The energy inside the South Range gymnasium was simply different on Thursday night. The three seniors on the team were honored before the match started. Each of them wanted to end their careers in their home gym with a positive note. They did just that with a three set win over Niles (25-18 25-23 25-16).
The Raiders came out swinging right away. They were able to hit an outstanding .408 hitting percentage in the opening set. Led by Anna Primavera with 7 kills in that set alone. The Raiders were also a force on the block from the beginning, whether it was Izzy Lamparty or Abby George, the Dragons struggled to get through the Raiders front row. Niles has very scrappy defense that kept things close. However, a late Raider rally gave them a 25-18 win in the first stanza.
The second set was by far the most exciting. Neither team had a lead that was greater than 3. Both teams were finding holes in the other’s defense. Truly a back and forth affair. With the score tied 23-23 the Raiders went to Anna Primavera to get set point, and then Izzy Lamparty put down a block to seal the set 25-23.
After winning such a closely contested set two it was clear that the Raiders had momentum. Niles however fought off the Raiders in the beginning stages of the set, in fact it was tied 12-12. Then it just got to be too much for the Dragons. The flood gates opened and the Raiders went on a 12-1 run to gain match point at 24-13 and eventually the match clinching set 25-16.
Anna Primavera had a double double with 16 kills, and 13 digs. She also tallied 3 aces. Abby George also had a strong night with 8 kills and a block. Maria Primavera had a career night with 12 kills and 7 digs, and an ace. Emily Irons had 40 assists, a season high. Also Irons had 7 digs and an ace. Reagan Irons finished with 20 digs, 4 kills, and 2 assists.
The Raiders now look forward to tournament play. The Raiders first game is Saturday Oct 19 at Salem High School. They await the winner of Columbiana vs Campbell.
Niles opens their tournament Tuesday Oct 15th vs Jefferson at Jefferson.