Photography by CHERYL CLANTON
BROOKSVILLE- The last time Central’s varsity volleyball team won a game was back on October 1st of 2015.
Fast forward to this season and the Bears are finally back in the win column. It was quite a bit of time from when Central won a match and Bears coach Nikki LaRiviere has endured a tough campaign, but picking up a 3-1 win versus Hernando Christian Academy a week and half ago has made the program optimistic about a potential turnaround sooner rather than later.
Joined by her husband, Derek, who is an assistant at Central, the Bears coaching staff has seen plenty of downs but the victory means the world to a program that hasn’t seen a win in over three years.
“Derek (LaRiviere) and I took over this program in May. We decided then that it was going to be a long road ahead of us and we were set on making an impact,” LaRiviere said. “The events that led to us winning our first game included a lot of hard work, more dedication from the players than has ever been asked before, and a lot of support from our student body.”
The victory has meant the most to Central’s seniors on the team, as many of the players haven’t experienced a win during their time at the school. LaRiviere stated that for this particular senior class, the win was a huge accomplishment.
“Breaking this losing streak was important for our seniors, but I think this means a lot for our juniors and sophomores, even the ones on junior varsity, so that they can see that there is a light ahead of this tunnel, whereas the girls before them sometimes lacked hope,” LaRiviere added.
Though the remainder of the regular season is going to be a tough stretch for Central, the Bears have expectations of competing throughout the rest of the 2018 campaign. LaRiviere hopes the lone victory will help build confidence for her bunch and maybe more wins in the process.
“Just to be competitive in every match,” LaRiviere added. “We just played Crystal River this past Thursday. They swept us easily early in the season. This time it was different. The girls believed. We pushed them to overtime twice and we came away with a set win. They weren't going down easily.”
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.