VIRGINIA BEACH -- A finish to the longest volley of the night evoked the loudest roar of the night from the large crowd assembled to watch the women's volleyball match-up between the Eagles of Bridgewater College and the Marlins of Virginia Wesleyan College on Tuesday.
A partisan crowd of nearly 400 at the Jane P. Batten Student Center erupted when Virginia Wesleyan rookie Alex Lambert (Alexandria, Va./Hayfield) put down a kill that ended an intense sequence of play on a Marlin possession late in the fourth game of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference match.
Lambert's kill made it a 20-16 lead for Virginia Wesleyan, which held off Bridgewater the rest of the way en route to a match-ending 25-21 victory. The Marlins won 3-1 overall, bouncing back from a 25-23 loss to the Eagles in the first game. VWC out-lasted BC 28-26 in a thriller in the second game and posted a 25-19 win in the third.
While both teams are now 12-12 overall, VWC improved to 6-4 in the ODAC, while Bridgewater dropped to 5-4.
Junior Kala Guy (Fishersville, Va./Wilson Memorial) became a member of an elite group of VWC women in the match as she finished with a career-high 21 kills. She is only the sixth VWC player in the history of the program to surpass 20 kills in a match.
While Guy and Lambert produced big points on kills for the Marlins throughout the match, sophomore Alex Kirk (Concord, N.C./Jay M. Robinson), Taylor Allen (Bowie, Md./Bladensburg Elizabeth Seton), and Kerry Johsnon (Richmond, Va./J.R. Tucker) also contributed with timely kills. VWC posted 47 kills overall, with Lambert finishing eight eight and Kirk with seven.
After Katie Long (Floyd, Va./Floyd County) came up with the kill to give Bridgewater the winning point in the first game, VWC came back strong in the second, taking a 9-4 lead behind some key play up front, including a block by Kirk and Lambert. Bridgewater, behind the play of Katie Baker (Strasburg, Va./Strasbury), Mara Hogan (Bridgewater, Va./Ashby Turner), and Lindsay Kallam (Virginia Beach/Princess Anne), fought back and tied the game at 23, 24, 25, and 26, but consecutive kills and a game-winning kill by Lambert gave the 28-26 thriller to VWC.
Game three started out close, but three straight Bridgewater errors helped VWC to a 15-12 lead and forced an Eagles timeout. Bridgewater tied the game at 16, but a Guy kill gave the Marlins the lead for good at 17-16. VWC expanded its lead to 21-17, helped by an Ali Bal (Bogota, N.J./Bogota) ace and back-to-back aces from Guy to make the score 24-19. An Eagle error ended the game.
Bridgewater bolted into a 7-1 lead in the fourth game, but VWC gradually came back behind Guy, Allen, Johnson, Lambert, and Kirk. The Marlins tied the score 14 on a Guy kill and moved into a 15-14 lead on a Lambert kill. VWC never trailed after that.
Bal finished with 34 assists for the Marlins, Guy led a 10-ace attack with four, and Erin Paton (Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch) recorded 17 digs.
Baker led Bridgewater with 11 kills, Kallam finished with 28 assists, and Hogan recorded 16 digs.
Virginia Wesleyan competes again on Saturday, Oct. 22, in a tri-match at Lynchburg College.