ROCKINGHAM — Richmond Senior coach Shellie Wimpey knows her Raiders are up against the wall if they want to snag an automatic berth to the state 4A playoffs.
Richmond remained in fifth place in the Southeastern Conference standings after Purnell Swett handed the Raiders a 25-13, 25-21, 23-25, 25-15 loss Tuesday night at Raider Gymnasium. The top four finishers in the league receive bids to the state playoffs. The Raiders are now 9-8 overall and 2-5 in the SEC, while the Rams improve to 9-7, 5-2.
The Raiders’ first-year coach knows her team faces a must-win contest Thursday when Lumberton comes to town. The Pirates defeated the Raiders in five games on Sept. 13. Richmond still has to play Pinecrest and Scotland to close out the regular season, while Lumberton has games with Scotland and Purnell Swett remaining on its schedule. The Fighting Scots, Patriots and the Rams are currently the top three teams in the SEC.
Purnell Swett coach Courtney Hill is not surprised by the Rams’ success this season.
“I know the players and how hard they work everyday,” said the first-year coach. “They are so focused in most games. We are just going to take it one game at a time.”
With her squad’s playoffs aspirations hanging by a thread, Wimpey hoped to see her team improve in the second go-around through the league opponents.
“I don’t know what to say,” Wimpey said. “Honestly, I am frustrated and I think they are too. Well, at least I hope they are frustrated as much as me.”
One of the things Wimpey singled out for the loss was her team’s serving.
“We work on serves everyday in practice and we missed 13 serves today,” Wimpey said. “We worked on it for 30 minutes and they get so many in during practice. Plus we worked on block coverage. We aren’t going to be successful until we carry over what we do in practice into a game.”
Raiders finish 1st, 2nd in cross country meet
ROCKINGHAM — Richmond Senior’s Morgan Tedder took second with a time of 23:51 to guide her team to a victory in a three-school cross country meet with Purnell Swett and Scotland Tuesday afternoon at Hinson Lake.
The Raiders finished with a team score of 34, the Rams were second with 60 points, while the Fighting Scots had a total of 70.
For the first time this season, Richmond had five runners finish in the top 10. Ana Rivers was fifth, Belle Hillenburg, Cassie Smith and Marie Collins came in eighth through 10th, respectively.
“They did what they were supposed to do — defend their home turf,” Richmond coach Reggie Miller said. “Even though they finished third last week because we had a runner disqualified, they fought back and they are improving because they have beaten every team in the conference except Pinecrest.”
In the boys meet, Scotland finished with 21 points, followed by Richmond with 43 and Purnell Swett with 65.
The Raiders had three runners place in the top 10, Brandon Gibson was third with a time of 18:27, Randy Altman came in eighth in a time of 20:02, while Maurice Oneil came in ninth, three seconds behind Altman.
Richmond will return to action at 5 p.m. Tuesday when it travels to Laurinburg for a three-team meet with Pinecrest and Scotland at St. Andrews University.
Tennis match postponed
SOUTHERN PINES — The Pinecrest girls tennis team leads Richmond 3-0 in a Southeastern Conference match which started Tuesday afternoon before rain forced the remaining singles and doubles contests to be postponed until today.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com.