The Highland Hawks placed second in the North Cross Invitational volleyball tournament Saturday on the road in Roanoke.
"We played well as a team and had good individual play,” Highland coach Gary Hicklin said. “I was proud and pleased with our performance at this stage of our development and season."
By going 2-1 in the tournament, the Hawks improved their record to 4-2 overall (1-0 Delaney Athletic Conference). Juniors Miranda Shaw and Julia Granato made the all-tournament team.
In the championship match, Highland lost to Nansemond Suffolk Academy, 25-14, 25-11, despite eight kills by Granato. The Hawks finished the match with 13 kills and a success rate of 85 percent from the service line.
“A very good team,” Hicklin said of Nansemond Suffolk. “This was a good game to show us where we are currently in our skill. We hope to see them again in the post season.”
In 2012, Nansemond Suffolk Academy ended the Hawks’ season during the semifinals of the VISAA Division II state tournament. Second-seeded Nansemond edged No. 3 Highland, 19-25, 17-25, 25-20, 20-25, keeping the Hawks from winning their fourth state match in program history after they finished the 2011 season as D-II state runner-up.
Earlier in the North Cross Invitational on Saturday, Highland beat Covenant, 25-20, 25-22, to advance to the title game. Granato had 12 kills with a hitting average of .292, while sophomore Sarah Thornhill thwarted Covenant’s attacks in the second game to help the Hawks hold on for a win.
"We weren't as consistent," Hicklin said. "It could have been a more decisive match, but with unforced errors, we allowed Covenant to stay in the game."
In the Hawks’ first match of the tournament, they beat Shenandoah Valley Christian, 25-9, 25-22. Granato had 11 kills and junior Tanya Bopp had six. Highland also had eight aces and got 90 percent of its serves in play.
“Serving was one big strength in the first set," Hicklin said. "It was a good start to the tournament.”
/ On Twitter @jeffmalmgren.