Boys volleyball state finals preview: Princess Anne in 5A, Ocean Lakes in 6A

Boys Volleyball 6A state final

Ocean Lakes vs. James River, 5 p.m. Friday at VCU’s Siegel Center

Outlook: The Dolphins will play in their first state final since 2010, when they lost 3-2 to James River. The Rapids are back in the state title game one year after losing 3-0 to Cox. James River won the state championship in 2010 and 2011.

Ocean Lakes defeated Western Branch 3-0 in Tuesday’s semifinal, while James River avenged last year’s loss to Cox with a 3-1 win.

Dolphins junior setter and Coastal Conference co-player of the year Adreyune Husted has been nothing short of an MVP this season. The savvy junior’s skills and leadership have been a major factor in Ocean Lakes’ deep run. Senior middle hitter Derron Watkins has been the Dolphins’ key offensive spark and most dominant scorer. Watkins and senior outside hitter Sean Whiteman will need to provide consistent options for Husted’s offensive show.

“We’re going to try to stay disciplined, be a ball-controlled team, hit our spots and be complete,” Ocean Lakes coach Michael Boomer said.

James River has eyed this game since last year’s defeat to Cox. The Rapids returned a majority of last year’s starters and have hit their stride offensively. James River is led by big-time outside hitter David Forrest, John Holahan and setter Kyle Brumbaugh. 

“James River is very ball control-oriented,” Boomer said. “We can’t be in a situation where we hand them points. They’re sharks. They’ll see blood in the water and they’re going to burn you.”

The Dolphins have prided themselves on executing defensive schemes against opponents’ offensive strengths. Boomer said his group can’t let any surges of momentum sway its focus.

“We have to focus on executing good blocks on the big hitters,” he added.” Defensively, we got to move and put ourselves in position to make big plays. We have to win the hustle and mental game. If we do those two, we should be in every point and competing.”

Boys Volleyball 5A state final

Princess Anne vs. Maury, 3 p.m. Friday at VCU’s Siegel Center

Outlook: The Cavaliers aim for their third consecutive state championship (6A champs in 2013, 5A champs in 2014), hoping to become the state’s first team to three-peat, while Maury is playing in its first state title game, according to Virginia High School League records.

In the semifinals Tuesday, Princess Anne handled Atlee in four sets after fumbling the first frame. Maury pulled off an epic comeback against Mills Godwin — the team that defeated the Cavaliers in the region finals — after falling behind 2-0.

Princess Anne and Maury have already met four times this season, with the Cavaliers winning three of those matches. Two of the games went the full five sets. The Cavaliers won the latest meeting 3-1 in the region semifinals.

“Even though we do know that team, we have to continue to work and push to be intelligent,” Cavaliers coach Jeff Kinser said.

The Cavaliers’ formidable duo of setter Courtland Scharenborg and outside hitter Chase Howard are arguably the state’s strongest 1-2 punch. The catalysts of Princess Anne’s last two titles, the senior captains are itching to end their high school careers with a third title.

Shane Limbaugh is Maury’s big guy on offense. The senior hitter’s impact for the Commodores is as thunderous as Howard’s is for the Cavaliers.

“Their Shane is our Chase,” Kinser said. “Whichever team can rally around their big boys will be huge.” 

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