Volleyball gets revenge over rival to claim ODAC title

The Generals defeated a familiar opponent, Randolph-Macon, 3-2, to gain the program’s 16th ODAC championship


Meg Guignon, ’19, said she has been waiting for an ODAC title her entire collegiate career. Photo courtesy of W&L Sports Info.

Jimmie Mack Johnson III

While the team had been defeated in the past two championships by Randolph-Macon, this year was different as the Generals took a 3-2 decision over the Yellow Jackets on Nov. 3 to win the program’s first ODAC championship since 2014.

“I think what really helped us put out that win was our attitude going into that game. We wanted to win more than the other team, and that really showed,” Meg Guignon, ‘19, said.

The Generals got off to a strong start with a 2-1 lead midway through the match. The Generals looked like it would be taking the fourth set as the team led 13-9. However, the Yellow Jackets went on an 11-4 run to eventually claim that set 25-17.

Entering the fifth set brought back bad memories for many of the returning Generals. Last year, the team lost a heartbreaking 16-14 fifth-set match to the Yellow Jackets after also originally leading two sets to one. Head Coach Bryan Snyder said last year’s scenario brie y entered his mind going into the deciding set.

While last year’s loss still stung and briefly entered the thoughts of some, the team quickly discarded any fear of dropping the fifth set.

“There was an entirely different vibe this year. Before the match even started, we all agreed that we could feel it, there was no doubt in my mind as we went into that fifth set that we were not going to win,” Captain Ashleigh Meade, ‘20, said.

The teams were tied at two points apiece in the final set before a kill by Guignon and two consecutive aces by middle blocker Kiera Borthwick, ‘21, gave the Generals a spark and a 5-2 lead. The Generals took this momentum and never looked back, as it proceeded to win the next four out of six points to give them a 9-2 advantage.

The Generals reached match point after two straight service errors by Randolph- Macon and a kill by Borthwick, which made the score 14-7.

The Yellow Jackets won the next point to delay the victory, but a missed attack by the Yellow Jackets in the ensuing rally gave the Generals the match and the ODAC title.

Guignon said the win was a perfect way for her to finish her career.

“It feels amazing to go out with that kind of win,” Guignon said. “Every season I’ve been on this team, it has been a goal of ours to win the ODAC championship, and it feels really good to have accomplished it my senior year.”

The victory rewarded the Generals an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament as the Blue and White faced off against fourth-ranked Colorado College on Nov. 9.

Led by libero Elly Cosgrove, ‘19, who tallied a career-best 33 digs, the Generals pushed the Tigers to five sets before falling, 15-12, in the deciding set.

“All in all, I felt we played well and competed at a high level against a very talented and confident team on the other side of the net,” Snyder said.

A big part of this year’s success came from contributions made by the senior class, specifically Guignon and Cosgrove. Guignon finishes her career with the sixth most kills in the university’s history with 1,298, and Cosgrove finished her career with 1,142 digs, good for 10th on the all-time list.

Meade said the rising seniors will have tough shoes to fill next year.

“Not only were they huge contributors on the court, but all three of them were phenomenal leaders. They set the standard for what it means to be a Generals volleyball player,” Meade said.