Knights top Cougars to take Two Rivers Conference lead

Published 9:19 pm Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Riverside’s Alexis Warren (top picture) spikes the ball during the Knight’s 3-0 win over South Creek on Tuesday. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

Riverside’s Alexis Warren (7) spikes the ball during the Knight’s 3-0 win over South Creek on Tuesday. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

ROBERSONVILLE — New conference, new coach, same results for Riverside as the Knights continued to cruise during the first half of the season as they swept their nemesis South Creek 25-18, 25-13, 25-12 in a battle for first place in the Two Rivers Conference on Tuesday.
For years Riverside dominated the Four Rivers Conference under the direction of Herbie Rogers, but in 2013 Rogers stepped down and the Four Rivers Conference was disbanded.
James Ward took over the program as it, along with South Creek, shifted into the newly formed Two Rivers Conference. On Tuesday, the two teams had their eye one sole possession of first place and it was the Knights that were able to claim it with a strong all-around performance.
“It’s always good to come to South Creek and get a win. Tonight was for first place and they’re our rivals so it was huge,” Ward said. “South Creek’s a good team, so we were fortunate to come up here and get a win.”
The Knights (12-1, 5-0) looked strong from the start as they jumped out to a 16-7 led in the first set. South Creek (7-5, 4-1) played exceptional in spurts and was able to cut the lead to 17-11 before Riverside pulled away.
Strong serving, coupled with quality net play by Alexis Warren, Chesson Ward, D’Aysa Wilson and Erica Gurkin allowed the Knights to control the contest.
“Our girls were up for it, no doubt,” Ward said. “They knew this was for first place and that we were playing South Creek so they were probably up for this game a little bit more than they normally are.”
Lawson Perry had a stellar night serving as she tallied 18 service points, while Kasey Hall added 13 and Ward tallied 11.
The Cougars fought back behind Olivia Ragland’s team-high four kills and three from Tayla Purvis, while Lauren Sitterson and Reina Mondragon came up with clutch defensive plays. However, it was not enough to keep pace with Riverside.
“It was a big match because we were tied for first place,” South Creek coach David Eubanks said. “I felt like we were ready to come out and play but it looked like they were more ready. They got off to a good start and we just never got anything going with any consistency.”
Riverside rolled in the second set, winning 25-13, and completed the sweep with a 25-12 victory in the third set.
The Knights will be back in action on Thursday when it hosts Northampton, while the Cougars will host Tarboro.