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Statesmen volleyball drops two JRD matches

After a fast start to the season the week before, the Randolph-Henry High School varsity volleyball team dropped a pair of James River District matches last week to even its record at 2-2.

On Tuesday, the team traveled to Goochland to face the Lady Bulldogs, who had not lost a match or game all year. Randolph-Henry fell in the first two games, 25-9, 25-10 but regained their composure in the third set of the game.

Paced by four kills from Cymirra Shuford, the Lady Statesmen played a tight match, before eventually falling 25-22 to complete the 3-0 loss.

“Goochland is a very good team,” said head coach Shep Critzer.

“They play a fast style that we don’t see very often and have some very good hitters. I was very pleased with the effort and teamwork by the girls to make the in-game adjustments and rise to the level of their opponent in the third game.”

Randolph-Henry hoped that third-game momentum would carry over to their Thursday match as they hosted Amelia, but things did not go as planned at the start. Despite three kills each from Jakya Pettus, Kierra Jones, and Annie Sandridge, the Lady Raiders took the first two games 25-21 and 25-17 and looked to be on their way to a run-away win.

Randolph-Henry was not done, though.  Lindsey Kunath served seven aces in the third game and the R-H defense racked-up 20 digs to help the Lady Statesmen stay alive with a 25-19 win.

They kept it going in the fourth game as Shuford picked-up six kills to go with Sandridge’s three aces to help Randolph-Henry even the match with a 26-24 win.

The Lady Statesmen carried that momentum into the final game and took a 14-12 lead but could not get the final point they needed as Amelia scored the last four points of the match to take a 16-14 win and seal the 3-2 victory.

“What a great game,” said Critzer.

“To come back from two games down and have a chance to win in the end shows a lot of character and desire on the part of our young ladies. Lindsey (Kunath) was huge for us on the service line and credit our defense and hitters for putting pressure on Amelia to have to make plays. I thought Dominique (Dews) gave us a big spark off the bench in the third and fourth games. We picked each other up when the match wasn’t going our way and were much more aggressive on both sides of the ball in those final games, and that’s what it will take for us to compete consistently.”

Randolph-Henry traveled to Appomattox on Monday for a non-district match and returned home on Tuesday to host the Lady Dukes of Cumberland.

They will return to their home court on Monday, Sept. 21 for a 7 p.m. match against the Park View Green Dragons, before heading to Prince Edward County High School on Tuesday. Sept. 22 for a 7 p.m. match against the Eagles.