After knocking off one nationally ranked opponent on Saturday, the Royals failed to equal the fete on Sunday. Despite heading home with a 2-2 overall record from the Thiel College AVI Invitational, the volleyball men proved they could play with the best teams in the nation.
Sunday, Feb. 5
Nazareth 3, EMU 0
The men opened their final day of play at the invite against No. 5 Nazareth. The Golden Flyers, also the 2011 National Champions, had already won their first three matches at the invite, and they made it four in a row with a sweep of EMU.
Game scores were 25-18, 25-17 and 25-11.
Kendall Garber (Lancaster, PA/Lancaster Mennonite) and John Grove (Glen Allen, VA/Deep Run) co-led Eastern Mennonite with six kills apiece. Garber also had a team high five digs. John Barry (Columbus, OH/Worthington Kilbourne) had 19 assists.
After a dominant defensive showing at the net in Saturday’s matches, the Royals had just one triple block against Nazareth.
Elmira 3, EMU 2
The Soaring Eagles were receiving votes in this week’s AVCA poll, but were just outside of the top 15. Eastern Mennonite went back-and-forth with Elmira, but came up on the short end.
Elmira won the first set 25-16, but the Royals came back with some good serving to win set two, 25-18. The trend continued, as the teams split three and four, 25-14 to Elmira and 25-19 to EMU.
The Royals started with a slight edge in the decisive fifth set. But the Soaring Eagles tacked in a couple of late points to sneak out a 15-13 closer.
Chris Moise (Hollywood, FL/South Broward) led a balanced attack for the men with 14 kills. Greg Knight (Chesapeake, VA/Hickory) had nine kills and three service aces. Garber and Grove each added eight kills while Barry put down seven of his own from the setter’s spot. He also had 35 assists.
Kyle Storc (Westerville, OH/Bishop Watterson) had two solo blocks and two block assists. Barry had nine digs and Moise added seven.
Eastern Mennonite, 3-4 on the season, now returns to Yoder Arena, where the Royals will host their next five matches. Those five are also the only home matches of the season.
Saturday, Feb. 4
EMU 3, Medaille 0
Eastern Mennonite opened up with Medaille, which entered as the No. 10 team in the AVCA National Poll and had already won its first three matches at the invite. The Royals jumped ahead early and took game one by a 25-20 score. The Mavericks regrouped, but EMU still had the leg up in a pair of tight 27-25 wins to close the match.
John Grove (Glen Allen, VA/Deep Run) was unstoppable out of the middle, hammering a career high 11 kills on just 14 attacks. His attack percentage of .786 was just shy of the school record of .833.
Chris Moise (Hollywood, FL/South Broward) added 10 kills and Kendall Garber (Lancaster, PA/Lancaster Mennonite) put down nine kills on 18 attempts. John Barry (Columbus, OH/Worthington Kilbourne) had a great time setting up the offense as he racked up 37 assists in the sweep.
The Royals also dominated the net defensively, with 12.5 blocks. Kyle Storc (Westerville, OH/Bishop Watterson) had six block assists and one solo stuff. Greg Knight (Chesapeake, VA/Hickory) added two of each, as well as two service aces.
Libero Nolan Prock (Virginia Beach, VA/Frank W. Cox) picked up 13 digs.
EMU 3, Fontbonne 0
The Royals turned around and took on Fontbonne from the CVC West. The Griffins proved no match for the men, as EMU ran away with a sweep. Game scores were: 25-21, 25-15 and 25-16.
Eastern Mennonite hit .462 as a team with just four errors, including .524 in set two and .765 in the final set.
Everyone got involved, led by Grove’s seven swats. George Greene (Highland Springs, VA/Highland Springs) had kills on all six of his attempts. Garber also had six, while Moise and Knight each landed five. Barry had 29 assists.
Prock again led in the back row, digging up 10 Fontbonne spikes. Garber added eight.
The Royals also had six total blocks, led by Storc’s five block assists.
EMU hosts a tri-match on Saturday, Feb. 11, against Pfeiffer and Philadelphia Biblical University. The men take on Pfeiffer at 10:30am and PBU at 7:00pm. The two other teams play each other early in the afternoon, with the EMU women’s basketball team also playing a home game at 4:00pm.