By Tommy Keeler Jr.
STEPHENS CITY -- Last week, Sherando sophomore Kelsey Singhas got her first taste of what the Sherando-James Wood rivalry was like. The outside hitter was unfazed by the atmosphere in James Wood's gym or the pressure of the match.
Singhas came out strong, with eight kills in the first two sets, to help keep the Warriors close in an eventual three-set loss.
"She was on fire," Sherando coach Chuck Ashby said of the performance. "And it was tough for them to stop her."
Singhas followed that up with a career-high 14 kills in a four-set win over Millbrook two nights later. Those two back-to-back performances helped Singhas to become The Northern Virginia Daily's Female Athlete of the Week for the week of Sept. 29-Oct. 5.
It's Singhas' first full year on the varsity squad after being called up at the end of last season, and she said she was excited to play against arch-rival James Wood.
"Both teams were energized," Singhas said. "We were pumped up in the locker room. We were just screaming and getting hyped for the game. It was fun."
The Warriors lost the first set against Millbrook, but Singhas helped guide the Warriors back into the match and eventually get the victory.
"I couldn't have done it without my team," Singhas said of her Millbrook match. "You need the passers and you need the setters."
Singhas entered the week with a team-high 137 kills. She had another 12 kills in a win over Skyline on Monday, and has reached double figures in kills in four consecutive matches.
Ashby said it took her a little time to adjust to the varsity level, but her game is taking off and she's gaining confidence all the time.
"She's pushed herself in practice," Ashby said. "She's been working on it. She's been working on attacking from the middle. She's been working on the slide. She's really pushed herself to become a better player."
Sherando has a young squad, but Singhas is the only sophomore on the team. However, she is not the only underclassmen on the squad. Freshman hitter Mackenzie Cornwell is also having a strong season, and is second on the team in kills.
Singhas said it has helped having another youngster on the team.
"I've been playing with her in travel ball," Singhas said of Cornwell. "She's a good player and a good hitter. We play the same position, and she's my warm-up partner. We're the youngest on the team, so we're mostly together all the time."
The Warriors are off to another solid season, despite having a young squad with only three seniors.
Singhas said the team hasn't reached its full potential yet.
"I feel like we're doing good so far, but we can do even better," Singhas said. "We just need to focus on our games, not get down and just stay up."
Ashby said he hasn't been surprised by her success. He said he knew the potential she's had from seeing her at the club level and at the JV level.
For Ashby, seeing her confidence grow and grow has been a wonderful thing to watch.
"When she gets it going -- she's exciting," Ashby said. "You see her play games like the James Wood match and then continue to gain confidence, and then play games like Millbrook and Skyline. Those are tough teams. I think she's really started to pick it up and put this team on her shoulders a little bit."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or email@example.com Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd