Wallace made the team run wind sprints after being swept 25-22, 25-21 and 25-23 by the Lady Patriots in a critical Southeastern Conference match at Raider Gymnasium. The win improved Pinecrest to 9-9, 6-3 in the conference, while Richmond dropped to 13-5, 7-2 in the conference.
The Lady Raiders squandered an opportunity where a win could have set up a chance to play for at least a first place tie in the SEC with Scotland. Now, Richmond needs to win Thursday against the Lady Scots to clinch second place or face the prospect of finishing third and having a road game in the first round of the state playoffs.
“If we can beat Scotland, then we will finish second and that would probably guarantee us a home game in the playoffs,” Wallace said. “But if we lose, it’s a possibility that we could wind up third and there could be a scenario where we may have to go somewhere on the road. We’re going to have to play a lot better if we’re going to beat Scotland.”
Wallace admitted her team is known for getting off to slow starts and it cost the Lady Raiders in the first game. Pinecrest used five straight service points from Addy George to jump out to a 9-2 lead. The Lady Patriots extended the advantage to 18-5 before Richmond rallied.
Brittani Hodges served eight straight points and LaShey Brown’s kill narrowed Pinecrest’s lead to 19-16. But Richmond failed to overcome its early big deficit as Pinecrest held off the Lady Raiders to prevail 25-22.
“Lately, we’ve been coming out flat, and the same thing happened in the first game,” Wallace said. “We didn’t play consistent, but we did make a good comeback. However, we dug ourselves way too big of hole to expect to climb out of and win.”
In the second game, Richmond led 6-4, but Pinecrest took the lead for good at 7-6. The game stayed closed as the Lady Patriots largest lead was 13-10 on two straight service aces from Kaitlyn Pritchett.
After a service point from Michelle Brown, Richmond trailed 20-19, but the Lady Raiders again failed to get over the hump. With Pinecrest leading 23-21, George and Megan Thomas’ back-to-back kills clinched a 25-21 victory.
The Lady Raiders raced out to a 6-0 lead in the third game as LaShey Brown served the first six points, including two service aces. But Pinecrest stormed back to score the next six out of seven points, cutting Richmond’s lead to 7-6.
With the game tied at 11, Paige Horne’s service ace gave Pinecrest a 12-11 lead as the Lady Patriots never fell behind the rest of the way. Richmond drew within 21-20 on Natalie Brown’s kill, but Felicia Painter’s block and George’s kill increased Pinecrest’s lead to 23-20.
But Hodges’ kill, and two straight service aces from LaShey Brown tied the game at 23. However, back-to-back hitting errors from Richmond allowed Pinecrest to win 25-23 and finish off the sweep.
“We played better in the second and third games, but it’s just disappointing, when there is so much on the line,” Wallace said. “We just didn’t move our feet, we didn’t play good defense and we missed seven serves in three games. Pinecrest missed even more than us, but we just didn’t capitalize and we didn’t play our game.”
Natalie Brown had 12 kills, while Rebecca Kinsey added six kills and LaShey Brown chipped in with five kills and four blocks. George had nine kills for Pinecrest, while Janea Williams had seven kills and four blocks.
Richmond returns to action Thursday versus Scotland on Senior Night at Raider Gym.
n Pinecrest won 21-25, 25-11 and 25-17 over the JV Raiders Thursday afternoon.
Wandesha Jackson led Richmond with seven service points.
The JV Raiders (8-9) return to action at 5 p.m. Thursday against Scotland in its final game of the season.