ASHLAND – Randolph-Macon’s women’s volleyball team looked to be the team of destiny heading into the Old Dominion Athletic Conference tournament last week. The Yellow Jackets still looked to be the team of destiny as they swept Randolph in the quarterfinal and won a tough 3-1 victory over Washington and Lee in the semifinal.
But when Randolph-Macon took the court against Virginia Wesleyan in the ODAC final, the Marlins had their own notion of destiny. Wesleyan shredded the Yellow Jackets in the first set 25-17, and despite falling in the second, the Marlins took the third set – again by 25-17 – and gutted out a 29-27 win in the fourth to seize the crown.
While the loss was devastating, the Yellow Jackets’ season goes on. Randolph-Macon won an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III tournament. Both the ODAC champion and runner-up will head to Christopher Newport University Friday for the first round. Randolph-Macon takes on Marymount (Virginia) at 5:30 p.m., while Virginia Wesleyan faces Juniata at 12:30 p.m.
The ODAC championship victory was especially sweet for the Marlins’ head coach Andrew Hoover-Erbig.
“I don’t think we’ve beaten Randolph-Macon since 2007,” Hoover-Erbig said. “I’ve been the coach here for 14 years and it’s nice to get a win. I don’t care what court it’s on, it’s just nice to beat them.”
Virginia Wesleyan did a better job of controlling the ball, both in terms of passing on its side of the court as well as in placing its shots on Randolph-Macon’s side.
“We definitely scouted Randolph-Macon, but we see them a lot. We know them very well,” Hoover-Erbig said. “We just talked about mixing our shots and making them move and keeping them guessing on defense. I thought our hitters did a good job of that today.”
Amber Matalus led the Marlins with 18 kills. Elizabeth Britton had a double-double with 11 kills and 26 digs. Alyssa Taylor also had 26 digs, and Sarah Brush had 16. Meghan Wood and Haley Sutton had 24 assists apiece.
Bailey Jones and Miranda Hall led the Yellow Jackets with 16 and 15 kills, respectively. Grace Parker had 18 digs, followed by 14 by Madison Warlick and 13 by Macguire Gubba. Angela Tender had a game-high 28 assists, with Gubba chipped in 13.
Dave Lawrence can be reached at email@example.com.