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Sweep of Lee County puts Lady Raiders back on track

Freshman middle hitter Riley McDonald gets vertical for a kill during Tuesday's win. (Deon Cranford/The Richmond Observer)

ROCKINGHAM — Smart play at the net got the Richmond Senior High School volleyball team back in the win column on Tuesday. 

A night after battling a tough Pinecrest team, the Lady Raiders made quick work of visiting Lee County High School.

Taking down the Lady Yellow Jackets in straight sets, Richmond secured a 3-0 victory. 

Using set scores of 25-16, 25-23 and 27-25, the Lady Raiders ended a two-match slide and collected their second sweep against a Sandhills Athletic Conference opponent this fall.

“Tonight definitely was not as intense as last night,” head coach Ashleigh Larsen noted. “I feel like we still need to clean up some of our mistakes. But overall, it was a good conference win.

“Katie (Way) and Riley (McDonald) were able to find the floor on some big hits and tips in the middle,” she continued. “Jenna (Gardner) and Keyoni (Nichols) had some good serves to make Lee County second guess on some plays.”

After cruising through the first set, the Lady Raiders found themselves trailing 5-10 in the second stanza. Richmond went on a 9-4 stretch to knot the score at 14 points.

Richmond and Lee County (2-7, 0-4 SAC) battled out to six more ties in the second, but the Lady Raiders never trailed. A diving dig over the net by Nichols resulted in a hitting error for the set victory.

In what proved to be the final set of the night, the Lady Raiders led 23-18 in the third. Lee County cut its deficit to within a point thanks to a 5-0 run.

Leading 23-22, Larsen called a timeout. The Lady Yellow Jackets went ahead 24-23 and 25-24, but a 3-1 run by Richmond resulted in the sweep. Senior MaKailah Jackson and Way blocked a shot at the net for the final point. 

The Lady Raiders (6-5, 3-2 SAC) close out the week on the road at non-conference Pine Forest High School on Wednesday.

Going for the sweep of the Lady Trojans (7-5), Richmond will begin action at 6 p.m.

JV Lady Raiders also win

Ending a three-match skid on Tuesday, the Richmond junior varsity volleyball team defeated Lee County. 

Taking the match in straight sets 2-0, scores were 25-17 and 25-22 in favor of Richmond.

“I was excited to see the girls be aggressive at the net,” head coach Melissa Dennis commented. “Our hitters made a lot of smart plays. 

“They responded well to the adjustments that were made and worked well together.”

The JV Lady Raiders (6-5, 2-3 SAC) are also set to play at Pine Forest on Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Sports editor’s note: Head coach Ashleigh Larsen, Melissa Dennis, Deon Cranford and Mica Way contributed to this article. 

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Kyle Pillar is a 22-time North Carolina Press Association award-winning sports editor with The Richmond Observer. Follow the sports department on X @ROSports_ for the best in-depth coverage of Richmond County sports.