Tuesday, 01 December 2020 22:35

Lady Raiders fall at Lumberton, will reset for Thursday

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Seniors Shelly Hoffman (left) and Georgia Grace Anderson attempt a block on Diamond Harris (7). Seniors Shelly Hoffman (left) and Georgia Grace Anderson attempt a block on Diamond Harris (7). Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

LUMBERTON — The Richmond Senior volleyball team couldn’t find its footing Tuesday and dropped a Sandhills Athletic Conference road match at Lumberton High School.

Unable to keep its momentum from a win last Tuesday, the Lady Raiders were swept in three sets. Final set scores were 17-25, 17-25 and 14-25.

Head coach Ashleigh Larsen said the team didn’t have the same kind of fight as it did in last week’s sweep of Hoke County.

“Simple mistakes and questionable calls hurt us,” Larsen said after the match. “Despite all of that, we just did not have that fire to finish.”

Finding that spark moving forward will be important for the Lady Raiders, as they will finish the first half of their shortened regular season during their next two games. Larsen explained the team will focus on the game’s fundamentals, while also looking at its mental approach. 

“We’ll try to light that spark the same way we have been,” Larsen said. “I can say and do a lot, but it all really falls back on their willingness to come together to want to win. We will work on things tomorrow and try to battle our mental game.”

Richmond’s back row had a busy night, recording 59 digs between the three sets. Senior libero Emy Cooley had a team-high 16 digs, while seniors Shelly Hoffman (11) and Kelly Hoffman (10) each reached double figures. Senior Taylor Chappell and junior Allyiah Swiney both had nine digs.

Senior middle hitters Jakerra Covington and Georgia Grace Anderson combined for the majority of the Lady Raiders’ kills, notching seven and six, respectively. 

Covington came alive with a team-best four kills in the second set. Cooley and Kelly Hoffman finished the night with two kills apiece.

“Emy had a great game defensively for us,” Larsen said of some of the positives. “The middles (Anderson and Covington) started playing smart as they normally do. They were tipping around their bigger blocks to find the floor. 

“Other players had spotlight moments of good plays offensively and defensively, but we could just not get it all together.”

Kelly Hoffman echoed Larsen that Richmond’s communication was off and simple mistakes led to Lumberton being able to take advantage. She also felt some calls didn’t go in the Lady Raiders’ favor.

“We didn’t communicate or have any energy in the game tonight,” Hoffman explained. “A lot of balls dropped or were misjudged because people weren’t moving their feet.

“We need to stay positive, get ready for Seventy-First and win out the rest and be No. 1,” she added. “We are good enough to beat everyone in the conference, especially if we bring the energy and not get down on ourselves and each other.”

The Lady Raiders (2-3, 2-3 Sandhills Athletic Conference) will look to get back to the .500 mark with another road match on Thursday. Richmond will travel to SAC opponent Seventy-First High School (2-3, 2-3 SAC), with first serve set to go off shortly after the JV game.

“Every win is vital at this point,” Larsen closed. “We have a lot to work on to mentally prepare. Seventy-First is always an athletic team and we need to find a more aggressive strategy to find the floor and keep them from getting ahead.”

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_