GREENVILLE — The Riverheads Gladiators kept their undefeated record to start the volleyball season intact with a four-set victory Monday night over Waynesboro. The Gladiators won by scores of 25-10, 21-25, 25-15, 25-12.
The Gladiators led 10-8 in the opening set, but then scored 12 of the next 13 points to take command.
Kills by Kendyl Argenbright, Abbey Eavers and Lauren Reese sparked a 4-0 spurt as Riverheads pushed its lead to 14-8. After a kill by Waynesboro’s Kaleigh Adcock, the Gladiators scored eight unanswered points to open up a 13-point cushion. Argenbright ignited the run with four kills and Gracie Fulton and Sydney Phillips added one kill each as the lead swelled to 22-9. A hitting error added a point for Waynesboro before a kill by Reese and two services aces by Argenbright closed out the first set, 25-10.
Riverheads took a 13-8 lead in the second set, but this time the Little Giants battled back and eventually pulled even at 15-15 on a block by Adcock.
A kill by Eavers tied the score at 17-17, but Waynesboro scored the next three points, one on a kill by Jada Keene to take a 20-17 lead.
Riverheads answered with a 4-0 run to regain the lead 21-20, but a kill by Adcock tied the score before two service aces by Letizia Smith gave the visitors a 23-21 lead. A kill by middle hitter Kali Jones gave the Little Giants a set point and a hitting error on the Gladiators provided the final point for the visitors as the Little Giants evened the match with a 25-21 victory.
“We just weren’t focused enough in the second set,” said Riverheads head coach Nyssa Stapleton. “The girls refocused and played the way we are capable of playing in the final two sets.”
Riverheads jumped out to a 13-6 lead in set three and the Little Giants would get no closer than five points the rest of the way. Riverheads setter Dayton Moore spread the assists around in the third set as six different players put down kills. Argenbright and Eavers posted three kills each while Phillips and Reese each added a pair of kills during the 25-15 Gladiators victory.
With the score tied 4-4 in the fourth set, Riverheads took the lead on a Little Giants service error. Fulton then reeled off nine straight points from the service line to put the Gladiators ahead by 10 points, 14-4. Eavers controlled play up front during the run with four kills.
The Riverheads lead was 17-9 before a kill by Reese made it 18-9 and returned serve to the host team. Moore served three aces and Phillips and Argenbright added kills for a commanding 22-9 lead.
A kill by Waynesboro’s Keene made it 22-10 and the teams traded points with a kill by Phillips moving Riverheads to match point, 24-11. A Riverheads service error added a point for the Little Giants before a kill by Eavers closed out the match.
“I always tell the girls, we’re not just one person, we’re a team,” said Stapleton. “We had so many girls contribute tonight. Kendyl [Argenbright] was amazing on both offense and defense. We also got some really good defense from both Sydney [Phillips] and Gracie [Fulton].”
In fact, some of the Riverheads hustle plays in the final two sets had the Riverheads coach leaving her feet in excitement.
“The girls laugh at me because I get more excited than they do when we make a great dig or great hustle play. That’s OK though, that’s just the way I’ve always been.”
Riverheads improved to 5-0 on the season while the Little Giants dropped to 1-6.
The Gladiators junior varsity also remained unbeaten with a tough three-set victory over the Little Giants.