Home Local Sports Slow start results in three-set loss to Union Pines

Slow start results in three-set loss to Union Pines

Junior Katie Way attempts a kill during the third set of Richmond's loss on Thursday. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

ROCKINGHAM — Hoping to end the week on a three-match winning streak, the Lady Raider volleyball team couldn’t get the job done on Thursday.

Returning to Sandhills Athletic Conference play, Richmond suffered a three-set loss to Union Pines High School.

Two of the three sets were decided by two points, and the other was just a five-point deficit. The Lady Raiders fell by set scores of 23-25, 20-25 and 25-27.

Head coach Ashleigh Larsen said a slow start hindered Richmond’s ability to jump ahead.

“Tonight, just like our last couple of games, we didn’t come out as the front runners,” Larsen explained. “We go back on our heels and let the other teams run the show in the first set.

“We did that again tonight, and it’s not until the girls are angry that they want to start playing,” she added. “We’ve overcome that before, but tonight it wasn’t in our favor. 

Richmond and Union Pines (7-3, 3-0 SAC) battled out to a 16-16 tie in the first set before the Lady Vikings edged the Lady Raiders with a 9-7 run down the stretch.

Again, the second set was a back-and-forth affair and Richmond held a 17-15 lead. Both teams traded points and junior Makailah Jackson crushed a kill to give Richmond a 20-19 lead.

But a 3-0 swing by Union Pines resulted in a timeout for Richmond. Not able to break the serve, another 3-0 stretch out the pause in action gave the Lady Vikings a two-set lead.

The third set saw Richmond erase an early four-point hole and use a 10-2 spurt to take a 16-12 lead. That run featured several errors by Union Pines, two kills from junior Katie Way and another from senior Catherine Dennis.

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The Lady Raiders led by as many as six points in the third stanza, but Union Pines took advantage of an 11-3 run to secure the win.

“I was hoping for three straight wins this week, but maybe this will humble us and get us prepared for next week,” Larsen said. “I think we could have played better in the three matches and cleaned up some mistakes.

“Missing serves is something I stress and is something we shouldn’t be thinking about at this point. Playing smarter volleyball will also help. Tonight’s loss hit the girls hard and they’ll be ready to come out with fire next week.”

Richmond (6-5, 2-2 SAC) will play two matches on the road at Lee County (4-5, 1-2 SAC) and non-conference Anson next Tuesday and Wednesday. Varsity will begin around 6:15 p.m.

JV Lady Raiders end slide

Able to break a season-long losing streak, the Richmond junior varsity volleyball team returned to the win column on Thursday.

Earning the victory over Union Pines, the JV Lady Raiders rolled to a 2-0 win behind set scores of 25-21 and 25-10.

The JV Lady Raiders (6-5, 2-2 SAC) will look to add another conference win Tuesday at Lee County. Play will begin at 5 p.m.

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Kyle Pillar is a 16-time North Carolina Press Association award-winning sports editor with The Richmond Observer. Follow the sports department on Twitter @ROSports_ for the best in-depth coverage of Richmond County sports.