NR making strides with spikes

Published 9:04 pm Thursday, September 15, 2011

Nansemond River’s Zach Vann had nine kills and eight assists to help the Warriors in a three-set sweep over visiting Deep Creek, 25-12, 25-8, 25-15, Thursday evening at Nansemond River.

Nansemond River’s boys volleyball squad powered its way to an easy three-set sweep over visiting Deep Creek Thursday evening.

The Warriors served up 16 aces against the Hornets. When the Hornets forced the Warriors into a rally, quality passing led to big swings from a number of Warriors joining in on the attack. Everything added up to River’s fourth win in its last six matches, this one with a sweep, 25-12, 25-8, 25-15.

The last few weeks of improving play came after the Warriors struggled through their first couple district matches under new head coach Michael Blei. The Warriors have moved up to 4-4 overall and 3-4 in the Southeastern. More importantly, their all-around play is getting better with a lot of the season still to go.


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“We said we’re having to learn on the fly some. The guys are retaining a lot of the information I’m trying to give them. We’re getting better with our rotation. We’re hitting our spots better. I hope it carries over because it can be fun to watch,” Blei said.

The Hornets couldn’t do much to challenge Nansemond River’s athleticism and big hitting at the net.

Tyler Brown served NR out to a 5-0 lead in the opening set. The Warrior lead grew with Brown getting a kill and ace on consecutive points to make it 15-8, then with Michael Copeland knocking down two kills for a 17-9 NR lead.

Out of the first nine points in the second set, Brown won two with jump-serve aces and Copeland, Zach Vann, Ryan Berrier and John Joyce spiked a kill apiece to build an 8-1 lead right away.

Brown and Vann are the two do-everything Warriors. Brown finished the match with 11 assists, seven aces and five kills. Vann added nine kills and eight assists.

Deep Creek answered for part of the third set, getting out to a 12-9 lead before the Warriors resumed their big hitting and took 14 of the next 15 points.

Blei got to sub in plenty of his reserves through the second and third sets, a luxury for a coach during the Southeastern District season.

“It’s exciting to see the younger players go out there and see what they can do because you don’t get that opportunity much,” Blei said.

“I think King’s Fork will be tougher for us on Monday,” he said.

Copeland added six kills to the Warrior offense. Berrier had four aces.

Nansemond River goes to King’s Fork on Monday evening for the first meeting of the season between the Warriors and Bulldogs. NR, KF and the other eight Southeastern schools have a busy week ahead with matches set for Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.