SOUTHERN PINES — Unlike the first meeting from earlier this month, Tuesday’s Sandhills Athletic Conference match wasn’t as close on the scoreboard.
Unfortunately for the Lady Raider volleyball team, its match on the road at Pinecrest High School ended in a three-set loss.
Falling 3-0 to the Lady Patriots, Richmond lost by set scores of 11-25, 23-25 and 9-25.
“We didn’t show up to play against them like we did the first time,” head coach Ashleigh Larsen commented. “I’m not saying there weren’t times of greatness, obviously we played well during the second set to come back and make it exciting.
“Defensively, we did well across the board,” she added. “They made some big plays, but offensively we couldn’t get things rolling. Just a few mistakes on our part like balls falling between people or getting hit into the net.”
Pinecrest, which remained undefeated in SAC action, opened the first set on a 12-4 run before Richmond took a timeout. The Lady Raiders’ only point not registered on an error was a kill by freshman middle hitter Riley McDonald.
Out of the break, senior middle hitter Katie Way struck a kill and added another later in the set to cut into the deficit 7-18. Way’s point was one of just a few as Pinecrest (12-5, 7-0 SAC) used another big run of 10-3.
Trailing 8-22, Richmond collected two more points on a pair of blocks by McDonald at the net. A serving error gave the Lady Patriots a one-set lead.
A much closer second set started with a 5-1 lead for Pinecrest, the Richmond point courtesy of a McDonald kill. A serving error by the Lady Patriots, coupled with a McDonald block and an ace from freshman defensive specialist Kenley Smith chipped away at the score.
Senior outside hitter MaKailah Jackson added a kill. A long rally that started with a block from Way, ended in junior setter Ava Edmondson extending the play by making a save on the bench and senior libero Allie Rodgers registering a kill for the point.
Back-to-back errors by Pinecrest resulted in an 8-7 lead for the Lady Raiders. But an 8-2 run by the home team led to a timeout with Richmond down 10-15.
Trailing 13-20, a 10-5 run by Richmond made things interesting. A Jackson kill, an ace from senior right side hitter Keyoni Nichols and a kill each from Way and Edmondson made it a five-point hole.
With Pinecrest a point away from the win, consecutive errors ignited a 6-0 run for Richmond. Senior defensive specialist Jenna Gardner made a diving dig that sailed over the net and landed for a point.
Three more errors extended the set before a kill from Emma Clark put Richmond down by a pair of sets.
Pinecrest rolled out to a 13-0 lead in the deciding third set, stopped only when McDonald recorded a kill. That started a four-point run for Richmond, which used a trio of miscues to cut into the deficit.
Jackson notched a kill for the team’s fifth point in the set, while errors by the Lady Patriots accounted for Richmond’s final four points.
After its big opening, Pinecrest used a run of 12-9 to complete the season sweep of Richmond.
“Hopefully we can shake this off and prepare for the remaining part of conference play,” Larsen closed. “Our goal is to close out with wins across the board.”
Richmond (7-9, 4-4 SAC) will return to its home court on Thursday and host Hoke County High School (6-8, 2-5 SAC). Varsity will start at 6 p.m.
JV Lady Raiders’ winning streak ends
The Richmond junior varsity volleyball team’s five-match winning streak came to an end on Tuesday at Pinecrest.
Falling to the JV Lady Patriots for the second time this season, Richmond lost in two sets. Set scores were 21-25 and 22-25.
“Overall the girls played really well,” head coach Melissa Dennis said. “We were matching point for point at the beginning and the girls were making good adjustments.
“The second game we found ourselves in a six-point hole and missed a few key serves, but we were able to fight back and make it a close game.”
The JV Lady Raiders (10-6, 4-4 SAC) also host Hoke County on Thursday, beginning at 5 p.m.