The Radford volleyball team picked up its 20th win of the season on Saturday night against Gardner-Webb in four sets (25-17, 25-16, 25-21, 25-9) as the Kaylor Nash fittingly picked up her 1,000th career dig in the annual “Dig Pink” match.
The Highlanders (20-3, 10-2 Big South) tallied 55 kills and 75 digs, while keeping the Runnin’ Bulldogs (7-18, 1-11 Big South) to a .039 hitting percentage. The opponents hitting percentage is the lowest by a Big South team this season.
The first set began with the Highlanders jumping out to a 7-5 lead as Maddie Palmer picked up a kill. The lead increased to five as Nash held serve with a 15-10 lead. Gardner-Webb battled back and cut the lead to two, 17-15 but Valerie Gonzalez and a GWU attack error increased the lead to four once again. Radford ended the set on a 6-2 run thus wining the first set, 25-17.
The Highlanders continued the run into the second set taking a 16-6 lead. A kill by Sydney Teksta and a bad set by Emma Milstead increased the lead to 12. Gardner-Webb closed the set on a 10-7 lead, but the seven points gave Radford a two-set advantage, 25-16.
Following the 10-minute break, the Highlanders picked up 14 kills but only hit .104 as a team. Radford committed nine attack errors, three receive errors and one block error in the third set. However, Gonzalez had five kills in the set and Haley Kleespies picked up 10 assists but the Highlanders fell, 25-21.
Gardner-Webb only picked up two kills, hit -.310 and committed 11 attack errors in the fourth set. The Runnin’ Bulldogs took 1-0 lead, but the Highlanders fought back and claimed a 10-4 lead. Radford increased lead to 17-6 thanks to a 7-2 run as Palmer and Amaya Rousseau held serve through the run. GWU called a timeout and Radford sprinted to the finish line scoring eight of the final 11 points en route to a 25-9 fourth set victory.
The win was the fourth time in the last five years the Highlanders have won at least 20 games in a season.
Kaylor Nash recorded 28 digs in tonight’s match, but only needed 13 to have 1,000 career kills. Haley Kleespies had a nice overall match as she picked up 41 assists, four kills, six digs and one service ace. Maddie Palmer piled on 13 kills and 15 digs recording another double-double, the 50th of her career.
Valerie Gonzalez fell one dig shy of recording her fourth straight double-double. She tallied 16 kills – leading all players – and picked up nine digs.
Radford picked up seven total team blocks as Amaya Rousseau led with three total blocks. Gardner-Webb totaled five team blocks.
The Highlanders lost the third set thus ending the set win streak at 17 set wins in a row.
“It was a good game, Gardner-Webb plays super hard. There were some things we needed to adjust to in the third set and we got down, but we battled back hard in the fourth set. The two wins this weekend are great for us, but we have a quick turnaround and need to start focusing on Liberty” Marci Jenkins said.