By Jan Clark
Down two sets to none, the Richmond girls volleyball team nearly pulled a rabbit out of the hat Monday at Connersville.
The Red Devils rallied to even the sets at 2-2 and barely lost the fifth set tiebreaker 15-17. The scores were 28-30, 22-25, 25-19, 25-18, 15-17. The junior varsity advanced to 13-6 by winning 25-10, 25-15.
“We just took too long to get started tonight more than anything,” said coach Matt Fisher.
“I like how we finished together. I thought (senior) Kierra Wright was just awesome tonight (13 kills, 5 blocks). Our blockers got a lot of touches tonight and we were the better attacking team toward the end. And when you go into a fifth set anything can happen, especially on the road against a rival.”
The fifth and deciding set was tied six times, the last at 15-15. Two kills by freshman Laurelai DePew and one by Justice Mays gave Richmond what seemed to be a set-deciding 14-10 lead. But four straight Connersville points tied it up and the Spartans eked out the final margin.
Set one was an absolute marathon.
Thirteen times the score was tied. Senior Zoee Woolridge (13 kills) had two big kills to tie the game 26-all and Ella Wilson teamed with Wright for a block to give the Devils a 28-27 lead. It was also even at 28 but the Spartans got the final two.
In game two, Richmond again led late, 22-16, but couldn’t put em away. RHS led 24-20 on a Wright block and a Mays kill but, in the end, Connersville prevailed.
Battling extreme heat in the gymnasium, Richmond had its back to the wall at this point. Set three was tied 11-11 when the Devils rallied behind the serving of Molly Morken and a block and a kill by Woolridge.
Wright had two big kills to get Richmond rolling in set four. Again it was close. Six times it was tied, the last at 15-15. A Wright kill at the end sealed it.
Now 8-14, Richmond returns home Thursday to meet NCC rival Anderson.
“We need to secure the No. 2 seed in the NCC tourney (to be held at the Tiernan Center Oct. 6),” Fisher said. “After tonight we’ll learn a little on why we can’t come out flat, especially on the road. Once we got rolling I thought we played really well. Hopefully this will carry over into Thursday.”
Varsity stats: Morken 1 ace, 2 kills, 17 digs, 20 assists; Wright 13 kills, 2 digs, 1 assist, 5 blocks; Mays 1 ace, 9 kills, 10 digs; Woolridge 13 kills, 6 digs, 2 blocks; Thompson 2 aces, 20 digs, 1 assist; Wilson 3 kills, 1 dig, 2 blocks; Rogers 4 kills, 2 digs, 1 block; Juday 3 aces, 9 digs; DePew 1 ace, 4 kills, 9 digs, 2 assists, 6 blocks; Clark 9 digs; Uhte 1 ace, 11 digs, 15 assists.
JV stats: Uhte 1 ace, 2 kills, 2 digs, 17 assists; McKee 2 aces, 3 kills, 3 digs; Spicer 5 kills, 1 block; Wolfe 2 digs; Saylor 1 ace, 8 kills, 4 digs; Hunter 1 ace, 1 kill, 2 digs, 1 assist; Neeley 1 ace, 2 kills, 3 digs, 1 assist; Lotz 1 kill; Weber 1 ace, 1 dig; Bosell 1 ace, 5 digs; James 2 kills, 1 dig.