Manteo Middle claims volleyball win

Published 6:59 pm Sunday, March 28, 2021

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The Manteo Middle School volleyball team scored a decisive win over River Road Middle School in Elizabeth City Thursday.

Opening up with an extremely slow first match, the visiting Braves traded serves with the home team Rockets more than two dozen times and tied the score at least nine times before pulling ahead for the 25-23 win.

The afternoon’s second match saw a more confident and better organized Manteo squad put the River Road volleyball team away 25-12.

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Although the Rockets appeared to rebound in the third match, the visiting Braves were again in control and with a couple of multi-point runs made it three in a row with a 25-18 win.

“Our first game was slow,” said Manteo Coach Heather Sulkowski.

Sulkowski said after a poor showing against Perquimans the week prior, the Manteo Braves have picked up some momentum and that confidence is a key.

“We are working on building confidence,” she added. “We’re trying to do things the correct way and not just bang it back over. Things like trying to pass, set and hit. That’s what we are pushing.”

Sulkowski went on to say another goal is to help build the high school program.

“So, we’re doing some things you would not normally do in middle school,” she continued. “That has set them back a little bit, but throughout the game today they looked like they gained confidence with each game they played.”

That likely means spending time on basic playing skills – skills Sulkowski is well acquainted with. A 1996 graduate from Manteo, she played volleyball and basketball at Barton College, a liberal arts school in Wilson. She said after college and early in her career she coached basketball at Peace College in Raleigh, but after that decided to stick with volleyball.

She said her volleyball career was all over the place and at all levels.

“I coached high school, middle school, Division II and Division III college,” Sulkowski explained. “That was in Colorado, Tennessee, Florida and everywhere.”

Moving back to Dare County this past year, June Sulkowski is teaching math at Manteo High School.