WildCat Weekly: Volleyball Notes #5 – North Carolina Wesleyan
LYNCHBURG, VA – The Randolph College volleyball team gets set for its slowest week of the season this week, as the WildCats only have one match scheduled for the next seven days. The WildCats will step out of conference Friday evening to entertain the Battling Bishops of North Carolina Wesleyan College in the Randolph Athletics and Dance (RAD) Center at 6:30 p.m. for Family Weekend. The WildCats are coming off two heartbreaking five-set losses last week to Guilford College and Methodist University.
What to Look For
The WildCats have seen their fair share of disappointing losses this year, having dropped six five set matches this season. The WildCats play another team this week in North Carolina Wesleyan that should be a very competitive match. Randolph just needs to get its offense going in clinching games, and it will be fine. Unfortunately, in the last two matches in the fifth set, Randolph has been plagued by service and hitting errors. If the WildCats can push those mistakes aside, look for the WildCats to jump back into the win column.
A Look at the Battling Bishops
The Battling Bishops are playing strong volleyball right now, as they have won six of seven matches after falling in five of their first six. Defense has really been the name of the game for the Bishops, as they have posted dig totals of 97, 93, and 88 in matches in this stretch. Offensively, the Bishops like to set their middle hitters, as junior middle Taylor Johnson leads the team with 138 kills and senior middle Anna Hart has 113 kills. Senior outside hitter Meredith Smith has 128 kills to go along with 175 digs, while senior libero Shana Ayers has a whopping 293 digs to date. Senior Kristi Lucas has 439 assists on the season, while Johnson and Hart have combined for 69 blocks. NCWC doesn't produce a lot of aces, just over one per set , but also doesn't hurt themselves with service errors either.
Against NC Wesleyan All-Time
Randolph is 1-6 life time against the Battling Bishops, though only two of the seven all-time meetings have gone three games. Randolph's lone win came back in 1995, the first-ever encounter between the two schools on the volleyball court, but NCWC has won the last six. The last four have been close, including in 2006 and 2011 when the match went to five sets apiece.
The WildCats have been able to get consistent offense from three players: sophomores Jordan Templin (Ferrum, VA/Franklin Co.) and Grayce Darden (Martinsville, VA/Martinsville), along with first-year Celine Rhodes (Barhamsville, VA/Jamestown). Templin leads the team with 147 kills, while Darden and Rhodes have 121 and 100, respectively. Rhodes has the highest percentage of the three at .236, but Templin has been set more, taking 377 attempts.
The WildCats have had the luxury of seeing their libero, Lexi Harrington (Clemmons, NC/West Forsyth), turn into one of the best defenders in the league. Harrington has a ODAC-leading 235 digs on the season, averaging 4.12 per set.
The WildCats currently have one of the best blocks statistically in the conference, as they are posting three players in the top 13 in the total blocks. Sam Sublett (Bedford, VA/Staunton River) leads the ODAC in total blocks with 46, while Celine Rhodes and Marissa McClinton (Bealeton, VA/Liberty-Bealeton) are both listed as well. Randolph is third in total blocks in the ODAC.
Good One, Ace
Celine Rhodes and company are among the team leaders in total aces this season for Randolph, as it has 117 on the year, third best in the ODAC. Rhodes is fourth in the ODAC in service aces, just three behind Kala Guy of VWC for the top spot.
Percentage Pick Up
The WildCats have been consistently around the .200 hitting clip for most of the year, but haven't had that one defining match with their attacking. Randolph hit nearly 40 percent against Methodist at the Catholic Tournament earlier this season, but hasn't had a match since when it attacked at over a .300 clip.
Two Way Templin
Jordan Templin has shown her ability to play both offense and defense, as she leads the WildCats with seven double-doubles. She has posted the total in the last eight matches, as Templin has now chalked up nine double-digit kill matches and nine performances of 10 or more digs.
Sure Handed Setter
Sophomore Kerry McMichael (Westminster, SC/West Oak) has been very steady at setter this season, not only with her passing but with her serving. McMichael has an assist percentage of .413, best on the team, while also dishing out 4.31 assists per set. Almost as impressive is that she has committed only four service errors all season, with a team-leading serve percentage of .955.
The WildCats will hop right back into Old Dominion Athletic Conference play in the first week of October, taking on Lynchburg College Wednesday, October 3 while traveling to Salem, VA for the Roanoke Tournament Friday, October 5 and Saturday, October 6.