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Lady Raiders edged by Southern Lee to start second round of SAC play

No. 6 senior Maren Carter returns a shot for a point during her singles win. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

ROCKINGHAM — The second round of Sandhills Athletic Conference play didn’t start the way the Lady Raider tennis team wanted it to on Thursday.

Facing Southern Lee High School for the second time this season, the Lady Raiders were one win away from evening the series with the Lady Cavaliers.

The final outcome of Thursday’s meeting was a 4-5 loss. Richmond won two matches in singles play and two of the three doubles matches.

“It was a tough match today against a team that we had a really good chance to beat,” head coach Jessica Covington said. “All of the girls played hard and we had a shot of taking it in doubles, but we just couldn’t get that last victory to win the match.

“I’m proud of the way all of the girls played,” she added. “Some of them made big comebacks in their singles matches to make it competitive. The girls have shown a lot of improvement and that’s awesome to see.”

Picking up Richmond’s singles wins were No. 1 senior Hana Oki and No. 6 senior Maren Carter.

In the top-seeded match, Oki took down Kate Jackson 8-5 to add to her season win total. Carter picked up her second win of the season with an 8-5 victory over Yairelli Lopez.

No. 1 senior Hana Oki hits a forehand shot during her singles win. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

No. 2 junior Neely Turner and No. 3 senior Addison Massey almost made pivotal comebacks that would have given Richmond a lead heading into doubles.

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Massey trailed Evie Eller early in her match, but battled back to force an extra point before falling 7-9. Turner was down by four points to Kambell Beasley and started a two-point run to come up short 5-8.

Rounding out singles play were No. 4 sophomore Hanna Smith and No. 5 senior Ashlyn Bouldin. Smith lost 3-8 to Carrie Bryan and Bouldin suffered a 0-8 loss to Blair Young.

Needing to sweep doubles play, Richmond took two of the three matches — the No. 1 and No. 3 pairings.

In No. 1 action, Oki and Turner made quick work against Jackson and Beasley to win 8-3. Bouldin and Carter also didn’t face much adversity, defeating Young and Lily McLeod 8-4.

Massey and Smith lost to Eller and Bryan 4-8 in the No. 2 doubles match.

Richmond (3-3, 3-3 SAC) will play a doubleheader against Pinecrest High School next Tuesday to make up a match that was rescheduled earlier in the season. 

That will be followed by a road match at Hoke County next Thursday. All singles matches will begin at 4 p.m.

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Kyle Pillar is a 16-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.