Thursday, 23 September 2021 22:01

Lapses cost Lady Raiders in rematch against Southern Lee

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Junior middle hitter Catherine Dennis (16) blocks a shot from Parker Lynch (14) in the third set. Junior middle hitter Catherine Dennis (16) blocks a shot from Parker Lynch (14) in the third set. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

SANFORD — The Lady Raider volleyball team opened its second round of Sandhills Athletic Conference play with a straight-set loss to Southern Lee High School on Thursday.

Head coach Ashleigh Larsen said the match was an improvement from Wednesday’s loss to rival Scotland, but said decision-making and a lack of intensity cost the team.

Richmond struggled in the first set, falling by a score of 12-25, but made things much closer in the final two sets. The Lady Cavaliers edged Richmond by scores of 25-21 and 25-22 in the last two stanzas.

“Tonight was definitely a turnaround from last night, but we still made some mental errors,” Larsen said. “We had a lot of in-the-net calls and things that could have been fixed. We just made a few little mental errors that we need to correct.

“We made other adjustments to the lineup without Allie (Rodgers) at libero, but the girls moved into their positions well,” she added. “Christi (Jacobs) stepped up and played good, and Joy (Styles) held down the libero position.”

When the two teams met to open SAC play on Aug. 31, the Lady Raiders rallied to win 3-2 in five sets. 

In the first set, Southern Lee started the match on a 15-7 run which resulted in a timeout for the Lady Raiders. Junior middle hitter Catherine Dennis got a point back with a block at the net, and freshman Ava Edmondson served an ace.

Dennis recorded another block and followed that with a kill a couple of plays later to make it a 20-11 deficit. The Lady Raiders’ final point of the set came from senior outside hitter Allyiah Swiney, who bumped the ball into open space.

Southern Lee closed on a 2-0 run to take the first set.

Early in the second set, Richmond used a kill from senior Saniah Durham and blocks from Dennis and sophomore middle hitter Katie Way to take a 7-6 lead. The two teams would trade points out to a 10-10 tie.

The Lady Cavs (6-6, 2-5 SAC) used a 5-0 run to distance themselves, but an Edmondson tip and another Durham kill pulled Richmond within three points.

Later in the set, Swiney and Way collected points on back-to-back volleys. Trailing 22-16, sophomore Jenna Gardner served five straight points to pull Richmond within one point. A handful of Southern Lee errors and a Swiney kill made it a 22-21 deficit.

But the Lady Cavs closed on a 3-0 run to take a two-set advantage.

Edmondson would help the Lady Raiders take an 8-5 lead to start the third set, following another kill by Way. During a 4-0 stretch, Edmondson had an ace, coupled with a block from Way and a kill from Swiney.

Southern Lee answered with a 4-0 run and the two teams battled out to an 11-11 tie. The Lady Cavs maintained a small lead before breaking it open 24-17. A contested call by Richmond was ruled a replay by the officials, which started a 5-0 run to make things interesting.

With Way at the serving line, she served an ace and Richmond used kills from Dennis and Durham to pull within two points 22-24. But a hitting error ended the match.

“This is not a physical battle, but more of a mental battle for each of the girls,” Larsen explained. “We need to get things together and find that push. Southern Lee capitalized on our weak spots, we just need to do that to opposing teams.

“We have two big games next week and some time to practice beforehand,” Larsen closed. “Hopefully we can get things rolling, learn from this game and keep things positive.”

Richmond (3-11, 2-5 SAC) will return to the court on Tuesday at conference-leading Pinecrest High School (12-1, 6-0 SAC). The match will begin around 6 p.m.

Kyle Pillar

Nine-time N.C. Press Association award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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