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LA ladies nip Ridgecroft

MERRY HILL – Lawrence Academy and Ridgecroft School locked in a five-set battle on the volleyball court Tuesday.

When the dust cleared, the Lady Warriors edged their visitors three sets to two.

“As a team, we have to learn to finish good teams when they’re down and not let them get back into it,” said third-year Lawrence skipper Dr. Ed Clouse. “In that fifth set, Bardin Murray reminded me of her sister (Jo Revelle) because she put the team on her back and got them back in the game with her serve. Fortunately, we were able to keep at least a one-point lead.&uot;

Lawrence jumped out to a 6-1 advantage in the fifth and deciding set thanks to Warrior senior Debbie Stotesbury, who rolled off five straight points on her serve including two aces.

The Lady Rams, however, fought back thanks to the serving of Murray and Caitlin Harrison. Harrison got Ridgecroft within one (9-8) before Lawrence pulled back in front by four (13-9).

Murray then used a pair of aces to close the gap to 13-12.

Lawrence finally pulled out the victory on an Ashtyn Mizelle serve that secured the 15-12 win.

Ridgecroft won the first set, also thanks in large part to Murray’s serve. With the Lady Rams holding a slim 8-7 advantage, Murray rolled off seven unanswered points on her serve. Clouse called a timeout during the run, but it didn’t stop Murray’s roll.

Kristina Cooper put together two points on her serve to lead the Lady Rams to a 20-10 advantage.

Lawrence wasn’t done, however, as Danielle Davis scored on two ace serves and Jennifer White added a kill to mount a comeback.

Warrior junior Shelby Zube then scored four straight points on her serve, including three by way of ace to get Lawrence within 21-19.

Ridgecroft would not be denied, however, scoring the final four points of the match, two coming of Cooper kills, to win 25-19.

The second set also started in close fashion with Ridgecroft holding a 5-4 advantage when Zube again took over the serve. She had three consecutive aces and scored four points to put Lawrence ahead 8-5.

The margin stayed the same until White rolled off four unanswered points on her serve with Davis adding a kill to give the Lady Warriors a 15-8 lead.

The set got as close as 20-16 thanks to Cooper’s serving for Ridgecroft, but Lawrence held on for a 25-18 win.

Set number three saw Lawrence jump out to a 5-1 lead behind Zube serve, only to see Ridgecroft rally with Cooper serving to close the gap to 6-5.

Lawrence got kills from Davis (2), Zube and Stotesbury to push the lead to 16-10. The Lady Rams rallied, again with Cooper serving, to get to 16-14, but Lawrence pulled away when Zube’s serve was good three consecutive times to give the Warriors a 21-15 lead.

They went on to win the set 25-19.

Lawrence appeared to have the match sown up in the fourth set, when Mizelle had back-to-back kills and Zube added four aces to give the Warriors a 21-16 lead.

Ridgecroft had fight left, however, using the serve of Emily Cooke to close the gap to 21-18. Harrison took over the serve with Ridgecroft trailing by two (22-20) and served five consecutive points including two aces to lead the Lady Rams to victory by a 25-23 count.

“I thought our defense played well covering their hits and free balls,” Dr. Clouse said. “We need to work on our transition from defense to offense. We also need to trust each other more out on the floor.”

Stotesbury led the Warriors with 11 aces followed by Zube’s 10. Mizelle had 12 digs and eight kills.

Lawrence improved to 2-2 on the season and 1-0 in the Tarheel Independent Conference play while Ridgecroft dropped to 0-1 in the league.