GOOD HOPE – Having to adjust without the services of All-County middle blocker Kate Kent, the Good Hope Lady Raiders did just that with a new rotation that clicked in winning the home opener Tuesday on a brand new and newly painted hardwood floor at Good Hope Gymnasium, sweeping the Holly Pond Lady Broncos 25-14, 25-16 and 25-14.
Kent, a junior, rolled her ankle last Thursday in a practice and has her right foot in a cast. Kent said nothing is broken, but she is uncertain on how much ligament damage took place.
Good Hope coach Samantha Bryson reported after the match Kent could possibly not be available until October.
In the present time, the Lady Raiders made the best of Kent's absence and performed very well for the first time to play on the newly painted floor.
"We worked on our new rotation before the matches started," Bryson said. "It's a whole new rotation. Our seniors stepped up and played very well for us today."
Good Hope began well from the start. In the opening set, the Lady Raiders were getting tested by the Lady Broncos as Holly Pond stayed close and was down 11-10. But senior Sadie Abbott got a kill that lifted Good Hope and gave them the momentum to eventually put away the visitor.
Ally Knight converted a pair of serves that upped the score to 20-12 before Holly Pond broke it with a kill from Kara Hollis. A kill by Emma Pugh was huge for Good Hope, then service points from Leyton Seal and the Lady Raiders had a 1-0 lead in the match.
Makenna Thompson made her presence felt from the service line for the Lady Raiders in game two. Thompson tallied five consecutive points that gave Good Hope breathing room and a 19-9 advantage.
A four-minute break due to a discrepancy at the scoring table interrupted the Lady Raiders' momentum for a brief moment. Good Hope regained the edge with a kill from Abby Burnett, then Holly Pond served the ball into the net for the final score of 25-16 and a 2-0 cushion for the home team.
Determined to make it a sweep of the Lady Broncos, Good Hope was out in front 11-5 with four points coming on kills by Seal, Abbott, Skylar Tucker and Seal once again. That blended in with good serving by Chrissi Smith in the leadoff spot as she scored three times to put Good Hope ahead to stay.
Holly Pond battled hard to stay in the set, getting points by Taylor Tankersley on a kill and two straight serves plus Presley Marks with a kill and a block at the net by Taylor Martin. The Lady Broncos went from a 20-10 deficit to 20-14 until a volley across the net by Abbott set up Good Hope to regain control, leading 21-14.
Thompson accounted for the final four points on serve with a big kill by Burnett that enabled the Lady Raiders to pick up their second win of the season and end a three-game losing streak.
"It was a big loss of not having Kate," Abbott, one of the seniors, said afterwards. "We were trying to win it for her to make her feel better. Our passing was going good. We were more consistent with more kills and more points than we had earlier in the season."
Playing on a new floor inspired the ball club to make their debut win in Bryson's first season taking over for Rosemary Brown, who retired after coaching the team for 38 years and seeing the team win more than 1,000 games.
Now the Lady Raiders continue their home span with a tri-match Thursday. It will start at 4 p.m. with Good Hope and Vinemont followed by Vinemont playing Cold Springs and the Lady Raiders meeting Cold Springs at 6 p.m.
Holly Pond is on the road Thursday with an assignment at Brindlee Mountain, trying to overcome a 1-5 start on the season for coach Sydney Rowell.
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