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The Radford Women’s Volleyball team started off its two road games with a win against University of North Carolina at Asheville on Friday, Nov. 11. The Highlanders earned the win in a close 3-2 match. Defense was the key to this match and RU was led by two freshmen in the digs category. Freshmen libero Rachel Brummitt led both teams with 26 digs and freshmen outside hitter Rachel Wiechecki’s earned a career high of 22 digs.
Radford struggled in the first game, falling 25-20 after making costly errors. However, the Highs regained composure in the second game. The team started out slow and gave up the first three points of the match, but was able to turn the tables and tie the score at 4-4.
The game remained close, with nine tie scores throughout game two, but RU ended the second game on an 8-4 run and evened the series at 1-1. Wiechecki had five of her 15 kills in the second game, with two of them coming late in the game to give RU a push to pull out a close game.
The third game, like the previous two, remained close throughout the entire contest. The score was tied 11 times and the lead changed seven times. Things looked bad for Radford when the team got down 20-16, but a five-point push gave RU the lead for a short time. Coming out of the timeout, the Bulldogs pounded the ball and scored the last three points of the game to gain a 2-1 advantage over the Highs.
The Highlanders started strong in the fourth game and jumped out to an early 10-7 lead. At one point, Radford had a commanding five point lead (19-14) and continued to play well, winning the fourth game 25-21.
By forcing game number five in the match, the Highlanders set a new school record by forcing 11 game fives in matches this year. The Highs continued their strong play by grabbing a 3-0 lead early in game five. Radford won the final game on three straight kills. By earning the win, Radford improved to 14-14 on the year and 9-5 in the Big South.
The Highlanders had one final test before assuring the third seed in the Big South Tournament coming in the form of Gardner-Webb on Saturday, Nov. 12. Gardner-Webb would not simply step aside however and the Bulldogs ran away with the first game, 25-18.
The next game, it was RU’s turn to win big and the Highs took game two, 19-25.
In game three, after being tied at 11-11, the Bulldogs went on a 10-1 run to give them a commanding 21-12 lead. The Highs quickly answered with a 13-3 run that evened the game at 24 each. After trading points back and forth, a kill and an ace by Wiechecki completed the comeback giving RU a 2-1 game lead.
Game four was a close contest as well and ironically ended the same way as game three, with a 26-28 win in favor of RU. Brummitt came up big again for the Highs recording 26 digs and is now just 9 digs away from breaking Rachel Newton’s single season record of 617.
The Highs have outscored their opponents in kills (1372-1368), attacks (3904-3896), aces (163-146), digs (1616-1602), total blocks (239.5-229.5), and many other categories this season.
Wiechecki leads the team in kills, blocks, points and total aces. Such statistics are an incredible feat for a freshman and have been recognized by many Big South Conference awards this season.
By recording the victory over Gardner-Webb, RU is the third seed in the Big South Tournament and will take on sixth seeded High Point.
The game will take place on Thursday, Nov. 17 at Charleston Southern University.