Continuing their solid start to the year, Eastern Mennonite’s volleyball women split day two’s matches at the EMU Invitational. The Royals lost a heart-breaking five-set match to Howard Payne and then regrouped to take down Salem College in four.
Howard Payne 3, EMU 2
The women had a great start to the day, closing on a 12-4 run to take game one by a score of 25-19. Howard Payne skipped ahead with quick wins of 25-17 and 25-11, putting EMU against the wall.
The Yellow Jackets held a slight lead for much of game four before a 3-0 burst put Eastern Mennonite up 24-23. Each team missed a chance to end it before a pair of HPU errors allowed the Royals to force game five, 28-26.
A 5-0 run looked to have EMU in the driver’s seat in the decider, leading 9-6. But the momentum quickly turned to the Yellow Jackets, as they scored six straight to go ahead 14-9. The Royals managed two points before HPU closed it out, 15-11.
Freshman Rebecca Hardy (Port Republic, Va./Eastern Mennonite) led all players with 17 kills and added 11 digs and four blocks. Libero Katie Miller (San Antonio, Tex./Brandeis) was just as key with a whopping 31 digs. Rachel Kennel (Parkesburg, Pa./Lancaster Mennonite) was good for 11 kills and four blocks. Miller and Kennel each had a pair of service aces.
EMU 3, Salem 1
After a short 30-minute break, the Royals returned to the floor to take on Salem, which went to the NCAA Tournament last fall. The Spirits came out on all cylinders and grabbed a 25-17 win in game one.
The women fell behind again in game two, before a 7-0 run changed the momentum of the day. Eastern Mennonite closed on a 21-11 run to win game two, 25-19. An 11-2 surge gave the Royals game three by the same score. The Spirits were done by the fourth game, which EMU took 25-16.
D Probst (Willow Street, Pa./Lancaster Mennonite) got her first extended playing time of the weekend and responded with a match high 13 kills. Kennel and McKenna Carter (Waynesboro, Va./Stuarts Draft) each added 10 kills and four block assists.
Dani Driver (Cheverly, Md./Elizabeth Seton) had 28 set assists and three service aces. ophomore Alena Yoder (Elkhart, Ind./Bethany Christian) was one of four Royals with double digit digs, as she scooped up 22 Spirit spikes.
As a team, EMU had season bests in hitting percentage, digs and total blocks.
Sophomore Katie Miller was named to the All-EMU Invitational Team for her efforts over the two day event. EMU’s libero averaged 4.81 digs per set, including 31 against Howard Payne, and added a team high seven service aces.
The Royals, now 2-2, stay at home for their next match, taking on Mary Baldwin Thursday in Yoder Arena.