Under Lee’s guidance and that catchphrase in practice, Colonial Heights boys volleyball team captured the school’s first state championship in any sport since 1986, a span of 29 years. The Colonials defeated Midlothian, 3-1 (25-20, 24-26, 25-19, 25-21) Friday afternoon at the Stuart C. Siegel Center on the campus of VCU.
“He is always right,” said senior Stuart Crinkley. “We make a suggestion and he’s always willing to try it, but we’ll end up doing it the way he suggested in the first place. He’s never led us astray.”
In the two school’s fourth meeting of the season, everything was on the table. In all of the things accomplished by Midlothian this season in its match-ups with Colonial Heights, the one thing that the Trojans couldn’t do was stop outsider hitter Noah Murdock.
“We tried several different things against him this season,” said Midlothian coach Randy Cox. “Today we made a few more tweaks. He’s a very special player.
Murdock, a 6-foot-7 Virginia baseball signee, scored a game-high 29 kills, including a string of four straight to give Colonial Heights the momentum early in the first set. Playing a neck-and-neck game the rest of the way, Midlothian held a lead for the majority of the fourth set. The Colonials were able to put the game away after climbing back and tying the score at 19-19, before taking the throne.
Colonial Heights bused in two loads of fans, and many other students came also. In fact, the city decided to allow high school students to have half day of school in case they wanted to attend the game. Those that attended were treated to a bit of history.
“The city wanted it as bad as we did,” Murdock said. “We saw it today and we’ve seen it all playoffs, it’s great to have the community’s support.”
In the postgame press conference, Lee highlighted the sacrifice his team members gave, but spoke very highly of Murdock’s effort. Despite being a prodigy of a pitcher on the diamond, Lee spoke of his willingness to share his talent with other sports, instead of focusing on just the one he’s already great at.
“He could have certainly used his time to do other things,” Lee said. “He could have been honing his baseball skills. What he gave us this season can never be repaid.”
Murdock also chipped in with 17 digs to go with his 29 kills. Stuart Crinkley, the son of long-time Colonial Heights girls basketball coach Jim Crinkley had 20 digs and 8 kills. Tyler Gingrich had 43 assists. Midlothian was led by Nick Spichiger with 22 kills, Tanner Foglesong with 26 digs while Austin Power and Tyler Gregory notched 24 assists a piece.
Midlothian, last year’s 4A State Champion finished the season with a 22-6 record, its only three losses of the season in non-tournament play came to Colonial Heights. The Colonials finish with a 18-7 record and send our seniors in Crinkley, Jacob Exell, Gingrich, Murdock and Noah Sears on a high note.