SportsStudent Athlete of the Week


Esprit Decor Student-Athletes of the Week: Indian River Boys Volleyball

Posted at 5:34 PM, Nov 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-04 17:34:18-04

CHESAPEAKE, VA (WTKR)- Last year, Indian River's boys volleyball team was ousted in the semifinals of the Region 5A playoffs by Hickory. This year's Braves have not forgotten that.

"It makes us want to push harder because we know the feeling of losing early," said senior middle blocker Jeremiah Bryant.

"We believed last year that we were the team and we had the talent to make states and win a ring," senior outside hitter Kei Nichols added.

"We definitely have more fire in our veins," noted senior setter Beckham Rombaoa. "We tried our hardest to get where we are today."

Where the Braves are now is at the top of the mountain looking down at the rest of the region, while still knowing they have not won anything yet. Indian River is 24-0 and avenged that loss to Hickory earlier this week in the regional quarterfinals. The student-athletes point to things such as work ethic, team chemistry and coaching when it comes to keys to their success. Head coach Matthew Lawrence has taken note of another trait.

"I think this year, more than any other year, we just have a lot of guys that play different sports," Lawrence pointed out. "Bringing that all together, I think that has been a little bit of a competitive advantage."

The best part about it for the Braves, though probably not their opponents, is that they still think their best volleyball is yet to come.

"I think that we could be better as a team and we can always improve," said Nichols.

"I feel like we can play way better than we already have before in the past," Bryant added, noting that he thought the team played its worst game in the region quarterfinals this year, but still managed to get the win and advance.

This year's team also brings a desire to set the bar higher than any other squad in the program to come before it.

"We got eliminated in the region semifinals, so I feel like if we go to states and win it all, then we'll be like 'alright, these are the expectations. We did it last year, so why can't we do it this year?,'" Bryant said.

"They'll have standards they can live up to and look back and be like 'I was on that team previously and we want to get back to where we were last year,'" added Nichols.

Of course, right now the team's focus is on the match directly in front of it, but if the Braves can make a run and win the first boys volleyball state title in program history, it would put Indian River on the map.

"We've been fighting and trying to get our name out there and show that we are a volleyball school and that we can compete with the best of the best," Lawrence said. "For us to finish the job, to finish it would be just absolutely the most amazing thing."

Indian River faces Princess Anne on Monday in the Region 5A semifinals.

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