By Jay Young
RANDOLPH - The Randolph Lady Cardinals opened up their volleyball season with a three-set nonleague win over Southwestern on Wednesday evening, claiming victory 25-22, 25-17, 25-23.
Randolph’s Kerrigan Walters hits a serve during the third set of the Lady Cardinals’ season opener against Southwestern on Wednesday evening.
P-J photo by Jay Young
Randolph is coming off a stellar campaign last season where it finished 22-2 and made it all the way to the Class D state final in Glens Falls - but this is a different season.
Veterans Cierra Farmer and Alexis Terrette are both now playing for Jamestown Community College coach Ashley Lund in NJCAA Division III.
That means that coach Robin Maycock is looking at a much different team from the one that was so dominant a year ago.
"There are a lot of new faces on the court, and you could just see throughout the game you know just (the team) getting more comfortable with each other," Maycock said after the season opener.
"We have been working hard, we have a lot more to do but it is coming," she said.
Of course the Lady Cardinals still have their best player from the 2013 season - Mckenna Maycock.
After falling behind early on in the second set, it only took a few possessions for Maycock to show how easily she can take over a set.
Behind 0-2, the senior picked up a clutch point for the Lady Cardinals with a kill from the middle of the floor before taking to the service line and firing another winner to give Randolph its first lead of the night at 8-7.
At the end of the night Maycock had racked up 13 points with one ace at the line, 37 kills and 19 digs for the winners.
Unfortunately for the Lady Cardinals, sophomore MacKenzie Marsh, who filled key minutes for Randolph last season, was unable to play after suffering an ankle injury during warmups.
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That meant that coach Maycock was unable to test out some of her new hitting and blocking schemes, and had to work with what she had.
"MacKenzie twisted her ankle on a ball during warmups, (the girls) were a little frazzled at the beginning but they settled down," she said.
"We're trying to do a lot of different things, the trouble with tonight was it seemed like we were always behind or ahead just a little so we never got to try some of our new things," Maycock added.
While Randolph is working with a lot of newer faces on the floor, Southwestern coach Amanda Krakowiak has a more veteran-heavy team in her ninth year as head coach.
"We only lost two seniors last year so many of our players are returning, which is great," Krakowiak said.
"We have a new addition, Hannah (Vezina) our middle, is a senior, she came in from Bradford this year," she added.
Vezina made an instant impact on Wednesday for the Lady Trojans, striking 16 kills and adding three blocks at the net.
After falling into a 23-12 hole, Southwestern was able to show some resiliency against Randolph and climbed back in the set to make it 24-17 behind the serving of Shaunah Rudny.
The third set of the evening followed a similar path, with Randolph jumping out to a 20-16 lead behind kills from Maycock and junior Alexis Hinman.
Solid serving by Southwestern's Sally Rudny and Misty Himes brought the Lady Trojans to within a point at 21-20 before Randolph was finally able to put the game away.
"I like that my girls are challenged and it was a very well-fought game, both sides were working very hard, digging up, some very nice hits," Krakowiak said.
"(There was) some great serving going on there, I love playing a competitive game," she added.
Sally Rudny ended the night with a pair of aces, 12 kills and 17 digs while sister Shaunah had five aces and four kills.
Maddy Alexander also had a solid night for the Lady Trojans with an ace and 18 assists.
Miranda Gross had 34 assists for Randolph while Peyton Terrette won 15 service points and sophomore Hailey Hettenbaugh added 17 digs and nine service points.