Lady Warriors clinch tourney spot

Published 12:03 am Saturday, October 15, 2011

Nansemond River senior Jasmine Arthur hits a shot over the net during NR’s match against city rival King’s Fork Thursday night. Nansemond River clinched a Southeastern District Tournament spot with a 25-23, 25-21, 25-12 win over King’s Fork.

Nansemond River’s girls volleyball team celebrated its Senior Night by making sure its season will keep going past the end of the regular season.

The Lady Warriors, after starting the season with seven straight losses, clinched a spot in the six-school Southeastern District Tournament, with a 25-23, 25-21, 25-12 win over visiting King’s Fork Thursday night.

The Lady Bulldogs (4-14, 4-13) did their best to spoil their city rival’s senior festivities in the first two sets. King’s Fork led 23-21 before the Lady Warriors rallied for four straight points to take the opening set. Set two was knotted at 15-15 before the Lady Warriors took the lead for good.

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King’s Fork came into the match off its best win of the season, a five-set victory against Western Branch on Tuesday. Western Branch beat the Lady Bulldogs in a three-set sweep in September.

“King’s Fork had just beaten Western Branch and clearly that was the team we saw in the first game,” said Nansemond River head coach Deidra Rader, “but I’m happy we fought through that and played to our level.”

With senior Jamika Townsend tallying an assist, a kill or an ace on nearly every point that went to the Lady Bulldogs, King’s Fork took a 14-11 lead to start the match.

The Lady Warriors (8-11, 8-9) moved in front with senior Jasmine Arthur scoring blocks on back-to-back points to make it 19-17 NR.

Townsend nailed kills for a 21-20 KF lead and for a 22-21 KF lead.

Freshman setter Morgan Lowers and senior hitter Courtney Lowers teamed up for a Lady Warrior kill for a big sideout, making the score 23-22 KF. The next three points went to NR thanks to two KF hitting errors and a foul on KF.

Senior Rayven Love’s serving tipped the next set in Nansemond River’s favor. A sideout for the Lady Warriors made it 15-15 and back-to-back Love aces put NR ahead. The run kept going to a 20-15 Lady Warrior lead.

Courtney Lowers scored with kills from the back row for points 24 and 25. Middle hitter Tatyana Thomas had four kills in the set. Morgan Lowers set up 10 of what ended up as 23 assists.

The Lady Warriors rolled out to a 9-2 lead in the final set and didn’t look back in finishing the match.

Arthur led the Lady Warriors with five blocks. Courtney Lowers had 12 kills. Kara Lyles had 10 digs.

For King’s Fork, Townsend had 10 assists and seven kills. Crystal Collins had seven kills. Courtney Brown had seven assists.

“We’re in our stride now. I’m praying we can be a Cinderella team in the tournament,” Rader said.

“We’ve won at least one game on every team in the district, so there’s every reason we can take a whole match from anyone we play,” Rader said.

Janeen Griffith, Kasey McIntosh, Love, Arthur and Lowers were the five Lady Warrior seniors recognized before the match.

Nansemond River’s won three straight matches and five of their last six contests heading into the last regular season match, at Western Branch on Tuesday evening.

King’s Fork has its Senior Night and season finale Tuesday at 7 p.m. against Great Bridge.