Warriors win, survive to tiebreaker match

Published 11:14 pm Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The postseason will start a bit early for the Nansemond River High boys volleyball team, which swept visiting Oscar Smith on Tuesday.

The Warriors, who finished the regular Southeastern District season tied with Hickory for the fourth and final berth in the upcoming district tournament, will face the Hawks (13-7, 11-7) on Monday at Oscar Smith to determine which team reaches the tournament. Western Branch and Great Bridge will also meet at Oscar Smith that evening to determine the tournament’s top seed, while Lakeland is locked into the third slot.

“We’ve been really hot lately and we beat Hickory the last time we played them,” said Nansemond River’s Dan Archibald, whose team hasn’t reached the district tournament for several years. “I think that gives us the upper hand.”

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The Warriors lost to Hickory in four games at Hickory in September. Two weeks ago at Nansemond River, the Warriors beat the Hawks in five games.

The Warriors (12-7, 11-7) certainly had the advantage against Oscar Smith. The Tigers (4-14, 4-14) were clearly overmatched and the 25-10, 26-24, 25-21 score was closer than it might have been had Nansemond River coach Gene Lietz not had motives in addition to victory.

“I wanted to make sure all our seniors got playing time and some of our bench personnel as well,” the coach said. “It got kind of whacky out there at times but I had to be creative with our lineups.”

After dominating the first game, Nansemond River seemed to become bored and squeaked through the second and third games. But Archibald said he’s confident the Warriors will triumph Monday and give a good showing against the district tournament’s top-seeded team in the tournament.

“I want to play Great Bridge, to be honest,” he said. “But we’ve played Western Branch tough both times this season, so it doesn’t really matter. I don’t think we’re dead meat at all as long as we keep playing the way we’ve been playing.”