ROCKINGHAM — The Richmond volleyball team only allowed a combined 14 points in the first two sets of Tuesday’s meeting with Seventy-First.
A solid defensive effort, which included 24 digs and four blocks, in the opening sets helped the Lady Raiders to an easy three-set victory (25-6, 25-8, 25-15) at home, extending their win streak to 12 games.
Sophomore Layne Maultsby recorded all eight of her digs during the early charge, while four players recorded a block each. Offensively, seniors Owen Bowers and Altman Griffin recorded five kills a piece in that same time period.
“I think we did a really good job passing and we did a much better job of being up,” coach Shellie Wimpey said. “Against Lumberton (last Thursday) we didn’t play up, but the girls used this game to really practice on some things.”
The third set wasn’t as dominant as the first two but the Lady Raiders controlled the tempo throughout, as Seventy-First wouldn’t get closer than nine points after the home team took a 16-7 advantage. They picked up 10 kills, led by senior Bri Baysek’s four, and 13 digs, led by junior Savannah Lampley’s six, in the third.
Lately, they’ve been able to avoid those third-set struggles they experienced last month. Wimpey says the team’s fear of the streak ending has kept it focused whenever an opportunity to seal the deal early comes around.
“Their goal is to try and win in three sets. We’ve only had one game go to five sets and it was stressful,” she said. “They don’t want to lose.”
Bowers picked up two more in the third to finish with a team-high seven kills. Griffin had six kills to go along with her four aces and four digs. Baysek recorded five kills, Lampley had a team-high nine digs, sophomore Alexis Swiney chipped in six digs and a kill and senior setter Mackenzie Webb had 21 assists and four digs.
Tuesday’s win helped the Lady Raiders, now ranked as the No. 5 team in the MaxPreps.com 4A poll, remain undefeated on the season. Their current win streak is the longest in program history, as it hasn’t had a team win more than seven games since 2007, and has put the rest of the Sandhills Athletic Conference on notice.
“We know there’s a target on our backs. We know teams like Pinecret, Jack Britt and Scotland are going to be coming for us,” Wimpey said. “They know we are their competition, so we’ve got to come out and practice hard every day. We can’t get complacent.”
Richmond (12-0, 6-0 SAC) will play its next match at conference rival Scotland on Thursday at 5 p.m.
“Luckily, these girls get hyped up for big games, so they’re ready,” Wimpey said. “They love these games, which is definitely great. It’s not a matter of getting them excited, because they’re already excited to play them.”
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. at 910-817-2673 and follow the sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.