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WildCats Open the Season with a Split at Cougar Invitational

Gillerlain with the set
Gillerlain with the set

For Immediate Release – 9/3/16 - #025
WildCats Open the Season with a Split at Cougar Invitational

DANVILLE, VA – For the third-straight year, the Randolph College volleyball team opened its season at the annual Cougar Invitational.  The WildCats played well during the first day of play, and split the two matches.  The 'Cats fell in the opener to Roanoke College 15-25, 22-25, 23-25, before defeating North Carolina Wesleyan College in four sets.

Roanoke proved to be a very tough team to go against in the first set.  The Maroons got off to 7-2 lead, until the 'Cats settled in.  Alex Mariona served an ace after a Roanoke error to bring the WildCats within three.  Despite a kill by Rebecca Lesnak, the Maroons pushed the lead back out to five.  Randolph brought it back to three and kept it there with back and forth action, before the Maroons registered five out of six points to extend their advantage to 17-10.  The 'Cats fought back with Autumn Troxell killing two balls, and Lauren Morgan and Shelby Bergum each registering one.  However, Roanoke would take the first set.

The early stages of the second set saw both teams have small bursts.  The Maroons established an early 10-6 lead, but Randolph responded right away.  After the two sides exchanged points, the WildCats ripped off four-in-a-row to tie the score at 12.  Mariona and Lesnak each had a kill.  Points were exchanged again, as the hitting for both sides was astute.  Mariona, Lesnak, and Troxell each had kills, with Brooks Gillerlain setting them up.  However, Roanoke built up a small lead and held it until winning the final two points to take the second set.

The third started somewhat similar to the second.  Each team had a small run, with the Maroons taking a 5-4 lead.  However, the WildCats responded in a big way, tallying eight straight for a 12-5 advantage.  Lesnak killed two passes, Troxell, Mariona, and Morgan all had one, while Morgan and Mariona combined for two blocks.  The 'Cats continued to press, extending the lead to 18-10, which saw Troxell slamming home two balls from Gillerlain.  But Roanoke countered with a comeback.  The team used timely hitting to retake a very late lead, winning the set and the match.

Troxell had nine kills, while Gillerlain registered 27 assists and 13 digs in the match.

The WildCats used the hours in between the two matches to regroup and it showed very well in the second contest of the day.  Randolph took the match 25-22, 21-25, 25-20, and 25-15.

The hitters in the front carried the way.  Troxell had a big afternoon, staying consistent the entire time.  She registered three kills in each game. Bergum added nine kills herself, finishing without an error on 17 chances.  Lesnak and Mariona added eight apiece.

Gillerlain also had a great showing against the Battling Bishops.  She assisted on 43 kills to push her total to 70 on the day.  She accomplished that number without committing an error on 123 chances.  Gillerlain played well defensively as well, picking up 16 digs for a double-double.  Troxell registered 19, while Kennedy Webb had 15.  Those numbers were overshadowed by Sam Verhaagen, digging out 22 chances in her second collegiate match.

Randolph (1-1 overall) will finish the Cougar Invitational on Sunday.  The WildCats will take on Frostburg State University at 1:30 p.m. and then end the day with the hosts, Averett University, at 5:30 p.m.