After the first four matches, sophomore Kayley Argenbright is leading EMU with 2.31 kills per game. (Photo by Wayne Gehman)

Volleyball women split again at EMU Invitational

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.

Click here for full results of the EMU Invitational.

The Royals, now 2-2, stay at home for their next match, taking on Mary Baldwin Thursday in Yoder Arena.