The Flint Hill volleyball team doesn’t much care for losing. You have to go all the way back to an Oct. 12 matchup against undefeated Loudoun County — ranked No. 1 in the DMV by the Washington Post — to find the last time Flint Hill dropped a set, let alone a match.
It was appropriate, then, that the Huskies ended their season in the same way they have five of the past six years: with a state championship victory. Flint Hill (31-3) breezed past Paul VI Catholic (25-6) in straight sets on Saturday to put the finishing touches on yet another season of dominance.
Flint Hill coach Carrol Anderson did everything in her power to make this season challenging for her girls. She scheduled private and public school powers like Liberty Christian, Paul VI, O’Connell, Broad Run, Kellam, Chantilly and Robinson, but none of those teams proved good enough to take down the two-time defending city champion Huskies. Close matches against state juggernauts Nansemond-Suffolk, Atlee and Loudoun County accounted for their only losses this fall.
“This team probably had the best chemistry of any of the other state championship teams that I’ve coached,” Anderson said. “There was no drama; there were no egos; there was no selfishness. They knew they had to play together to get it done, and that was what was most important to them. To me that’s the biggest reason why they were so successful.”
The Huskies’ tough regular-season schedule prepared them well for the playoffs. They didn’t drop a single set in their six postseason matches, capping the Independent School League AA Division tournament with a 25-10, 25-18, 25-14 win over Holy Cross, followed by a straight-set victory against Cape Henry Collegiate and a 25-16, 25-23, 25-11 triumph over Paul VI in last Saturday’s Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division I final at Fredericksburg Christian School.
Flint Hill accomplished all that with the help of just one senior. Erica Narel—a springy 5-foot-11 middle blocker committed to play for N.C. State next year—is the Huskies’ lone graduating player this year, which doesn’t bode well for their opponents next season. Among those returning will be junior outside hitter Ally Ford, who led the Huskies in kills this year. Junior setter Allie Fellows, who had 31 assists in Saturday’s final, will be back to run the offense, as will junior libero Gracie Anderson, perhaps the team’s best passer and defender.
Coach Anderson knows Narel’s leadership qualities and prowess around the net will be missed, but she’s confident her squad has the right pieces in place to do it all over again next year.
“Everybody will be a year older and more experienced, so I think we certainly have a chance to have the same goals and be able to reach them if we work like we did this year,” she said.