ATLANTA, Ga. –Randolph-Macon faced two Top 10 opponents Friday in the Emory National Invitational in Atlanta, but was not able to overcome the two ranked teams, dropping both matches.
#5 Thomas More 3, Randolph-Macon 0
Randolph-Macon's two seniors, Mariah Clark (Stuarts Draft, Va. / Riverheads) and Emily Fitzwater (Bealeton, Va. / Liberty) shined an afternoon match against #5 Thomas More on Friday in Atlanta in the Emory National Invitational.
Clark tallied 10 kills and a block while Fitzwater made six kills and four blocks while hitting .385 in the early match against the fifth-ranked Saints (27-2).
R-MC found itself down early and fell victim to the hot hitting of Thomas More, which hit .440 in the first set. The Saints ripped off nine of ten points through the middle of the set to go up 21-9. From there, Thomas More was able to complete the 25-12 victory.
Thomas More again took the early lead in the second set, but Randolph-Macon continued to push, pulling the set with four with a 4-1 rally to get the score to 15-19. R-MC also challenged Thomas More at the end with a trio of points, but the Saints closed the set to win 25-21.
The two teams played a back-and-forth third set, with the Saints getting up by as many as four before R-MC brought the set with two at 8-10. The Saints were able to keep the distance and faced some more pressure from R-MC through the middle of the set as the Yellow Jackets again used a 4-1 rally to cut the lead to just two for Thomas More to 17-19. But the Saints ended the set and the match with a five point run that closed their victory at 25-18.
Junior Alexia Wolfe (Midlothian, Va. / James River) marked seven kills in the match while junior Angela Tender (Manassas, Va. / Stone Bridge) tallied 23 assists. Wolfe and Tender led the Yellow Jackets defensively as well with eight digs apiece.
#8 Emory 3, Randolph-Macon 0
In the first set, R-MC kept close to the Eagles initially. R-MC ahead 6-4 on a pair of kills, one by junior Bailey Jones (Suffolk, Va. / Norfolk Collegiate) and one by freshman Sydney Koch (Raleigh, N.C. / Sanderson). Jones got another kill to get R-MC ahead 9-7. Emory came back to tie the match at 10-10, where the teams traded points from then out. Emory got a three-point run to go up 16-13 before R-MC came back to bring the set within one at 15-16 on a service ace by Koch. Emory hit five of the next six points to go back ahead by five and was able to finish out the set with a 25-20 victory.
In the second set, a similar story developed. R-MC played a tight contest with Emory to start out. After a 4-4 tie, a kill by Wolfe and an attack error by Emory led to an R-MC advantage. Emory tied the set at 6-6 again before R-MC jumped back out ahead with a kill by Clark. Emory found three points in a row to take an 11-8 advantage, but R-MC turned on the jets and got six points in a row as Jones hit two kills, junior Miranda Hall (Mechanicsville, Va./Hanover) hit a pair and Koch added a service ace. But Emory mounted a run of its own and eventually took the lead back to 16-15. The point-trading began as the pace picked up towards the end of the set, by Emory closed out with six of the final nine points to win 25-21.
With the momentum on its side, Emory (20-5) started out with the first seven points in a row in the third set. Randolph-Macon brought the deficit to just two at 6-8, but Emory pushed forward and eventually found a five-point lead again. From there, the Eagles inched their way to the finish line, winning the set and the match 25-20.
Hall led the Yellow Jackets with eight kills, followed by Wolfe, who tallied six. Tender led the Yellow Jackets in assists with 12, while sophomore Emma Young (Highland Park, Ill. / Highland Park) threw in 11 assists. Defensively, sophomore Mackenzie Loewe (Leonardtown, Md. / St. Mary's Ryken) led R-MC in the second match of the day with 12. Koch tallied the most blocks in the match with three, one being a solo effort. Besides her two service aces, Young also had one to total three for R-MC.
R-MC (17-9) continues in the Emory National Invitational on Saturday, facing Birmingham-Southern and Salem tomorrow at 12:30 and 3:00 PM respectively. BSC is a team that is ranked third in the South Region in the NCAA Regional Rankings. R-MC is ranked fourth in the same rankings.