Monday, 23 November 2020 21:14

Strong second set not enough as JV Lady Raiders lose to Jack Britt

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Sophomore outside hitter Quston Leviner pushes the ball over the net for a point during the second set of Monday's match. Sophomore outside hitter Quston Leviner pushes the ball over the net for a point during the second set of Monday's match. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

ROCKINGHAM — Playing on their home court for the first time this fall, the junior varsity Lady Raiders nearly rallied to win their first match of the season.

Despite a late run in the third set, Richmond fell to Jack Britt High School 2-1 in three frames. Set scores were 18-25. 25-10 and 11-15.

Second-year head coach Melissa Dennis saw her team put together several strong scoring spurts, but it wasn’t enough to put away the Lady Buccaneers. Through three matches this season, Richmond has forced three sets in each but remains winless.

“I think these girls have to get it out of their own heads,” Dennis said of getting over the hump. “We have to stop letting little errors turn into runs.”

The Lady Raiders were in control for the early part of the first set, taking a 4-2 lead. Freshman middle hitter Katie Way, who impressed all night, had two early kills. Jack Britt and Richmond would trade scores, tying one another 10 times in the set.

Freshman outside hitter Emma Altman contributed to the first set with two kills of her own, but a shift by Jack Britt saw the visitors take a 17-14 lead. Sophomores Makailah Jackson (middle hitter) and Quston Leviner (outside hitter) both kept Richmond in the set.

Jackson deflected a ball at the net for a point, which was followed by a strong kill from Leviner. The Lady Bucs would take the set on a 13-4 close.

Richmond’s best set of the night was the middle frame, which saw the Lady Raiders capitalize on a 9-0 run and a 6-2 stretch. A push from freshman outside hitter Jenna Gardner, along with a Leviner ace, put Richmond up 8-4 in the early going.

Freshman Joy Styles proved to be big from the serving line for Richmond in the second, as she led the nine-point run. Styles collected two aces along the way, while Way joined the mix with another kill.

Altman followed with a strong serving performance in the latter part of the set, recording two aces. Way tacked on another kill for Richmond as part of a 6-2 run to win the set. Freshman libero Allie Rodgers was also a key player in the set win, holding down the back row for the Lady Raiders.

“Allie is so aggressive and I can tell she wants every ball,” Dennis said. “She did her job well tonight. Joy served aggressively and was able to keep the ball in play.”

Richmond carried that momentum over to the third set, sparking a 5-1 run to open the decisive frame. Way had another kill and Styles notched another ace.

Despite the early lead, Richmond allowed Jack Britt to go on an 8-1 stretch. Dennis called a timeout with her team down three points. The Lady Raiders, however, wouldn’t recover.

Way had a team-high six kills, as Altman and Leviner each added two of their own. Gardner and Jackson both finished the night with a kill.

Rodgers tallied 12 digs out of the back row, as Styles’ four aces were also a team-high. Altman had two aces and Leviner added another.

The JV Lady Raiders (0-3, 0-3 Sandhills Athletic Conference) will have a quick turnaround and host Hoke County High School on Tuesday. Action will get underway at 5 p.m. and it will be the team’s last match before a weeklong hiatus for Thanksgiving break.

“This game is over and it’s time to focus on the next one,” Dennis closed. “We’ll learn from our mistakes. Every game the girls are showing progress with working together and communicating with each other.”

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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