LEXINGTON, VA – Behind 21 kills from Mallory Carter, the Randolph-Macon volleyball team captured its third consecutive ODAC Championship with a 3-1 victory over Washington & Lee.
R-MC is now 23-5 overall and will take part in the 2011 NCAA Tournament beginning next Friday at a time and location to be announced Monday morning at 11:00 a.m. on NCAA.com Randolph-Macon's Mallory Carter, Tori Puryear and Jessica Sears were named to the all-tournament team.
Game one proved to be a preview as to what was to come as both teams struggled to get much distance from the other. The Generals were able to open up a 22-19 advantage following a kill from M.A. Boles. R-MC then responded with four straight points, taking a 23-22 lead on a Boles hitting error. W&L would tie the score at 23, before R-MC took three of the final four points for the 26-24 win.
In game two, R-MC was down 22-21, before they got a kill from Tori Puryear to tie the game and a kill from Carter to go on top 23-22. An attacking error by W&L gave R-MC game point, but the Generals rallied to win three of the next four points to take the game 26-24.
The momentum carried over for the Generals in the start of game three as they took a 15-8 lead. A Bailey Troia kill sparked what proved to be a 17-4 run to end the game for the Jackets.
Randolph-Macon rode that wave in the third game to seal the championship victory in game four and capture the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The championship run was almost halted earlier in the day. R-MC twice fell a game behind Lynchburg in the second semifinal, but the Yellow Jackets clawed back to pull out a 3-2 victory (15-25, 25-18, 21-25, 25-17, 15-8).
Lynchburg (21-10) countered Randolph-Macon's (22-5) slow start with a solid beginning, pouncing on several Jacket miscues to claim the first game of the match. R-MC rebounded in game two as Carter and the R-MC hitters found some rhythm. Game three marked the tightest of the three sets, with the Hornets pounding out 18 kills as they moved to within one game of a title match appearance. But the momentum shifted to the higher seed early in game four as Randolph-Macon hit .406 to level the match at two-all.
The Yellow Jackets quickly gained a 4-0 advantage in the deciding frame, forcing LC into a timeout. But the break in action did little to quell R-MC's momentum as Randolph-Macon's edge grew to 5-0, and eventually 10-4 after Jessica Sears' second ace of the match. Lynchburg got as close as 11-7 before the Yellow Jackets pulled away for the win.
Puryear had arguably her best match of the season to lead R-MC's attack. She posted a .643 hitting percentage with 19 kills against just one error in 28 attacks. She added three block assists and two aces to her stat line. Carter finished with 18 kills, but hit just .155 for the match after eight errors in 58 attempts. She also registered 12 digs and an ace. Sears added nine kills and 13 digs, while Mallory James and Hillary Jessee had seven and six kills, respectively. Troia dished out 52 assists, and libero Marli Dabareiner recorded 20 digs.