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Warriors survive test against KF

Nansemond River prevailed over King’s Fork on Thursday night in a Southeastern District boys volleyball match, but the Bulldogs clearly were the side to gain the most from the contest.

The Warriors unexpectedly had to fight all the way against King’s Fork, which hadn’t won a game yet in its previous five matches. NR finished the match in a nail-biting game four, 25-12, 25-21, 23-25, 27-25, but KF head coach Leslie Hubert was beaming a couple minutes later.

“That was excellent!” said Hubert, “We won a game. We didn’t win the match, but by the end of the season, we’ll have these guys beat.”

“That was 100 percent better than how we’ve been doing. They really focused for this match. That helped us in (game three) and that kept us right there in all the other games.”

The Warriors entered the match with a 4-2 overall record and 3-2 in the district. Game one went according to form as NR broke out to a 13-6 lead. Josh Cubol served five straight aces to put the Warriors up 24-11. NR’s two main setters, Josiah Cubol and Dan Archibald had four assists each in the game.

In game two, the Bulldogs rolled off seven straight points on Chris Hearn’s serve to move in front 15-12. Hearn, a new addition to the KF team, transferred from Lakeland this summer. He played on Lakeland’s varsity basketball team last season and brought some of that athleticism to the Bulldog volleyball team.

“He’s a valuable asset to the team and he’s been a tremendous help,” said Hubert.

“He’s all over the floor for us, and that helps the morale of the team when they see a guy going from one side of the floor to the other like that.”

Still trailing 20-17, the Warriors fought back in game two. Two straight aces by Josiah Cubol tied the game at 20 and NR kept going, finishing the game with an 8-1 run.

A long run on Josh Howard’s serve put NR up 12-6 in game three, but KF’s Hearn answered, serving KF to within 12-11.

With good defense and hustling digs on nearly every point, the Bulldogs kept the score close through the rest of game three. KF’s play forced NR into 18 errors in the game and hitting errors on the last two points turned a 23-23 tie into a game for the Bulldogs.

“They picked their game up,” said NR head coach Gene Lietz of the Bulldogs, “they really passed well and they got the ball back over the net.”

Game four was more of the same, but with the Warriors pulling out the win in the last few points.

The Bulldogs led 16-11 after a point which saw saving digs from KF’s Bobbie Dickson, Hearn, Matt McIntosh, Dominique Lee and Josh Jansen. NR rallied to tie the game at 19.

A Lee-to-Hearn set and spike gave the Bulldogs a game point at 24-23, but a net violation on the next point tied the game.

A service error by the Warriors gave KF another chance to tie the match, but an Archibald-to-Hayden Champigny set and kill staved off KF’s chance.

A block at the center of the net by Champigny put NR up 26-25 and an Archibald-to-Cheynne Maupin set-and-spike finished the match for the Warriors.

Lietz, while not completely happy with his squad, wasn’t too worried or upset either.

“It’s just one of those things. They were out of sync tonight. Sometimes you’re going to have bad nights and this was just one of them.

“It’s been a busy two-and-a-half weeks,” said Lietz, whose club has played six nights since Sept. 2.

Lietz credited his two middle hitters, Champigny and Kerrington Harris, for having good nights.

For KF, Hearn had six kills, five aces and two blocks. Lee led KF with five assists. Maupin with 13 kills and Champigny with 12 kills were the top Warrior hitters. Archibald had 18 assists.

NR (5-2, 4-2) goes to Western Branch on Tuesday while KF (0-6, 0-6) goes to Deep Creek.