Lady Eagles notch first win under new head coach

RWA junior setter Sarah Grier Thompson sets the ball up against Newberry Academy.

The Richard Winn Lady Eagles volleyball team not only recorded their first regular season victory this past week, but head coach Callie Ladd also notched her first career win as a varsity head coach. The RWA 12-member squad hosted the Newberry Academy Lady Eagles in a best-of-five game match in which the RWA team squeaked out the win in a closely contested match that went down to a final score of 16-14 in the tie-breaking fifth game.

Prior to the first match, the RWA team participated in a pre-season jamboree the previous Saturday that was hosted by Newberry Academy and played at Newberry College. The Lady Eagles defeated two of their four opponents that morning in the shortened exhibition-type matches that included teams from public and private schools around the state. Giving all of her players some playing time, Ladd was able to make assessments and get a feel for how her young team would perform in real live game situations against formidable opponents, thus giving her the ability to make adjustments in lineup, etc. before the season opener.

With only one starter and three others returning from last year’s varsity team, the Lady Eagles worked hard in the weight room and on the court during summer workouts to rebuild their team and to continue to be competitive at the varsity level. Starting two juniors, two sophomores and two freshmen, Ladd’s Lady Eagles got right down to business in game one of the match, winning 25-22 over their Newberry opponent in front of their home crowd. However, the Newberry team didn’t make the drive over to Winnsboro with the intentions of going home with a loss and took both games two and three of the match, 25-21 and 25-20.

Trailing two games to one in the best-of-five set, the young Richard Winn squad fought back in game four to win 25-19 and force the game five tie-breaker. Down 14-10 with match point on the line, Lady Eagle freshman Jaycie Johnson rotated to the service line to put the ball in play and keep her team in the game. She not only made good on that first serve, but, along with help from her five teammates in keeping the volleys in play, Johnson served five more times as the Lady Eagles rallied to capture an exciting come-from-behind 16-14 victory.

The Lady Eagles made their first road trip of the season on Wednesday, when they traveled to Greenwood to take on Cambridge Academy. Then on Aug. 28 they make the trip to Laurens Academy. The next home match will be played at 5 p.m. on Aug. 30 against Wardlaw Academy.