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Thursday, 17 October 2019 23:24

Lady Raiders honor 5 seniors with sweep of Scotland, clinch No. 3 seed

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The Lady Raiders celebrate a point during the third set of Thursday's sweep over Scotland on senior night. The Lady Raiders celebrate a point during the third set of Thursday's sweep over Scotland on senior night. Kyle Pillar — The Richmond Observer.

ROCKINGHAM — A “total team effort” is what made senior night one to remember for the five Richmond Senior High School 12th-grade volleyball players on Thursday.

In need of a win to clinch the No. 3 spot in the Sandhills Athletic Conference standings, the Lady Raiders controlled the regular-season finale against rival Scotland High School from the first serve to the final match point. 

Richmond earned a crucial sweep against the Lady Fighting Scots, defeating them in three sets behind set scores of 25-11, 25-16 and 25-18. The win avenged an earlier season loss on the road at Scotland, and locked the Lady Raiders (17-5, 9-5 SAC) into third place for the second consecutive season.

Ahead of their final regular season home match, seniors Jasmine Ewing, Jadyn Johnson, Madison Jordan, Carley Lambeth and Layne Maultsby were recognized in front of a full gymnasium for their efforts the past couple of seasons.

“We came out really strong in the first set and that really put the momentum in our favor,” head coach Ashleigh Larsen said following the win. “The girls were all hyped up and we carried that into the second and third sets. 

“At no point did the girls give up tonight,” she added. “It was a huge win for us, especially since the score was the way it was. We got on top and stayed on top.”

Johnson kickstarted the first set, the Lady Raiders’ strongest of the match, with a block and a kill to help Richmond out to a 3-0 lead. Junior middle hitter Jakerra Covington chipped in with two kills in the next handful of volleys, and two Johnson aces and a Jordan kill quickly made it 11-3, forcing Scotland head coach Mallory Wheeler to call a timeout.

The brief hiatus wouldn’t do Wheeler’s team any good, as Richmond poured it on with a 9-0 run to get out to its biggest lead of the night, 23-7. During that stretch, which saw Jordan at the serving line, Johnson had two kills and junior middle hitter Georgia Grace Anderson added three more spikes.

A hitting error into the net by Scotland’s Carleigh Carter made it set point, but the visiting team held on to make a late run of its own. Richmond got the 14-point win thanks to a Kate Carter hitting error that landed just over the right line.

The second set saw Scotland put up a tougher fight, but again it was Anderson, Covington and Johnson’s swings that pushed Richmond to a 2-0 advantage. Covington racked up back-to-back blocks early in the frame, and an Anderson kill off the hands of Angelle Norton and Swindell Asjah gave the Lady Raiders a 9-4 lead.

A Johnson kill, an Anderson ace and a big left-handed kill from Covington to the back court opened it up 18-7. Jordan made a diving dig a couple of plays later, forcing a hitting error by Kate Carter. Down the stretch, three more Scotland errors, including a net violation, saw the set point come up. Anderson would record her second kill of the frame over Norton and Asjah to end the second.

In the final frame, the closest of the night, Scotland would tie the set three different times and take a handful of small leads. Trailing 13-12, Covington delivered a kill off the hands of Kamdyn Morgan, and a Kate Carter net violation later tied the set at 14 points.

Scotland inched out to a 17-15 lead, but an Anderson kill would start an 8-0 run by the Lady Raiders, with Jordan making another strong push from the serving line. Anderson would add another kill and a tip at the net during that stretch, and Johnson would be responsible for two more points. 

The Lady Fighting Scots committed three unforced errors in the closing points, but Carleigh Carter answered with a kill to make it 23-18. Anderson would have a hand in clinching the sweep, picking up a tip that fell to the floor and serving the final serve of the match. Lambeth would take a pass from Anderson and set the ball to Covington, who smashed home the match-winning kill off the fingertips of Kate Carter. That emptied the Lady Raider bench and sent the crowd into a celebratory frenzy.

“Everyone stepped up and played the game they needed to play,” Larsen said. “They did what I asked, found the holes and Madison carried us with her serving in the first and third sets. 

“The girls all played together and it was a total team effort,” she continued. “Georgia Grace and Jakerra were really taking care of their hitters and we shut them down and got things taken care of. I was really proud of our defense, too.”

Richmond tallied six aces on the night, seeing three come from Johnson. She also recorded 10 kills on her senior night, which was tied with Anderson for the team lead. Covington had eight of the team’s 33 total kills, while Jordan had four. Lambeth dished out 29 assists while also adding a kill in the second set.

On defense, the back row racked up 80 digs and kept Richmond in the game. Maultsby led the Lady Raiders with 22 total digs, including eight in the first and third sets. Jordan was also helpful, tallying 17 digs and an impressive 12 in the first set. Lambeth (16) and junior defensive specialist Emy Cooley (12) would both hit double digits. Covington had a team-high four blocks.

Seniors, left to right: Jasmine Ewing, Jadyn Johnson, Coach Ashleigh Larsen, Layne Maultsby, Carley Lambeth and Madison Jordan.

“It’s been an honor to coach all five of my seniors,” Larsen closed. “They’ve worked hard the whole time they’ve been with the program and some of them have been with me all four years. They each gave me 110 percent tonight and brought up the underclassmen on the court. It was really satisfying for them to get a win on their home court on senior night.”

Richmond will now prepare for the Sandhills Athletic Conference tournament, which will see the first round begin on Monday. The No. 3 Lady Raiders will have a home match against either No. 6 Seventy-First High School or Purnell Swett High School, teams they’ve beaten twice this season. First serve is set for 6 p.m.

Last modified on Friday, 18 October 2019 12:39

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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