WildCat Weekly: Volleyball Notes #3 – Roanoke, Shenandoah, Washington and Lee, Averett
LYNCHBURG, VA – The Randolph College volleyball team has an excited week ahead, as Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) play starts this weekend with three in-conference affairs while also battling Averett University Saturday in Lexington, VA. The WildCats are coming off a tough winless weekend at the Catholic University of America Tournament in Washington, DC, falling in five games twice in that stretch. Randolph has dropped seven of its last eight matches coming to the week.
Opponent: vs. Averett University
Site: Lexington, VA
Facility: Warner Center
Date: September 15, 2012
Time: 1 p.m.
What to Watch For
The WildCats have had a heartbreaking season thus far, as Randolph is 2-7, but has taken three of its matches to five games, losing all three. The WildCats have an opportunity to start the ODAC season out strong this season, as they knocked off two of the three teams they are playing this week in 2011. If Randolph can stay mentally tough, they could change their fortunes very quick.
A Look at the Maroons
The Maroons of Roanoke College are coming into the week with a 5-4 record, winning all four of their matches this past weekend at the Greensboro Invitational. So far on the year, Roanoke has been led by the 67 kills from Allison White, who also has 12 service aces and 15 blocks. Samantha Klosterman and Rachel Kilinski also have been the big hitters for the Maroons. Shannan Stone and Samantha Toy share passing duties, while Mackenzie Tyree leads the squad with 136 digs thus far.
Against Roanoke All-Time
The Maroons have held a severe hold on this series dating back to 1994, as Roanoke has taken 20 of the 22 meetings between the two teams. Before last season, Randolph had lost 18 straight sets to Roanoke before breaking through for a 3-1 win in Lynchburg. The victory over Roanoke was the first ever for Randolph in ODAC play, and first since 1996.
A Look at the Hornets
Shenandoah University is in its first season in the ODAC this year, though the Hornets have routinely played various conference schools while they were a member of the USA South. SU is 6-0 on the season, and has been led by a balanced attack consisting of five players that post over 20 kills on the year. Senior Mary Harshman leads the squad with 41 kills, while junior Haley Smith is right behind with 49. Kelcy Brown averages 5.33 helpers her set for SU, and Smith is the team's best blocker with 17 total on the season.
Against Shenandoah All-Time
The WildCats are 6-5 against the Shenandoah all-time, with last year's 3-2 victory over the Hornets being the sixth straight meeting between the two teams where the previous winner had lost. The last back-to-back wins in the series cam in 1998 and 1999, as the Hornets earned victories to even the all-time series at three.
A Look at the Generals
Always a threat to contend for the ODAC title, the Generals have started out the season playing one of the hardest schedules in the country and have gone 5-3 so far. First-year Anna Lausberg currently leads the Generals with 3.30 kills per set, while last year's first-team All-ODAC outside hitter M.A. Boles is second with 54 kills thus far. Junior setter Meghan Melseki has 218 helpers and 51 digs, and libero Kelly McManus has a team-high of 110 digs. Sophomore middle Katie Toomb has 18 total blocks to pace Washington and Lee.
Against Washington and Lee All-Time
Randolph College has struggled all-time against their foes from the west, as Washington and Lee has not only won every match between the two schools, but has never lost a set to Randolph. In fact, Randolph has only gotten into the 20s seven times since 2004 against the Generals.
A Look at the Cougars
The Cougars come into the season with a 4-4 overall mark, but have fallen in their last four matches after a perfect 4-0 start to the season. Allison Sparks paces AU with 90 kills on the year, while Savanna Butts is second with 53 kills. AU hits at a very respectable .220 hitting clip. Nicole Barringer has all but 12 of the team's 279 assists this year, and Paige Aaron had a team-leading 130 digs.
Against Averett All-Time
Despite the close proximity of the schools, Saturday's meeting will only be the fifth time the two teams have met in the program's histories. Averett won the match in 2008 and 2011, while Randolph earned 3-0 victories in the two matches in 2008 and 2009.
Sophomore Lexi Harrington (Clemmons, NC/West Forsyth) is very athletic on the court as a libero, and has done a fine job this year as she leads the conference in digs with 130 so far. She is also in second in digs per set at five saves per game.
The WildCats have two of the top seven hitters in the conference currently, as sophomores Jordan Templin (Ferrum, VA/Franklin Co.) and Grayce Darden (Martinsville, VA/Martinsville) are the only two teammates in the top seven in total kills. Templin is sixth with 82 and Darden has 77 on the season.
More Helping Hands
Sophomore Kerry McMichael (Westminster, SC/West Oak) and first-year Andrea Mewhinney (Sanford, NC/Overhills) have both done a good job passing this year. If you combined their total, it would be third in the league in total assists.
Senior Sam Sublett (Bedford, VA/Staunton River) is second in the league right now in total blocks, chalking up 21 rejections to date. She trails the leader by only one. She would be also be in the top ten in hitting percentage if she qualified.
I'l Ce-Ce You on That
First-year Celine Rhodes (Barhamsville, VA/Jamestown) has been a great addition, as she is in the top three for Randolph in kills, aces, and total blocks. She is averaging 2.1 points per set, which is third best on the roster.
Ace Up Our Sleeve
Harrington and Templin are both tied for second in the ODAC for service aces, as they have both registered 15 on the young season.
Randolph will return home for a pair of matches next week, as Guilford College comes to Lynchburg, VA September 19 for a 7 p.m. match before Methodist University and Randolph battles Saturday, September 22 at 1 p.m. in the RAD Center.