Volleyball team loses season finale; gets ready for conference tournament

For a second straight match, the T-Duck volleyball team needed a fifth-game tiebreaker to determine a conference win or loss in their regular season finale Monday.

Unfortunately, Richland couldn’t make it two wins in a row when the T-Ducks lost to Cedar Valley College, 22-30, 32-30, 28-30, 30-27, 15-8, in their final home match of the season.

The loss, according to volleyball coach Zelda Smith, could put Richland in a tie for second place in the conference standings, forcing a one-match playoff to determine the No. 2 seed for the conference tournament, which will be Saturday.

If a one-match playoff is needed, Smith said it would be played Thursday at a neutral site.

Until then, assistant coach Ramona Jack said the T-Ducks (6-27, 6-4) will work hard on playing their game.

“We need to learn to play our game, which is aggressive,” Jack said following the tough loss. “We need to dictate what happens throughout [the match].”

Opening with a 30-22 win in Game 1, it appeared as if the T-Ducks were in control of the game but whatever momentum they had was lost in the second game.

The sea-saw battle continued in Game 3, when Richland held an eight point lead at one point before having to hold off a fierce late Cedar Valley rally.

Although Cedar Valley lost the game, the Suns momentum carried over to Game 4, which is when they returned the favor by holding off a late Richland rally, setting up the decisive final game.

In the final game, Cedar Valley built an 11-5 lead and never looked back.

“We have to stay on our toes and pay attention [in matches],” Jack said. “We have to be ready for anything that comes our way.”

Nakiethia Lampkin led Richland with 14 kills and 31 digs.