Written by Elle Gunter
A start to the new fall semester means it’s volleyball time in Salem! The Maroons hit the road to Danville to compete in the Cougar Classic over the weekend, splitting the four-game tournament evenly, finishing with a record of 2-2. Game 1 of the first day was against fellow ODAC competitor Randolph College. Sara Waller and Ryanna Clark each recorded 7 kills while Kylee Draper added in 16 assists and 14 digs. The Wildcats went on to win the first match 3-1. Roanoke bounced back quickly to win game 2 versus the Piedmont University Lions. Off to a fast first-set win, the Maroons went back and forth with the Lions until they went on a 10-1 run, finishing Piedmont off for set 1. The Lions came back strong in the second set, taking the 25-22 win, until the Maroons took back set 3. With the help of a 20-assist performance from Kylee Draper, Roanoke took the match win in the fourth set. With a final score of 3-1, middle hitter Peyton Kirchner led the Maroons with 14 kills, 3 blocks and 3 aces.
“We applied a lot of skills that we have been focusing on in practice into our match. We began to gain comfortability with each other’s playing styles and worked well as a team to finish points”, Junior Peyton Kirchner said.
Roanoke came out hot in the first game of day 2 against the Waynesburg University (PA) Yellow Jackets. The Maroons had the advantage with the score of 17-11 and kept the serve up to match point, but with a kill from Rylee Mayer, Roanoke defeated Waynesburg in the first set. The Maroons pulled ahead of the Yellow Jackets with the score at 14-13, extending the lead yet again with a 4-0 run. Only a few points later, the Maroons sealed the set with another impressive run. Keeping it interesting in the third set, Waynesburg had the advantage over the Maroons at 11-10, before Roanoke did what they do best, make scoring runs. After a 10-0 hitting spree, the Maroons swept the Yellow Jackets with the help of senior middle hitter, Ryanna Clark. Clark recorded a match-high 14 kills and 1 block, as the Maroons went on to beat the Yellow Jackets 3-0.
Roanoke dropped a tough one to the Bruins of Bob Jones University to cap off the Cougar Classic in Danville. Ryanna Clark and Brynlee Burrill each tallied in 9 kills, in efforts to keep the winning streak alive. On the defensive end, Payten Johnson added a team-high 11 digs against BJU. The Bruins got the best of the Maroons, winning 3-0.
When asked about what a common gameday in the Cregger Center is like, Kirchner added, “Maroon Volleyball fans should expect us to have a high energy environment with good rallies and exciting performances”. Get out and cheer on the Maroons!
Now with a few games under their belt, Roanoke is back on the road Tuesday, September 5th at 7 p.m., as they head to Greensboro, NC to face the 0-3 Greensboro College Pride. They are back in the Cregger Center next weekend, September 8-9 as they host the Maroon Classic!