Home Local Sports ‘Smart’ play helps Lady Raiders sweep Purnell Swett

‘Smart’ play helps Lady Raiders sweep Purnell Swett

Members of the Lady Raider volleyball team celebrate after a point during Monday's sweep. (Deon Cranford)

PEMBROKE — Starting the week off on the right foot, the Richmond Senior High School volleyball team notched its second win of the season.

Sweeping the regular-season series against Purnell Swett High School, the Lady Raiders got back in the win column with a 3-0 victory.

Set scores were 25-17, 25-22 and 25-20 in favor of Richmond.

On the heels of the team’s first sweep of the season, head coach Ashleigh Larsen credited the Lady Raiders’ confidence on the court.

“I’m very pleased we won in three sets,” Larsen said. “Purnell made a few adjustments and they played with more fire tonight. But we were able to capitalize on some smart plays and dish the ball around. We had a stronger night than the first time we played them, and our energy level was high, which is good to see heading into the rest of the week.

“The girls are playing with a lot more confidence, which has been really helpful,” she continued. “We lacked that last year and we sometimes fell into a hole. This year the girls have gained a little extra boost to shake off mistakes and adjust. That’s a testament to their willingness to understand the game and get better.” 

In the opening frame, both squads rolled out to a 5-5 tie. With junior Jenna Gardner serving, the Lady Raiders went on a 6-0 run to take an 11-5 lead and forced Purnell Swett to take a timeout. 

Leading 24-17, senior Catherine Dennis ended the first set with a kill off an assist from sophomore setter Ava Edmondson. 

Following the same rhythm, Richmond scored the first six points of the second stanza with Edmondson doing the serving. The Lady Rams (2-2) took another break down 10-4. 

The Lady Raiders led by as many as eight points in the second, but Purnell Swett cut its deficit to two points, 19-17. Another quick two points from Richmond put the Lady Raiders up four points and resulted in a break. 

Leading 23-20, Larsen paused the action to regain composure. Richmond won the second set following a net violation by the Lady Rams. 

The final frame was a back-and-forth affair that featured ties at 5-5 and 14-14. The Lady Raiders used a 6-1 spurt to break open the final set and take a 20-14 lead.

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Dennis added another kill to force a timeout with Richmond up 22-18. The match point was secured following an error by the Lady Rams.

The Lady Raiders (2-2) will have a quick turnaround and play a home match on Tuesday against Uwharrie Charter Academy (1-0). 

Looking to even up the season series, action will begin around 6 p.m. Richmond fell 3-1 last week to the Lady Eagles in a tightly-contested matchup.

“I really hope to have a very loud and lit gym tomorrow,” Larsen closed. “We love having our fans there to cheer us on and help us win.”

Note: Stats were not available at the time of publication. Deon Cranford contributed to this article.

JV Lady Raiders continue impressive start

The Richmond junior varsity volleyball team kept its perfect record intact against Purnell Swett on Monday.

Improving to 4-0, the JV Lady Raiders and head coach Melissa Dennis earned a 2-0 win over the Lady Rams. Set scores were 25-20 and 30-28. 

Richmond trailed 12-9 in the second set before battling back. The teams traded several late ties before the JV Lady Raiders secured the victory. 

Tuesday’s matchup with Uwharrie Charter Academy, set to begin at 5 p.m., will see the team try to extend its winning streak to five matches. 

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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.