ASHLAND, Va. – On their home floor, the Randolph-Macon Yellow Jackets won their third ODAC Tournament title in as many years Saturday afternoon, beating Washington & Lee 3-2 (20-25, 25-18, 22-25, 25-20, 16-14) in a hard fought match on both sides. In addition to being the third in a row, it's Randolph-Macon's sixth Tournament title in program history.
Washington and Lee (24-10, 10-1 ODAC) got out to the quick start in the first set, taking the 6-1 lead. R-MC trailed most of the set until putting together a four point run to take the deficit from 12-16 to 15-16. After a few more volleys, R-MC got ties of 19-19 and 20-20, but W&L didn't give up another point to the Yellow Jackets, pushing forward for the 25-20 win. Junior Emily Fitzwater (Bealeton, Va. / Liberty) and sophomore Miranda Hall (Mechanicsville, Va. / Hanover) each had three kills in the set, with Fitzwater not making a single error, hitting .750 in the set. Senior libero Samantha Sallade (Newport News, Va. / Peninsula Catholic) had seven digs while senior Erin Quinn (Morrisville, N.C. / Cardinal Gibbons) added six assists. The team totaled three blocks with senior Colleen Beaver (Fredericksburg, Va. / Massaponax) tallying two block assists in the set.
Randolph-Macon regrouped and opened set two well. After a 1-1 tie, R-MC fired off four in a row to lead 5-1. Washington and Lee fought back and brought the game to an 8-8 tie before taking a pair of small leads at a point each. Randolph-Macon began to grab the lead back through the middle of the set , thought it was tight the whole way. R-MC got a six point advantage after taking the score from 14-13 to 20-14. Randolph-Macon didn't look back and won the set 25-18. Hall was a leader again with five kills while Fitzwater and senior Rebecca McGilvery (Warrenton, Va. / Kettle Run) each added four kills. McGilvery was also R-MC's dig leader in the set with seven. Beaver and sophomore Alexia Wolfe (Midlothian, Va. / James River) combined for a pair of blocks in the set.
Randolph-Macon got out to another quick start in the third set, pushing ahead to 3-0, 5-3 and 7-4 in the set. But Washington and Lee fought back, getting to the 8-8 tie. W&L began to take the advantage and got to 9-11 when R-MC came storming back with seven points in a row to take the 16-11 lead. Randolph-Macon kept its advantage to 19-15. That' when W&L found five of the next six points to bring the score to 21-20. W&L got the 21-21 tie and R-MC fought to the 22-22 tie, until W&L got the last three points to win 25-22. McGilvery led the team with four kills in the third set, while Fitzwater and McGilvery combined for two blocks. Sallade led the team with six digs in the set and Quinn added six assists.
Randolph-Macon took another quick lead in set four. Up 4-1, W&L scored five straight to bring the score to 4-4 and 5-5 ties. The two traded points from then on, gaining ties at 6-6, 9-9, 11-11 and 13-13. That's when Randolph-Macon pulled away with four straight points, taking the score to 17-13. The Yellow Jackets never ceded the lead, winning 25-20 and taking the championship match to a deciding set. McGilvery again led the Yellow Jackets with five kills.
Washington and Lee took the early advantage in the final set. Down 2-4, 3-5 and 4-6, Randolph-Macon made a huge stride, scoring five in a row to take the 9-6 advantage. Washington and Lee pulled back within one at 10-9 before the two teams traded points to 11-11, 12-12, 13-13 and 14-14 ties. But McGilvery got Randolph-Macon's final two kills to secure the set and match victory 16-14.
McGilvery led all players on the court with 18 kills while Hall added 16 and Fitzwater totaled 11. Wolfe and junior Mariah Clark (Stuarts Draft, Va. / Riverheads) rounded out R-MC's kill total of 61 with nine and seven kills respectively.
Quinn finished with 32 assists while sophomore Angela Tender had 21 assists on the afternoon.
Sallade led all players for R-MC with 25 digs. McGilvery added 18 and Tender totaled 15.
Clark, Quinn, McGilvery and senior Julia Stech (Chester, Va. / LC Bird) each had a service ace.
At the net, R-MC had a solid day with ten blocks. Beaver was the team leader and also led all players in the match with six. Wolfe and Fitzwater each had four while McGilvery had three. Clark added two.
Randolph-Macon hit .321 in the final set, making just two errors compared to W&L's .310 with three errors.
McGilvery, Hall and Fitzwater were honored with ODAC All-Tournament recognition. It's Fitzwater's second selection for such an honor, as she was recognized for her efforts in last year's tournament.
Randolph-Macon is now 23-6 on the season and await the announcement of where they will be headed for the NCAA Tournament as the ODAC's automatic qualifier. The selection show will take place on Monday, November 6 at 12:30 PM and will be streamed at ncaa.com. Regional play will take place between Thursday, November 9 and Sunday, November 12.
Lauren Stanford, L, Lynchburg College
Emilee Pierson, S, Virginia Wesleyan University
Meg Guignon, OH, Washington and Lee University
Allison Webb, OH, Washington and Lee University
Emily Fitzwater, MH, Randolph-Macon College
Miranda Hall, OH, Randolph-Macon College
Rebecca McGilvery, OH, Randolph-Macon College