By David Wagner
The 2010 Western Albemarle varsity volleyball team put together another championship season, winning their ninth straight Jefferson District regular season and tournament titles. The Warriors came into the season not sure what to expect. Eight seniors graduated last year, leaving Head Coach Lance Rogers with plenty of spots to fill on the roster. This fairly young and inexperienced group came together quickly, showing why Western Albemarle volleyball is the class of Central Virginia.
Led by senior Ana Asher, (Jefferson District Player of the Year) and junior Riley Martin, (in 2011 Martin will set a new career record for assists at WAHS), the Warriors went undefeated in district play for the fifth straight year, finishing with a 23-4 record. The Warriors beat arch rival Albemarle for the second straight season, outlasted district nemesis Fluvanna twice and beat upstart Monticello in the district tournament finals (the previous four years Western had faced Fluvanna in the tournament final).
Asher was first on the team in kills (266) and blocks (50). Her kills set a new single season record at Western, breaking Sarah Harper’s mark of 247 (Harper now plays at Maryland, where she was a starter as a freshman). Asher was also second on the team with 170 service points and 40 aces. Martin set a single season record for assists with 743 and already passed the career assist record as a junior. She had 143 digs and also led the team with 201 service points and third best on the team with a .922 serving percentage. Junior Katie Rossberg was second on the team with 193 kills and 43 blocks. She’ll be the frontrunner to replace senior Asher at middle blocker. Sophomore Allie Nicholson was third on the team in kills (170) and blocks (26), adding 138 service points and was second only to libiero Marin Crowder with 198 digs. Nicholson will be an integral part of the team again in 2011, providing leadership (she played varsity as a freshman) and great athleticism for the Warriors. Filling the vacancy left by Elizabeth Via’s graduation, Crowder had a team-high 299 digs, tied for the team lead in aces with Martin (44), 141 service points and a team-best .964 serving percentage. Other major contributors were sophomore Laura Bergin (81 kills, 120 points, 99 digs, 10 blocks), who will be another team leader in 2011 as a third year varsity player; Maggie Kooken (72 kills, 141 points, 131 digs, 16 aces, 14 blocks), Alex Gay (76 kills, 29 digs, 14 blocks); and Lauren Riefsteck (122 points, 82 digs, 24 assists, 17 aces).
The Warriors season ended in the first round of the region playoffs, losing to Freedom High School from Loudoun County. Coach Rogers was extremely pleased with this team’s ability to step it up in tough situations, winning in a tough environment at Fluvanna, and beating Grafton, who ended their season last year at states.
After 23 years Coach Rogers retired from coaching at the conclusion of the season. It came as somewhat of a shock to everyone connected to the team.
Rogers started coaching in Maryland in 1988, where he co-founded and served as director of the Metro Volleyball Club. He served in the club for eight seasons before relocating to Central Virginia. Rogers next worked as the JV coach and a varsity assistant at Albemarle High School from 1996 to 2001. In 2002 he took the head coaching job at Western and Warrior volleyball was forever changed. With a ninth straight district title and a fourth District Coach of the Year Award (2004-2006, 2010), Rogers is going out on top.