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Ridgecroft advances to Elite 8

AHOSKIE – On to Durham.

The Lady Rams of Ridgecroft School punched their ticket to the Elite 8 Tuesday afternoon with a straight-set win over Trinity Academy of Raleigh.

The Lady Rams got stellar play from senior outside hitter Keli Martin and defensive specialist April Piland as they rolled to a 25-16, 25-20 and 25-15 victory.

“We served fairly consistently today and everyone contributed to this victory,” veteran coach Nancy Brittenham said.

The coach said she was pleased with the play of Martin and Piland.

“Keli had an outstanding match,” she said. “I was really impressed with her play. April doesn’t get a lot of credit because of her playing Libero, but she made some outstanding defensive passes today.”

The Rams struggled at the begging of the first game, but Megan Coker rallied them back to a 3-2 lead with a pair of serves.

The Lady Tigers battled back to take a 6-3 lead, but Ram senior Lauren Lilley scored seven consecutive points on her serve and Victoria Brown added two more on serves that weren’t returned to push Ridgecroft to a 14-7 advantage.

Martin got the first of her kills to put the Rams up 19-10.

Lilley’s ace and kills by Brown and Coker gave the Lady Rams a 25-16 win in game one.

In game two, the Lady Rams started off with a 4-0 lead thanks to Coker’s serve and improved that to 7-4 off the serve of Martin and kills by Martin and Shirley Lee Spruill.

The Lady Tigers battled the entire match, never letting the Rams pull away until Martin’s kill gave Ridgecroft a 19-18 lead and turned the serve over to senior Jo Revelle Murray.

Thanks to another Martin kills, Murray rolled off four consecutive points to give her squad a lead from which they never looked back as they grabbed a 25-20 win.

Senior Leslie Revelle got the Rams started on the right foot with a kill on the second point of game three and Martin again played the hero with a save on Lilley’s serve that pushed the Rams out front 4-2.

A Spruill kill, a save by Piland and a Martin kill on Kendra Godwin’s serve helped Ridgecroft gain a 10-6 advantage.

Martin had two kills and Piland’s dig helped Ridgecroft push ahead 17-12 and Lilley responded with five consecutive points on her serve. Revelle and Martin each provided kills on the run.

The Rams took game three 25-15.

Now the Lady Rams, seeded fifth in the North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association 1-A playoffs, will advance to meet fourth-seeded Kerr-Vance Academy Friday. That match will be at 1 p.m. at Carolina Friends School.

“We’re going to have to take our ‘A’ Game with us, that’s for sure,” Brittenham said. “I believe we can do it if we play the way we’re capable of playing.”

Following the Rams’ contest will be third-seeded Lawrence Academy’s match against Northwood Temple.

Carolina Friends School is located at 4809 Friends School Road in Durham.