ROCKINGHAM — When the ball hit the floor for the final kill of the game, there was a sense of relief from the Richmond Senior sideline.
Less than a week from being swept by Anson, Richmond used strong serving and timely kills to pull out a five-game victory Tuesday afternoon at Raider Gymnasium.
The 18-25, 25-21, 25-17, 14-25, 15-10 win pushed the Raiders above the .500 mark for the first time since Oct. 15, 2012. Richmond defeated Lumberton in five games in the first round of the Southeastern Conference tournament to move to 11-10. Ironically, that was also the last time the team won a match in five games.
“It feels awesome,” Richmond coach Shellie Wimpey said. “It feels good to have a group of girls that want to win. I see they are wanting to win more and more each day.”
It didn’t appear the Raiders (3-2) were going to put up much of a fight against the Bearcats in the beginning of the match. Anson’s McKayla High served 10 straight points to open the first game. The closest Richmond was able to get in the game was 13-8.
Richmond was able to bounce back in the second game behind the serving of Doodle Jacobs, Kelsey Mabe and Hailey Mason. The trio combined for seven aces in the game.
“I was proud of our girls for not getting down after the first game,” Wimpey said. “We found our rhythm in games two and three.”
Mason played a big role in game three for the Raiders. The junior had six straight aces with her jump serve to give Richmond a six-point advantage early to set the tone. She added three kills and two block solos against Anson’s middle hitter Brooke Edwards.
“I don’t use it as much as my regular serve,” Mason said about her jump serve. “I go back and forth.”
Mason finished the match with 10 aces and 10 kills.
After Anson won game four, Richmond once again used its strong serve to seize control of the fifth and deciding game. With the game tied at 8, the Raiders scored three straight points on Jacobs’ serve, including her seventh ace of the contest, to pull away from the Bearcats. Chelsea Davis closed out the contest with back-to-back kills.
Richmond will return to action 6 p.m. Tuesday when it travels to Forest Hills.
In the junior varsity contest, Anson swept Richmond.
Reach sports editor Shawn Stinson at 910-817-2671 or on Twitter @scgolfer.