Lady Rams edge Lawrence

Published 1:06 pm Wednesday, August 29, 2012

MERRY HILL – Don’t let their size fool you.

Ridgecroft School’s 2012 volleyball team may be small in stature but this season they could be known by another name – little giants.

They opened their new year with a Tarheel Independent Conference five-set win over rival, Lawrence Academy, on the Lady Warriors home floor; winning by scores of 29-27, 15-25, 21-25, 25-17 and 15-8.

And they won the match-deciding tie-breaker on a service ace.

“They’ve been working really hard on their serving making sure their percentages are where they should be,” said Lady Rams coach Susan Oliver. “This game proved that you had to have the serves there and on the last one I told my girls you’ve gotta hustle and just go for everything.”

After dropping the first game, Lawrence pounced and the home team claimed the second and third games, then fought off 10 ties in the fourth.

But Ridgecroft (1-0) rose up and won nine of the final 10 points in that critical set to force a fifth and deciding game.

“We have to get some attitude when we get to a fifth set,” said frustrated Lawrence coach Lee Hoffman, who saw his team play well, but still remain winless (0-2) on the young season. “We talk about that every day – getting that confidence, that swagger, to finish games; and we just didn’t get that done.”

Erin Cooke had a trio of service aces, five digs and three kills for Ridgecroft while Holly McNair led Lawrence with seven kills, five blocks, and nine digs.

The first game opened with Cooke registering a kill for Ridgecroft’s first point and the Rams jumped out to a 6-3 lead, but Lawrence came back to tie the game at 10-10.

After the game was tied, 12-12, Lawrence reeled off five points in a row to lead, 17-12; but the Warriors couldn’t sustain it, and Ridgecroft tied it for a third time at 22-all.

Both teams came within game-point four straight times, but never could put the other away.  Finally, a pair of return-errors gave Ridgecroft the match, 29-27.

Game two was tied 5-all before Lawrence went on another run, getting six of the next seven points and leading it, 12-6. That score grew to 17-10 thanks to service-aces from Hayden Thompson and Meg Sutton.

McNair’s back-to-back kills made it 21-13 and the Warriors went on to take the second game by 10.

Game three was much closer: eight ties, the final one coming at, 18-18.  Thompson and McNair proved to be too much on the front line and Lawrence’s four point win had the home team ahead two games to one.

Facing elimination, Ridgecroft hung tough in the fourth game.  As in the first set, neither team could gain more than a three-point lead and there were nine ties up to 16-all.

From there, Ridgecroft used their speed and court savvy to score four in a row with the visitors growing that lead to six points. The Rams closed out the scoring with three service aces from Hayley Rivera and a kill from Cooke.

With the match now down to a 15-point finale, Ridgecroft’s confidence was at its apex.  They jumped out to a 5-0 lead that grew to 11-3 before Lawrence committed a service error to get to match-point.

Mary-joe Harrell wrapped up the win with a service ace.

“It was the first game,” said Ridgecroft’s Oliver.  “We got our jitters out.

“We’re small and we’re quick,” she added.  “You’re going to have to earn your points.”