Home Local Sports Lady Raiders fall to Montgomery Central in season opener

Lady Raiders fall to Montgomery Central in season opener

TROY, N.C. — Knocking on the door in all three sets during Tuesday’s season opener, the Richmond Senior High School volleyball team couldn’t capitalize when it needed to.

Playing at non-conference Montgomery Central High School, the Lady Raiders fell 3-0. Set scores were 26-28, 18-25 and 19-25.

Head coach Ashleigh Larsen noted the scores were close and that they weren’t indicative of how well the Lady Raiders played “at times.”

“On Saturday at our scrimmages, the girls couldn’t see the score and that helped them,” Larsen said. “Tonight, I think they saw the score and shut down internally, which hurt us.

“There were a lot of moments where we looked great,” she added. “But there were also things we needed to make better decisions on like putting a ball into a block or sending a free ball out of bounds.”

Richmond held a lead at several points in all three sets, and used an 8-4 run in the opening frame to knot the score at 18 points. Senior middle hitter Catherine Dennis notched two of her team-high seven kills during that stretch.

An ace from junior libero Allie Rodgers and a block at the net by junior middle hitter Katie Way kept the set close. The teams battled out to six more ties before the Lady Timberwolves used back-to-back possessions to win it.

Junior outside hitter Christi Jacobs and Way both had tips at the net to extend the set and tie it at 26 points.

Junior Catherine Dennis delivers a kill during the first set of Tuesday’s match. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

A pair of hitting errors and an ace from sophomore setter Ava Edmondson gave Richmond a 3-0 lead early in the second stanza. But Montgomery Central answered with a 7-0 run to jump ahead.

Trailing by seven points, 18-11, Dennis went to the serving line and rattled off a 5-0 run, including two aces. 

Way added one of her four kills during the match to make it a 20-17 deficit, but a 5-1 stretch by the Lady Timberwolves ended the second.

Again, Richmond took a 3-0 lead in the third set. Building onto the early lead was an ace from junior outside hitter Addy Hollingsworth, kills from Dennis, senior outside hitter Quston Leviner and junior Jenna Gardner.

Another ace from Rodgers, one of her team-high three in the match, put Richmond ahead 10-7. 

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Montgomery Central (1-1) rallied to tie it at 12 points and used a 6-0 spurt to take an 18-12 lead. Way kept Richmond within close range with a push at the net and another kill, and a Rodgers ace capped a 3-0 run to make it 22-19.

The home team answered with a 3-0 run in the final three volleys to end the match.

Junior libero Allie Rodgers collects one of her team-high 30 digs during the third set. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

“We were a little indecisive tonight,” Larsen said. “I know the girls have the ability to make the right decisions, they just have to trust themselves to do it.

“Some of our hitters seemed rushed or were sitting too long waiting on the sets,” she closed. “With three games this week I hope we can make those connections and we may go with a different lineup.”

Leviner and Jacobs both had three kills and Gardner added one. Rodgers had 30 of the team’s 58 digs, senior defensive specialist Joy Styles added nine digs, Jacobs had eight digs and Edmondson notched six digs.

The Lady Raiders (0-1) will continue their three-match opening week with their home opener on Wednesday. Visiting Richmond will be non-conference Purnell Swett High School (1-0).

Varsity play will begin around 6 p.m., following the end of the junior varsity match

JV Lady Raiders edge Montgomery Central

Also opening its season on Tuesday, the Richmond junior varsity volleyball team earned a 2-1 win over the JV Lady Timberwolves. Set scores were 25-22, 19-25 and 15-11. 

In the decisive third set, sophomore Sharonda Henderson broke a tie to give Richmond a 9-8 lead. 

She continued serving until the Lady Raiders led 14-9. A hitting error a couple of plays later by Montgomery Central ended it.

The JV Lady Raiders (1-0 ) will also welcome in Purnell Swett on Tuesday at 5 p.m.

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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.