Virginia Wesleyan splits in opening night of tourney

VIRGINIA BEACH -- Fatigue can be a foe of any team in any sport in the early season.

It might have gotten the best of Virginia Wesleyan College's volleyball team on Friday, as the Marlins rolled through their first game games, before starting to lose steam.  It resulted in a 3-2 loss to the Union College Dutchwomen in the Marlins' second match of the Virginia Wesleyan Invitational at the Jane P. Batten Student Center.

Virginia Wesleyan took the first two games from Union by back-to-back 25-21 scores, before fatigue set in on the Marlins, while the Dutchwomen gained momentum.  Union, a member of the Liberty League, avoided the sweep with a 25-21 win and then kept things rolling with 25-17 and 15-9 victories.

The Marlins opened the tournament with an impressive 3-0 win over a strong Benedictine University team from near Chicago.  VWC won 25-23, 25-21, 25-22 over the Eagles, who came back later to close the first night with a 25-20, 25-16, 25-17 win over Union.

Virginia Wesleyan trailed 18-12 in the first game with BU, but sparked behind the service of Taylor Allen (Bowie, Md./Bladesnburg Elizabeth Seton) to produce a 9-2 roll to take a 21-20 lead.  The Eagles regained the lead at 23-21 behind Kara Zuro (Crestwood, Ill./Queen of Peace), but could not hold on as VWC scored the final four points of the match to take the win. 

Game two was another comeback for the Marlins, who trailed 16-13 before taking the lead for good at 18-17 on a kill by Kala Guy (Fishersville, Va./Wilson Memorial). Benedictine tied the score at 19 and 20, but a kill by sophomore Tempe Martens (Severna Park, Md./Severna Park) gave VWC a 23-20 edge.

A VWC comeback in third game with BU was more dramatic as the Eagles led 13-7.  The Marlins chipped away at the spread and pulled in front at 17-16 and never trailed again. 

It was a similar pattern against Union as the Marlins 15-11 deficit to tie the first game at 19 on an Allen kill.  VWC took the lead at 21-20 and held off Union the rest of the way.  Game two was a little different as VWC stayed in front most of the competition.  But, Union played things tight and the game was tied 16 times, the last at 21.  Guy came through with back-to-back kills to push the Marlins in front 23-21 and VWC held on the rest of the way.

Union started to change tempo in the third game however, jumping out to a 6-1 lead.  The Dutchwomen led 20-13, and then held off VWC, which closed to within three points several times down the stretch.  Game 4 saw Union break away from a close contest early to open up a 16-9 lead that expanded to 21-12. In the decisive fifth game, the Dutchwomen bolted out to a 3-0 lead and never trailed. 

Guy led VWC with 20 kills against Union and 29 overall in the two matches.  Allen and Martens both produced 10 kills against Union.  Allen recorded seven aces on the night, including five against Benedictine.  JuniorAllie Bal (Bogota, N.J./Bogota) finished with 52 assists, 32 against Union, and senior Erin Paton (Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch) posted 32 digs, including 22 against Union.