(Middleburg, VA - November 17th, 2016)
Middleburg Academy repeated as State Champions in the Virginia Independent School State Championship (Division II) defeating Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, 3-1.
Middleburg Academy Lady Dragon's Volleyball team played in more matches than any other high school in the State of Virginia, 43 matches with an overall record of 40-3. Considering this is a team of 10 players, the results are highly impressive. The Lady Dragons, finished the season ranked #7 in the State and 310 Nationally. That would place this little team in the top 1% in the country.
In the State Tournament, Middleburg Academy had a quick start against Trinity Christian in the semi-finals and pushed until the final point of victory. As a team, they mastered 49 digs and 6 blocks. Junior Lilly Reilly ‘18 led the team will 11 kills and Junior Emma DiClementi ‘18 finished with 10 kills with set scores of 25-14, 25-13, 25-18.
Middleburg Academy entered the finals as the defending VISAA D2 State Champions and in the first two sets moved the ball quickly and hit hard. The third set the tempo changed and it was clear some nerves were creeping in and the Lady Dragons lost the third set. The fourth set was a point by point match and once again, this talented group came together and worked each point as a team. Freshman Ashleigh Moffett ‘20 stepped up with very aggressive serving, including 3 aces. Sophomore Chelsea Penfield ‘19 demanded attention with 19 booming kills. Junior Lilly Reilly ‘18 continued to swing for a match total of 13 kills and Junior Lilian Vargo ‘19 dished off a total of 35 assists. Defensively the team dug 96 balls with Senior Libero, Alison Thomas ‘17 anchoring the center for the Dragons to pull away with a consecutive state title. 25-12, 25-19, 27-25, 25-23.
Middleburg Academy, a small independent school located in southern Loudoun County, prides itself on the quality of the character in its students. For members of the girls’ volleyball team this was the character of their season. Junior Lilian Vargo ‘19 spoke of a smaller team where “our practices had me touching every ball – and on every drill, that’s the privilege of playing at Middleburg.” The absence of Senior Captain Meagan McDonald ‘17 due to a season ending injury in September, whom the fans affectionately called “Megatron” for the delivery of her powerful kills, meant the team had to reinvent itself over the course of the year. Junior Lilly Reilly ’18 noted, “that this year it really took every single one of us to win . . .we are really like a family.”
Middleburg Academy defeated Division I powerhouses Flint Hill School and Bishop O’Connell early in a regular season matches, and would see their record extend to 34-3. “We were new to this ‘defending champions’ thing . . . so we worked hard to stay focused – we learned a lot about ourselves, and much of that was not to take anything for granted,” said Vargo ‘19.
Jumping, literally, into the fray as new students and freshmen was Ashleigh Moffett ’20 and Kennedy Bryant ‘20. “Kennedy had to be Meagan,” said Reilly ‘18 and the freshmen pair made their presence known. “Ashleigh was her own weather system and a force anytime the ball came off her hand,” said Vargo. Reilly added, “we were sloppy and unfocused playing in the semi-finals having defeated that opponent 4 times before. When we finished the game and watched Nansemond-Suffolk play a stellar game against Peninsula Catholic, we still had great confidence in our ourselves.” Reilly paused, and added, “that’s who we are: confident, skilled and of great character.”