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WildCats Split Conference Tri-Match

Meghan Chaffins and Taja Hunley protect the net

LYNCHBURG, Va. – The Randolph College volleyball team defeated Shenandoah University in straight sets (25-22, 25-23, 25-16) before falling to Hollins University, 3-1 (23-25, 30-28, 20-25, 19-25), in an Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) tri-match held on Saturday afternoon in the RAD Center.

Game 1: Randolph 3, Shenandoah 0

Both teams kept the score close in the opening set of the game with Randolph finally making its move off a 3-0 spurt to grab an 11-9 edge over the Hornets. The WildCats maintained a small lead over Shenandoah before a 5-1 push by the Hornets handed them a 17-15 advantage. Randolph quickly responded with a 3-0 push, capped off by two block assists from Mackenzie Ambrose (Floyd, Va./Floyd County) and Taja Hunley (Dalzell, S.C./Thomas Sumter Academy), taking an 18-17 lead. Despite Shenandoah slicing the deficit to 20-all, kills delivered by Kennedy Moulton (Springfield, Va./West Springfield) and Autumn Troxell (Front Royal, Va./Warren County) gave Randolph the 22-20 edge, forcing the Hornets to call for a timeout. In spite of Shenandoah's best efforts to close the point gap, Randolph would capitalize on a service error committed by the Hornets to seal the 25-20 set win.

Although the WildCats held a 4-1 advantage early in the second set, Shenandoah managed to close the gap before taking a slight 7-5 edge. Randolph fought back with a 6-2 push to storm ahead for a 13-9 lead, causing the Hornets to regroup in a timeout. Coming out of the break, Shenandoah rallied with a 7-1 run, capitalizing on several Randolph attack errors, to jump out to a 16-14 lead, this time forcing the WildCats into a break. Randolph and Shenandoah traded the next few points before Randolph secured a 24-22 lead. Despite the Hornets landing a kill to bring the score to 24-23, a service error would be their undoing as Randolph clinched the second set, 25-23.

Randolph set the tone in the final set as the WildCats stormed ahead to a 9-3 lead and never looked back. Shenandoah would put up a tough fight, managing to trim the deficit to 22-16 but a final 3-0 push by the WildCats handed them the 25-16 set win and the match victory.

Troxell notched a double-double 12 kills and 15 digs for the WildCats. Ambrose chipped in seven kills, to go along with 11 digs, while Hunley also notched seven kills and added four block assists. Taylor Webb (Nassawadox, Va./Northampton) dished out a team-high 16 assists while Brooks Gillerlain (Suffolk, Va./Nansemond-Suffolk Academy) dispersed 14 assists and Kennedy Webb (Nassawadox, Va./Northampton) recorded 15 digs.

Game 2: Hollins 3, Randolph 1

The opening set saw Hollins jump out to a 6-4 lead but Randolph rallied with a 5-0 run for a 9-5 advantage. Hollins managed to trim the deficit to 9-8 but were plagued with several attack errors, helping the WildCats extend their lead to 12-8. Randolph continued to remain ahead, pushing their advantage to 16-10 off a kill by Troxell and forced Hollins into a timeout. The break proved beneficial as Hollins dished out four unanswered points to slice the score to 16-14, causing Randolph to pause for a timeout of its own. Despite increasing the point gap to 18-15, errors committed by the WildCats allowed Hollins to level the score to 18-18 before rushing ahead for a 23-21 edge. After a brief timeout taken by Randolph, the WildCats were able to even the score to 23-all. However, back-to-back kills by Hollins handed them the final 25-23 win.

The second set started out in a similar style to the previous set but both teams managed to either level the score or stay within one point of the other, trading the lead back-and-forth. As play went on, consecutive kills by Troxell handed Randolph a 21-19 advantage, forcing Hollins to call a timeout to regroup. Coming out the break, Hollins was able to level the score to 21-all before pushing to match point (24-22). Randolph was able to stay alive with back-to-back points to make it a 24-all set before battling to take the win. The WildCats would eventually clinch the final 30-28 victory as Troxell floored consecutive kills and level the match to 1-all.

Randolph held an early 10-7 edge in the third set but would soon see its advantage disappear as Hollins dished out a 6-1 run to jump ahead, 13-11. The WildCats would only trail by no more than four points, eventually slicing the score to 24-20 as Randolph capitalized on a Hollins service error. Still, it would not be enough as Hollins landed the kills to seal the 25-20 triumph.

In the final set of the match, both teams remained relatively close, eventually settling on a 6-all score before Hollins pushed ahead with a 4-0 run to secure a 10-6 advantage. Hollins managed to extend its lead all the way to 19-11, forcing Randolph to call for a break. The WildCats fought to close the point gap, roping the score to 24-19 with a kill from Gillerlain but a ball handling error would seal Randolph's fate and hand the match win to Hollins.

Troxell floored a season-high 21 kills to go along with 13 digs for a double-double while Ambrose recorded 15 kills and Hunley added nine kills. Gillerlain also recorded a double-double 32 assists and 10 digs in the loss while Taylor Webb distributed 16 assists and Kennedy Webb totaled 13 digs.

The WildCats drop to 5-10, 2-2 ODAC look for their next conference win on Tuesday, Oct. 2 when they travel to Roanoke College for a 7 p.m. match-up.