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Volleyball Splits ODAC Contests at Eastern Mennonite

Ambrose receives the ball

HARRISONBURG, Va. – The Randolph College volleyball team fell to Bridgewater College, 3-0 (23-25, 21-25, 17-25), before taking a 3-2 (24-26, 25-14, 21-25, 25-23, 15-12) over Eastern Mennonite University on Saturday afternoon in Yoder Arena.

Game 1: Bridgewater 3, Randolph 0

The Eagles held a 6-5 edge in the beginning of the opening set before the WildCats pushed a 7-2 run to steal the lead, 12-8. Randolph extended its advantage to 13-9 but the Eagles responded with a 4-0 burst to tie the score and send the WildCats into a timeout. Coming out of the break, both teams would trade points with Randolph taking a 16-14 edge thanks to back-to-back kills by Mackenzie Ambrose (Floyd, Va./Floyd County). The WildCats maintained the lead until the Eagles jumped ahead two points and would remain ahead to seal the final 25-23 win.

Throughout the start of the second set, Bridgewater and Randolph traded points back-and-forth before the Eagles made their move on three unanswered points to make it a 13-8 game. Randolph slowly chipped away at the Eagles' lead, eventually roping the score to 17-16 off a kill by Rebecca Lesnak (Blountville, Tenn./Sullivan Central) before a service ace by Autumn Troxell (Front Royal, Va./Warren County) leveled the tally to 18-all. However, Bridgewater pushed a 7-3 run to cement the second set.

The WildCats jumped out to an early 5-1 lead in the third set but soon saw their point gap decrease as Bridgewater rallied with three unanswered points. The Eagles then capitalized on several attack errors committed by the WildCats to jump out in front before extending its margin all the way to 20-13. Randolph managed to slice the deficit to 24-17 but would stumble on a service error to hand Bridgewater the match win.

Ambrose landed 14 kills to lead the WildCats while Troxell added eight kills and Lesnak chipped in seven kills. Troxell led defensively with 13 digs while Kennedy Webb (Nassawadox, Va./Northampton) recorded 12 digs. Brooks Gillerlain (Suffolk, Va./Nansemond-Suffolk) finished the match with a double-double 20 assists and 11 digs. 

Game 2: Randolph 3, Eastern Mennonite 2

An 8-4 Royals lead was quickly erased by a 5-1 run by the WildCats, leveling the score to 9-all. After a brief timeout called by Eastern Mennonite, the Royals stormed ahead on a 7-1 push for a comfortable 16-10 advantage, forcing Randolph into a timeout. Coming out of the break, the WildCats rallied with a 6-3 run to close the gap to 19-16 before a 6-2 push catapulted Randolph to a slim 22-21 edge. The teams would trade points briefly before three unanswered points by the Royals handed them the set win.

The WildCats kicked off the second set with a 5-2 lead but several attack errors committed by Randolph helped Eastern Mennonite close the gap before taking over with an 8-5 margin. The Royals would not remain in the lead for long as the WildCats rallied with a 5-1 burst, which included three consecutive kills by Troxell, to take a 10-9 edge. Despite the Royals taking a timeout to regroup, Randolph extended its advantage all the way to 22-13 before sealing the set on a 3-1 run.

Randolph held a 14-6 margin in the third set but the Royals slowly chipped away at the WildCats lead, cutting the deficit to 17-16 before a 5-2 rally placed Eastern Mennonite in the ahead, causing Randolph to call a timeout. However the Royals would eventually seal the 25-21 set win on a final 4-2 push. 

The fourth set saw Randolph in the lead but Eastern Mennonite fought to decrease the point gap, ultimately slicing the deficit to 20-19 on a service ace. After a brief timeout called by the WildCats, the score remained close before the Randolph sealed the set on a kill by Troxell to send the match into a deciding set. 

The WildCats held the advantage in the fifth and final set of the match with a 7-4 score but the Royals quickly erased the deficit with five unanswered points to take a slim 9-7 margin. Both teams would battle for the lead with Randolph making its move to jump ahead with a 12-11 edge. Eastern Mennonite called a timeout to regroup and would only grab on e more point before a kill by Ambrose and a service ace by Gillerlain handed the WildCats the match win.

Troxell led both offensively and defensively as the senior outside hitter landed 23 kills, matching her career-high, and collected a career-high 27 digs. Lesnak also recorded a career-high, landing 17 digs in the win while Ambrose finished with 12. Kennedy Webb totaled 25 digs for the defense, a season-high, along with three service aces while Taylor Webb (Nassawadox, Va./Northampton) and Sam Verhaagen (Virginia Beach, Va./Norfolk Christian) collected 14 digs and 16 digs, respectively. Gillerlain notched her second double-double of the day, dishing out a season-high 42 assists to go along with 18 digs. 

The WildCats move to 9-16, 4-6 ODAC and are back home on Tuesday, Oct. 23 when they host ODAC rival Washington and Lee University at 6:30 p.m. in the RAD Center.