Raiders celebrate big week

Published 12:07 pm Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Pungo Christian athletics had a big week that included a football rout, the first win in tennis program history and the return of their best volleyball player.

Volleyball: Tuesday’s 3-0 sweep of Halifax Academy gave the Lady Raiders five straight 3-0 matches to raise their record to 12-4. Previous matches included wins over conference foe’s Ridgecroft and Northeast.  Reagan Stoop rejoined the starting lineup for the first time since her ankle injury on August 18th. The Raiders dominated, 3-0, thanks to plays at the net and getting multiple aces per match.

Ridgecroft gave the Raiders all the could handle in game one at home, but PCA came away with a narrow 25 – 22 victory. The close game seemed to wake up PCA as they would go on to quickly defeated the Rams in the final two sets, pushing their overall record to 11 – 4.  The Raiders hosted The Albemarle School from Elizabeth City Tuesday in a rematch of last years’ NCISAA Championship game.  Albemarle is ranked #1 in the NCISAA 1A MaxPreps poll while the Raiders are third.

Tennis: The PCA girls tennis made history on Thursday with an 8-1 win over John Paul II Catholic in Greenville for the programs first-ever victory. Junior Melanie Rutledge picked up her second win of the year with an 8 – 1 win in the #1 singles. Freshman Lily Keech picked up her first career win with an 8 – 1 victory in the #2 singles. Junior Reese Blackman won her second match with an 8 – 2 victory in the #4 singles. Junior Kaitlyn Williamson recorded her second victory with an 8 – 1 victory in the #5 singles. 7th Grader Lily Prince took home her first career victory with an 8 – 3 victory in the #6 singles. The Raiders swept doubles behind Rutledge/Keech, Blackman/Reagan Spruill, Williamson/Juliette to seal the decisive victory. The Raiders met defending state champion Oakwood School Tuesday.

Soccer: PCA defeated Ridgecroft School for the fourth consecutive time, 7-1, in their only match of the week. Davis Lee scored four times, bringing his season total to 15 which is third best in NCISAA 1A. Maddox Lee, Bruce Taylor and Brandon Tooley also scored a goal. Keeper Jay Askew had 13 saves on the day, bringing his total to an NCISSA 1A-leading 97. However, the Raiders (5-2) are ranked second in NCISAA 1A behind Crossroads Christian, their only 1A loss this year.

Football: PCA put up a 40-point first quarter and rolled to a 68 – 34 victory over Community Christian at R.H. Bishop Athletic Field in Belhaven. Freshman QB Austin Gibbs got things rolling for the Raiders on the first play from scrimmage when he scrambled out of the pocket and took the ball 57 yards for a Raider TD. On the Cyclones first possession, cornerback Quay Artis stripped the ball and scampered into the endzone for a Raider TD, one of three strip fumbles he returned for touchdowns. On the next Cyclone possession, Conner Sweet returned an interception for six points to give the Raiders a 20 – 0 lead. Community Christian would answer with a kick return touchdown, but Gibbs found Sweet on the next possession for a 64-yard score. The Raiders outscored the Cyclones 40 – 14 in the first quarter. The Gibbs – Sweet combo connected again for a 45- yard TD that gave the Raiders a 48 – 22 halftime advantage.

Community closed to within 48-34, Fatigue was evident on the Raider sideline with just nine players available. Facing third and 20 with Community on the brink of a comeback, Gibbs found Sweet again, putting the Raiders up 56 – 34 going into the fourth quarter. Later, community drove to the PCA one yard line, but Artis grabbed his third fumble and ran it 99 yards to make the final score 68-34.