For Immediate Release – 10/27/16 - #102
Mariona Plays Big in Win on Senior Night
LYNCHBURG, VA – The Randolph College volleyball team honored its lone senior, Alex Mariona, prior to Thursday night's match against Mary Baldwin University. The team followed the ceremony with a 25-21, 26-24, 26-24 sweep of the Fighting Squirrels, with Mariona playing a big part in it.
The 'Cats took a quick lead to start the match, scoring the first five points. Mariona started her night off with a kill on the first, with Brooks Gillerlain getting the assist. Autumn Troxell also slammed home a kill in the run. MBU came back after a timeout, tallying five of seven, with Troxell and Rebecca Lesnak throwing down the dissenting points. However, after the game got closer, Mariona started off another run with a kill. She added an ace, which was followed by an error on the other side. Points were traded soon after with Troxell getting two kills and Shelby Bergum notching one. But Mary Baldwin answered with a big run to tie the score at 14-all. Randolph responded immediately as Lesnak posted three kills, with the score being pushed to 19-16. The Fighting Squirrels pulled two back before the 'Cats extended the lead back to five (23-18). Troxell and Mariona then finished off the set, giving the WildCats a 1-0 lead.
MBU started the second with a large run, reversing how the first started. But Randolph began to chip away after a timeout. Mariona got it started once again. Lesnak and Bergum (two) also notched kills helping the hosts get within two. After a point the other way, Bergum and Troxell went back-to-back to bring the 'Cats deficit to one. Following another visitor point, Gillerlain and Troxell posted kills to tie it. Kennedy Webb then served up an ace to take the lead. The teams began to go back and forth after Randolph took the lead. The WildCats had it at two on three occasions, once following a Mariona ace, then after a Lesnak kill, and the last after a Bergum kill, with the score then being 19-17. The Fighting Squirrels did just that, as they fought and retook the lead at 20-19. Troxell helped push the 'Cats back into the lead with a kill and an ace, but it would flip soon after at 23-22. Mariona tied it back with a slam, but Mary Baldwin then earned a set point. However, Mariona was there again to help the team fight off the set point. Bergum followed her with a kill, and the WildCats won the set following an error on the other side.
Troxell and Mariona went back to back to open the third. But after another Randolph point, the Fighting Squirrels responded with a commanding run, taking a 10-5 advantage. Once again though, Mariona started another comeback, as the 'Cats scored five of six to cut it to one. Bergum and Troxell sent home sets by Olivia Pullin during the run. The deficit then grew as MBU put together seven straight, taking an 18-10 lead. This time, it was Bergum's turn to start things up. She killed off a Gillerlain assist to start a 10 of 11 burst, which ended up giving the hosts the 20-19 advantage. Troxell had one kill, while Mariona sent home two during the run, which also featured a Gillerlain ace. Things went back and forth once again, with Mariona needing to draw Randolph level at 22-all. But the Fighting Squirrels once again pushed it to 24-23 and set point. However, things unfolded the same way as Bergum tied it. Mariona stepped up to serve, and with the senior at the helm, the WildCats forced two errors and won the match.
The WildCats impressive hitting performance allowed them to tie the second-best three-set match record for kills with 44. Mariona had 13 with only three errors in her final home match. Bergum led the team with .421 hitting percentage after going nine kills and one error. Troxell added 13 of her own, and it included another double-double, as she dug out 13 balls. Gillerlain moved into fourth-place for assists in a season, as her 37 pushed her to 716 on the year. She added a double-double of her own, with 15 digs. However, libero Kennedy Webb led the team in digs, with 18.
Xenna Belfield had a game-high 23 digs for the Fighting Squirrels (4-24 overall).
Randolph (5-21) concludes it season on Saturday on the road. The WildCats travel to Ferrum College (14-17) for a noon start.