RCS holds on for its first conference win

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Roxboro Community School got back on the right side of the won-loss column Monday night with a hard-fought five-set win over conference foe East Wake Academy.

The Bulldogs won the back-and-forth match 25-16, 15-25, 25-22, 14-25, 15-11.

RCS coach Hayden Rigsbee said her team is starting to learn to play together.

“We’ve been talking about that all season and we’ve done a lot of things to help them feel like one tight-knit group. Rigsbee said her squad was better against the Eagles from a technical perspective, too. “We were hitting our serves and setting much better than we have,” Rigsbee said.

The match was never a runaway.

RCS looked like they might cruise to a relatively easy win after the first set, but EWA didn’t let the score get them down.

RCS took an early lead in the game on three straight winners from Kayleigh Gentry to open the match. The Bulldogs steadily open a wider lead. The bulge grew to six, at 9-3 before the teams started trading points. With the score 12-10 in the first set, RCS went on a five point run to build the lead to 17-10. After a score by EWA, the Bulldogs tallied the next two points to extend their lead to 19-11.

In a match dominated by long rallies, both teams showed strong ball reaction skills and, for the most part, good floor coverage.

In the second set, EWA turned the tables, After RCS jetted out to another 3-0 lead behind Gentry’s service game, EWA rallied to score the next five points. After an RCS timeout, East Wake Academy tacked on one more point to build a three-point cushion.

With the score 14-10 in favor of the Eagles, EWA went on a four-point binge, eventually opening the lead to nine at 21-12.

The third set was the tightest of the night. Neither team was able to build any kind of momentum. With RCS holding a 10-6 lead, EWA rallied to score five of the next six points, tying the set at 10 after one of the longest rallies of the night. When East Wake took an 11-10 lead on the next point, RCS called timeout to stem the tide, but East Wake’s confidence seemed to be building and the Eagles scored the next two points to build the lead to three, at 13-10.

The teams traded the lead back and forth until a five-point rally by RCS when the score was knotted at 18, to put the Bulldogs within two points of taking the set.

EWA put together its best set of the match in the fourth set. The Eagles raced out to an 8-1 lead and were never really threatened in the set.

The decisive fifth set was close throughout. EWA built a three-point lead at 9-6 before RCS rallied with four straight points to take a 10-9 lead behind the serving of Morgan Winstead. With the score 12-11 in RCS’s favor, Grace Hawkins made a nice defensive play on a kill to extend the lead to two. Abby Lewis served out the final two points of the match to take the win.

The victory moves RCS to 2-5 on the season, 1-1 in the North Central Athletic Conference.

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