By Jan Clark An encouraging day for the Richmond girls volleyball team at the RHS Invitational Saturday. The Red Devils (11-15) defeated Franklin County 25-12, 25-8 and Fort Wayne North 25-13, 25-12. In the championship flight, Richmond fell to a very tough New Palestine outfit but not without a stellar battle to the end, 19-25, 20-25. The Dragons ended the day with a 21-6 overall season record and is one of the top favorites in the Greenfield Sectional to begin Oct. 9. "They played us very well today. They aced us several times and had nice court players," said New Palestine coach Kelli Whitaker. "It was good competition all the way around and they (Richmond) played a real solid game. They have a classy program. It was nice to come here and play." In the two Richmond-New Palestine sets, the score was tied numerous times. The last time in the first game was 17-17 with the Dragons getting eight of the last 10 points. The last tie in the second was 16-16 and two New Pal spurts near the end made the difference. "It was really good for us to get a week of practice (since the last match). I knew that would help us," said Richmond coach Matt Fisher. "Our hitters stepped up today. Our bench players stepped up today. I like how we're playing right now compared to where we were a week ago. I think we're peaking at the right time and we showed we can play with a really good New Pal team. I think we can go into the sectional and make some noise. I think the players appreciate everything we're trying to do to get that win." Junior J'Naya Thompson had a service ace and Zoee Woolridge a key kill in the first set to tie the contest 17-all but the Devils couldn't contain the Dragons from then on. Sophomore Kayla Saylor got her first varsity start in the second set and saw her first serve go for an ace. Richmond led 8-5 and 11-7 before the two teams stood even through 16-16. A Saylor block and then a kill brought the Devils to within one, 19-20, but again New Pal was strongest at the end, scoring five of the last six points. The match with Franklin County was never close. With Richmond leading the first set 19-12, freshman Lauren Uhte had six service points in a row and freshman Laurelai DePew put it away with a kill. In set two junior Molly Morken got Richmond off to a 9-0 start with her serving and sophomore Alison Juday had six straight as Richmond cruised to the end. At one point in this game Richmond had four freshmen on the floor. Against Fort Wayne North the score in set one was tied 11-11 before the Devils put it away with nine straight service points by senior Justice Mays. Morken helped Richmond open a 7-0 lead in set two with her serving and it was all Devils from then on. For the day Morken led in aces with eight, Kierra Wright and Woolridge in kills with 14, freshman Ashley Clark in digs with 11, Morken in assists with 46 and Wright in blocks with two. Richmond stays home Tuesday for Senior Night vs. crosstown rival Seton. The North Central Conference tournament will be at the Tiernan Center next Saturday, the final event prior to the Sectional. "Without a doubt our focus is Tuesday and Seton," Fisher said. "We're not looking at the NCC yet. We'll see how that plays out through the course of the week. Seton at home Tuesday is a big game for the community. It's also a chance for us to show our seniors (Woolridge, Mays and Wright) how much we care about them and really go out and work our tails off and try to get a W for them." Cumulative stats: Morken 8 aces, 9 kills, 10 digs, 46 assists, 1 block; Wright 14 kills, 2 blocks; Mays 3 aces, 11 kills, 10 digs, 2 assists; Woolridge 14 kills, 7 digs, 1 assist; Thompson 2 aces, 9 digs, 1 assist; Wilson 2 kills; Juday 3 aces, 5 dgs; Saylor 1 ace, 4 kills; DePew 3 aces, 7 kills, 8 digs,1 block; Clark 1 kill, 11 digs; Uhte 4 aces, 5 digs, 1 assist; Bosell 1 dig, 1 assist.