Every time Flint Hill scores a point, Lika Nkenchor lets out a roar. When she reaches a block or a crucial point, players on the court are cheered on by her game while those on the bench jump to cheer. If her teammates win one point while sitting on the bench, she still cheers the loudest.
At Metro City's DC Volleyball Championship on Monday, the Huskies needed plenty of Nkenchor energy to win 25-23, 25-17, 25-21 over Paul VI. To achieve at the home court of the Panthers in Fairfax.
"She knew this was her last city championship," said Flint Hill coach Carol DeNure. "She was ready to play with confidence. It really shows how aggressive she was on the net, and we used up her energy. "
Under the leadership of Nkenchor and steady sets by Krissy O'Malley, the Huskies clinched their seventh title in Metro City.
"It certainly will not get old," said DeNure. "This team has been working hard all season, and it's great to be in this gym against the quality of a team to win in three."
The battle was not easy from the start. The Panthers took advantage of Flint Hill's five service errors to stay close in the first set. At their second setpoint of the first set (24-23), the huskies had a dig, but the ball went directly to Paul VI's side. Instead of scoring the ball immediately to reach the points, the Panthers decided to launch an attack, but made a mistake to give the Huskies victory.
Marilise Page led the charges for the Panthers, who had dethroned Holy Cross in the final of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference tournament on Saturday to win the conference for the first time since 2002. Page had 11 kills and three aces.
"She has an arm. It is very difficult to compete against them, "said Flint Hill-Libero Tristen Isaac. "Especially in the back row it has a pretty strong swing compared to all I've played against."
But Flint Hill's offense was too much for the Panthers. The Huskies – Outside Hitter and Middle Blocker – Nkenchor, Denver Pugh, Sydney Reed and Elayna Duprey – together scored more than half of their points.
After winning the Independent Student League tournament on Sunday and now the D.C. Metro City Championship on Monday, the Huskies will win their second triple crown when they start on Tuesday with the Virginia Independence School Athletic Association state game. The Huskies will be hosting Bishop Ireton in the quarterfinals, while the Panthers will host John Paul the Great.
"We just focus on tomorrow and take it one game at a time," said DeNure. "We know all season that we're playing for the state championship. All this is great and of course we want to win every time, but hanging the state championship and the banner on the wall in our gym is what this team plays for. "