Warren Central rolls past Vicksburg in three sets

Published 8:31 am Wednesday, September 21, 2016

In a break from its region schedule, Warren Central’s volleyball team traveled across town to play Vicksburg High and secured an easy win. The Lady Vikes beat the Missy Gators in three quick sets 3-0 (25-10, 25-10, 25-14).

“It’s great for volleyball in the area for people to come out and see (the teams play each other),” Lady Vikes coach Matt Gullett said. “Getting a win against your in-town rival is always good.”

Gullet said the teams like to play each other every year, even though they’re in different regions, not only because they are rivals but also because it gives the teams experience and keeps them working on the court.

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“It’s Vicksburg and Warren Central. You got to get up for it,” Gullett said.

Vicksburg senior Virgie Demby said players from both teams see other often, since many of them play more than one sport. Demby is also a goal keeper for Vicksburg’s soccer team.

“We want the bragging rights of the city,” senior Tiye Strong said. “It’s definite competition.”

Gullett was proud of how his team played and the strength they’ve shown recently.

“We came over here looking for a win. I really felt great about how we served the ball. The Smith sisters have been on a tear,” Gullett said, noting junior Taylor Smith had 15 aces in a recent match.

Sophomore Laney Smith had 10 aces on Tuesday and junior Sydney Stuart had five. Stuart also led the team in attacks and kills.

“(Stuart’s) jump serve has been on fire against anybody,” Gullett said.

Laney Smith, senior Brittany Craft and sophomore Emily Vandennieuboer had four kills each.

Gullett played three girls in the setter position to get his team more experience, and liked what he saw. Kene Smith, Taylor Smith and Nikirah Bridges all saw playing time at the position.

“Really proud of my setters,” Gullett said. “They’ve done a great job this year of distributing the ball.”

After a loss to Clinton, the Lady Vikes (10-8) regrouped and beat Greenville two days later. All they have to do now to make the playoffs is beat Callaway on the road on Thursday. It would be the first time Warren Central — which beat Callaway 3-0 when they played two weeks ago — has made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons.

“We’re sitting poised to repeat in the playoffs,” Gullett said. “A win and we’re back into the playoffs again for the second year in a row, which is a big objective of ours this year.”

Warren Central will play Madison Central next Tuesday, an opponent that could potentially be its first round match up in the MHSAA Class III playoffs. The Lady Vikes will finish the regular season Oct. 8 when Vicksburg travels across town for the second matchup between the two teams.

Vicksburg senior Maya Clay said her team (1-6, 1-4) is playing well, but is looking for a little more consistency the rest of the season. Vicksburg will host Clinton next Tuesday.

“We play in spurts,” Clay said.

Communication is an area senior Bethany Martin said the team needs to improve on, and senior Jaime Gilliam said the close-knit team needs to play together as a unit.

“I feel like if we do that we can have a winning season,” Gilliam said.