Tuesday, 01 December 2020 21:03

Chemistry, communication aid JV Lady Raiders in sweep of Lumberton

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Freshman Emma Altman makes a pass during the clinching second set of Tuesday's win at Lumberton. Freshman Emma Altman makes a pass during the clinching second set of Tuesday's win at Lumberton. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

LUMBERTON — Not wanting to lose the momentum it built before the holiday break, the Richmond Senior High School junior varsity volleyball team didn’t take its foot off the gas Tuesday.

Traveling to Sandhills Athletic Conference opponent Lumberton High School, the JV Lady Raiders earned their second-straight win, a 2-0 decision.

The victory marked the Lady Raiders’ first sweep of the season, as Richmond used set scores of 25-20 and 25-12 to sink the Lady Pirates.

A strong presence in the front court for Richmond helped the team earn a much-need conference win. 

Freshman outside hitter Emma Altman and freshman middle hitter Katie Way teamed up to keep Lumberton on its toes, and a developing chemistry helped Richmond get closer to the .500 mark.

“Being aggressive and swinging on any ball I could get my hands on really helped,” Altman said. “I think as a team if we don’t have chemistry, we don’t play well on the court.

“We are really starting to build chemistry, which is making us better,” she added. “We are starting to talk more on the back row, and at practice we work on serve-receive, which helped us in the game today.”

Richmond opened the first set on a 4-0 run thanks to a kill from Way, a serving ace from sophomore Joy Styles and two Lumberton serving errors. After a six-point rally from the home team, the Lady Raiders traded points for the middle part of the set.

A serving error by Lumberton made it a 14-10 deficit for the Lady Raiders, but that sent freshman Allie Rodgers to the serving line. She kickstarted a 6-0 run that included an ace and back-to-back kills from Altman and Way.

With the first set later tied at 16 points, an Altman tip and two kills from Way pushed Richmond’s lead to 20-17. The final five points for Richmond in the set came on serving or hitting errors by the Lady Pirates.

“Tonight the girls really saw how momentum can make or break a game,” said head coach Melissa Dennis. “They were everywhere on defense and really putting in the effort.

“Emma played smart at the net and she was more aggressive than she has been. She also had some smart serves that kept us up.”

Way led the team with six kills, while Altman and sophomore Quston Leviner each added two kills. Freshmen Jenna Gardner and Makailah Jackson recorded a kill in the win.

After dropping the opening point of the second set, a kill from Altman sparked a 7-0 run for the Lady Raiders. That stretch included one of Altman’s two aces, as well as another kill from Way.

Leviner joined the offensive effort with a kill to make it 8-2, which was followed by a block from Jackson. A 6-1 run by Richmond ended when Gardner served up an ace.

Extending the Lady Raiders’ lead to nine points, Leviner served consecutive aces to make in a 16-7 cushion. Richmond led by as many as 13 points in the second set, and a final kill from Way, coupled with a tip at the net from Styles, ended the match.

“Jenna really stepped up and took a lot of second balls tonight,” Dennis said of Gardner. She did a great job of communicating with Joy and all the hitters, and she showed a lot of confidence.

“Joy had some aggressive serves that kept momentum,” Dennis added of Styles’ team-high four aces. “Katie also had some smart plays at the net and recognized when she could swing away and when to play it smart.”

Rodgers, the team’s libero, held down the back row with 12 digs in the win.

The Lady Raiders (2-3, 2-3 SAC) will stay on the road for another match Thursday at Seventy-First High School. First serve is set for 5 p.m. in Fayetteville.

“Every day the girls come together more as a team,” Dennis closed. “They are communicating more and are encouraging each other. Hopefully that shows on the court at Seventy-First.”

Last modified on Tuesday, 01 December 2020 21:18
Kyle Pillar

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

Submit local sports scores to: kpillar@richmondobserver.com

Twitter: ROSports_