By Jan Clark
With the season winding down, Richmond will take a 14-8 record into the North Central Conference girls volleyball tournament at Muncie next Saturday.
The Red Devils are coming off a 3-1 showing in their own Invitational over the weekend at the Tiernan Center. Richmond defeated Franklin County 25-7, 25-15; defeated Winchester 25-15, 25-22; defeated Union County 25-22, 25-23; before losing to a strong New Palestine (20-6) team 25-17, 25-17.
Richmond statistical leaders for the day were Ashley Clark 30 kills, Lauren Uhte 38 digs and 62 assists, Laurelai DePew seven blocks and Alison Juday six service aces. Juday, a senior, also surpassed 500 digs for her career with 26 Saturday, giving her a total of 506.
“I think we fought hard,” said junior Adrianne Weber. “We knew New Palestine would be hard competition but we put up a fight and gave it our all. We’ve been putting a lot of work in at practice and I think it’ll show next week at the (NCC) tournament.”
Coach Russ Uhte was pleased overall.
“We knew New Pal would be good. My goal in the morning games was to focus and play really strong against Union County and then put up a fight against New Pal. They have a strong front row and play front row defense really well. I don’t know that we’ve faced a front row defense that strong all season.”
Concerning the upcoming NCC tournament, Uhte had these thoughts:
“If it goes like it should, we should first play Kokomo (9-8). If the other game goes like it should, we would wind up playing Lafayette Harrison (12-11). If we can put Harrison away, we would probably be playing McCutcheon (11-6) for first place.”
On Saturday against Franklin County, Richmond raced to a 5-0 lead in set one and led 12-3 and 19-4. In set two the Devils led 15-8 and were never in any real danger.
Against Winchester, the Devils jumped in front 7-0 and led 14-2 and 19-4 in an easy set one. Set two was much closer as the score was tied as late as 21-21.
DePew put it away with a block at the end.
Union County, as expected, did not go quietly. Set one was tied 15-15 and the Patriots were within 22-20 but RHS prevailed. Set two was extremely tight. UC led 13-7 and the score was tied 14-14. Richmond led 24-20 but the Pats cut it to 24-23 with the Devils scoring last.
Set one against New Pal was tied 16-16 before the Dragons reeled off nine of the last 10 points. Set two was back and forth but New Pal never relinquished the lead.
It’s appropriate as the season nears an end to recognize several milestones that the Richmond girls reached or exceeded Saturday. They are:
Juday — 506 career digs.
Uhte — 546 assists this year, 924 for her career, 170 career service aces. Just nine digs shy of 200 this year.
DePew — .384 hitting percentage this year, 218 digs and 622 for her career, 103 career blocks, 366 career kills.
Clark — 206 kills this year, 328 for her career; she’s also only 14 digs shy of 200 this year.
The foursome of DePew (218), Uhte (191), Clark (186) and Juday (180) have combined for 775 digs this season.