LEXINGTON, Va. -- Washington & Lee University's top seeded Generals found themselves on the verge of being eliminated from the Old Dominion Athletic Conference volleyball tournament by the fifth seeded Virginia Wesleyan College Marlins.
The Marlins led 2-1 after three games and owned the momentum after a 25-21 third-game win over the Generals. But, Washington & Lee used a 12-6 run in the fourth game to take a lead it would not lose in a 25-16 fourth-game win. The Generals kept things going in the decider, using a 5-0 run to end a 5-5 tie and post a 15-9 win for the match victory.
The Generals (27-7) will face two-time defending ODAC champion Randolph-Macon College, which slipped by Lynchburg College, 3-2, later today for the conference championship.
It was an impressive effort for Virginia Wesleyan (14-17), which stunned the Generals from the start, posting a 25-22 victory. Even competition produced a close match into the final points when W&L opened 1 19-17 lead. But, key plays by Tempe Martens (Severna Park, Md./Severna Park) andErin Paton (Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch) helped push VWC into a 21-19 lead. The Marlins held the lead to the end, winning the game on a Martens kill.
Washington & Lee recovered quickly to take a 6-0 lead in the second game, but Virginia Wesleyan battled back to cut the Generals' lead to 13-12. Rachel Guarisco (Tuscaloosa, Ala./Holy Spirit), M.A. Boles (Houston, Texas/St. John's), and Allison Rouse (Troy, Mich./Troy) sparked a W&L run to stay in front, 17-15. The Generals put the game away with a 6-0 spurt for a 23-15 lead.
W&L and VWC battled closely once again through the third game, before the Marlins opened up a 16-11 lead with the help of Allie Bal (Bogata, N.J./Bogata) and Kerry Johnson (Richmond, Va./J.R. Tucker). W&L came back behind Katie Toomb (Lebanon, Ore./Lebanon) and Boles to take a 19-17 lead, only to see Virginia Wesleyan dominate the remainder of the game. The Marlins, led by Alex Lambert (Alexandria, Va./Hayfield) and Allen, outscored the Generals 8-2 down the stretch to post a 25-21 win and a 2-1 lead in the match.
Virginia Wesleyan kept things going in the fourth game, taking a 5-4 lead, before Washington & Lee sparked the 12-6 run that set the tone for the finish.
Kala Guy (Fishersville, Va./Wilson Memorial) led VWC with 13 kills and 17 digs. Allen finished with 11 kills and Martens recorded nine. Paton added 15 digs and Mikaela Whitaker (Gainesville, Va./Haymarket Battlefield) finished with 10. Bal helped the Marlins with 23 assists and rookie Mallory Slade (Burlington, N.C./Eastern Alamance) produced 19. Lambert and Bal contributed with three aces each and Taylor sparked VWC at the net with four block assists.
Boles produced 25 kills for W&L, which also received 14 from Guarisco. Meghan Meleski (Richmond, Va./Mills Godwin) finished with 50 assists, Boles led with 19 digs and Corrine Hemmersbach (Torrance, Calif./Chadwick) recorded five aces.