Saints setting up right direction

Published 11:51 pm Friday, October 24, 2008

A lot has changed around Nansemond-Suffolk’s boys volleyball team in the last few weeks. It was only about a month ago that the team snapped a losing streak which stretched back to the end of the 2006 season.

Since getting a breakthrough win on Sept. 24 against Denbigh, the Saints have played their conference schedule, getting two more victories and being in a few other tight contests.

On Thursday night at home against Greenbrier Christian, the Saints took a game, but not the match, against one of the top teams in the Tidewater Conference as the Gators won 25-16, 19-25, 25-11, 25-14.

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That alone would’ve been a big moral victory at the start of this season. Instead, on Thursday, there was some disappointment the Saints couldn’t keep their momentum rolling from winning the second game to further challenge the Gators.

The Saints jumped out to an early lead in the opening game before a 10-1 Gator run gave GCA a 15-10 lead. The Gators struggled with unforced serving errors early, and NSA did a good job of keeping the ball alive and forcing a few more Gator errors. Once Greenbrier fixed most of its serving problems though, the game turned in its favor.

One of NSA’s two seniors on Senior Night helped the Saints go toe-to-toe, and even a little better than that, against the Gators (10-12, 4-2) in game two. David McCracken’s five kills gave the Saints another plan other than to keep points going until the Gators made an error.

From a 10-10 score, a kill by McCracken, followed by a solo block by Hunter Dewing, started a rally which kept going on Dewing’s serve to a 15-10 NSA lead. The Saints kept pulling away to a lead as large as 23-16 and won the game comfortably.

Whether the momentum simply shifted, or game two’s result woke up the Gators up, Greenbrier got its offense and hitting in gear to move out to a 9-2, then a 16-3, lead in game three.

Two kills by Quint Butler led the Saints to a 3-0 lead to start game four. After a big Gator rally in the middle of game four though, Greenbrier Christian led the rest of the way.

Ray Ramirez had seven assists to lead NSA in that category. McCracken finished with seven kills.

“We’re improving a lot as a team, and individually each and every one of us is improving a lot,” said McCracken.

“Especially since the Bossicks (head coach Michelle Bossick and assistant coach Brandon Bossick) have been coaching, there’s really been improvement,” said senior Kyle Williams.

“They are really fun people. They’ve just made practices more fun,” said Williams.

“Practices have really gotten the team together. We’re really working and really pulling together to win as a team,” said McCracken.

Combined with Bishop Sullivan winning over Peninsula Catholic, Thursday night’s results in the Tidewater Conference dropped the Saints (3-11, 2-4) from fourth to fifth heading into the conference tournament and that drop means NSA will have to go on the road, to Bishop Sullivan, in the first round on Tuesday.