For Immediate Release – 10/19/16 - #091
WildCats Come From Behind to Beat EMU in Four
LYNCHBURG, VA – After falling down a set, the Randolph College volleyball team roared back to defeat Eastern Mennonite University in four sets on Thursday night. The WildCats won the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) match 17-25, 25-15, 25-21, and 25-22.
The first set was not kind early on to the hosts. The 'Cats dug a deep hole and fought valiantly to climb out of the deficit. Randolph put together several three-point bursts, but in the end the disadvantage was too much, and EMU won the first set.
However, the WildCats rebounded in a big way in the second. After a couple of lineup changes, the team came out firing, and built up a small 5-3 lead. Alex Mariona and Brooks Gillerlain both had kills during the run. After the score became tied at five-all, the 'Cats tallied four of five to push it to 9-6. Autumn Troxell slammed home a set from Gillerlain and Olivia Pullin had an impressive block. The Royals responded with five straight to take the lead, but it was soundly answered. Two five-point bursts sandwiched only two points from the visitors, giving Randolph a 19-13 lead. Mariona, Pullin, and Rebecca Lesnak all notched kills, while Pullin and Mariona put together a combined block. The teams exchanged points, before the 'Cats railed off five in a row to end the set. Gillerlain, Lesnak and Shelby Bergum posted kills, but what was most emphatic was the block by Mariona and Bergum to end it.
The third set saw a couple of small runs by both teams to start off. Troxell served an ace and Mariona killed a Gillerlain set for an early lead, but the Royals would eventually take an early 9-7 advantage. However, Randolph tied it soon after at 10 apiece, as Gillerlain helped on three points, in three separate ways (kill, assist to Troxell, and ace). Small runs were once again exchanged by the teams, as the Royals held a slim lead at 16-15. Troxell tied it one point later, which started a run of five of six. She added another kill during the burst, giving the 'Cats a 20-17 lead. EMU came within one on two more occasions, but the WildCats closed it out with three straight. Lesnak and Troxell finished off two Gillerlain sets for the win.
The fourth was a battle right from the start, but Eastern Mennonite took the early lead. It was extended to 10-6, before Troxell helped start a rally. Bergum followed her with a perfect ace. Points were traded as Pullin and Mariona slammed home kills, but the Royals answered. EMU extended the lead to 15-10, but Randolph continued to claw. Mariona slammed home a kill, while Kennedy Webb served an ace. Mariona followed a Royal point with a block to bring the 'Cats within two. Eastern Mennonite fired off three in a row, but the WildCats once again made a big comeback. Lesnak started it with a kill and an ace. Then Gillerlain and Bergum notched kills, which forced an EMU timeout. Bergum and Troxell blocked the following attack to tie the score at 19. Despite a point from the Royals, Randolph would soon take the lead. Troxell tied it with a kill, before an error gave the 'Cats the lead. It would be tied on the next point, but the WildCats ended the match with four of five, which included two more slams from Troxell.
Troxell finished the night with a double-double of 12 kills and 15 digs. Mariona had a great night hitting, recording 10 kills with only three errors. Gillerlain was also impressive setting 34 on the night. Webb and Sam Verhaagen were stout, digging 15 and 12 balls out respectively.
Maria Yoder had a game-high 14 kills for the Royals (9-16 overall, 2-8 ODAC).
Randolph (4-19, 2-8) heads on the road for its final tri-match of the year. The 'Cats take on Salem College and Surrey Community College on Saturday, with the first match against Salem starting at noon.