have helped our momentum and energy.”
It was an amazing season with everything that they did in the playoffs, making it all the way to the semifinals.