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By Michael Marzzacco
After bringing home two wins from last weekends George Mason Invitational, the Radford volleyball team played host to the Dukes of James Madison University. JMU has always had Radford’s number in volleyball but that would all end Tuesday night as the Highlanders got their first win against JMU since 1995!
The Highs got off to a fast start in the beginning of the match by going up 11-4. JMU did not quit as they cut the deficit to three, trailing 19-16. Radford answered with a 6-1 run to take the first frame 25-17. In that first frame the Highlanders held the Dukes to a -.036 attack, while Radford’s attack was .242.
The second frame was a tight one. After trailing 12-10, Radford went on an 8-1 run to take an 18-13 lead. The Highs never looked back as they won the second set 25-20 to go up 2-0, stunning the lady Dukes.
With JMU down 2-0 the third set was a must win for the Dukes to get back into the game. With the Dukes ahead only by one, 17-16, JMU stole some momentum and went on a 8-3 run; taking the third set, 25-19. In that third set, the Dukes held Radford to a -.030 attack and added six blocks.
The Radford offense would bounce back in the fourth set with a .455 attack along with four kills. In a tight contest with 21 ties and 5 lead changes; the Highlanders would prevail winning the fourth set 25-15 and go home victorious. This was Radford Volleyball’s fifth win all-time against JMU, and the first since 1995.
“We had a game plan and we stuck to it. We knew who their best players were, we knew who they wanted to set the most and we made sure to key-in on them,” said Head Coach Marci Jenkins. “It was a good game plan by the coaching staff.”
On beating JMU for the first time since 1995, Jenkins added, “This is a great win for us, a great win for our program and we just have to keep getting better. There’s plenty of things we can get better at and we’re going to keep getting better at it.”
Junior Rachel Wiechecki notched her 21st career double-double in the victory.
“Since my freshman year, two years ago, we’ve been trying to beat JMU and we’ve lost both times so today we were ready to go, came in and did what we had to do to come out with the win,” said Wiechecki.
With the win, Radford improves their overall record to 6-2 for the season. After protecting their home court once again, the Highs will now enter a four game road trip. Their first stop will be Charleston, S.C. for The Citadel Tournament, which begins this Friday where the lady Highlanders will have an important first match-up against DePaul University.