Thursday, 19 November 2020 22:10

Lady Raiders can't overcome slow start at Pinecrest

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Senior Kelly Hoffman attempts a kill during the third set of Thursday's match against Pinecrest. Senior Kelly Hoffman attempts a kill during the third set of Thursday's match against Pinecrest. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

SOUTHERN PINES — Two of the Sandhills Athletic Conference’s perennial powerhouse volleyball programs battled it out for the first time this season on Thursday.

Meeting for the first time since the SAC tournament championship last fall, Richmond and Pinecrest high schools each played their second match of the young season. 

An early hole for the Lady Raiders proved to be too much of a deficit and led to a 3-0 loss to the Lady Patriots. 

Although Richmond found its footing in the second and third frames, the Lady Raiders lost by set scores of 5-25, 22-25 and 20-25.

It was the second consecutive meeting that Richmond failed to win a set against Pinecrest.

“The girls got in too big of a hole from the first serve and could not dig themselves out,” head coach Ashleigh Larsen said. “They let their heads drop. 

“I hope it was an eye opener that they need to play aggressive from start to finish,” she added of the loss. “We can’t just let a team run us over and expect to make a comeback.”

Pinecrest opened the match on an 11-0 run before a hitting error afforded Richmond its first point of the night. 

All five of the Lady Raiders’ points in the opening frame would come from Pinecrest errors. A 14-4 spurt by the home team would close the set. 

The second set got off to a better start, seeing Richmond jump ahead 6-0. Senior Shelly Hoffman was at the serving line for five of those points, with the final mark coming on a kill from senior Kelly Hoffman.

Pinecrest tied the set at 11 points and managed to maintain a small lead for the rest of the frame. Kelly Hoffman, who finished with a team-high four kills on the night, added her second of the set to keep Richmond’s deficit at one point, 15-14.

Larsen called a timeout and out of the break, senior Jakerra Covington gave Richmond some life with one of her two aces on the night. A big block by senior Georgia Grace Anderson, followed by an ace from senior Taylor Chappell, again kept Pinecrest’s lead at one point, 22-21.

The Lady Patriots squeaked out the second set by taking three of the next four points from Richmond.

In the final stanza, a total of 10 ties lit up the scoreboard. After trailing by four points early, Richmond rallied to tie the set at five points and took a 12-8 lead.

From that point, both teams traded points and went down to the final seven points tied at 19 apiece. A Kelly Hoffman kill notched the score at 20-20, but a 5-0 by Pinecrest ended the match.

Senior libero Emy Cooley tallied eight digs and two kills, while Shelly Hoffman recorded three assists from the setter position. Anderson added two blocks and two aces, Covington had two aces and Chappell added one of her own.

“Emy had some good passes, digs and back row attacks,” Larsen shared. “The others had minutes to shine. Georgia Grace had some good serves and Kelly had some smart plays at the net.”

The Lady Raiders (1-1, 1-1 SAC) will return to action on Monday, playing in front of their home fans the first time this season. Richmond is set to host Jack Britt High School (1-1, 1-1 SAC) following the completion of the junior varsity match.

Per the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, only 25 spectators will be allowed in to watch. All fans and team personnel must wear masks.


Kyle Pillar

Three-time award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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