HAMLET — The 2019 Southeastern Middle School Athletic Conference volleyball championship is set and will feature two teams from Richmond County.
The No. 1 Hamlet and No. 2 Rockingham middle school teams were one of four squads competing in the single elimination playoff tournament which began Monday. Both the Lady Red Rams and Lady Rockets won their opening playoff games, setting up another meeting between the in-county rivals.
During the playoff format, matches follow regulation five-set games instead of the normal doubleheader three-set games played in the regular season. Earlier this season Hamlet (13-0) swept Rockingham (11-2) in two tightly contested matches at Hamlet.
No. 1 Hamlet sweeps No. 4 Sandy Grove
In their opening round playoff game Monday against No. 3 Sandy Grove Middle School, the Lady Red Rams swept the Lady Panthers 3-0. Set scores were 29-27, 25-22 and 25-20, and put Hamlet in the title bout with Rockingham.
Fifteen team aces propelled the Lady Red Rams to the win, seeing Jenna Gardner collect a team-high five perfect serves. She also added four digs on defense. Katie Way, Ryelan Lyerly and Christi Jacobs each had three aces, while Emma Altman added one more.
Way also led her team in kills, collecting seven in the three sets, and added three digs. Lyerly and Jacobs each contributed two kills and three digs. Altman, Orena Drake and Addyson Hollingsworth all finished the match with one kill and one dig.
No. 2 Rockingham cruises past No. 3 Carver
Head coach Teresa Mason’s team welcomed in No. 3 Carver Middle School on Monday and made easy work against the Lady Eagles, sweeping them in straight sets 3-0. Rockingham won in set scores of 25-11, 25-18 and 25-6 to punch its way back to the SEMSAC title game.
A season ago, the No. 1 Lady Rockets were upset 3-2 by No. 2 Anson Middle School Blue on their home court in the championship match.
Against Carver, Keyoni Nichols led all scorers with 23 points across the three sets. Joining her with double-digit points were Makailah Jackson (15 points), Allie Rodgers (13 points) Zoey Herberg (11 points) and JNasia Neal (10 points). Also chipping in three points was Jamyia Lindsey.
Bragging rights are on the line during Wednesday’s championship match, which will be held at No. 1 Hamlet beginning at 4 p.m.