Even at .500, NR takes a shot

Published 9:12 pm Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The boys’ volleyball team at Nansemond River is a bit short this season, but a surplus of scrappiness has helped make this disadvantage less relevant.

“They don’t give up on the ball on a point,” Warriors head coach James Vann said. “ They just keep going after it. They run into the chair, run into the table, whatever, they just run after the ball. They don’t quit. That’s why I refer to them as always being short and scrappy. You got to do something when everybody else is taller than you.”

Vann muted his expectations this season because of the height issue, hoping to finish at .500. With a current overall record of 7-7, 6-7 in the district, the Warriors appear to be right on track.

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Senior outside hitter Tucker Rhoads described the season as having its fair share of satisfying and disappointing moments.

“We’ve won some games we weren’t supposed to win,” he said. “But we also lost some games we weren’t supposed to lose. So, I guess it kind of evens out.”

The Warriors are coming off a straight-sets victory against Lakeland, which Vann found encouraging in terms of the season overall.

“There wasn’t any negativity,” he said. “Nobody was getting down on anybody, they kept lifting each other up.”

This was significant because Vann feels the team’s greatest weakness this year has been letting discouragement get the better of them.

He cited a recent loss to Oscar Smith, which they had previously defeated in three games. Nearly every set of the latest game featured a score like 25-23, but with the Warriors primarily on the losing end.

“It kind of got us down; we thought we should have beat them,” Vann said. “I think hopefully we got past that (point) where they get, not confrontational, but they kind of argue with each other on the court.”

It has naturally been the senior set upon which Vann has most counted on this year.

“I’d say Tucker Rhoads, for sure,” he said. “And Nate Welch, our libero, and Nick Seibert probably have been the three that really stood out on the court.”

He also included senior outside hitter Graeme Beamen. The performances of these players has defined his description of the team.

“They’re digging, they’re sliding, they’re getting to the ball, they’re always hustling,” Vann said. “They seem to keep the ball in play. Real scrappy, I guess you’d say.”

He highlighted junior outside hitter Adrian Drew as the typical team leader in blocks.

At this point in the season, the players and even Vann cannot help but have high goals for the remainder of the year. Rhoads spoke up about his own goal — to get to the regionals.

“If we play like we did tonight, we can do it.” Welch said after the Lakeland game.

“I’d like to win the rest of the games to be honest with you,” Vann said. “I don’t know why we can’t, looking at our schedule, what we have remaining.”

Nansemond River will attempt to realize this goal beginning tonight at home against Hickory.