Lady Warriors extend streak

Published 9:16 pm Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Nansemond River volleyball player prepares for a kill during a game Tuesday against Indian River. The team improved its record to 4-3 by putting away Indian River in four sets.

The Nansemond River varsity girls volleyball team had a challenge Tuesday night, but continued their winning ways this season by finishing off Indian River in four sets, 25-19, 25-18, 23-25, 25-21.

The Lady Warriors (4-3) led for much of the match, but there were notable points where they fell behind. Down 9-5 during the second game, they regained service and with senior libero Casey Wood behind the stripe, they rattled off 10 straight points to make it 16-9.

NR first-year coach Christine Wood explained that this match, like every Lady Warriors match, featured what the girls themselves call “the dramatic comeback.” Though she is happy for wins, Wood took a normal coach’s and fan’s perspective on nail-biting conclusions.

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“I personally hate ‘the dramatic comeback,’” she said, though with a smile. “We start getting up and then we fall behind and then they’re like, ‘Oh, we’re going to be dramatic and we’re going to get back up again.’ So, I’m trying to break them of that, and they’re not doing it.”

Wood was ultimately happy with what she saw.

“Overall, I thought we played very good,” she said. “We had some moments where we started getting down, but then one person would pick everyone back up, so we’re doing a lot better with that.”

Casey Wood had 26 service points, including two runs of 10.

“I thought we did good,” Casey Wood said. “We need to talk more, but other than that, we did really good. We played hard. We had to battle for it, but in the end, we got it.”

Junior middle hitter Tatyana Thomas had 10 kills and 12 blocks, scoring crucial kills down the stretch to keep Indian River at bay.

“It was intense,” Thomas said, “but I think we did good.”

Sophomore setter Morgan Lowers had 21 service points and five assists and freshman setter Camryn Holt led the team with 13 assists.

Last year at this time, the Lady Warriors were 0-7, but they ended up 7-7 for the year to qualify for districts. Wood hopes to get back to districts again with an improved record and teamwork.

“We are working much better at getting the ball up and actually doing plays, rather than the same person who gets it up, the same person sets it, the same person kills it. (The girls) said that we’re working much more as a team this year and I’m very happy to hear that.”

Having many girls that she can count on to perform well, Wood found it difficult to identify specific go-to players, but listed a few, including Casey Wood.

“She’s a libero, but she’s been getting kills from the back row,” the coach said. “She’s been getting aces and runs with her serving and stuff, so she’s definitely one that we’re going to miss next year, because she’s a senior.”

Coach Wood named Tatyana Thomas as well.

“She’s definitely a go-to,” she said. “She’s been getting big, her hits and her blocks and stuff.”

She also gave senior hitter Sonnae Gibson special credit for effectively charting unfamiliar volleyball territory this season.

“This is her first year playing middle,” Wood said, “so she’s learning as she’s playing and she’s doing phenomenal at it.”

The coach recognized Morgan Lowers for her committed play and her enthusiasm.

“She’s so excited about it, because she dives and she gets everything,” Wood said.

Wood said the team needs to work on accurate passing to grow success.

“With us not passing to where the setter is,” she said, “that makes our setter have to run around and that gets us out of system. So, then we can’t do our big plays with setting to the middle or setting to the outside to get that kill.”

Ultimately, her expectation is for her team to keep on winning because of, in part, their ability to see how the drills in practice connect to their in-game play.

“We’re coming together where every single match I see improvement,” Wood said. “Every single match there’s something that they learn, there’s something that they actually make connections with.”

Deep Creek hosts the Lady Warriors tonight at 7 p.m.