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Warriors rise up

Above the net: Nansemond River’s Tyler Brown goes up against two Grassfield blockers during Tuesday evening’s Southeastern District match at Grassfield. The Grizzlies swept Nansemond River, 25-20, 25-17, 25-17.

Nansemond River are now chiefs of volleyball team

CHESAPEAKE – Nansemond River had one of its best boys volleyball records last fall and the team’s new head coach, Brian Briesemeister, expects another good season.

That said, some of the toughest opposition the Warriors might face this season is if Briesemeister and his assistants take part in a scrimmage during practice.

Briesemeister, Jason Taylor and Sean Debblay were teammates on a series of excellent Nansemond River teams and are 2006 classmates. Taylor was the primary setter on those teams, often setting for big spikes by Briesemeister or Debblay. They’re working together again, now on the sidelines.

“They’ve helped me in the past,” Briesemeister said.

“We play regularly together. I like to have people around me who I know well. I know how and what they’re going to teach the players,” Briesemeister said. “It’s great because we already know we can work cohesively as a team.”

The Warriors lost six seniors from last year’s 16-5 team that finished second in the district in the regular season before losing a five-set match against Western Branch in the district tournament semifinals. The Warriors had match point for a spot into the regional tournament.

Tuesday evening at Grassfield, the Warriors didn’t get off to the start Briesemeister wanted. Grassfield swept the Warriors, 25-20, 25-17, 25-17. In the girls match, Grassfield won 25-17, 25-22, 25-15.

In the boys match, the Warriors had to go without two starters. Having the whole team together has been a problem throughout the preseason practices.

Briesemeister, who coached for Norfolk Collegiate last season, said the Warriors have had a couple weeks of practice, but not much time with the full roster on hand as players have been out of town.

The Warriors had spurts of good play against the Grizzlies, but sporadic serving by the Warriors and consistent hitting by Grassfield was too much to overcome.

Josh Howard had 10 assists and Hayden Champigny had nine kills.

Howard served the Warriors out to a 5-0 lead to open the third set only for the Grizzlies to immediately rally to tie the set at 5-5, take the lead at 10-9 and stretch their margin from there.

“We’ll get a better indication of what this team can do next week when we have all of our starters back,” Briesemeister.

The Lady Warriors had their best chance to turn their match around in the second set. Kills by Danielle Gallagher and Courtney Lowers came in a 4-0 NR run to cut Grassfield’s lead to 18-16. Grassfield answered with six straight points. Set three was tied 9-9 before a 6-1 Grassfield run.

Both Warrior teams travel to Deep Creek Thursday evening. The girls varsity match is set for 6 p.m.