NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - The Marymount University women's volleyball team battled to its first-ever NCAA tournament victory on Friday night, knocking off Randolph-Macon College in the first round at Christopher Newport University, 3-1.
The first set remained close throughout, although the Saints maintained a lead in most of the game. Down the stretch, the Saints got hot, rolling on a 7-1 run to close out the set with a 25-18 victory. In the run, juniors Myah Cordrey and Jasmine Roy combined for three service aces, while junior Mykael Johnson added two kills.
Overcoming a deficit midway through the second set had junior Maggie Viniard setting up classmate Alexa Marcum for a game-tying kill at 17-17 to send the Yellow Jackets to use a timeout. Out of the break, Cordrey kept the momentum alive for the Saints with a kill and followed it up with two block assists with Marcum on the first one and Viniard on the second to give MU a 20-17 advantage. The Yellow Jackets answered with two-straight points to get within one, but Cordrey again fired off a kill to cut the run. It sparked two more points by MU off a kill by Johnson and an ace by Roy to draw the final timeout by RMC in the set. Out of the break, Macon earned two more points but it was accompanied by a service error and a kill by Johnson to seal the deal on a 25-21 second-game victory and a 2-0 lead in the match.
In the third game, a back-and-forth battle had the Saints finding some rythm, going on a 4-1 stretch to take a 14-11 advantage and force another Macon timeout. The break proved useful this time around, responding with three-straight points to draw the set even, but a block by Marcum and freshman Elissa Munsterman cut the run and bolstered a three-point run for the Saints that included back-to-back service aces by senior libero Theresa Buscemi. The set seemed in favor of the Saints late, but the Yellow Jackets responded once again to get within one at 21-20 to force Marymount into a timeout.
After the break, the Jackets kept the momentum with three-straight points to take a 23-21 advantage to send MU into its final timeout of the break. Marymount battled back after the timeout to send it to extra points, but RMC earned the win in the third set, 27-25 to send it to a fourth.
Trailing for the entire fourth game, the Saints didn't give up on it, battling back late to get within two after three-striaght points that concluded off of Buscemi's fifth ace of the match to send the Jackets into a timeout with a 19-17 lead. MU continued to dig through its deficit to eventual draw the set even at 21-21 off a Viniard-Cordrey connection, as the junior middle hitter smashed her ninth kill of the match into the Jackets' court. Four-straight points after that had the Saints claiming the victory, 25-21, to secure the program's first-ever NCAA tournament win.
Two double-doubles paced the match with Johnson finishing with a match-high 17 kills to go with 16 digs, and Viniard sending out a match-high 41 assists with 15 digs. Buscemi led the way defensively with 22 digs and junior Michaella Ulses had four blocks.
The Saints now advance to the second round on Saturday, November 16 against the winner of the other first-round match of Christopher Newport and Stevenson University. Start time is set for 5 p.m., in Newport News, Virginia.