Warriors find confidence

Published 10:55pm Saturday, September 7, 2013

The boys’ volleyball team at Nansemond River High School may be less experienced than in recent years, but having self-confidence and perseverance has given the Warriors their first win of the season.

The squad won Thursday in a come-from-behind match on the road against Indian River High School: 25-22, 21-25, 12-25, 25-23, 15-12.

Nansemond River High School sophomore outside hitter Josh Tomovik executes a jump serve during Thursday night's comeback win against host Indian River High School. Tomovik is expected to be one of the Warriors' standouts this year, and he had 11 kills, seven digs and four aces on Thursday. (Titus Mohler / Suffolk News-Herald)
Nansemond River High School sophomore outside hitter Josh Tomovik executes a jump serve during Thursday night’s comeback win against host Indian River High School. Tomovik is expected to be one of the Warriors’ standouts this year, and he had 11 kills, seven digs and four aces on Thursday. (Titus Mohler / Suffolk News-Herald)

Nearly half those on the Warriors’ 12-man roster are first-time players, giving head coach James Vann plenty of teaching opportunities and some challenges, too.

Entering Thursday’s match, Nansemond River had two losses already against Grassfield High School and Great Bridge High School.

“When we played Great Bridge, they were just down,” Vann said of his team’s disposition. “The last set, we just couldn’t recover.”

The Warriors started out well Thursday, but then dropped two games straight, in part, because they struggled serving the ball. Vann corrected some of his players’ technique, but said he also serves as a cheerleader at this point.

After the team dug itself out of the hole, Vann said, “I’m glad they finally realized they could do that.”

Nansemond River lost six seniors from last year’s team, which went 11-8 overall, 10-8 in the district, finishing fourth in the district and advancing to the semifinals of the district tourney. Nevertheless, six seniors are also on the team this year, though two are new to the game.

Additionally, the Warriors fortunes could improve, as they are now part of a conference and region including only schools of like size after the Virginia High School League’s realignment.

Vann said, “The competition should be more level.”

District games featuring larger-school opponents remain on the schedule, but they have no bearing on the Warriors’ conference or post-season standing.

To lead this year’s campaign, Vann is looking to two seniors, one of whom is outside hitter Adrian Drew.

“He’s all over the court, he’s diving for balls, he’s getting after everybody else,” Vann said.

Drew has sensed kindred spirits on the team, saying, “We’re going to be a scrappy team.”

Vann said, “He’s just a team leader out there on the court. Him and Evan (Gardner) both kind of share that duty.”

Gardner, a senior setter, has played on the team for four years and had 18 assists and five aces on Thursday.

Junior Malcolm Nurse and senior Adrian Coleman provide some of the height the team desperately needs at 6’4” and 6’2”, respectively.

Sophomore outside hitter Josh Tomovik has grown in the game through playing on a travel team and already shows great potential. He produced 11 kills, seven digs and four aces against Indian River.

“He’s going to bring a lot of kills for us, I hope,” Vann said.

As for his goal for the year, “I think I’d like to at least win the new conference championship,” the coach said. “(Then) you can always go back and say we were the first.”

Nansemond River (1-2, 0-0) hosts the Lakeland High School on Tuesday.

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