Home Local Sports Intense regular-season finale ends in four-set loss for Lady Raiders

Intense regular-season finale ends in four-set loss for Lady Raiders

Junior Jenna Gardner dishes out a pass during the first set of Thursday's match at Scotland. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

LAURINBURG — Needing a win to help itself heading into the Sandhills Athletic Conference tournament, the Lady Raider volleyball team nearly got the job done on Thursday.

On the road in the regular-season finale, the Lady Raiders suffered a 3-1 loss in an intense rivalry match against Scotland High School.

Extending the team’s losing streak to five matches, set scores were 25-23, 18-25, 11-25 and 21-25. Richmond split the season series with the Lady Scots.

“The girls played well in all four sets and were aggressive, unfortunately we dug ourselves into some holes before we turned on the coal burners,” head coach Ashleigh Larsen said. “I was pleased with their overall play, but there are some things we can work on and get better at.

“Our communication was off at times tonight where we let a few balls slide through,” she added. “In the second and third sets, we let (Scotland’s) serving go on some big runs. It was a mind game for us and we couldn’t get out of it.”

Richmond took a 3-1 lead early in the first set, using a tip by senior Catherine Dennis and the first of two aces in the opening frame by junior Jenna Gardner. 

Scotland pulled ahead 9-4, but a hitting error by the home team started a 7-0 run for the Lady Raiders. 

Junior Allie Rodgers, who finished the match with a team-high 24 digs, served six straight points from the service line. The first of three kills in the match by junior Katie Way put Richmond ahead 10-9 and forced a timeout.

Both teams traded points and Richmond found itself trailing by three points, 18-15. A block by Dennis that registered a point started a 6-0 swing that put momentum back in Richmond’s favor.

With Gardner at the serving line, senior Quston Leviner notched the first of her three kills and Dennis added one of her team-leading 9 kills. Gardner, who impressed with 16 digs in the match, served up an ace to make it a 21-18 lead.

Another kill from Leviner maintained the lead, and after two ties, Rodgers closed the set on a 2-0 run. The set point featured an ace by Rodgers.

An early one-point lead in the second was undone by a 5-0 run by Scotland. Helping the Lady Scots (10-8, 6-6 SAC) earn the set win were serving runs by Addison Johnson and Jenna Luquer.

Dennis had three kills in the set and junior Christi Jacobs chipped in the final of her three kills. Trailing by 10 points, Richmond rallied to close on a 5-2 run, featuring kills from Dennis, Jacobs and Gardner, before Scotland evened the match.


More strong serving by Scotland saw the home team roll out to a 14-4 lead in the third frame. Larsen called a timeout, and Richmond answered by winning seven of the next 18 points but it wasn’t enough.

The Lady Raiders held a lead for the majority of the fourth set, using kills from Leviner, Dennis (3) and junior Keyoni Nichols to jump out to a 14-10 lead. After a Lady Scots timeout, the set was tied at 15 points.

Way drove home a big kill, followed by a kill from junior Makailah Jackson and an error by Lequer allowed Richmond to knot the set at 18-18. Another tie at 20 points was followed by a kill from Dennis, but Scotland closed on a 5-1 run to win.

Sophomore setter Ava Edmondson added 14 digs and an ace in the match, Jacobs contributed 10 digs and senior Joy Styles had 8 digs.

“Now we just have to see what awaits us next week for the conference tournament,” Larsen closed. “We have a lot we need to work on and hopefully we can turn some things around.”

Richmond (8-13, 4-8 SAC) finished the regular season tied with Hoke County High School for fifth place in the standings. A coin toss on Friday will be used to determine the higher seed for the SAC tournament, Larsen explained.

Depending on the outcome of the coin toss, Richmond could be the No. 5 or No. 6 seed and play at No. 3 Lee County or No. 4 Scotland.

The SAC tournament begins on Monday. The Richmond Observer will update the seeding information when it’s made available.

JV Lady Raiders close season with three-set loss

In its season finale, the Richmond junior varsity volleyball team split its season series with Scotland, falling 2-1 on Thursday.

Rolling to a win in the first set 25-22, Richmond lost the second frame 20-25. The third set went to Scotland, seeing the JV Lady Raiders lose 6-15.

The JV Lady Raiders finished the season with a 9-12 overall record and a 4-8 mark against SAC teams.

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Kyle Pillar is a nine-time North Carolina Press Association award-winning sports editor with The Richmond Observer. Follow the sports department on Twitter @ROSports_ for the best in-depth coverage of Richmond County sports.