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Cunningham, Koch, Jones Lead Women's Volleyball Over Wittenberg

Volleyball Team blocking

ATLANTA – Randolph-Macon Women's Volleyball earned a season-high 19 total blocks, spearheaded by seniors Bailey Jones (Suffolk, Va. / Norfolk Collegiate) and Kai Cunningham (Virginia Beach, Va. / Kempsville) and sophomore Sydney Koch (Raleigh, N.C. / Sanderson), as the Yellow Jackets defeated Wittenberg, a regionally-ranked opponent, Friday afternoon.

The Basics

Score: Randolph-Macon 3, Wittenberg 2 (25-22, 21-25, 20-25, 25-21, 16-14)

Location/Venue: Atlanta, Georgia/Woodruff Physical Education Center

Records: Randolph-Macon (23-5, 12-0 ODAC)), Wittenberg (15-8, 8-0 NCAC)

How It Happened

  • Wittenberg earned the first significant lead of the contest, getting out in front 7-4. Randolph-Macon was able to earn a kill from senior Miranda Hall (Mechanicsville, Va. / Hanover) and took advantage of two Wittenberg attack errors though, which tied the set at 7-7. Moments later, R-MC earned two key blocks from seniors Alexia Wolfe (Midlothian, Va. / James River) and Cunningham and then Cunningham and freshman Grace Parker (Andover, N.J. / Pope John XXIII), putting the Yellow Jackets in front. R-MC extended its lead with a pair of attack errors by the Tigers, a kill from Wolfe, a service ace from sophomore Madison Warlick (Charlottesville, Va. / Albemarle) and a kill from Koch, giving R-MC the 15-10 lead. Wittenberg made a last-ditch effort to come back and got as close as two, but R-MC closed the set out with two kills by Parker to win 25-22.
  • R-MC got in front 3-0 early in the second set. That lead held strong as R-MC averaged a four-point advantage for much of the early stages of the set. But Wittenberg closed the gap and tied the set at 14-14 through the middle stages of the set. R-MC rebuilt a three-point lead, but Wittenberg stormed back. The teams traded points until the Tigers were able to take a four-point lead. That lead held up as the Tigers won the set 25-21.
  • The Tigers held the early lead in the third frame, but Randolph-Macon went on a tear with a pair of kills from Parker and a kill by Wolfe, earning the three-point advantage at 8-5. But Wittenberg responded with seven of the next eight. R-MC got as close as one through the middle stages of the set, but Wittenberg kept the pressure on and never let R-MC get the lead back as the Tigers won the set 25-20.
  • R-MC again mounted a good early surge. The Yellow Jackets got ahead 5-3 before the Tigers tied it at 7-7 a few moments later. Another 4-0 run helped give R-MC some cushion as Wolfe earned a kill, junior Mackenzie Loewe (Leonardtown, Md. / St. Mary's Ryken) added a service ace and Parker put down a kill to push R-MC ahead 11-7. The lead got even larger as R-MC went on an 8-0 run to go ahead 18-10. Wittenberg was able to string four points together and got as close as four, but R-MC won 25-21.
  • In the deciding set, the teams traded the first three points, but R-MC ripped off a 3-0 run to go ahead 4-2, thanks to a trio of kills, two from Hall and one from Jones. Wittenberg came back to tie the set at 5-5, but R-MC again jumped out ahead with a 3-0 run. Wittenberg returned the 3-0 run to tie the set at 8-8. The team traded points again to a 9-9 tie, but that sparked off a 3-0 Wittenberg run, forcing an R-MC timeout. The Yellow Jackets were able to come back and earn a tie just moments later as Jones made a kill and Parker set down a service ace, tying the deciding set at 12 apiece. A critical block by Koch and Jones gave R-MC the 13-12 lead, but the Tigers returned the favor, tying the set at 13-13. After each team added another point, the Yellow Jackets were able to close out the set with a kill from Jones and a block by Jones and Cunningham, winning the frame 16-14.  

Inside The Numbers

  • Wolfe led the team with 14 kills. Parker and Hall added 13 and 10 kills respectively.
  • Cunningham and Koch each had eight blocks while Jones added six. Koch's eight blocks tied a season-and-career high. 
  • Senior Angela Tender (Manassas, Va. / Stone Bridge) offered up 28 assists while sophomore Macguire Gubba (Grove City, Pa. / Grove City Area School District) finished with 16. Gubba also collected a service ace.
  • Warlick led the team with 26 digs, which tied her season-high. Gubba added 19, a new career-high, while Parker added 15.
  • Wittenberg was also receiving votes in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association Division III Top 25 poll. The Tigers were ranked sixth in the Great Lakes region as well.

Up Next

The Yellow Jackets will continue play in the Emory National Invitational. The Yellow Jackets face Berry tomorrow at 10:00 AM and Birmingham-Southern at 3:00 PM. Both teams were ranked in the latest South Regional Rankings by the NCAA. Berry was ranked second while BSC was ranked fourth. R-MC was slotted third in this week's ranking.