Warriors need rally to reach SED playoffs

Published 9:15 pm Thursday, October 2, 2008

Great Bridge and Nansemond River played three close games of boys volleyball Wednesday night, but in the end, the result was a sweep for the visiting Wildcats, 25-22, 25-20, 25-23, who improved to 10-1 in the Southeastern District.

Nansemond River dropped to 6-5, which puts the Warriors two matches behind fourth-place Hickory with seven matches remaining. The top four schools reach the Southeastern District Tournament.

In the girls match, the second match of the doubleheader at Nansemond River, Great Bridge improved to 9-2 in the district with a 25-14, 25-12, 25-11 win against the Lady Warriors (2-10, 2-9).

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Not too long ago, a Warrior volleyball team would’ve been content to play well for much of the match, but come up short, against a traditional district power such as Great Bridge. Instead, after Wednesday’s match, NR head coach Gene Lietz said his Warriors expect more out of the rest of the season.

“There are a lot of seniors in this group,” said Lietz, “and they can feel they are a whole lot better now than ever before.”

That makes losses tougher to stomach as wins and losses become critical to whether the Warriors make the district tournament, which they missed out on by one place in the standings in 2007.

“I have to remind them, it’s not over yet. But I really like how these guys have become very passionate about it.”

In the opening game, the Warriors held a 15-13 lead and NR’s blocking, led by Hayden Champigny and Kerrington Harris, had some success against the Wildcat attack. A 7-1 run by Great Bridge switched the game in a hurry. NR closed with three straight points to make it 23-22 GB before the Wildcats won two points to finish the game.

Game two was frustrating in a different way for the Warriors. After Great Bridge opened a lead to start the game, the Warriors repeatedly fought back to within a point or two before errors at the wrong time would give Great Bridge a four-point or five-point cushion again.

A 6-1 Wildcat rally early in game three gave Great Bridge a 7-4 lead, but NR answered to take the lead at 11-10.

The Warriors came close to having the last surge in momentum. Kyle Briesemeister’s kill tied the score 19-19 and a block by Champigny made it 20-19 NR. A spike by Champigny, off an assist by Dan Archibald, made it 22-20 NR and the Warriors led 23-21 before four straight Great Bridge points ended the match.

Champigny finished with nine kills and four blocks for the Warriors. Archibald and Josiah Cubol combined for 16 assists. Cheynne Maupin had eight kills.

“Hayden’s been doing great for us, especially considering he’s a 10th grader,” said Lietz.

“Hayden, Cheynne and Kyle, they’re continuing to help carry this team and hopefully they can encourage others to step up.”

“Josiah Cubol, he’s in his fourth year, and he absolutely plays his heart out. It really makes a difference having a guy like that on the court because he never gives up.”