MAYO — It wasn’t the ending Lafayette senior Harmony Richardson was looking for, but it was the effort.
Although the Hornets fell in five sets Sept. 10 against rival Branford at home, Richardson put together one of her best performances — and the Hornets followed suit — where she continually harassed a powerful team with multiple kills shots, especially from the left side.
“I think that’s the best our team has played,” Richardson said of the match. She describes hitting as the favorite and best part of her game. “I like to spike and hit it.”
And as the match with the Buccaneers showed, as Richardson goes, Lafayette goes as her play has sparked the Hornets to an 8-6 mark so far this season including wins against Taylor County and Hamilton County last week before going 1-1 in Bell’s tournament over the weekend. LHS topped Crescent City before losing to Bell, the state’s top-ranked Class 1A team.
In Lafayette’s 3-1 (25-16, 25-16, 15-25, 25-20) win against Taylor County on Sept. 17, a Richardson tip for a point followed a kill from Addison Edwards in helping the Hornets turn a 14-12 deficit into a 16-14 lead. Richardson then got rolling with kills and tips while Aleks Sullivan scored a point with an artful one-handed return to swing the set to LHS.
Libero Tana Byrd led Lafayette in the second set while Charlie James, the Hornets’ setter, recorded several points on tips in the fourth and deciding set after Trista Knowles led Taylor’s third-set win.
But while Richardson displayed her array of scoring shots around the net against Taylor County, she knows there is still work to do.
For improvement, the outside hitter said she needs to be, “more precise in passing.”
Although her mom, Marcy Richardson, is her coach at LHS, Harmony Richardson said she started playing before her mom started coaching.
“I started as an assistant for the middle school volleyball team. I just wanted to get into it. I didn't necessarily want to coach her,” Marcy Richardson said, adding that she should get “little credit,” for her daughter’s success and improvement.
Harmony Richardson has been playing since the sixth grade, which means she’s in her seventh year now. This is her third year on varsity, all as a starter.
“I started playing with friends and went to a camp where they played, and I just liked it. So I worked hard and have gotten a lot better,” she said.
The most improvement of her game comes from playing with Vision, a traveling volleyball team based in Gainesville. She played after the eighth- and 10th-grade seasons and plans to play this year.
“Vision has a lot better players, which makes me work harder and try to be a better player,” she said, adding that improving the mental part of her game has come from playing with Vision. “I like it, it’s a lot of fun. Those coaches are good.
“Vision improved my setting a lot. I learned about placement of the ball and technique. It also improved my hitting because I had so many reps and more experience which helped my hits become stronger and more accurate.”
Marcy Richardson added: “But your heart is from me. I teach my team to fight. You gotta play for yourself. And I also learned a lot (from Vision), because I would go to their practices.”
Either way you look at it, Harmony Richardson said the team has gotten better since the season began, so you’ve got to credit the coach for that.