ELLERBE — Middle school sports returned to Richmond County on Tuesday when the Ellerbe and Rockingham volleyball teams opened their season with two matches.
The Lady Rockets and head coach Teresa Mason, who played in last year’s conference title match, picked up where they left off with a sweep of the Lady Wildcats.
Rockingham won both matches by a score of 2-0. Set scores in the first match were 25-13 and 25-11, followed by set scores of 25-7 and 25-6 in the second game.
The leading scorers for Rockingham were J’Nasia Neal (30 points) and Kamora Watkins (26 points). Tess Bryant added 15 points for the Lady Rockets, followed by 11 points from Sharonda Henderson and 10 more from Melissa Canas.
Madisen Jackson (6 points) and Gracie Scott (2 points) rounded out the attack for Rockingham.
Ellerbe was led by Denise Carillo, who had three aces and three kills for the Lady Wildcats. Maddie Maree was very active for Ellerbe, adding several points in both matches.
Rockingham started the first set of game one on a 9-3 run, including four straight aces from Watkins. She ended the set with seven total aces.
Bryant closed out the 25-13 set win for Rockingham with three aces of her own.
In the final stanza of the first match, Ellerbe matched Rockingham point for point to start the second set. After an Ellerbe serve went into the net to give Rockingham a 5-4 lead, the Lady Rockets outscored Ellerbe 15-4 over the next six rotations to take the win.
Rockingham carried over the momentum to the second match, and jumped out to a 14-1 lead in the first set. Watkins and Neal both helped the Lady Rockets from the serving line.
Mason put in several substitute players for Rockingham, and the visiting team took the set 25-7. The afternoon’s final set saw several bench players from both teams on the floor.
Rockingham (2-0) will travel to Cordova Middle School on Monday. Ellerbe (0-2) will host Hamlet Middle School, also on Monday. Both matches are slated for a 4 p.m. start.
Deon Cranford and Teresa Mason contributed to this article.