Warriors sweep up on senior night

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 13, 2005

For the Nansemond River girls’ volleyball team Tuesday evening, winning wasn’t only their objective. It was their duty.

Not just because they needed a victory to stay in the hunt for playoff competition. Not just because they were saying goodbye to five seniors. But also because junior Shannon Andy gave the graduating class a special farewell with her acapella rendition of Faith Hill’s &uot;There You’ll Be,&uot; before the game.

&uot;That meant a lot,&uot; April Hines said of Andy’s song. &uot;We were already pumped up for Senior Night, but that pumped us up even more.&uot;

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That showed; the girls went out and defeated Deep Creek 25-13, 25-22, 25-14, with their boys following suit with a 25-20, 26-24, 25-20 victory. Hines, Sarah Brooks, Sarah McDonald, Whitney Alston, Vauchona Burrell and manager Michelle Pruitt were bid parting, as were Jason Taylor, Daniel Mattei, Zack Knox, Sean Debbly, Sean Edwards, Brian Briesemeister and Kenneth Nance from the boys team.

Hines started off the contest with one of her game-leading eight kills, and McDonald got River rolling with three aces on the way to an 8-0 lead. Hines, Andy and Britney Pulliam combined for seven kills the rest of the way, as the Lady Hornets were unable to score more than one straight point until River held a 19-3 lead.

But while the Lady Warriors had raced away in the first game, they couldn’t seem to get things together for the first part of the second. A kill and ace by Hines gave them a 4-2 lead, but Creek got ahead 8-4 and made it to 18-12. A kill from Andy got River back the ball, and Burrell took her turn behind the line, blasting over three straight aces as the Lady Warriors knotted things at 18.

&uot;I was trying to concentrate on winning,&uot; said Burrell, who intends to attend Norfolk State University. &uot;I was basically focusing on what I had to do, and I was thinking about my teammates and how much they wanted to win.

The score tied at 19, 20 and 21 before Andy got River up with an ace, and another gave River a 24-21 lead. Creek gained control, but faulted to give River a 2-0 advantage.

The last game was also tight for a while, but a kill by Andy got River a 12-9 lead and Stacey Dorn led River on a 7-0 run with three aces. Two kills from Hines equaled a 22-11 lead, and Katie Duffy served River’s final point.

The Hornets took control early in the boys first game, snaring a 14-9 lead. Briesemeister served River to 14-13, and a kill from Mark Brown cut Creek’s lead to 17-16. Nance then served four points for a 20-17 lead, and kills from Debbly and Nick Wright closed out the game.

River stayed ahead for much of game two, as Wright, Nance, Briesemeister and Debbly all recorded kills for a 20-14 lead. But the Hornets tied the score, and overcame kills by Nance, Briesemeister and Brown to tie it again at 24. River quickly got the ball back, and Taylor tipped the ball over the first row of defenders for the final point.

Yet another tight game followed in the third, with neither team grabbing more than a two-point lead. Briesemeister gave River the ball with his second kill of the game (giving him a game-leading seven), then served four straight points to go up, 23-19. Creek got the ball, but Wright got it back with a kill, and Taylor served the match’s final point.

The Lady Warriors, now ranked third or fourth, depending on other district action Tuesday, host King’s Fork tonight (a win gets them a Suffolk sweep, as they defeated Lakeland twice this year), and both teams battle Oscar Smith, Great Bridge and Indian River. With their win Tuesday, the River boys are currently ranked second, said coach Chris Kosmowski.