Thursday, 12 September 2019 00:32

Jordan's crucial points help Lady Raiders rally past Southern Lee in five sets

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Senior outside hitter Madison Jordan returns a ball during the third set or Richmond's win over Southern Lee on Wednesday. Senior outside hitter Madison Jordan returns a ball during the third set or Richmond's win over Southern Lee on Wednesday. Kyle Pillar — The Richmond Observer.

SANFORD — Just 24 hours after sweeping Hoke County High School, the Lady Raider volleyball team faced some early resistance Wednesday in its non-conference match at Southern Lee High School.

Richmond found itself in unfamiliar territory when it dropped its first set to the Lady Cavaliers, but the visiting team dug in its heels to win three of the next four sets to earn a 3-2 win. The Lady Raiders’ hot start to the season continued, as they improved to 7-1 overall.

After dropping the first set 23-25, Richmond rallied to take sets two and three by scores of 25-23 and 25-21, respectively. The Lady Raiders slipped in the fourth set 18-25 before closing the door with a 15-11 win in the fifth set.

“I could tell the girls were tired tonight, but they hung in there all five sets,” assistant coach Melissa Dennis said. “As the sets went on, our girls were more and more determined to fight for every point and not let (Southern Lee) score.

“There were a lot of tips and pushes by us tonight to try and get around their blockers,” she added. “We were lucky enough to make some adjustments and find some holes on the floor.”

What proved to be a back-and-forth affair that saw both teams gain and lose leads in each set, the Lady Raiders proved more resilient than their Lady Cavs counterpart. Senior outside hitter Madison Jordan was a big part of the win, coming up with points in crucial moments late in sets.

She would finish the match with eight kills, but three of them came in crunch time to earn set wins. In the second game, she recorded a kill to give Richmond a 23-21 lead, and two hitting errors by the Lady Cavs helped Richmond’s cause.

A set later, Jordan jumped up at the net and killed a shot into the middle of the floor to give the Lady Raiders a 2-1 set advantage. And on the last play of the match, Jordan connected on an assist from senior setter Carley Lambeth and bumped the ball short of libero Madalyn Shields to ice the match.

“It was good to get the momentum on our side in the middle sets,” Jordan explained. “We play better when we’re controlling the game. We made a lot of really good plays and we fed off of that.

“Both teams had some good blocks tonight, so I knew I couldn’t just hit the ball like normal,” she added. “Jadyn (Johnson) and I both played smarter by trying to tip and push the ball around the blocks to find the holes in their defense.”

Richmond trailed 11-4 to start the first set, but nearly came back to win it, going on a 5-2 run late but seeing a kill by Southern Lee end the set.

Several Lady Raiders, including Johnson, junior middle hitters Georgia Grace Anderson and Jakerra Covington and junior right side hitter Taylor Chappell, all chipped in with points to open the second frame to a 13-7 Richmond lead. The set would be tied at 20 moments later, but kills from Anderson and Jordan gave the Lady Raiders a two-point win.

The third set saw several ties and lead changes, with neither team opening more than a four-point advantage. Anderson recorded an ace to make it a 20-17 game, and got help from Johnson (two kills) and Jordan (one kill) to take a 2-1 set lead.

After losing the fourth set by seven points, Richmond reset and began the fifth set on a 6-2 run which forced Southern Lee head coach Amelia Cross to call a timeout. It was too little, too late for the home team, as an ace from senior libero Layne Maultsby and blocks by Anderson and Chappell kept the Lady Cavs at bay.

Up 11-8, Anderson crushed home a cross-court kill, and Covington added two more for good measure. On the final play of the match, Jordan’s final kill gave Richmond the come-from-behind win.

Facing a bevy of heavy hitters, Richmond’s back row also competed well against the Lady Cavs. Maultsby got to work, racking up a team-high 21 digs on the night. She was aided by Johnson, who chipped in with 17 digs, and 12 more coming from Jordan. Dennis said the back row “played really well” and gave the team “opportunities to settle and score points at the net.”

Covington would be the team’s leading hitter, crushing 13 kills on the night. Anderson and Johnson would each hit double digits, tallying 11 kills apiece. Jordan added eight spikes. Lambeth passed out 40 assists, while Johnson and Anderson led Richmond with two aces.

The Lady Raiders (7-1, 2-1 SAC) will wrap up their three-game week at home on Thursday when they return to Sandhills Athletic Conference play against Lumberton High School (6-1, 2-1 SAC). Play will begin at 6 p.m.

JV Lady Raiders start, finish strong in win over Lady Cavs

The Richmond junior varsity volleyball team earned its second-straight win Wednesday, beating Southern Lee 2-1 in three sets. Richmond won the first set 25-20, dropped the second frame 14-25, and bounced back with a 15-12 win in the third game.

Sophomore Taylor Waitley compiled a team-high three kills, with freshman Catherine Dennis adding two of her own. Sophomores Kaitlyn Huff, Saniah Durham and Allyiah Swiney all had one kill. Sophomore Kierston Gibson was hot from the serving line, racking up six aces to help Richmond improve to 4-4 on the season.

The JV team will open against Lumberton on Thursday at 5 p.m.

Last modified on Thursday, 12 September 2019 08:29

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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