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NR excited about new direction

Volleyball officially gets under way next week, and the Lady Warriors are looking forward to facing competition under their new coach.

Coach Nikka Gatling will be leading the way for the Nansemond River High School girls’ volleyball team as they look to make noise in the Southeastern District. Last year, when there were conferences, the Lady Warriors finished fifth in the PenSouth. The season ended after a conference tournament loss to Gloucester High School.

Gatling, formerly at King’s Fork, will be looking to bring a new energy to the Nansemond River volleyball program. This will be Gatling’s first year coaching girls’ volleyball, but she is confident about taking on the challenge. The players have done a good job adjusting to their new head coach. Gatling has high energy, and she has already seen that intensity translate to her players.

“I want the girls to come together and work together, and they have so far,” Gatling said. “I work them hard, but I want the girls to believe in themselves at the end of the day. I want to help the girls get to the next level. I’m very excited about what we have.”

The Lady Warriors are aiming high with their goals. As with any other team, NRHS wants to compete for a district title. Gatling wants to show spectators a side of Nansemond River volleyball that no one has seen before.

Returning this year and expected to make an impact will be Natalie Hawkins and Ashayla McClain. Both players are captains and look forward to finding ways to lead the Lady Warriors on and off the court. Nansemond River will also have a newcomer in Taylor Paquette. Paquette will be tasked to make an impact from the setter position.

Nansemond River has had two scrimmages in the preseason and has won both of them. Gatling approaches scrimmages like a real game. She knows it is a time for the Lady Warriors to get better against other competition. Additionally, she hopes that winning helps build the team’s confidence when the games actually start to count.

The season officially starts Tuesday, when Nansemond River takes on Deep Creek High School on the road. Gatling is looking forward to seeing a couple of things from her team.

“I want to see how well we play together knowing that the games count now,” she said. “I want them to show up and show out. I want the girls to know I’m confident in them.”

Nansemond River will play at Deep Creek at 6 p.m. Tuesday.