ROCKINGHAM — The Lady Raider volleyball team made history Thursday evening.
With a three-set win over Jack Britt, it set a new program record for most wins in a season (17).
“It feels really good. These girls have worked really hard and they really deserve it,” head coach Shellie Wimpey said. “They are setting the tone for our program.”
Richmond (17-0, 10-0 SAC) was able to break the record, which was set by the 2016 squad, in front of its home crowd inside of Raider Gymnasium. The team controlled the first and third sets — winning 25-15 and 25-12, respectively — but needed to regroup before grabbing a 25-18 victory in the second set.
Wimpey said her team began “trying to run stuff” after taking an early 3-0 lead in the second, and Jack Britt (11-6, 5-5 SAC) took advantage of it. Following a kill from senior middle hitter Brianna Baysek that put Richmond ahead 11-9, the Lady Bucs ran off four consecutive points and took a two-point lead.
Both teams would go back and forth until the set was tied 16-all, and then Richmond went on a 9-2 run in order escape and avoid losing its seventh set of the season.
“We’ve got to do things right first and then we can start running stuff. We can’t go out there and make those mistakes,” Wimpey said. “So that’s something we had to talk about going into that third game.”
The big-hitting trio of seniors Owen Bowers, Altman Griffin and Baysek tallied 25 of the team’s 31 kills on the night. Bowers had a team-high 12 kills in the win, Griffin recored nine kills and Baysek added four.
Since their hitting power causes so many problems for the opposing teams’ defense every night, Wimpey says she stresses how important it is for the back row to be ready — because it will more than likely lead to points on the board.
“If we can get the ball up and into Mackenzie’s hands, we will make something happen,” Wimpey said. “If we play defense, we will find a way to score with the people we have up front.”
Senior setter Mackenzie Webb finished with 29 assists, eight digs and a kill — the eight digs tying sophomore defensive specialist Layne Maultsby for third best on the night. Junior outside hitter Savannah Lampley recorded the most digs (12), while sophomore right-side hitter Allexis Swiney came in second (9).
Baysek also had two digs and a block, Bowers added two blocks and kill and Griffin chipped in six digs, three aces and two blocks.
“They’re really hyped up and excited about it,” Wimpey said of the team setting the new record. “But they also know it’s not life or death. We have to know that if we do lose, the season still goes on. There are more games to play.
“They’re not ready to lose, though. So that’s good,” she laughed.
Richmond has three matches next week, hosting Hoke County (6 p.m.) and West Montgomery (5:30 p.m.) on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, before closing out the week at Lumberton (6 p.m.) on Thursday.
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. at 910-817-2673 and follow the sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.