ROCKINGHAM — With its back against the wall, the Richmond Senior High School volleyball team used its home crowd and some aggressive play to rally and defeat its rival on Tuesday.
The first of two regular-season meetings between Richmond and Scotland High School went in favor of the home team, resulting in a comeback win for the Lady Raiders.
Hosting the Lady Scots, the Lady Raiders saw their mid-season three-game slide come to an end in a five-set win, 3-2. The Lady Raiders erased a two-set deficit by winning the fourth and fifth frames.
Richmond took the first set 25-22, before dropping the next two by scores of 20-25 and 21-25, despite holding leads.
Needing to win the fourth frame, the Lady Raiders dug in for a 25-19 win to force the decisive fifth.
And thanks to an 8-0 serving run to start the final stanza by junior Jenna Gardner, the Lady Raiders iced the victory with a score of 15-9.
In the first set, Richmond erased three six-point deficits. Helping keep the score close were kills from senior Catherine Dennis and junior Makailah Jackson.
Trailing by a point, a 6-1 run by the Lady Raiders knotted the first set at 14 points. All six of those points were a result of hitting errors by Scotland.
Breaking the tie to make it a two-point advantage were kills from Dennis and senior Quston Leviner. The teams traded points and tied four more times, the last of which was at 21 points.
Three hitting errors from Scotland made it set point, and junior Katie Way fired two kill attempts that were sent back over the net, allowing Jackson to tip the ball into open space and earn the win.
The Lady Scots (7-5, 3-3 SAC) controlled the tempo in the second set and led by as many as seven points. Richmond cut its deficit to three points late, 21-18, but the Lady Scots closed on a 4-2 run.
A competitive third set saw both squads make a series of runs. Gardner started the set with a 5-0 serving run, but Scotland answered to tie it at 10 points.
A three-point spurt from Richmond featured a Dennis block and a kill to put the Lady Raiders up 13-10. But a 7-0 stretch by Scotland gave the visitors the lead.
Despite tying the match at 19 points, Richmond gave up a 6-2 run to fall behind by two sets.
The fourth set followed a similar pattern as both teams traded points. The Lady Raiders broke a tie and took a 16-14 lead, forcing the Lady Scots to call a timeout.
Down the stretch, Richmond rolled by winning nine of the next 14 points to go to the tiebreaker.
That’s when Gardner turned it loose, propelling the Lady Raiders to an 8-0 lead from the serving line. That run featured back-to-back kills from Leviner and Dennis.
Two more kills from Dennis found the floor to make it a 10-3 lead, and a kill from Way and an ace from junior Christi Jacobs made it match point. Securing the win was a hitting error by Scotland that sailed out of bounds.
The Lady Raiders (7-7, 3-3 SAC) pick up again on Wednesday with a non-conference match at Pine Forest (8-7) for the Norton Strong Game. Tip is set for 6:15 p.m.
JV Lady Raiders sweep Scotland
In the junior varsity match, the JV Lady Raiders made quick work against rival Scotland, rolling in straight sets 2-0.
The first set was back and forth with Richmond taking advantage late, 28-26. The JV Lady Raiders erased a seven-point deficit and the set point came on an ace from J’Nasia Neal.
Jumping out 11-1 in the second set, the JV Lady Raiders secured the win with a 25-18 set score. Rena Drake delivered a kill following a long volley.
Now 7-7 overall and 3-3 in SAC play, the JV Lady Raiders will travel to Pine Forest on Wednesday. First serve is set for 5 p.m.