Hutcheson leading way for Randolph-Macon

By Tommy Keeler Jr.

From the first day of practice, there’s been no doubt who one of the top leaders on Randolph-Macon Academy’s volleyball team was. Senior Kelli Hutcheson has emerged to lead the way for the Yellow Jackets this season.

“From the very first day of practice she’s really taken charge, warming up the team and getting them ready to go,” R-MA coach Cathy Brill said.

Hutcheson, The Northern Virginia Daily’s Female Athlete of the Week for the week of Sept. 8-14, led the way in the Yellow Jackets’ season-opening win. R-MA beat Chelsea Academy on Sept. 12, 3-1 (25-23, 25-12, 22-25, 25-21). Hutcheson had 12 kills and two blocks.

Hutcheson had the match-ending kill, and also had two aces in the victory.

“Kelli is a hard worker,” Brill said. “She really stepped up in our first game. I was very pleased with her play, especially the blocking.”

Hutcheson led the Yellow Jackets last year in blocks and was second on the team in kills.
Brill said blocking comes naturally for the 5-foot-10 Hutcheson.

“She has really long arms for her height,” Brill said. “That’s what really helps her.”

Brill said Hutcheson, as well as the rest of the team, has been working on aiming for the corners on their kills, and it showed against Chelsea Academy.

“We’ve been working with her on her approach,” Brill said. “We’re also trying to get her to be more aggressive.”

Hutcheson’s serve has also come along. Last year was the first time she served in a match, and now she’s become a reliable server for the team.

Brill said her height has also helped in that area as well.

“With her height she’s able to serve hard, and hit the angles,” Brill said.

The Yellow Jackets have a lot of underclassmen with five sophomores and three freshman, but they also have eight players returning from last year’s squad.

R-MA’s two setters are both underclassmen, and Brill said Hutcheson has had a great attitude in working with them.

Having eight returners has helped the Yellow Jackets pick up things quickly in the young season.

“Everybody knows the system,” Brill said. “In our first match we didn’t have anybody out of rotation one time, and so I was pleased with that.”

R-MA didn’t have its first practice until Aug. 30, and Brill said they’ve come along well in a short time.

“I was very happy with how well we did in our first game,” Brill said.

Brill said she was also very happy with the way the team has served so far. She said everyone on the team serves over-handed, which wasn’t the case last season.

While Brill was happy with the way the Yellow Jackets played in their opener, she said things will get much tougher this week. R-MA plays host to SVCA at 5 p.m. today, and plays at Wakefield School on Thursday.

The Patriots usually have a very strong team, and Wakefield School is considered one of the top teams in the Delaney Athletic Conference this year.

“We’re hoping that we’ll have more competitive games with them this year than we did last year,” Brill said. “We’re interested in seeing how we stack up against both teams we have this week and see how our defense reacts.”

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd