They say the third time’s the charm, right? Well, in the case of Virginia Wesleyan, the fourth time was finally the charm. After losing to Randolph-Macon three times this season, the Marlins got the elusive win when it mattered most. Their Elite Eight victory over Randolph-Macon secured a berth in the D3 Final Four where Virginia Wesleyan will face UW-Stevens Point Friday at 8 p.m.
Here’s what you need to know about the Marlins of Virginia Wesleyan heading into that one. For a look at their opponent this weekend, and the two teams on the other side of the National Semifinals, we’ve got previews for each of them as well:
How they got here: Virginia Wesleyan forced 21 turnovers en route to a 101-86 victory over John Carroll in the opening round. The Marlins then held off a late run by William Paterson in the second round to advance with a 77-74 victory.
Speed and 3-point shooting proved to be key in a 75-65 Sweet 16 win over Dickinson and then the Marlins held the Yellow Jackets scoreless over the final 3:53 of their Elite Eight contest to take their first win over Randolph-Macon this season by a final score of 49-47.
Ranking and record: BR-5
Strength of Schedule: 71st
Conference Finish: 13-3, 2nd in the ODAC
Top players: Guard Khory Moore has been exceptional during this tournament run. He scored a career-high 41 points in the win over William Paterson, and is averaging 17.3 ppg. Greg Montgomery is another reliable offensive option and is a good rebounding guard. He averages 12.8 ppg and 7.8 rpg.
Head coach: Dave Macedo (15th season)
Final Four appearances: Three times (last came in 2007).
Inside the numbers: The Marlins shoot the long ball well (9.6 3-pointers per game) and force 16.8 turnovers per game. Their turnover margin of +6.2 ranks sixth in the division.
Key to the game: Virginia Wesleyan will have to use its speed and effective perimeter shooting against UW-Stevens Point, the top-scoring defense in the country.
Did you know?: The Marlins won the national title in 2006 and followed with a trip to the final again in 2007. This is their first Final Four since.