It would have been easy for the Albemarle School volleyball team to concede its match in the third set against Ridgecroft School Thursday evening.
After two hard-fought sets, Albemarle School trailed its Tarheel Independent Conference foe by two sets.
Albemarle School rallied to force a fifth and deciding set, but Ridgecroft School held on for a 25-23, 25-22, 21-25, 21-25, 15-10 victory at Albemarle School.
In the fifth and final set, Albemarle School held a slim lead early in the set. With the set tied 8-8, Ridgecroft School took the lead on a service point.
From that point, Ridgecroft outpaced Albemarle 6-2 in the set — which included a point that landed just inside Albemarle School’s backline — to secure the win.
The match between the league schools was competitive throughout.
Albemarle School (7-3, 7-3 TIC) overcame a 17-12 deficit in the first set to take a 23-21 lead late in the set.
Ridgecroft School (4-4, 4-4 TIC) scored consecutive points to tie the set at 23-all. During a crucial point, both sides engaged in an extended rally.
An Albemarle School return at the end of the rally was out of play and gave Ridgecroft School a 24-23 lead.
The Rams secured the final point to win the set.
Albemarle School held a 19-13 lead in the second set. The Colts were aided to the lead by points from Monique Guzman Torres, Madison Mansfield, Maci Higgins, Samantha Nixon and Miranda Parker.
Ridgecroft School took advantage of errors by Albemarle School and scored six consecutive points to tie the set at 19-19.
The Rams eventually scored 11 consecutive points to take a 24-19 lead. The Colts scored three consecutive points due to the help of Nixon and Torres to trim the Rams lead to 24-22.
Another Albemarle School error on set point gave the Rams a two-set advantage.
Albemarle School led for the majority of the third set. Ridgecroft would tie the set at 14-14, but the Colts pulled away in the set. Key points by Mansfield and Torres late helped the Colts secure the third set.
Ridgecroft School led 11-5 in the fourth set, but Albemarle School got key points at the net by Parker to aid a 6-0 run to tie the match at 11-all.
The set remained close.
With the Colts holding on to a 22-21 lead, Albemarle School scored the set’s final three points — by Jennings, on a Nixon service point and by a point by Ava Morris — to tie the match at two sets each.
Thursday’s game was not only the regular-season finale for Albemarle School, it also was senior night for the team.
Jennings, Nixon and Torres — all seniors — were recognized before their final home match.
The trio were members of the 2019 team that won a share of the TIC regular season championship with Pungo Christian Academy.
This year, the group will settle for a second-place finish in the league behind Pungo Christian as the Raiders (9-0, 9-0 TIC) did not lose a league match this fall.
Albemarle School head coach Nicole Delosreyes appreciated her time working with the senior group and the entire team this season.
“It’s been such an honor and a blessing,” she said. “All of these girls are just beautiful; inside and out. They play hard. They do well in school. It’s been such an honor.”
Albemarle School is scheduled to return to action in the league tournament.