Rustburg vying for volleyball state title with family ties

Red Devils head coach Kristen Hardie was on lone title team in 1992, daughter Kate is on 2021 team

RUSTBURG, Va. – It’s been nearly three decades since Rustburg’s volleyball team has won a state championship.

“Rustburg always has had a history of good volleyball, it’s just been kind of fun to build from that since ‘92,” head coach Kristen Hardie said.

Kristen was on the team that claimed the state title in 1992, and now her daughter Kate is less than 24 hours away from the same opportunity.

“It doesn’t feel real, the other morning I woke up and was like, did we actually win?” Kate Hardie said. “I feel like since my mom’s the coach, she’s taught me everything I know.

“Even if she weren’t on the team, I would be so excited for this group, but also as a parent, it makes me want it even more because I want her to experience it,” Kristen added.

The Red Devils have certainly learned a lot from their head coach and her success, they’re undefeated this season, and will face New Kent on Friday in the Class 3 State Championship.

“We serve tough, and then Anna and Kate are so dominant at the net. Then we have Eden as a third hitter, they just hit it hard,” Kristen said.

“I think that even if we get down in a game we never show it on our faces,” libero Tinsley Abbott said. “We just stick together and push through, that really has worked for us this year.”

But the moment you walk into Rustburg high school, you can see how much this would mean to the Red Devils.

“It’s everything we could ever hope for,” senior Anna Maddox said. “It’s what we’ve been working for the past 2 or 3 years, just to finally get here, you can’t even describe how good it feels.”

The match begins Friday night at Rustburg at 6 p.m. at Rustburg High School.

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Brooke Leonard is the newest addition to the 10 Sports team, joining in June 2019.