FAYETTEVILLE – Having already earned the title of the “2017 Sandhills Athletic Conference champions” last week, the Richmond Senior High School varsity volleyball team shifted its focus to finishing the regular season a perfect 22-0.
And on Tuesday night, the Lady Raiders took another step closer to completing their magical, unprecedented run at history when they defeated SAC opponent Seventy-First High School 3-0 by the scores of 25-13, 25-12 and 25-8.
Richmond (21-0, 13-0 SAC) made the Lady Falcons its fifteenth victim of the year to lose to the top-seeded Lady Raiders in straight sets. Impressively enough, Richmond has only lost seven total sets in its 21 matches this season.
Tuesday was no different as the Lady Raiders silenced Seventy-First (1-15, 0-13 SAC) behind a solid team effort. Richmond tallied 27 team kills on the night, while also digging the ball 29 times. Head coach Shellie Wimpey noted that there were limited opportunities to put big numbers on the board because of so many errors committed by the Lady Falcons.
Though the overall statistics weren’t the best this season, senior outside hitter Altman Griffin and senior middle hitter Owen Bowers had a modest night at the net. Griffin drilled home a match-high 13 kills, while picking up four digs, one ace and one block. Bowers followed up a great match last Thursday against Lumberton with a six-kill performance. She added two digs, one ace and one block to the stat sheet.
Defensively, junior outside hitter Savannah Lampley led the way with 13 digs, while also serving three aces and knocking down one kill. Sophomore defensive specialist Layne Maultsby, whose role is often overlooked because of the Lady Raiders’ explosive offense, worked well out of the back row and collected six digs.
As there is just one match standing between Richmond and the first undefeated season in school history, the Lady Raiders are prepared to face rival Scotland County at home Thursday, which is also senior night. Richmond will honor six seniors: Brianna Baysek, Bowers, Griffin, Amia Pemberton, Mackenzie Webb and Laini Wright.
“I really think the girls are ready for Thursday,” Wimpey said. “The way that have played all year speaks for itself. We have talked all season about having a target on our backs because we were the conference champs last year. I think they’ve worn that target with pride and are prepared for Scotland.”
In junior varsity play, head coach Ashleigh Larsen’s team also won in straight sets, 25-12 and 25-20. This marks the JV team’s eighteenth victory on the season, as it continues to prove to be equally as strong in depth as the varsity team.
Freshman outside hitter Taylor Chappell had a career high seven aces, and also helped out defensively with seven digs. Sophomore outside hitter Madison Jordan tallied three aces and six digs.
“We couldn’t get motivated early on and stay up on Seventy-First,” Larsen said. “We were able to win, but I hope the girls show up Thursday ready to end the season on a high note.”
The Lady Raiders will host Scotland (14-8, 8-5 SAC) on Thursday in the regular season finale. Junior varsity will tip things off at 5 p.m., followed by varsity at 6 p.m.