ARLINGTON, Va. – Randolph-Macon women's volleyball faced a pair of tough foes at the first day of the Marymount Invitational in Arlington. Both the Eastern Eagles and the Wheaton (Ill.) Thunder came away with victories over the Yellow Jackets.
Eastern 3, Randolph-Macon 0
In what was a match of close calls, the Eastern Eagles defeated R-MC in straight sets. Eastern took advantage of opportunities it got.
In the first set, R-MC jumped out to the quick 3-1 start but Eastern came storming back. With the score tied 8-8, Eastern rattled off four points to go up 12-8. R-MC advanced as well, scoring the next four of five points, but the Yellow Jackets could never top the Eagles as Eastern finished the game on a 4-1 run to win 25-20. Randolph-Macon was led by junior Alexia Wolfe (Midlothian, Va. / James River) who had five kills and a service ace in the set. She also led the team with eight digs.
R-MC seemed to have the advantage in the second set. After a 13-13 tie, R-MC went up 17-13 with a pair of huge kills by senior Emily Fitzwater (Bealeton, Va. / Liberty) and junior Miranda Hall (Mechanicsville, Va. / Hanover). But Eastern would gain the next eight of 11 points back, gaining the lead 21-20. After ties at 21-21, 22-22 and 23-23, Eastern finished the set off with a pair of kills to win the set 25-23. Hall led the Yellow Jackets with four kills, while sophomore Mackenzie Loewe (Leonardtown, Md. / St. Mary's Ryken) was the defensive leader, tallying four digs.
In the third set, R-MC had another lead, this time three points as the score hit 10-7 early in the third set. But for the second set in a row, Eastern stormed back, rattling off nine of the next 11 points to go up 16-12. R-MC hung tough for the second set in a row, matching Eastern nearly point-for-point in the later stages, getting ties at 17-17, 19-19 and 21-21. A kill from Hall gave R-MC the lead back to 22-21. But the Eagles finished the match out on a 4-1 run to win 25-23. R-MC outhit Eastern in the final set, hitting .250 vs. .167 for Eastern.
Hall led the Yellow Jackets through the match with ten kills while Wolfe made nine kills and senior Mariah Clark (Stuarts Draft, Va. / Riverheads) tallied seven. Fitzwater and Clark led the team with blocks, tallying four and three respectively. Loewe led the team in digs with 14 and was followed by Wolfe with 13.
Wheaton 3, Randolph-Macon 1
In the nightcap, Wheaton gave R-MC all it could handle. Wheaton got out in front early, but the Yellow Jackets rushed back. A pair of kills by Fitzwater tied the first set at 6-6 and 7-7. But the Thunder took control through the middle of the set, rattling off six straight points to go up 15-9. After a trio of R-MC points, Wheaton finished on a 9-7 run that put them over the top for the 25-20 win.
Wheaton made another run in the second frame before the Yellow Jackets made a move to come back. Down 16-11, R-MC got critical kills from Fitzwater, Wolfe and Jones and a service ace from Loewe to bring the set within one. With a 20-20 tie, R-MC finished on a 5-2 run to win the set 25-23.
R-MC used that momentum to rush into the third set. Starting out 6-3, the Thunder quickly struck back, tying the match at 7-7. A 9-2 run helped solidify Wheaton's place en route to a 25-15 victory.
A similar tale emerged in the third set. After ties at 4-4 and 6-6 and 9-9, Wheaton used an 8-3 run to go up 18-13. The Thunder took the set 25-16 as the victor's namesake boomed over Arlington.
Wolfe finished the match with 12 kills, followed by Hall with nine. R-MC got 17 digs from Loewe and were active at the nets again, getting five blocks from Clark and four from freshman Danielle Larosa (Charlottesville, Va. / Albemarle).
R-MC takes on host Marymount tomorrow at 11:00 AM and finished with Washington College at 1:00 PM.