By Jan Clark
Top priority for the Richmond girls volleyball team in the Muncie Central Invitational Saturday was to beat Muncie Central and gain revenge for an earlier loss. Mission accomplished.
The Red Devils, now 10-11, downed the host Bearcats 25-15, 25-17 before losing to East Central 20-25, 7-25 and state ranked Mount Vernon 18-25, 19-25.
“Beating Muncie made the day worthwhile,” said coach Russ Uhte. “We wanted Muncie bad and we got em. East Central is night and day better than what we saw in the preseason. They served very aggressively and kept us on our heels. Mount Vernon (a potential sectional opponent) is having a great season as well but we competed well against them.”
In the first set against Muncie, early kills by Laurelai DePew, Kennedy McKee and Ella Wilson broke a 10-10 tie and put the Devils up 15-10. An Ashley Clark kill, an ace by McKee, another DePew kill and a Molly Morken ace finished it off.
Lauren Uhte got set two off to a good start with an ace followed by a DePew kill, Alison Juday ace, Morken ace, a Rayonna Rogers kill and a Rogers ace. That gave RHS a commanding 20-9 lead. Another DePew kill and a Juday ace highlighted the finish.
Set one against East Central was close most of the way. Two rousing DePew kills cut the East Central lead to 18-12. At the point where Richmond trailed 21-13, the Red Devils rallied for seven points in an eight-point stretch thanks to a Rogers kill, Rogers ace and Uhte ace. That cut the lead to 22-20 but no closer. Set two was a nightmare. East Central vaulted to a 12-0 lead and it was basically over.
Against Mount Vernon the Devils were in the hunt. Clark and Rogers had kills late in the first set but just couldn’t catch up. In set two, Mount Vernon jumped to a 6-3 lead when the Devils rallied for six straight points behind the serving of McKee and net play of DePew. But Mt. Vernon came right back with eight in a row and held on to the end.
J’naya Thompson had a good day defensively with 26 digs, DePew led in kills with 11, Uhte in aces with five and assists with 16, JaKaia Lotz in blocks with four.
Richmond is back home Monday for Senior Night against Rushville. “Senior Night is always an emotional night but it should be a fun night for the seniors (Thompson, Wilson, Morken and Rogers). They’ve put in a lot of work this year and deserve to be recognized,” coach Uhte said.
Cumulative stats — Morken 2 aces, 2 kills, 11 digs, 12 assists; Rogers 2 aces, 6 kills, 8 digs, 1 block; Wilson 5 kills, 2 digs, 1 assist, 3 blocks; Thompson 26 digs, 1 assist; Juday 2 aces, 20 digs, 1 assist; DePew 11 kills, 21 digs, 1 assist, 1 block; Uhte 5 aces, 2 kills, 14 digs, 16 assists; McKee 3 aces, 2 kills, 11 digs, 1 assist; Lotz 5 kills, 7 digs, 4 blocks; Clark 4 kills, 3 digs, 1 assist, 1 block; Weber 7 digs.