ASHLAND, Va. – Randolph-Macon split the final day of the R-MC Invitational, winning against Messiah but dropping a contest against the sixth-ranked Juniata Eagles. R-MC (13-7, 7-1 ODAC) returns to the court on Wednesday against Bridgewater at 7:00 PM at Crenshaw Gym in Ashland.
#6 Juniata 3, Randolph-Macon 0
The Yellow Jackets stood close with the Eagles for the beginning of the match. Senior Mariah Clark (Stuarts Draft/Riverheads) got a pair of kills in a row to push R-MC up 5-4. But Juniata got a five-point and six-point run through the middle of the match to take a 17-9 lead. The Yellow Jackets scored just three more times en route to the 25-12 Eagle victory.
After taking the first set, Juniata took a quick 4-0 lead in the second set. R-MC came back with six of the next eight points to tie the game at 6-6. R-MC got a lead with a four-point run, which included kills from freshman Sydney Koch (Raleigh, N.C./Sanderson) and juniors Bailey Jones (Suffolk, Va. / Norfolk Collegiate) and Alexia Wolfe (Midlothian, Va. / James River). Junior Miranda Hall (Mechanicsville, Va. / Hanover) added a service ace in the run as well. R-MC held onto the lead until Juniata found a six point run and got ahead 16-15. The rest of the set was a back and forth affair, with neither team finding any more than a two point lead. R-MC had set point at 24-22, but Juniata got four straight points to end the set at 26-24.
Neither team got a substantial lead in the third set, until R-MC took an 18-14 advantage, midway through the frame. R-MC kept pushing ahead and got as many as five ahead, but the Eagles jumped back, scoring eight of the last ten points to win 26-24. R-MC again had a set point at 24-23, but Juniata found three in a row to close the set.
Hall and Wolfe led the Yellow Jackets with seven kills each. Koch led R-MC at the net with six blocks, followed closely by Jones with four. Senior Emily Fitzwater (Bealeton, Va. / Liberty) added a solo block and three block assists to total four blocks on the match. Junior Angela Tender (Manassas, Va. / Stone Bridge) tallied 13 assists for R-MC, followed by freshman Macguire Gubba (Grove City, Pa. / Grove City Area), who had seven.
Randolph-Macon 3, Messiah 0
Messiah and R-MC bounced the lead back and forth through the early stages of the contest before four straights points from Messiah gave the Falcons the advantage. R-MC powered back with kills from Koch and Gubba as part of a three-point run to tie the set at ten apiece. R-MC found a nice four-point run through the middle of the set, but Messiah hung around just enough to keep it close. R-MC took a five-point run up to set point at 24-18 before closing the set with a kill from Fitzwater, winning 25-19.
Messiah took an early lead in the second set, getting ahead by five. The Yellow Jackets played from behind for much of the frame. R-MC got within one at 17-16 as junior Kai Cunningham (Virginia Beach, Va. / Kempsville) made a kill, but the Falcons went of a tear from there, getting four of the next five and staying ahead 21-17. But R-MC stayed close and eventually made its move while -- down by two -- Hall made a kill, Clark made two and Tender scored a service ace putting the Yellow Jackets ahead by one. Hall made a kill down the stretch as well as R-MC won the frame 25-23.
Not content with playing from the back, R-MC stretched to an early lead in the third frame. R-MC forced a Messiah timeout, going up 10-4 and kept the distance from there. Koch ended the set and the match with a kill as the Yellow Jackets claimed the frame 25-16 and the match 3-0.
R-MC hit .317 in the first set. Both Clark and Hall made nine kills across the duration of the match. Fitzwater and Cunningham, along with Koch each added five kills. At the net, Koch blocked five attacks, including one by herself. She was joined by Clark and Hall with two each while Fitzwater and Wolfe each made one block, as did freshman Danielle Larosa (Charlottesville, Va. / Albemarle). Sophomore Mackenzie Loewe (Leonardtown, Md. / St. Mary's Ryken) led the team defensively with 17 digs. Tender tallied 29 assists in the match and threw in three service aces.