ASHLAND, Va. – Randolph-Macon split the final day of the Randolph-Macon Invitational, defeating Averett 3-0, but falling to Salisbury in a dramatic five-set match.
Salisbury 3, Randolph-Macon 2 (26-24, 25-17, 17-25, 18-25, 17-15)
Against the only undefeated team in the Invitational field, Randolph-Macon came out on solid ground. The Yellow Jackets battled back-and-forth with Salisbury until R-MC got a nice three-point rally in the middle of the first set. But SU came storming back and regained the lead. R-MC had set point at 24-23, but Salisbury finished with three straight points to win the set 26-24.
SU took control of the second set after the teams played to a 10-10 tie. SU rallied off six of seven points and held the lead for the rest of the set, winning 25-17.
The close nature of the contest continued in the beginning portion of the third set. But then R-MC tied the set at 10-10, which sparked off a 13-1 run for R-MC, which set up a rush to the finish where the Yellow Jackets won 25-17.
R-MC held the early edge in the fourth set, going up 9-5. Salisbury returned to tie the match at 10-10, but again R-MC controlled the game through the middle portion of the set, never allowing SU to score any more than one point in a row and getting the set win 25-18.
The teams traded the first four points of the deciding set. But Salisbury ripped off eight points in a row to go ahead 11-4. R-MC came from behind yet again though in an exciting rally of its own. The Yellow Jackets scored seven in a row to tie the deciding set at 12-12. Salisbury got the next point, but R-MC scored two in a row and had match point at 14-13. SU reversed the position though and had match point at 15-14 before sophomore Sydney Koch (Raleigh, N.C. / Sanderson) tied the match at 15-15. But the Sea Gulls would find the final two points to win 17-15.
Koch finished with nine kills and eight blocks. Senior Alexia Wolfe (Midlothian, Va. / James River) led the team in kills with 14 and was followed by freshman Grace Parker (Andover, N.J. / Pope John XXIII), who tallied 12. Parker also led the Yellow Jackets with 23 digs. Senior Bailey Jones (Suffolk, Va. / Norfolk Collegiate) collected six blocks. Senior Angela Tender (Manassas, Va. / Stone Bridge) tallied 26 assists and two service aces. Parker also had two service aces.
Randolph-Macon 3, Averett 0 (25-12, 25-20, 25-17)
The Yellow Jackets took control of the match almost from the word go. After the 4-4 tie, R-MC went on a 10-4 run to go up 14-8. Another 6-0 run helped seal it for the Yellow Jackets as R-MC won 25-12.
In the second set, Averett played the set much closer, but R-MC still held the advantage through much of the frame. Early on, the Cougars had a two point lead twice, but R-MC got on a rally and won 10 of the next 13 to go ahead 17-13. Averett threatened with a late run, but never got ahead of R-MC as the Yellow Jackets won 25-20.
Much like the previous set, the two played close at first. The teams played to ties at 7-7 and 8-8. But R-MC scored a 3-0 run, including a service ace from junior Mackenzie Loewe (Leonardtown, Md. / St. Mary's Ryken). The lead helped R-MC hold off the Cougars as the teams inched closer to the final mark. R-MC went on an 8-3 run later in the set, which helped the Yellow Jackets seal the set and the match with a 25-17 win.
R-MC hit .321 for the entire match. Senior Miranda Hall (Mechanicsville, Va. / Hanover) led the Yellow Jackets with nine kills. Jones and Koch each added seven. Freshman Jordan Davis-Allen (Powhatan, Va. / Powhatan) led the team with five kills. Loewe and Hall led R-MC defensively, each collecting nine digs. Gubba added two service aces while Tender added 12 assists. Junior Emma Young (Highland Park, Ill. / Highland Park) and senior Emily Steffan (Salem, Va. / Salem) added nine and seven assists respectively.
The coaches in the Invitational selected an All-Tournament team. Koch and Wolfe were selected to the team as Randolph-Macon's representatives. The entire list is below.
R-MC is now 6-2 on the season and will face Johns Hopkins at home on Tuesday at 6:30 PM.