Southside Daily’s Joe Saade will bring you a series of team spotlights at the end of every sports season.
Princess Anne (26-4) 5A state champion
Key moment of regular season: Coach Jeff Kinser pointed to an Oct. 18 loss against Maury. At the time, Princess Anne employed a 6-2 offense that had senior Courtland Scharenborg on the right side, setting half the time and hitting the rest. “We decided to make a change,” Kinser said. “We realized that the rotation we were running was not going to win a state championship.” Scharenborg became a full-time setter, and Princess Anne never lost to Maury again.
Key stat: Senior hitter Chase Howard had 31 kills in the state championship game, the most Kinser thinks Howard has had in any game of his career. Howard caught fire in the final two sets with 20 kills combined.
Defining moment of state final (3-1 win over Maury): Princess Anne was up 24-22 in the third set, nearly the same position it was in the set before, when the Cavaliers blew a 24-23 match-point opportunity. Kinser’s group couldn’t afford another rally from Maury. The Cavaliers didn’t let it happen and closed out a 25-23 win with a Howard kill. Maury looked deflated after that loss. The Cavaliers carried the momentum and cruised to a 25-16 fourth-set win.
Coach Jeff Kinser: “When we were on, we were on. It was all making sure that we focused on one individual point at a time, instead of giving up runs and causing issues. It’s a combination of growing as a group. The big difference, the first state championship we won was all about trying to beat Cox. This year, it was, ‘Alright guys, we gotta try to beat PA.’ That’s difficult to try to constantly keep that expectation up.”
Unsung hero: Senior defensive specialist Tanner Roughton “always had a consistent serve, consistent defense and never let a ball touch the ground when he was out there,” Kinser said. He also mentioned middles Josh Best and Andrew Butler as consistent forces. Senior hitter Sean Calida was a presence in big games during the postseason.
Future: The Cavaliers graduate the program’s two most illustrious and dominating players in Scharenborg and Howard, as well as five other seniors, but return junior libero Zach Sinacori and junior hitter Cam Shannon. The three-time defending state champions will have their work cut out to make another deep run. “It will be interesting to see a very spread offense,” Kinser said. “We’re not going to have that true put-away hitter right off the bat.”