Singhas becoming complete player for Warriors

By Tommy Keeler Jr.

STEPHENS CITY — Kelsey Singhas is known for her ability to attack and hit the ball hard for a kill, but this season the Sherando junior is doing a little bit of everything for the Warriors volleyball team.

Singhas has improved in all areas, and it has helped Sherando pick up more wins.

“She’s a good defensive player. I think her passer rating is 1.7, 1.8, which is pretty good for a girl that doesn’t play much defense,” Sherando coach James Minney said. “She’s really becoming an all-around player.”

Minney said Singhas is also one of the top servers on the team. Even though she’s improved in other areas, make no mistake about it — Singhas’ hitting is still a key asset to the team.

She’s even improved on that part of her game.

“I used to jump out instead of jumping up, so my vertical is better,” Singhas said. “That’s helped with my hitting a lot.”

That improvement has led to some big matches for Singhas in the last week. She reached double-digits in kills in a win over Heritage last week. She then followed that up with seven kills and two blocks against rival Handley on Thursday.

Her strong week helped earn her The Northern Virginia Daily’s Female Athlete of the Week for Sept. 14-20.

The Warriors started out slow, losing their first four matches, but have won their last three — all in straight sets.

One of the keys has been the play of Sherando’s two setters — Kelsie Utz and Kelsea Wilkins. It’s the first year for each of them at the varsity level, and the hitters and the setters are starting to mesh on the court.

“They came in and they filled the spot really well,” Singhas said of Utz and Wilkins. “They’re doing well. We’re running the 6-2 [offense], so it’s different to have a setter for two rotations and then another setter for another. I’m getting used to it. I’m pretty sure the other hitters are getting used to it, too.”

In the three-set win over Handley, Singhas had only one hitting error in the match, which Minney said is something she’s really improved on this season.

It also helped Singhas to have middle hitters 6-foot-2 Michelle Baker and 6-foot-1 Melissa Gaudette playing well. The two combined for 11 blocks in the match.

“Their timing is always on,” Singhas said of Baker and Gaudette. “They’re just amazing at blocking. It helps a lot because Michelle is always on my side, so anyone trying to get a cut shot, she has me covered and all the defensive players she has them covered, too.”

Singhas had a breakout year last season as she led the Warriors with 178 kills and had 17 blocks.

Minney said her success last season has carried over into this year.

“It gives her a lot of confidence in attacking,” Minney said. “She’s not afraid to hit the ball, and that’s one of the things I try to teach the girls here is hit first and tip later.”

Singhas also gained plenty of confidence playing on travel teams, which she said she’s done since eighth grade. This past spring she played with Eastern Panhandle Volleyball club, which consists mostly of players from Musselman (W.Va.) and James Wood.

Singhas said it was a little bit of an adjustment learning to play with players from rival James Wood, but it was a lot of fun.

“They’re all really nice, so I got used to [playing with them],” Singhas said. “Trying to play at their level, you got to step it up a little bit.”

The Warriors have a very young squad this season, which includes four sophomores and seven juniors.

Singhas said she thinks the Warriors will continue to rise and play better as the season goes on.

“I think we’re starting to mesh now,” Singhas said. “I definitely think we’re going to get a lot more wins, and we’re playing at a higher level than we were at the beginning. I just think we’re going to do better and better each time we play.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd