NORWOOD, N.C. – It was all thrills and kills Tuesday night as the Richmond Senior High School varsity volleyball team opened its season in dominating fashion.
In its quest to maintain the Sandhills Athletic Conference title, the Lady Raiders silenced the South Stanly Rowdy Rebel Bulls, defeating the host team three games to none. Winning each game in impressive fashion, Richmond controlled the match early on, winning 25-14, 25-7 and 25-21.
“It feels great to open up the season with a win against South Stanly,” eighth-year head coach Shellie Wimpey said. “We have lost five matches to them over the past two years, and I think the jamboree (this past) Saturday really helped us mesh as a team and prepared us to play as a team.”
In expressing her concern to get her team started from the go, Wimpey was pleased with the Lady Raiders’ performance. Leading the offensive explosion were senior middle hitters Owen Bowers and Altman Griffin, each of whom racked up eight kills. Senior Mackenzie Webb, whose primary role is the setter, dished out 28 assists, while notching 10 aces.
With a star-studded cast of returning players, including senior Brianna Baysek and junior Savannah Lampley, the Lady Raiders held Eric Laskowski’s team in check. Wimpey said that Bowers “played great up front”, and was happy to see Griffin “adjust really well to hitting balls not set perfectly.”
The Lady Raiders made the routine fundamental plays that were necessary to win, and the coaching staff was impressed with the girls’ ability to hit the ball hard and their serving performance, especially Webb’s. Sophomores Jadyn Johnson and Alexis Swiney “stepped up” tremendously to fill their roles on the right side across from Webb, which Wimpey noted as a huge plus for the team.
Despite the three-game sweep, Wimpey feels as though her team can improve in some areas before their next match.
“We still need to block more,” Wimpey said. “But hopefully we will do better with that against teams that are more consistent with hitting.”
The junior varsity team dropped its match in two games, 25-22 and 26-24. The Lady Raiders’ JV squad was up at least 10 points in each game, but failed to seal the deal. Freshman Georgia Grace Anderson led with six kills and one block. Sophomore Madison Jordan served up six aces.
“We need to find the drive to finish games,” JV head coach Ashleigh Larsen said.
With three more road games scheduled before the Lady Raiders return home for the first time this season, they’ll head to West Montgomery High School in Mt. Gilead Thursday. The matches is slated to start at 4:30 p.m.