LAURINBURG, N.C. – And the historic streak continues.
Not much more needs to be, or can be, said about the Richmond Senior High School Lady Raiders varsity volleyball team. The ladies were on the road in Laurinburg Thursday to face Sandhills Athletic Conference foe Scotland High School.
Winning in (regular Richmond fashion) 3-0, the Lady Raiders improved to a perfect 13-0 on the season, and remain undefeated in SAC play at 7-0. Scotland (8-4, 4-2 SAC) posed a potential threat to ending the streak, but the Lady Raider did business as usual, winning 25-15, 27-25 and 25-23.
As the Lady Raiders continue to be the talk of the town 13 matches into its 23-match season, head coach Shellie Wimpey acknowledged their exceptional play Thursday.
“We played great tonight, which is a direct result of our girls working really hard in practice (Wednesday),” Wimpey said. “We were able to work on some things that we hadn’t gotten a chance to due to having three matches a week and limited practice time.”
In the first game, Richmond won by its biggest margin of the night 25-15. In a total team effort, Richmond picked up seven of its total 31 team kills. Senior middle hitter Brianna Baysek led with three kills, and senior outside hitter Altman Griffin added two more. The first game also saw three aces, two from Griffin and one from junior outside hitter Savannah Lampley.
Griffin, who is this week’s Richmond Observer female student athlete of the week, racked up a team-high in both kills and aces (14 kills, six aces). She also notched six digs and one block. Baysek finished the night with an impressive seven kills, four digs and two blocks, while Lampley had one of her better performances, adding five kills, a team-high 14 digs, one ace and one block.
With a minute scoring disagreement in the second game, Richmond managed to escape in overtime 27-25. The scoring hiccup came when both teams’ game score didn’t match, but since the Lady Fighting Scots were the home team, the ruling went in favor of their score book.
It its most productive set of the night, the Lady Raiders tallied 13 team kills, five aces and 18 digs. Griffin smashed eight of her 14 kills in the frame, and Lampley dug the ball eight times. In the final set, Richmond went back to basics and battled to win 25-23.
“It was refreshing to see our girls implement what they worked on in practice into tonight’s match,” Wimpey said. “Sometimes the art of fundamentals can be forgotten about when you’re playing so well. But we stress their importance, and it was evident tonight.”
And the junior varsity team shouldn’t be forgotten either, as it rolled to its ninth consecutive win. The JV Lady Raiders have become a threat in the SAC, improving to 11-2 on the season, after beating Scotland in two sets, 25-20 and 25-20. Head coach Ashleigh Larsen’s squad is playing just as cohesively as the varsity unit, which is essential in their continued success.
Freshman middle hitter Jakerra Covington continued to impress, as she racked up seven kills and one dig. Larsen is proud of her stepping up as an offensive threat.
“Jakerra was aggressive at the net all night,” Larsen said. “She’s really becoming a threat in the middle, and has really worked on improving her kill.
“As a team, we put a ton of pressure on Scotland’s hitters tonight,” Larsen added. “Defensively, as a team, I’m proud of the way all the girls played.”
As the hunt for a perfect season continues, the varsity Lady Raiders will pick action back up in the middle of next week. On the road for both matches, Richmond will visit non-conference opponent Anson High School on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017 (5 p.m. and 6 p.m.), and return to SAC play Thursday, Sept. 19, at Purnell Swett High School (4 p.m. and 5 p.m.)