By Jan Clark
Plenty of close sets but no brass ring for the Richmond girls volleyball team Saturday in the Hagerstown triangular.
The Red Devils (3-7) lost to Hagerstown 17-25, 20-25 and to Triton Central 22-25, 21-25 while the junior varsity defeated Triton Central 25-22, 25-16 but lost to Hagerstown in three sets 9-25, 25-24, 6-15.
In the first match, Hagerstown, behind the front row talents of seniors Regan Tinkle (Georgia) and Jessica Swimm (IU East), jumped out to a 5-0 lead before sophomore Ashley Clark put Richmond on the board with a kill. A kill by JaKaia Lotz and three by Rayonna Rogers followed but 14-19 was the closest the Devils could come.
The second set was a thriller. Hagerstown won at the end but the Devils played spirited volleyball. A Lotz kill and two straight service aces by Clark tied the set 4-4. Then junior Alison Juday had a great dig followed by a kill. Another Juday kill (she was seeing her first action on the front row) and a Rogers block brought the two teams even 8-8.
Senior Ella Wilson notched a kill and Juday three consecutive service aces to tie the score at 11. Senior Molly Morken had a back row kill followed by a Clark kill and a Clark service ace to make it 16-all. It was also tied at 18 on a Laurelai DePew block and a DePew ace. Kills by Juday and Rogers had Richmond within 20-22 but no closer.
“Yeah, I really like the front row,” Juday said. “I like the back row too but it was really different playing up front. We had a team breakfast this morning and that brought us all together more. Today we were more energetic. We’re going somewhere.”
Against Triton Central, again Richmond had a poor start. The Devils trailed 9-1 before they got the bleeding stopped. Kennedy McKee had a service ace and Rogers a kill but Richmond found itself behind 21-7.
That’s when Richmond put on a tremendous comeback. Clark reeled off six straight service points and DePew added an ace as the Devils roared back with 15 of the next 18 points. That cut it to 18-23. A Rogers block and another Juday kill came too late.
The second set was just as close. It was tied 7-7 when Juday had an ace serve. It was also tied at 11 on a DePew block. A Clark kill set up another rally and the score was even again at 16, 17, 18 and 19. A neat dink at the net by Lauren Uhte helped big time. Triton, however, scored six of the last eight points to win it.
“We really did find some of that drive today,” coach Russ Uhte said. “But it was eight rotations before we were able to score on offense (in the first set against Triton). We’ve got to get out earlier and start fighting sooner. You’ll see a lot of difference on the scoreboard when we can do that.”
Following the Labor Day weekend, Richmond travels to Northeastern Tuesday before hosting Muncie Central Thursday.
“Our girls are very very hungry in that match with Muncie Central (a North Central Conference and sectional opponent). I’m looking forward to a great crowd. Our girls always play better inside the Tiernan Center.”
Cumulative stats — Juday 4 aces, 6 kills, 9 digs; Rogers 6 kills, 2 blocks; Morken 2 kills, 4 digs, 8 assists; Wilson 1 kill, 3 digs, 1 block; DePew 1 ace, 6 digs, 4 blocks; Clark 2 aces, 3 kills, 1 dig; Uhte 3 kills, 9 digs, 8 assists; Lotz 1 kill, 4 blocks; McKee 1 ace, 3 digs; Thompson 3 digs; Weber 1 dig.
JV stats — Haskett 4 aces, 6 kills, 12 digs, 1 assist, 1 block; Wright 3 aces, 4 kills, 9 digs; James 2 aces, 5 kills, 14 digs, 3 assists; Bosell 6 aces, 2 kills, 18 digs; Bopp 4 digs; Harrison 12 digs, 8 assists; Orr 2 aces, 4 digs, 10 assists; Warner 5 digs; Whichard 2 kills, 1 block; Sikes 1 dig; Mathews 1 dig; McClain 1 dig; Morken 3 digs.