Tuesday, 08 October 2019 22:43

Lady Raiders' depth shows in sweep of Hoke County in Larsen's return

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Junior Kelly Hoffman delivers one of her five kills during Tuesday's win over Hoke County. Junior Kelly Hoffman delivers one of her five kills during Tuesday's win over Hoke County. Kyle Pillar — The Richmond Observer.

ROCKINGHAM — Tuesday’s Sandhills Athletic Conference volleyball match was a pretty nice welcome back party for Richmond Senior High School head coach Ashleigh Larsen.


Returning from six weeks of maternity leave for her first official game back coaching the Lady Raiders, Richmond took care of business in straight sets against visiting Hoke County High School to return to the win column following a two-loss week.

Notching their 14th win on the season, and second against the Lady Bucks (0-15, 0-11 SAC) in as many tries, set scores were 25-14, 25-14 and 25-11. It was the team’s seventh sweep of the season and eighth win on its home floor in 10 tries. 

“It feels good to be back and even better to come back to a win,” Larsen smiled after the match. “The girls were really excited start to finish.

“Hoke is a very scrappy team and they’ve got some good things going for them,” she added. “They have some big hitters and good passers, but it was good to see our girls come out and play together and not give our leads away.”

Richmond controlled the tempo of the match from the first set, never trailing at any point in the three sets. As the match progressed, Larsen gave her starters a break and leaned more on her substitutions to finish out the win.

Senior outside hitter Madison Jordan helped Richmond run away with the first set as she served 10-straight points from the serving line to give the Lady Raiders a 19-6 lead. During that stretch, she had three aces and junior middle hitter Georgia Grace Anderson had three kills. Senior outside hitter Jadyn Johnson contributed two more kills.

Both teams would trade points the rest of the set, and it was junior middle hitter Jakerra Covington and junior outside hitter Kelly Hoffman who each recorded a kill down the stretch to set up the set point. Jordan finished what she started with a tip at the net over two blockers.

Richmond tallied a team-best 15 kills in the first set, getting five from Anderson, four from Covington, two each from Johnson and Hoffman and one apiece from Jordan and junior right side hitter Taylor Chappell.

The second set was nearly identical to the first, seeing Richmond roll out to another 19-6 lead. Collecting only seven kills this time around, it was Anderson and Jordan who led the way with two spikes each. 

It was during this time that Larsen sent Hoffman, her twin sister and setter Shelly Hoffman, senior outside hitter Jasmine Ewing and junior Jayla McDougald onto the floor for some additional playing time. Covington, who isn’t in the normal serve rotation, got a couple of chances, and served a left-handed ace to clinch the second game.

In the closing set, the script followed the same as the first two, beginning with back-to-back kills from Johnson and Ewing. Covington picked up five aces in the set, a season-high for her, and Chappell and Kelly Hoffman extended the lead to 19-8 with a tip and a kill, respectively.

A couple of hitting and serving errors by the Lady Bucks set up the match point, which was finished by a kill from Anderson off a Shelly Hoffman assist.

“All of the girls who came off the bench have worked hard this season so I wanted to get them some playing time, and they did really well,” Larsen said. “At one point, the court was full of only girls who will be here next year. 

“It was good to get them some playing time and build their confidence up,” she added. “I thought they got a good feel for the court and getting their connection down together.”

Of the team’s 15 total aces, Covington had a team-best six on the night, followed by three each from Anderson and Jordan. Anderson was the only Lady Raider to hit double-digit kills with 11, as Kelly Hoffman and Covington both finished with five. Adding three kills each were Ewing, Johnson and Jordan.

Senior setter and Week 7 Official Richmond County Female Athlete of the Week Carley Lambeth led the team with 17 assists, while Shelly Hoffman dished out a season-high eight passes. Senior libero Layne Maultsby did her part in the back row, digging a team-high eight digs, with Lambeth adding seven more. Anderson and Covington each had two blocks.

Jack Britt High School’s loss Tuesday to Purnell Swett High School puts the Lady Raiders in sole possession of third place in the SAC standings.

Richmond (14-4, 7-4 SAC) will travel to non-conference Uwharrie Charter Academy (12-5) on Wednesday for a 6 p.m. match.

Kyle Pillar

Sports Editor. IUP communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

Submit local sports scores to: kpillar@richmondobserver.com

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