Ridgecroft upsets Lawrence

Published 7:56 pm Monday, September 28, 2009

MERRY HILL – Games aren’t played on paper.

If this one would have been, there would have been little doubt as to the outcome.

Lawrence Academy entered last week’s Tarheel Independent Conference volleyball match undefeated, playing at home and leading the TIC. Ridgecroft came in 6-6 overall and 2-4 in the league.

In the early going, it was all Lawrence as the Warriors took a quick two-game lead. All appeared to be going as it was expected.

And then…

Ridgecroft School’s varsity girls battled back to take a close third game 25-23, won the fourth game in extra points by a count of 27-25 and then claimed the fifth and deciding game 15-13.

“This is so big…gigantic,” said a happy Ridgecroft Head Coach Susan Oliver. “The girls played with a lot of heart and dedication. Everyone contributed.”

A disappointed Lawrence Academy skipper Dr. Ed Clouse said he thought the team that played better won.

“Ridgecroft deserved to win,” Dr. Clouse said. “They were the better team in the last three games. They outplayed us and outhustled us.”

Trailing two games to none, Ridgecroft began battling early in the third game. Sara Hackney rolled off the first two points, one of which came on an ace. Lawrence, however, rallied right back with Casey Belch scoring four straight on her serve including an ace and a kill as well to make it 5-2 for the home team.

The Lady Warriors extended that lead to 11-5 behind the serving of Ashton Lyle and Ashtyn Mizelle, but Ridgecroft rallied right back.

Emily Cooke took over the serve for the Lady Rams and rolled off five straight to deadlock the score at 11-all. From there, neither team was able to take more than a three-point advantage the rest of the way.

Ridgecroft held an 18-15 lead midway through the game, but a kill by Lyle and three service points by Belch gave the Warriors a 19-18 lead.

Mary Myers had a kill for Ridgecroft to tie the game and from there, it went back-and-forth with neither team gaining more than a one-point edge. Cooke, however, served two straight to give Ridgecroft a 24-22 lead and they won the game on a defensive point.

The Lady Warriors, however, took a lead in the fourth game and appeared to be ready to close out the match. Jennifer White’s ace midway through the game gave the Warriors an 11-7 lead.

Later in the game, White and Melisa White had back-to-back kills as Lawrence started a 4-1 run that gave them a 20-17 edge.

The Lady Rams, however, were still not ready to go quietly. Trailing by three, Ridgecroft grabbed a point in a great rally that started a three-point swing. Myers had a key ace that made it 24-23 in favor of the Rams.

Cooke then closed the game out with an ace that forced a fifth and deciding game.

That fifth game was close throughout with Ridgecroft leading early, but the Lady Warriors rallying to tie. The Lady Rams pulled out again thanks to Hackney’s serve as they rolled off six consecutive points to take a 14-9 edge.

Lawrence used an ace by Melissa white, a kill by Mizelle and a block by Lyle to close within 14-13, but a defensive point win for Ridgecroft gave the Lady Rams the victory.

“Our goal was to come in and get this win and help us as we prepare for the rest of the way,” Oliver said. “It’s big for us to come back when we are down like that, especially when we were underdogs to begin with.”

It appeared Lawrence would walk away with the win as they took the first two games by counts of 25-15 and 25-19.

Lawrence jumped out to an early lead in the first game thanks to an ace by Belch and a tip and kill by Mizelle. Lyle added a kill later in the game to push the advantage to 7-2.

Ridgecroft rallied behind kills from Mary Kate Morris and Cooke to close within 12-8, but that was as close as they got. The Lady Warriors rolled to a 25-15 win.

The second game was closer as Ridgecroft jumped out to an early 9-3 lead behind a kill from Hackney and a pair of tips from Cooke.

Lawrence rallied behind the serving of Taylor Sexton who had six consecutive points, two of which came by ace to give Lawrence a 13-11 lead. They extended the advantage with a pair of aces from Jennifer White as they went o to the 25-19 win.

“Our serving hurt us, especially in the last three games and that’s not typical of how we’ve been this year,” Dr. Clouse said. “The girls played too conservative. We stopped playing to win and played not to lose.”

Ridgecroft will be back in action tomorrow (Wednesday) when they travel to Oakwood School for a non-conference outing. The Lady Warriors take the court today as they host TIC rival Albemarle School.