VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Randolph-Macon women's volleyball took a pair of wins in the season-opening Virginia Wesleyan Invitational Friday afternoon. R-MC shut out the competition winning 3-0 against Alverno and 3-0 against Widener in the first weekend of action in Division III Women's Volleyball. Randolph-Macon is coming off a 23-7 season, in which they swept their competition in the same tournament last season.
Randolph-Macon 3, Alverno 0
Randolph-Macon was led by returning All-American and ODAC Player of the Year, junior Miranda Hall (Mechanicsville, Va. / Hanover). Hall had nine kills and had a kill percentage of .444. Honorable Mention All-American and All-ODAC First Teamer, senior Mariah Clark (Stuarts Draft, Va. / Riverheads), also checked in with seven kills on a .333 kill percentage. R-MC as a team made just ten errors and hit .241 throughout the match.
Alverno got as close as 11-9 in the first set, but R-MC went on a tear of eight of the next ten points, pushing the score to 19-11. From there, R-MC took advantage of a few Alverno errors as well as got kills from juniors Alexia Wolfe (Midlothian, Va. / James River) and Bailey Jones (Suffolk, Va. / Norfolk Collegiate). Junior Angela Tender (Manassas, Va. / Stone Bridge) added a critical service ace to push the score to 24-16 before an Inferno error ended the set 25-19.
The Inferno began the second set destined to make up for the first. AC scored the first four points and then went on to score another three, pushing the count to 7-3 early. But again, errors beset the Inferno and R-MC got timely kills from Clark and Hall to pull within one to 8-7. After trading scores, Tender again used service to put R-MC ahead. She tallied a pair of aces to tie the set at 11-all, before a bad set attempt put R-MC in the lead for the first time in the set. R-MC held the lead until a 4-0 run by Alverno gave them the lead back to 16-14.
But R-MC rattled off the next seven points and was all but unstoppable, ceding just two more points as the set settled at 25-17. Sophomore Mackenzie Loewe (Leonardtown, Md. / St. Mary's Ryken) was in service, forcing Alverno into errors and gaining one service ace in the run to the finish. Loewe also led all Yellow Jackets with 16 digs on the game. Hall secured the final kill of the second frame.
In the final set, R-MC got the early lead as the teams trading points to a 5-4 R-MC lead. From there, R-MC took advantage of Alverno errors and freshman Macguire Gubba (Grove City, Pa. / Grove City Area School District) added an ace while Jones made a critical kill to take the score to 10-4 after the five point rally. R-MC again saw a strong rally through the middle of the period, scoring three service aces from Tender in route to a nine point swing, taking the score to 23-10. Junior Kai Cunningham (Virginia Beach, Va. / Kempsville) closed the set out with the final kill as R-MC won 25-14 and took the match 3-0.
Freshman Sydney Koch (Raleigh, N.C. / Sanderson) also helped push R-MC, tallying four blocks while Jones, Hall, junior Emily Fitzwater (Bealeton, Va. / Liberty) and freshman Madison Warlick (Charlottesville, Va. / Albemarle) each added two.
Randolph-Macon 3, Widener 0
R-MC hit a few percentage points better in the nightcap, killing nearly 31% in the evening's game against the Widener Pride. R-MC was led by Clark and Jones, who each had nine kills. Cunningham added seven kills as well. Gubba and Tender split setting duties, with Gubba racking up 19 assists and Tender tallying 18. Loewe, Warlick and Hall led R-MC digging 11, nine and eight balls up respectively.
Neither team got a good run going in the first frame, which led to a tight frame leading up to a 22-21 R-MC lead. But R-MC took advantage of a pair of Widener errors and got a kill from Wolfe to close the set with a 25-21 victory. Gubba and Warlick each had a service ace in the frame to help push R-MC ahead.
The second set began as a tight contest as well. Widener score six of the first nine point before R-MC pulled it to an 8-8 tie. Warlick got a huge kill in the midst of the run that helped keep R-MC close. After Widener took the lead again, R-MC pulled back to 11-11 and 12-12 on kills from Clark and freshman Danielle Larosa (Charlottesville, Va. / Albemarle). From there, Cunningham, Jones and Warlick pushed forward with kills to get R-MC an 18-14 lead. R-MC finished the set out with a 7-3 run, with Jones accounting for two kills in the 25-17 win.
The Yellow Jackets started out the third set on a 6-1 run, getting the first point of the set from Koch. Koch went on to have a service ace during the run, along with getting a kill by Cunningham during her time in service.
R-MC got three strong points to push the score to 11-4 as Cunningham, Warlick and Jones got kills in a row, all with assists from Gubba. A kill by Cunningham tipped off the next run, with R-MC scoring six of the next eight points to push the score from 17-8 to 22-10. In that series, Koch got another service ace, while Clark and Jones each got critical kills.
Larosa and Jones also combined for three blocks each in the match.
The tournament continues tomorrow with matches against McMurray at 11:30 AM and Penn State-Berks at 3:30 PM.