Mustangs Hang Tough, Fall to Randolph-Macon in NCAA Opener

Mustangs Hang Tough, Fall to Randolph-Macon in NCAA Opener

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. – The Stevenson University women's volleyball team fell 3-1 to Randolph-Macon College in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Championship in a match played at Ron Rosner Arena on the campus of the University of Mary Washington Friday evening.  The set scores were 19-25,25-18, 26-24, 25-23.

Stevenson (26-8), which was making its sixth straight NCAA appearance, saw a 17-match win streak snapped with the loss.  Randolph-Macon (24-7), which defeated the Mustangs in the NCAA opening round for the second straight year, advances to Saturday's second round where it will either face the host Eagles or Cabrini College.

Junior Annika Schwartz and sophomore Moriah Savage, who Thursday were each named AVCA All-Region, led the Mustangs with 11 kills apiece.  Schwartz also finished with 17 digs for her 14th double-double of the season.  Senior Kristen Brooks totaled nine kills and 10 digs, while freshman Victoria Prokic added eight kills and five block assists.  Sophomore Chelsea Ireland finished with nine block assists.

Junior Deanna Bradbury posted 29 digs for Stevenson.  Freshman Julie Nightwine recorded 17 assists and 14 digs, while senior Sara Bollinger had 22 assists and eight digs.

Rebecca McGilvery led Randolph-Macon with 14 kills, while Mariah Clark and Miranda Hall each added 11.

The first set saw 10 ties, the last at 16-16, before kills by Savage and Ireland gave the Mustangs an 18-16 lead. Following a Yellow Jacket block to halve the lead, Stevenson registered four straight points to build a 22-17 lead on a block by Ireland and junior Lauren Weaver.  A Schwartz kill closed out the set and gave the Mustangs an early 1-0 lead.

Stevenson trailed 12-5 in the second set before chipping away and pulling within two, 15-13, on a kill by Prokic.  The Mustangs cut the lead to two three more times, but couldn't get over the hump, and Randolph-Macon, which never trailed in the set, pulled away late for a 25-18 win to tie the match.

A service ace by junior Megan Hren gave the Mustangs a 13-8 lead in the third set after they had trailed 5-1 early.  Stevenson held a 20-17 lead when Randolph-Macon rattled off three straight points to tie the frame 20-20.  The Yellow Jackets extended the lead to 7-1 and were serving for set point when two Schwartz kills sandwiching an attack error tied the set 24-24.  An R-MC kill and Stevenson attack error closed out the set.

The lead traded hands three times in the early going of the fourth set before back-to-back kills by Brooks and Weaver gave the Mustangs a 13-10 lead.  Stevenson led 16-13 when three straight Yellow Jacket points forged a 16-16 tie, the seventh of the frame.  Randolph-Macon scored four of the next six points to take a 20-18 lead, and from there the lead swelled to 24-21.  Stevenson fought back, with a Brooks kill and a block by Weaver and Ireland cutting the gap to 24-23, but a Clark kill closed out the match and advanced R-MC.

Stevenson hit .139 for the match, but just a combined .065 in the second and third sets, and limited Randolph-Macon to .098 hitting on the evening.  The Mustangs racked up 14 blocks to 10 for the Yellow Jackets, but Stevenson was undone by 11 service errors and eight serve receive errors, compared to five service errors and four reception errors for the victors.