Home Local Sports Lady Raiders show improvement in SAC opener against Purnell Swett

Lady Raiders show improvement in SAC opener against Purnell Swett

Sophomore Paris Almon returns a ball during her No. 5 singles match on Tuesday.
Kyle Pillar — The Richmond Observer.

ROCKINGHAM — After a rough start to the 2019 season last week at Montgomery Central, the Richmond Senior High School girls’ tennis team showed a lot of improvement on the court Tuesday afternoon.

Opening Sandhills Athletic Conference play at home against Purnell Swett High School, the Lady Raiders and head coach Neely Herndon fell to the Lady Rams 9-0. Although Richmond is still in search of its first win of the fall, Herndon’s team managed to win several games in singles and doubles matches.

“Overall, I think the girls played really well today,” Herndon said. “They are continuing to work hard in practice and are improving as a team.”

The Lady Raiders would be swept by Purnell Swett, but the bright spots on the afternoon for Richmond were the No. 1 doubles contest and the No. 5 singles match. In doubles, led by junior Kearston Bruce and sophomore O’Cean Bennett, the tandem hung tight with Malina Cummings and Elysha Strickland, coming up just short 7-9.

Bruce and Bennett jumped out to a 3-0 lead on the Lady Rams, but saw Purnell Swett battle back to make it 5-2. But the Lady Ram duo regained momentum and won seven of the final nine games to earn the win.

Also making it tough on the Lady Rams was Richmond’s No. 5 singles player sophomore Paris Almon. Squaring off against Raven Cummings, Almon lost 3-5, 5-7. In the second set, Almon trailed 4-3 but forced the game to its 12th game after tying the set at 5-5.


The No. 2 doubles team of junior Kaylee Parker and sophomore Ellie Buck competed against Mya Sampson and Lyric Locklear, but dropped their doubles match 4-8. In the No. 3 doubles match, junior Kacie Medina and Almon lost to Raven Cummings and Sydney Brooks by the same score.

In singles play, Purnell Swett’s No. 1 Malina Cummings held off Bruce by a final score of 6-0, 6-2. Strickland also got the better of Bennett, handing the Lady Raider a 6-1, 6-1 loss in two sets in the No. 2 singles match.

Parker and sophomore teammate Elizabeth Henry both came up short in their respective singles matches. In the No. 3 contest, Parker fell to Sampson 2-6, 2-6 and Henry dropped her No. 4 singles matchup to Locklear by the same score.

To cap singles play in the No. 6 game, Buck lost to Brooks 1-6, 4-6.

Richmond will look to add its first win of the season on Thursday when it hosts reigning SAC champion Pinecrest High School. The Lady Raiders (0-2, 0-1 SAC) and Lady Patriots (2-1, 0-0 SAC) will begin play at 4 p.m.

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Kyle Pillar is a 22-time North Carolina Press Association award-winning sports editor with The Richmond Observer. Follow the sports department on X @ROSports_ for the best in-depth coverage of Richmond County sports.