WADESBORO, N.C. – Back in action for the first time in almost a week, the Richmond Senior High School Lady Raiders varsity volleyball team didn’t lose its winning touch, as it defeated non-conference opponent Anson High School for the second time this season.
The Lady Raiders (14-0) remained undefeated on the 2017 campaign, and is getting used to putting up zeroes in not only the loss column, but is perfecting the art of winning matches in straight sets. Keeping an opponent off the scoreboard for the tenth time this season, Richmond silenced the Lady Bearcats (8-6) 3-0, winning 25-20, 25-13 and 25-17.
As the hunt for a perfect season continues, head coach Shellie Wimpey’s team stuffed the stat sheet, tallying 28 match kills and 56 digs. A talking point all season has been how solid the core of starting players has been, and they only continue to get stronger as the season unfolds.
“We entered the year not having lost any players,” Wimpey said. “This has helped us to this point in the season because our girls are clicking on the court. They know what to expect from one another; they know where to be and how their teammates play. Team chemistry is an essential if we want to continue winning.”
It’s no secret that the historic undefeated season is now within reach, as there are just eight matches remaining. It’s a topic that Shellie and her players have acknowledged, and all superstitions aside, feel that they can accomplish the feat. Wimpey says her team is now “focused more than ever,” and noted that Jack Britt, Pinecrest and Scotland high schools pose the biggest threats in ending the streak, but will treat each match with the same aggressive mindset.
In Wednesday’s match, the Lady Raiders relied heavily on senior outside hitter Altman Griffin and junior outside hitter Savannah Lampley. Griffin offered a strong presence at the net, drilling 12 kills, while picking up a team-high seven aces and 15 digs. Lampley, who was named the Richmond Observer’s female student athlete of the week, shined defensively, digging the ball 16 times.
Seniors Mackenzie Webb (setter) and Owen Bowers (middle hitter) added to the mix. Webb had one kill, one block, five digs and 26 assists, while Bowers’ line consisted of five kills and two digs.
“The girls are just doing what is expected of them if they want to win matches,” Wimpey said. “We are getting production from so many players, and it’s working for us.”
The junior varsity team saw its nine-match winning streak come to end, as it lost in straight sets 13-25 and 23-25. The last time the JV squad had lost was at home on August 23, that too, against the Lady Bearcats.
“The girls really didn’t show any energy until certain parts of the second game,” head coach Ashleigh Larsen said. “I understand that the temperature in the gym was really hot, but it’s no excuse to us not to come out explosive and ready to play.”
Both Lady Raiders teams are back in action Thursday, as they’ll return to Sandhills Athletic Conference play at Purnell Swett High School. In the second meeting of the schools this season, the varsity team looks to stay perfect, having already defeated the Lady Rams 3-0 on August 24. The junior varsity team looks to right the ship, as they too won in straight sets in the first meeting of the season. Junior varsity will get things going a 5 p.m., followed by varsity at 6 p.m.