VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – The Randolph College volleyball team fell to host Christopher Newport University, 3-0, before taking a 3-2 (25-27, 25-22, 21-25, 25-22, 15-8) victory over St. Mary's College of Maryland on Saturday in the Freeman Center.
Game 1: Christopher Newport 3, Randolph 0
The WildCats fell to Christopher Newport, 25-13, 25-14, 25-20. Autumn Troxell (Front Royal, Va./Warren County) and Taja Hunley (Dalzell, S.C./Thomas Sumter Academy) each had four kills for Randolph while Mackenzie Ambrose (Floyd, Va./Floyd County) added three. Troxell also led defensively with 14 digs with Ambrose and Brooks Gillerlain (Suffolk, Va./Nansemond-Suffolk Academy) each recording seven digs while Taylor Webb (Nassawadox, Va./Northampton) and Sam Verhaagen (Virginia Beach, Va./Norfolk Christian) tallied five digs apiece. Gillerlain and Taylor Webb also finished the match with six assists each.
Game 2: Randolph 3, St. Mary's (Md.) 0
The WildCats opened up the first set with a 4-1 lead over the Seahawks before extending their advantage to 13-8 off a 9-7 run. St. Mary's slowly chipped away at Randolph's lead, eventually leveling the score to 17-all on a 4-0 assault and sending the WildCats into a timeout. Several times Randolph would jump ahead with the lead but the Seahawks were never too far behind and managed to level the score to 22-all before storming ahead to 24-22. Randolph rallied with a 3-0 burst to make it a 25-24 edge in its favor, but a service error placed the ball back in the Seahawks' hands before they delivered back-to-back service aces to seal the win, 27-25.
The second set saw Randolph with the lead once more as the WildCats marched to a comfortable 11-5 margin. However, St. Mary's began to close the point gap, pushing a 5-0 run to trim the deficit to 11-10, forcing Randolph to call for a timeout. Coming out of the break, the WildCats maintained a slight edge over the Seahawks throughout the rest of the set before cutting the score to 23-22. After one more timeout taken by the WildCats, a kill landed by Ambrose pushed Randolph to match point before a St. Mary's attack error handed the WildCats the 25-22 tally to make a 1-all game.
St. Mary's grabbed hold of the lead early in the third set, settling on a 7-4 margin but the WildCats dished out a 6-2 rally, capped off by consecutive service aces by Kennedy Webb (Nassawadox, Va./Northampton) to jump ahead, 11-9. The Seahawks capitalized on several Randolph attack errors to take back the lead, but a kill by Rebecca Lesnak (Blountville, Tenn./Sullivan Central) leveled the playing field at 12-all. However, St. Mary's responded with four unanswered points for a 16-12 margin before extending its lead all the way to 21-16. A 5-1 rally from Randolph trimmed the deficit to 22-21, but the WildCats were plagued by attack errors that ultimately gave the 25-21 set win to St. Mary's.
The score remained tight between both teams in the fourth set until Randolph made its move on a 5-0 run to claim a 14-9 advantage. However, St. Mary's was quick to respond with four unanswered points of its own to close the gap to 14-13 before serving an ace to even the score to 14-all. The WildCats and the Seahawks would trade points back and forth, making it a close game, but a 6-0 burst placed Randolph in the lead, 24-20. Despite the Seahawks best efforts, they were unable to close the gap as Ambrose delivered the set clinching kill to send the game into fifth and final set.
Although Randolph stormed ahead with a 6-1 lead, St. Mary's made quick work to decrease point gap, rattling off four unanswered points to make it a 6-5 score. After a brief timeout taken by the WildCats, Randolph was able to extend its lead with a 9-1 push, ultimately clinching the 15-8 set win and the match victory.
Four WildCats notched double-doubles in the win. Troxell finished the game with 16 kills and 15 digs, while Ambrose recorded 10 kills and 13 digs. Gillerlain dished out 26 assists to go along with 16 digs while Taylor Webb dished out 16 assists and 12 digs. Kennedy Webb matched her season-high 23 digs in the victory. Defensively, Hunley and Meghan Chaffins (Temperanceville, Va./Holly Grove Christian) collected five total blocks with Hunley recording four assists and one solo while Chaffins had three assists and two solo blocks. Lesnak chipped in three block assists for the WildCats while Kennedy Moulton (Springfield, Va./West Springfield) added two block assists.
Randolph moves to 6-13 overall and returns to Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) play when it travels to Guilford College on Wednesday, Oct. 10 for a 7 p.m. match-up.