This 1,000 is a first

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 28, 2007

COURTLAND—Susan Gansor is tall, and she kills things.

For that proficiency, she was rewarded in front of a student body assembly at Southampton Academy on Thursday.

Fortunately for her and those around her, what the senior kills are volleyballs during the matches of the school’s very successful volleyball team.

Gansor has collected more than 1,000 kills — the last hit to record a point for her team (it’s commonly called a &uot;spike&uot; to the casual volleyball fan) — which is believed to be a first in the Virginia Commonwealth Conference, a collection of private schools in the area that include Tidewater Academy and Isle of Wight Academy. Southampton Academy has won the last eight volleyball conference titles and, being undefeated so far this season, is positioned to claim a ninth.

Gansor was presented with a volleyball emblazoned with her name and the words &uot;1,000 kills.&uot;

Part of the school program’s pedigree is credited for Gansor’s numerical success.

&uot;She’s been on a lot of good teams,&uot; said her coach, Shawn Denne, who’s in his 11th season as coach at the school.

Gansor, who stands about 6-foot-5, credits her teammates for good &uot;sets,&uot; or assists, that lead to point-winners. But it still comes down to Gansor hitting the volleyball hard enough and in the proper direction so that the opposing team cannot return it.

Sometimes, the sets so clearly lead to a kill, said her father, Joe, that it’s easy to detect before the ball is hit. On those, he said, his daughter hits the ball so hard &uot;there’s no dirt on the ball&uot; afterward.

Getting 1,000 kills, or being credited with 1,000 points, in volleyball, is different than scoring 1,000 points in basketball or rushing for 1,000 yards in football. In those sports, Denne points out, teams play the full allotment of time despite the score. In volleyball, games are played to 25 points and the winning team needs to win three games to win the match. The success of the Lady Raiders’ team is such that many games are decided after three sets. The opportunity to rack up more statistics by playing more games is limited by that success.

The presentation was a surprise to the Franklin teen. The school conducts a Thursday assembly in the gymnasium each week when announcements are made, presentations are given and special recognition is honored. Gansor’s award was kept a secret, but she suspicious when she spotted her parents, Joe and Nancy Gansor, on campus.

She said she thought, &uot;What are they doing here?&uot;

Then she believed she was going to be reprimanded for some unknown reason.

Instead, she was honored, and when the award was presented, Gansor got a standing ovation from the students in the stands.

Now it’s back to killing.