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Prep Volleyball Notepad: Eagles eye VISAA run, if they can stay healthy

Fredericksburg Christian School has developed a consistently powerful volleyball program under head coach Jeff Shaeffer.

The Eagles have advanced to the semifinals of the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association state tournament four times. While these results have been encouraging, they have always left the Eagles a tad short of their ultimate goals.

FCS has never reached the state title game, but Shaeffer thinks there is a chance that this could be the year.

“This is one of the better groups that I’ve had,” Shaeffer said. “My goal is that we would take the next step.”

These Eagles are quite talented, led by all-state junior outside hitter Gabby Vess, who is drawing attention from colleges. Shaeffer said that after matches, opposing coaches often ask him where he got so many strong hitters.

“And we have some height,” Shaeffer said, “which is good, because the blocking comes with that. And I have some good defensive specialists.”

The one thing Fredericksburg Christian does not have is depth. The Eagles have just nine players on their roster, and senior middle hitter Brittany Burton is recovering from a knee injury, so they could be down to eight.

“We only have nine players,” Shaeffer said, “but we have nine good players.”

The Eagles, the defending Delaney Athletic Conference champions, are 6–3 so far this season. They lost once to Battlefield District power Courtland, and twice to Bishop Ireton. Fredericksburg Christian faces St. Catherine’s on Tuesday, and that is also the day the VISAA state rankings will be released for the first time this season.

Adam Himmelsbach