Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Richardson Pearce starts fast, finishes strong in 3-1 state semifinal win
SAN MARCOS, Texas — It was almost as if Richardson Pearce faced two different opponents in its 3-1 win over Canyon Randall on Thursday.
Pearce dominated Randall in the first game, but Randall recovered for the rest of the match, pushing Pearce to four games and coming close to forcing a fifth.
“One of the downfalls is I think they [Randall] were a little nervous coming in,” Pearce coach Jason Nicholson said. “Obviously, they’re a good team.”
Pearce won the first game, 25-17, displaying a strong presence at the net. It never let Randall get ahead, relying on several hard-hit kills by freshman Anya Bezprovanny and senior Shelby Sullivan, who finished the match with 20.
Randall struggled at the service line, and when its players did show power at the net, they struggled to keep the ball in bounds.
But in the second game, Randall came out stronger, never letting Pearce take a commanding lead.
“In Game 3 when we came back, our serving came around,” Randall coach Jason Culpepper said. “That’s what we pride ourselves on is serving, and when that started rolling, it provided some opportunities for us.”
The teams battled throughout — the game was tied 11 times — and Randall began to display power on offense. But that wasn’t enough as Pearce took a 2-0 lead with a 26-24 win.
Randall’s improvement continued in the third game, which was close until Whitney Hunt served eight consecutive points, pushing her team to a 22-11 lead. The Lady Raiders won the game by the largest margin of the match, 25-12.
The fourth game was as close as the second. After pulling ahead 20-12, Pearce let Randall back into the game, and the Lady Raiders came within a point before Pearce pulled away, 25-21.
Pearce (36-13) will face Lake Travis, a 25-11, 22-25, 25-17, 25-22 winner over Richmond Foster, in the state finals at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.