Home Local Sports Solid serving enters Lady Raiders back into win column

Solid serving enters Lady Raiders back into win column

Freshman Kenley Smith, who was tied for the team lead with 4 aces, serves during the third set of Monday's win. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

MARSHVILLE — What head coach Ashleigh Larsen called a “good team win” got the Richmond Lady Raider volleyball team back in the win column on Monday.

Using an aggressive serve, the Lady Raiders overcame a contested first two sets to earn a 3-1 win on the road at Forest Hills High School.

Snapping a two-match skid, Richmond won the non-conference meeting by scores of 26-24, 23-25, 25-13 and 25-19.

Between four players — seniors Jenna Gardner, Keyoni Nichols, Allie Rodgers and freshman Kenley Smith — the Lady Raider dished out 14 aces in the win.

Rodgers and Smith, both back row players, notched four aces apiece. Gardner, a defensive specialist, and Nichols, a right side hitter, both had three perfect serves.

A five-point run early in the first set gave the Lady Raiders a 5-2 lead, one they would hold onto until late in the set. Freshman middle hitter Riley McDonald recorded her first kill and Smith served an ace during the stretch.

Never leading by more than five points in the first stanza, Richmond maintained its lead thanks to kills from McDonald, senior middle hitter Katie Way, junior setter Ava Edmondson and senior outside hitter Addy Hollingsworth.

Up 16-13, Nichols found space for her lone ace in the first. Two more Hollingsworth drives to the floor, coupled with kills from Way and McDonald and several errors, gave Richmond a 23-20 lead.

Forest Hills (0-8) made a four-point run to take the lead. But kills from McDonald and Way swayed the momentum and the first set ended on a hitting error by the Lady Yellow Jackets.

The second set went in favor of Forest Hills, although Richmond erased an early deficit. Down 8-3, senior middle hitter MaKailah Jackson made a smart tip at the net that began a 6-0 run for the visitors.

Going to the service line, Rodgers got into a rhythm and rattled off four aces on the next five serves. Adding the extra point to make it a 9-8 lead was a kill from Nichols.

Another ace from Nichols and a violation by Forest Hills made it a three-point lead. But three ties led to the Lady Yellow Jackets taking a 20-17 lead, which resulted in a timeout called by Larsen.

Way made a pair of kills from the middle of the net to tie the score twice more, but consecutive errors by the Lady Raiders ended the set to tie the match.

Kicking its game up a notch, Richmond started a roll in the third set that set the tempo for the remainder of the night. A kill from McDonald was followed by her making a solo block at the net and adding two more kills.


Part of a 7-0 run to make it a 9-2 lead, Smith lasered two serves over the net for her final two aces.

Up 11-8, a 9-1 spurt by the Lady Raiders helped put the set out of reach. The first four points came courtesy of a kill and an ace by Nichols and back-to-back kills from Way.

Jackson added on with another tip at the net, Gardner served her two aces and Way powered another kill to the hardwood to extend the lead to 20-9.

Closing the door were kills by Way, Hollingsworth (2), a McDonald solo block and a Forest Hills error.

Both teams battled to a 7-7 tie in the fourth frame, as kills from Hollingsworth, Nichols and Way kept Richmond competitive. Following two errors by the home team, Hollingsworth drilled another kill to make it a two-point lead, one Richmond wouldn’t surrender.

A 10-4 run used kills from five different players — Hollingsworth, Jackson, McDonald, Way and Nichols — and Gardner’s final ace to break it open 20-13. 

Adding two kills apiece late, Way and Hollingsworth iced the win along with a hitting error.

Richmond (3-3) will look to carry over the momentum into Tuesday’s Sandhills Athletic Conference opener at home against Southern Lee High School (2-3). Action will get underway around 6 p.m. after the junior varsity match.

JV Lady Raiders sweep Forest Hills

Also jumping back into the win column on Monday, the Richmond junior varsity volleyball team swept Forest Hills.

Taking the victory 2-0, the JV Lady Raiders won by set scores of 25-14 and 25-19.

“It was a little shaky at times,” head coach Melissa Dennis said. “We missed a lot of serves and opportunities for aggressive plays, but we were able to close it out at the end.”

The JV Lady Raiders (4-2) will also open SAC play on Tuesday at home against Southern Lee. First serve will be at 5 p.m.

Sports editor’s note: No statistics were available at the time of publication.

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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.