FOREST, Va. – The reigning Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) champions, the Randolph-Macon Yellow Jackets, have been ranked first in the conference’s preseason poll, as voted on by the league’s head coaches. The team earned ten first-place votes and 118 points overall, nine more than the second-place Washington & Lee University.
R-MC has won both the regular season ODAC title as well as the conference tournament two years in a row, going undefeated in league play both seasons. The team won last year’s tournament without dropping a set. The team finished with a 24-8 overall record and was seeded #1 going into the 2016 conference tournament.
With the conference tournament victory, R-MC earned an NCAA appearance, where it beat first round foe Stevenson in Fredericksburg, Va. to earn a second-round match with host Mary Washington, which eventually ended the Yellow Jackets’ run.
The team returns much of its core, including senior setter Erin Quinn (Morrisville, N.C. / Cardinal Gibbons), 2016’s ODAC Player of the Year and an All-ODAC First Team selection. Quinn was also honored by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA), which selected her to its All-American Third Team and to the South Region First Team. The Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) voted her into its All-State Second Team. Quinn earned All-Tournament honors in the ODAC as well and was selected as its Player of the Week for the week of October 3.
Another All-ODAC First Team selection, junior outside hitter Mariah Clark (Stuarts Draft, Va. / Riverheads), is returning as well. Clark was also honored by the AVCA, which selected her to its South Region First Team and its Honorable Mention All-American team. She was named by VaSID to the All-State First Team and was an ODAC Player of the Week in 2016 as well.
Senior libero Samantha Sallade (Newport News, Va. / Peninsula Catholic), is also returning and carrying her All-ODAC First Team honors into the 2017 season. Additionally, Sallade won an ACVA South Region Honorable Mention.
The ODAC Rookie of the Year will be back at the outside hitter position for the Yellow Jackets. In addition to the high praise, sophomore Miranda Hall (Mechanicsville, Va. / Hanover) took home All-ODAC Third Team honors for the 2016 season.
Senior Rebecca McGilvery (Mechanicsville, Va. / Hanover), who had a powerful performance in the NCAA Tournament (21 kills, 15 digs and three blocks in two matches), and garnered an NCAA South Region All-Tournament Team nod, will be back for another season. She was also a member of the All-ODAC Second Team and named the ODAC Player of the Week for October 17.
Junior middle hitter Emily Fitzwater (Bealeton, Va. / Liberty) and senior middle hitter Colleen Beaver (Fredericksburg, Va. / Massaponax) return to the Yellow Jackets after their ODAC All-Tournament Team performances last year.
The success of 2016 is rivaled by only the year before, when the 2015 season was marked by one of the best records in program history, 28-8. The season also led to regular season and tournament titles. R-MC beat Stevenson, Christopher Newport and Stockton in the early rounds of the NCAA Tournament to earn the team’s best finish in program history, an Elite Eight appearance.
Head Coach Bill Rogers is entering his 16th season directing the Randolph-Macon Volleyball Program. Rogers has compiled an overall record of 348-139 (71%) and a 139-18 (88%) mark against Old Dominion Conference foes since arriving at R-MC in 2002. Rogers was named the AVCA South Region Coach of the Year and ODAC Coach of the Year after the 2016 campaign.
The 2017 team will be boosted by four freshmen: Angela Tender (Woodbridge, Va./Stone Bridge), Mackenzie Loewe (Leonardtown, Md./St. Mary’s Ryken), Rebecca Madgwick (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) and Emma Young (Highland Park, Ill./Highland Park).
The Yellow Jackets’ 2017 campaign gets started Friday, September 1 in Norfolk for the Virginia Wesleyan Tournament. There, R-MC will take on St. Catherine, Cabrini and Benedictine (Ill.). The team’s 2017 debut at Crenshaw Gym will be against N.C. Wesleyan on Tuesday, September 12 at 7:00 P.M.